i found this a few weeks ago on you-tube and thought it was interesting.
New Class D amplifiers
Hello. I'm very interested in getting your opinion on the newer Class D amplifiers. There has been a couple of very positive reviews (by Guttenberg) of the Bel Canto C6i and NAD M23. These, and perhaps some others are offering new technology that significantly lower the class D noise level and other drawbacks.
I currently use a Class A amp, Pass Labs INT-25 (with Dynaudio Heritage Special speakers) which has a wonderful sound. But I am transitioning to another location, and due to using Roon primarily I find that this system stays on most of the day. Due to heat and power usage of Class A amplifiers, I'm interested in translating to Class D if I find something comparable.
i found this a few weeks ago on you-tube and thought it was interesting.
@grantgg do a search on the new Atmasphere class d monoblocks. I've heard them and was very impressed. Extremely fast & clean sounding.
Technics has two wonderful sounding Class D integrateds. The SU-G700M2 (which I have) and the SU0R1000 (the bigger brother).
All the best,
I suggest checking out the D-Sonic M3a-800S. This will give you 400 wpc or 2x the max rating of your speaker.
I have their M3a-600M mono-blocks, which at 600 wpc provide 2x the max rating of my ATC Scm-19's. The headroom and high dampening factor provide great control over the speakers, even at lower listening levels.
You might want to consider the Lyngdorf SDA 2400.
There are also plenty other like NAD, Bel Canto or Mola Mola.
From my experience Class D is very neutral, can sound brilliant with a good source from the preamplifier, or be unforgiving with a poor signal.
it’s - as always - a matter of matching.
@innersound300 Gene of Audioholics is not someone I would rely on for audio advice. He’s a notorious cable denier, who when challenged to back up his claims predictably seeks out the nearest rock to hide under.
@grantgg I would also look at Orchard Audio and VTV, both designers have made huge strides in implementing GaNFET technology. Both have received glowing reviews.
I have a pair of Atma Sphere mono blocks (Class D) on order, which should arrive mid March. So I can’t yet comment on their sound but after countless hours of research they appear to be the best Class D amps I could find under $5K.
I am a huge proponent of Class D, not just the newest models. I like IcePower amps a lot more than I like some megabuck Class A, but not as much as I like my current Luxman.
The point is, I find that too many audiophiles are stuck perpetuating an amp class discrimination with stereotypes that haven't been true since the 1990s. While the latest amps from Technics and Atmasphere may be great, there was nothing wrong with Class D, in general, five years ago either.
At present, I have a Luxman m-700u/c-700u combo and PS Audio M1200 mono/PS Audio BHK preamp combo in rotation. The PSA M1200 amps use IcePower modules with proprietary tubed input stage. These two amplifiers are a near dead heat in sound quality, just different strengths. There's no clear cut "winner." Like Erik Squire's previous post, I prefer the Luxman combo for the type of music I listen to but could easily imagine someone else making another choice.
The implementation of custom input stages using the IcePower modules is apparently important. I also have an amp that just uses the stock unmodified AS1200 module with high end Furutech wiring and connectors and it doesn't hold a candle to the performance of the PS Audio amps. There is also a difference in older IcePower modules vs. modules used in Legacy and PS Audio M1200 amps. The older modules used in many amps are decade old tech.
After a number of various switching amplifiers through the 2000's I found a pair of early Hypex NC400 kit amps to be noticeably preferable in the mid and upper frequencies. I use them for recording playback with monitor speakers. I still use tubes for listening.
I haven't followed Mr. Putsyes later models but I have noticed a number of speaker manufactures are using them for their powered systems. Interesting designer.
A hidden gem to perhaps convert the close the class a heaters sonic gap.
I have both an LSA Voyager GaN 350 (dual mono) and EVS 1200 based on dual IcePower 1200 AS1 modules. I was using the EVS with Ali-Express Nordost Odin 2 speaker cables and Odin 2 XLRs, plus Odin 2 coax, and while exceptional, my system has terrific detail, but lacked a rich dollop of warmth. Since these cables are super inexpensive, I replaced the XLRs with Odin Gold, which helped, so I wanted to change out the coax too, but couldn't locate it, so instead, I bought Odin Gold speaker cables, for a mere $128/3m pair!!! These provide a much better sonic match (warmer rounder without sacrificing any details that the Odin 2 provides.
I have been using an Arion S-500 class D amp for almost 4 years and couldn't be happier. Designer Mike Kallelis really did a fine job on this design. Very clean, neutral, extended at both ends, and never has any digital nasties. Plenty of juice for my speakers, which love the high wattage. And very reasonably priced, too!
I purchased AGD Audion mono blocs last week . I have 86 hours on them and they are special....... THANKS Alberto. I researched and read the reviews and owner impressions and can happily state that these aren't hyped products with gimmicky tubes. Give them a chance to get some hours and you will be rewarded.
After auditioning Orchard Audio Starkrimson Ultra for 8 days, I had been listening to Line Magnetic 508 and Rogue Cronus Magnum II fitted with vintage tubes.
I recommend you try it by being in the line for tour.
@mglik In greater detail, how would you compare the Atmasphere and AGD amps? I assume they’re both near SOTA, but would be very interesting to hear your impressions of the differences between the two for anyone who may be on the fence between these two awesome amps. Thanks for any thoughts.
I have also recently switched to AGD Audions after years of running an Atman-Sphere S30 Mk3 OTL. I love the sound of the S30 OTL amp but was getting frustrated at valve availability, adjustments and energy consumption.
The AGD Audions have been a terrific addition to my system. They are silent when idle (important as my speakers are 107dB/W) and require no warm-up period. The sound is even more transparent with wonderful imaging extending well beyond the speakers and further back. Instruments are easier to pick out from a complex mix.
The bass is very tuneful with overall a slightly ‘lighter’ feel to it than with the OTL amp. I’m able to tweak this as my speakers (Avantgarde Duo) allow me to adjust bass crossover/gain. I’ve also found that my REL S812 sub seems to go even deeper and ‘faster’.
I’me really impressed and think you’re on the right track with either the AGD Audions or the Atma-Sphere Class D amps.
If you are interested in an integrated solution for your Heritage setup, Aavik has amazing synergy with Danish loudspeakers. They are not cheap but sound amazing.
I am in the process of upgrading all of my Dynaudios to either Børresen or Raidho and am going to be pairing them with an Aavik setup. (I am only upgrading due to not being able to source the Evidence Masters).
Also, your Heritage sound much better than my Contours. I actually thought about doing the Heritage route, but my room is fairly large.
I am envious of your Heritage setup - Enjoy whichever path you choose.
@jbuhl AFAIK, the Edge products are modular. They sell a chipnand design guidelines and you put together the surrounding circuit. This allows you to create almost any sized amplifier module.
Icepower is their pre built amp modules.
@grantgg I second the idea of joining the Orchard Audio Starkrimson Stereo Ultra amp tour, mentioned above by shkong78. It was an ear opener. I immediately ordered the upgraded Ultra Stereo dual power supply model with extra capacitance. Improved imaging, transients, and realism are the results.
I'm used to VTL ST150 and diy Pass Son of Zen class A amps. Always thought amps had to get hot to sound good. Not any more. Give one a try.
One of the best amps on the market, although it's a true FDA (full digital driven PWM), so not "exactly" a "class D" (which is analog driven PWM) :
Another vote for full digital class D. The Peachtree Gan 1 ($1400) or the $1600 VTV D300 (also GaN based) amps are as above....fully digital driven PWM....so no DAC or preamp needed. Right now I am finishing mods on the GaN 1 and driven by a $400 IFI Zen Stream with custom super linear power supply.....the sound is amazing....better than any class D I have heard (I have heard modified IceEdge (the amp that Tweak 1 owns), modified Purifi, modified LSA Voyager Gan based amp and modified Hypex)....all driven by modified DAC). By the end of the week I will be then doing the same mods to the VTV D300 I have here. Slightly more powerful than the Peachtree. What a simple inexpensive killer source and amp!
@erik_squires is there a standby mode? My Orchard Audio is in standby as long as it is plugged in. My Ice powered PSAudio S300 has two power switches to toggle between the two modes.
@aldnorab - There is! My amps did not take advantage of this feature so I’m not sure if that would fix my problem. :)
My 250 ASP units were 2W in Standby (not used) and 7W idling.
It is a difficult choice between the AGD Audions and the Atma Ds.
I may keep both.
Speaking generally, they are greatly characterized by the nationality of their designers. Alberto, being from Italy, has created amps that, very much, have a romantic, organic bent. The tube like output stage of the Audions is more than a way to easily upgrade. But a tribute to SETs which also inspires the sound.
The Audions are beautifully and lovely to listen to. Easy on the ears. Delicious detail. Terrific sound staging and imaging. And mellifluous.
The Atmas are American meat and potatoes. More meat on the bones. More detail. And tremendous bass. They are also more dynamic. They sound like Ralph’s tube amps with more clarity and bass.
I use an Atma MP-1 preamp and there is clearly synergy. This may ultimately inform my decision on which to keep.
How about the Marantz Ruby amp? I nabbed one for less than $3k, open box
it certainly does not sound "cold" nor "clinical" , nor does it sound overly warmed nor colored... just clear, spacious, image-rich, robust with great dynamics, headroom, reserve
however, it is an all analogue design... my dac work is done well by the accompanying Ruby sacd player
and @nonoise +1 ... like nonoise, I'd suggest: If you want to go "higher" (though honestly there isn’t really all that much more "up there" from the Ruby), there’s the newish Technics, like the su-r1000, which is not exactly D but in the ballpark and has excellent dacs built in and includes what is supposedly an unsurpassed phono section (if you’re into vinyl) . The less expensive Technics g700m2 is also an option, if you want to go smaller and save some $$.
Yes, @curtdr , Technics does bristle at the suggestion that their integrateds are Class D but I was just being lazy. 😄
All the best,
@innersound300 Never trusted audioholics, or plainly said; Gene is just full of it. Not everything that measures well sounds well; CD vs Vinyl, solid state vs. Tubes, and so on. Been there, done it (with the same equipment they promote).
Having compared the Orchard Audio Starkcrimson Stereo Ultra GanF class d with amps from Sanders, Wells and Parasound Halo in my system and my buddies system...let me just say that this amp, which was the affordable great sounding darling of the Florida Audio expo this year deserves both respect and an audition...which as noted above, is available on the tour link for those who are interested.