Is D for Dry? Class D...

Class D sounds dry and lifeless... thats all, carry on
@viber6   WIth the large driver area and sheer scale and abilities of the Legacy Valors and the Elrod speaker and interconnects that I utilize, I tend to hear in vivid detail whether an amp or source or source material is too much "this" or "too little that" in undeniable terms.  This combination alone with the Valors in showing me recordings I know intimately in new and very detailed ways.  

That stated, if the iV.4 Ultra with its ICEedge boards were conveying euphonic warmth or anything else out I would hear it; of that I'm virtually 100% certain. I've always sought amps that are extremely neutral and to the greatest extent possible, inject no sonic signature of their own on incoming waveform and only amplify the waveform.  Edge NL12.1s and NL Ref amps many years ago did that in my systems and to an extent so did their Maker Audio NL14 brethren.  The Esoteric Grandioso M1 monoblocks also to my ears fall into the category of amplification that I seek though I've not been fortunate enough to own them or their probable M1X successors (yet).  The one exception I've owned might have been the Esoteric A-02 stereo amp that was warmer by a small amount and had a certain lushness to everything that it did however I would labels it's sound when amplifying various speakers I've owned included Legacy's but also a pair of TAD R1 Mk2s and rich/lush not overly warm.  

I've heard other great SS amps (both Class A and AB) that do what I'm after however this is a very short and very expensive and backbreaking list (weight, size, etc...)

All that to pave the way toward saying the surprise with the i.V4 Ultra, at least here in my system cabled and powered the way I have it, is that the goals above are very much intact and the i.V4 Ultra delivers.  Some days I look at the amp and cannot believe I found all that in a digital amp that weighs and cost far less than many contenders in other power/design classes.

It has excellent HF extension and rendering of those frequencies, transients, air, etc....what it sends to the 14" midrange on the Valors comes out detailed, rich, withOUT being bloated, overly emphasized mids, is lifelike and tonally accurate with great depth.  It's hass is taut, extremely fast, accurate, impactful, all without being lean, again,...tonal accuracy is extremely accurate.    Euphorically warm...."no" for sure.  

I have what I would consider and others tell me is a bit of an insane and extensive CD, XRCD (various types) and SACD collection. There are many 'crucible recordings' that I both love and know incredibly well; since getting these speakers and amp I've spent months learning new details that have not come out of these discs and what I'm hearing uniformly across the board tells me this amp (and speakers) are a winning combination.  They got installed a few weeks after hearing everything I ever wanted to compare them to at High End 2019 and Hifideluxe 2019...

Am I delighted this doesn't kill the wallet or the back? Sure am however I am making every effort to be objective.  Is it perfect? No...not perfect but it's excellent to my listening preferences. 

Have I heard equal and better sound quality both in digital as well as Class A or AB. Definitely yes....

Sound quality with this much raw power unleashed without grain or grunge sounding extremely non-digital amp-like? Only in A or AB costing $50K-$100K and more, that neither my wallet or my back can take for the foreseeable future.

From what you and others write there are other amps out there I'd also like to hear in this newly improved genre.  Someone mentioned the AGD monoblocks on this or the other digital thread that's hopping recently;  the AGDs sound amazing as did the Merrill Element 118 monos and a few others I heard in Munich and elsewhere,...I am sure the list will only keep growing.

Hope this helps...

I started this thread late one night after a few crowns... totally forgot about it.

I’ve since moved from a gorgeous sounding Belles Aria Integrated to an older Raven Blackhawk.  I was concerned about moving from the Belles to another class A/B because I felt like I’d gain power but lose quality and I wasn’t about that.

Well the move to the Raven did it for me.  If possible, I may never return to solid state aftrr hearing a good tube amp with some pretty decent tubes.

Rolling tubes is sooo fun and tube amps with their warm up / not leaving them on all the time, makes listening more of an intentional, ritualistic experience.

I think Im getting a turntable very soon.
Congratulations on the Raven,....Dave and the crew at Raven Audio build some amazing amps. I've lusted after the Shaman Mk2 monoblocks more than once (and the Silhouette Mk2s). They make great sounding gear that gives the best of tubes,....
Thanks for sharing your experience.  I am about to order the Rouge Audio Studio N-10DM which is very similar to your Legacy IV, according to ricevs.  Look at his site,, with its link to Rouge.  Due to break in, I might even order a second unit, so I can compare to Ric's mods which he claims improve stock amps.  Cost for the stock N-10DM only $1550.  With Ric's mod, $2100.  Pretty cheap interesting R&D for $3650 total.  Poster tweak1 has Ric's EVS1200 which beats all amps he has had.  Too bad his EVS1200 thread was deleted.

I suspect Ric is being modest in saying that the EVS1200 or other IceEdge 1200 models are merely excellent FOR THE MONEY.  I had the Merrill Veritas and Element 114.  They were warmer and tubelike compared to my Mytek Brooklyn Amp.  They certainly would be preferred by certain listeners, but for crisp neutrality I look elsewhere.  I asked Ric to name one amp at any price that he has personally A/B'ed to be better in clarity than these IceEdge amps, and so far no word.  I offer you the same challenge.

Even Mike Fremer in his PS Audio M1200 (another IceEdge 1200) review noted that its bass was as tight and accurate as anything he has heard.  He also said the HF were similarly detailed.  My belief is that electrons don't have preferences, so if bass is tight/accurate then the rest of the range--the harmonic overtones--will be likewise.  Many people like tight bass, but then some of them complain that accurate midrange/HF sounds wiry, sterile, dry, etc.  They don't realize that live, unamplified instruments sound that way, but they are used to most speakers which are dull in comparison.  It depends on perspective.  If they think speakers are correct, then yes, live/unamped instruments and voices ARE dry and sterile.  But if your frame of reference is live/unamped instruments and voices, then nearly all audio systems are dull and excessively warm/bloated.

Unfortunately, the high end audio business caters to the misconceptions of audiophiles who think that big money buys great sound.  They spend more time at audio shows and dealers than experiencing live performances anywhere--large or small concert halls, outdoors on the street.  Great times for those like we who know about great class D, and IceEdge 1200 in particular.  

Hi @edgewound 

Thanks for your reply.
I mean Class D is much cheaper to build, particularly for big power outputs.  So Class D manufacturers put them out at a third of the price or less of Class AB and a small fraction of Class A.
Class D is therefore a shortcut to big power but not to good sound.
There is more to designing an amp than big power.

Wise people speak of 'something' and 'nothing'.