Will digital amps make analog amps obsolete?

Is the writing on the wall for analog amps? Is it just a question of time?
Will analog amps go the way of those "quaint" vacuum tube amps :-)
In theory, yes! digital amp will be more and more common as they are cheaper to make. unign can be esaily shaped by programming rather than hardware. But it stops there. Our ears are not evoluted to take in the digital stream. This will never happen! A digital-to-analog(DAC) must be there to convert the digital stream into sound. This starts the problem.

If you are a serious audiophile, you should agree that in the same price class. Current DAC still chases behind analog LP. DAC output is small signal in terms of mA. When coming to amplification, you shall need a ADC of capable to convert vey steep power rise to meet dynamic needs. Still now, as far as I know, no such ADC device is available. Digital amplification is still a long way to go.
It won't make the analog amps obsolete but, they do make a huge difference. You won't need to necessarily use a DAC from your source as I am using the analog outs from my SACD player.

I have had 28 amplifiers in the past 12 years. There was always something that wasn't quite right. We are just flat-out amazed at the performance with the digital amp. Plus, the power output for the $ spent makes it an absolute bargain. I use a Spectron Musician II.

There will be room for both technologies. I just hope it doesn't get into a mud slinging contest like what happens with the tube vs. solid state or CD vs. vinyl. We all drive " pick up trucks" it just a matter of what brand.
Yes, analog is dead. I'm sure the new digital amp will provide perfect sound forever. My MP3 downloads couldn't sound better!

I remain,
Digital amp is another hifi-ish way to sell pro-grade amps for big kilobucks instead of couple-hundred dollars.
I was in in a high end stereo store yesterday to look at the Merician 861 processor. He had the thing hooked up to a pair of DSP8000 speakers. the digital feed goes directly to each speaker. Each speaker has a built-in digital amp, designed just for that speaker. Sounded great. It did not sound $40,000.00 better, though.....
I'm with Clueless - analog is history. I'll probably be selling my current system and all of my vinyl at a garage sale this summer...
Jetkitty,where are you located ? I'm interested with all your vinyls.
Drat! And just when I was starting to enjoy my tube system. :^)

Didn't they ask the same question when transistors first came out? "Will transistors make tube amps obsolete?" Here it is 40 years later, and tubes still rule. So, I guess I wouldn't hold my breath on digital amps taking the market by storm. After all, we're still waiting for them to make good on their first digital promise, "Perfect sound forever". Hasn't happened yet, after 20 years. So I'm even less likely to expect much from their second digital promise.
They will win a lot of fans. I've been running both push-pull and SET's for the last 6 years. They were both great sounding and great fun. They were also expensive,hot, and somewhat tweaky. My PS Audio, HCA 2 does a great job driving my maggies with out the above mentioned hassles. It doesn't have the old downsides I remember of SS - etched treble and electronic haze that I used to hear even with the best SS amps of 6-7 years ago. There will always be great tube amps and tube amp lovers, but there are more than a few tube guys out there who are giving digital amps a try.
Yes, please sell me your "obsolete" tube amps
Analog amps wouldn't be obsolete, but if the digital/Class D Pulse Width Modulation amps like the Spectron continue to improve and offer sound quality that equals or exceeds power hungry analog amps, it will become harder to justify using these expensive room heaters.

There will always be audiophiles that like all the bits and pieces of a complex hiend audio system and will continue to use them.

For the music lover, digital systems will simplfy things and make it easier to get high quality sound for a lot
less money and lower operating cost.
Has digital music formats made analog formats obsolete?
This is a very interesting thread because it raises many more questions. What I find equally interesting is the lack of coverage from the audio magazine press. It is as if they fear to really touch it, to explore who is doing "what" with it (the different typologies of using pulse width modulation). The Hovland may be using exactly this form of technology...all hush hush of course.

Prfont, I also have maggies, 1.6 qr's, and I am looking for an amp to drive them. It seems as though you are recommending PS audio's digital amp, am I right. What maggie do you have and what do you hear from the PS audio that has made you switch from tubes.

I would deeply appreciate if you can share any of your thinking about this.

Thanks for your help>

Oopps...I meant Halcro not Hovland...sorry!


I have MG-12's with modified crossovers. I am indeed driving them with an HCA-2. I sold my CJ MV 52 prior to buying the maggies so my comparisons of push-pull v. digital where on meadowlard kestral hotrods(which are known to be tube friendly). Still I preferred the clarity of the PS over the CJ in the bass and surprisingly in the treble. Again, it was not the etched treble I was used to hearing with other SS I had heard. It was not about power or slam, I preferred it musically. My other reasons are stated above, it's an easier amp to have around the house and in my current set-up, I just don't need the heat, size, and expense of an tube amp suitable to drive the maggies. Search the planar aslyum archives at Audioaslyum and you may get some more info.

good luck,

The reviews certainly suggest that digital amplifier technology is to be taken seriously. The Bel Canto is one such amp, I haven't heard it but it's supposed to be something special.