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Discrete vs opamps... - Page 7

post #91 of 176
Quote:
Originally Posted by rickcr42
This is not about single ended or tubes vs solid state but which is better :

A discrete opamp or a monolithic opamp and since Class-a is clearly audibly surperior in every listening test I have ever done and no chip opamp can be made to operate in class A my conclusion,and one that most who have compared the two agree with,is a discrete class-A op-amp not only wins but by a wide margin over any monolithic chip Op-Amp
Assuming that the discrete amp is running in class A. That's where I'm having a bit of a problem with your argument here Rick. The initial query was phrased more in the vein of discrete is always better than opamp at a particular price point and that isn't true. At the very low end of the scale you would have to use incredibly crappy parts with a discrete amplifier to match the cost of the opamp design, if you could even do it. Your argument is that since discrete amps CAN be Class A, they will always be better. Since not all discrete designs are Class A, your argument has a whole range of amplifiers that are not even considered. Lastly, Rick, let's face it, it's easier to screw up a discrete design than it is an opamp based design and guess what, some designers do. For all these reasons I really can't buy into your arguments that discrete is always better. I would agree that it has the POTENTIAL to be better.

Last off, we have personal taste and just as some people will rather eat hotdogs off a street cart than Beluga caviar, some will always prefer the option which is not generally considered to be the best!
post #92 of 176
Quote:
Originally Posted by gpalmer

Last off, we have personal taste and just as some people will rather eat hotdogs off a street cart than Beluga caviar, some will always prefer the option which is not generally considered to be the best!
You seem to forget that Rick goes on and on like a skippng record, and everything is absolute in his personal universe.

Rick is arguing a very narrow subject point, addressing the original posters question in the absolute electrical sense. Whether or not you can actually personally hear the difference with headphones is another story altogether.

Now we are bringing up Class A vs. Class AB arguments.

-Ed
post #93 of 176
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by gpalmer
Assuming that the discrete amp is running in class A. That's where I'm having a bit of a problem with your argument here Rick. The initial query was phrased more in the vein of discrete is always better than opamp at a particular price point and that isn't true. At the very low end of the scale you would have to use incredibly crappy parts with a discrete amplifier to match the cost of the opamp design, if you could even do it. Your argument is that since discrete amps CAN be Class A, they will always be better. Since not all discrete designs are Class A, your argument has a whole range of amplifiers that are not even considered. Lastly, Rick, let's face it, it's easier to screw up a discrete design than it is an opamp based design and guess what, some designers do. For all these reasons I really can't buy into your arguments that discrete is always better. I would agree that it has the POTENTIAL to be better.

Last off, we have personal taste and just as some people will rather eat hotdogs off a street cart than Beluga caviar, some will always prefer the option which is not generally considered to be the best!
In all fairness I think the underlying assumption is a "not sucky" version of each respective type. The GL is a Class A amp so its not like the $ bar is set very high.
post #94 of 176
Quote:
Now we are bringing up Class A vs. Class AB arguments.
and you just like to argue so that is OK right ? Bring something to the discussion other than personalitiers and maybe I will take you seriously.

The topic IS and always has been which is better for audio,a monolithic chip opamp or a discrete opamp and I defy anyone to prove within any reason a case where the chip amp sounds better with music and human ears as the judge

My "skipping record" has more merit than does your personal attack so you can kiss my *** Ed.Offer something to the discussion that adds ANYTHING or don't bother posting if attacking me is your goal.You will lose on all fronts dude so check yourself before going there.

Quote:
Assuming that the discrete amp is running in class A. That's where I'm having a bit of a problem with your argument here Rick. The initial query was phrased more in the vein of discrete is always better than opamp at a particular price point and that isn't true.
Price point and equal value never entered into it and I so stated at the very beginning using the OPA627 as the Op-Amp chip example in price then added no quality class A opamp could be built for that cost with the added cost of a better power supply that would be needed.Go back and read it man.All there.

Quote:
Your argument is that since discrete amps CAN be Class A, they will always be better. Since not all discrete designs are Class A, your argument has a whole range of amplifiers that are not even considered. Lastly, Rick, let's face it, it's easier to screw up a discrete design than it is an opamp based design and guess what, some designers do. For all these reasons I really can't buy into your arguments that discrete is always better. I would agree that it has the POTENTIAL to be better.
and you are splitting hairs.since it was ME that entered the discussion with the Discrete Class-A Op-amp as being better than any monolithic Op-amp.I brought it up then added the "why" of it.If you want to discuss AB discrete go for it but that was not the discusssion so not to points made

I contend pure Class-A will audibly whip class AB every time head to head and I am not alone on this or sooo many would not go to such great lengths touting their product as being "class A" even when they are lying about exactly what they mean by that.
If you like AB over A cool.Enjoy.But you are definately in the minority view on that one and so I feel 100% comfortable defending what is universally accepted as better across the board and at every stage of audio and that is on the merits of the sound no matter what the spec sheet says
post #95 of 176
Quote:
It sounds like your back is running class AB at best, Rick. Dropping out to B?
back in Class A form Mark !

percadans are a great invention and allow even the pain of the trolls to be tolerable
post #96 of 176
Quote:
Originally Posted by wakked1
In all fairness I think the underlying assumption is a "not sucky" version of each respective type. The GL is a Class A amp so its not like the $ bar is set very high.
Though since you didn't phrase it that way, rather you said:

So for a given pricepoint, why do people prefer opamp designs over discrete designs, if you take modding out of the equation?

and I responded to that. Nobody said the amplifiers had to be "sucky" whatever that technical term means! And contrary to to the black and white universe portrayed here, I've heard amps that were Class A which didn't sound as good to me as amps running Class AB so I'm not buying the basic argument that ALL Class A will always sound better than ALL Class AB. I learned long ago in Physics 101 that generally such statements should be greeted with a great deal of skepticism and you know what? So far it's worked that way in the real world also! I will agree that a Class A amplifier implmented with equal technical merit and skill will generally sound better than an amplifier running in Class AB, though since I have not heard and compared the universe of possibilities, I cannot state that they ALL do. Lastly, sicne the huge majority of amplifiers sold are well under the $300 mark, I would regard that as raising the bar fairly high. *shrug* Depends on your frame of reference I guess...

Quote:
Originally Posted by rickcr42
the topic IS and always has been which is better for audio,a monolithic chip opamp or a discrete opamp and i defy anyone to prove withon any reason a case where the chip amp sounds better with music and human ears as the judge
I'm not quite agreeing with this Rick, if you look at my quote above, the question the thread is discussing is which will sound better at a particular price point. First, you are making the blanket statement, therefore it is your responsibility to provide the proof. Second, hell, go back and read all the posts in this forum from all the people who preferred the Perreaux over the Gillmore or the HeadRoom gear over it. It isn't even a challenge to find fifty and let's face it, I think we probably agree that the Giilmore technically wipes the floor with the Perreaux.
post #97 of 176
Quote:
I contend pure Class-A will audibly whip class AB every time head to head and I am not alone on this or sooo many would not go to such great lengths touting their product as being "class A" even when they are lying about exactly what they mean by that.
I, for one, don't know what "class A" really means, and I would guess a majority don't either unless they have an EE background. Those who tout their product as being "class A", who are they trying to fool? people like me, people like you, or people who believe "class A is better" because that's what they're told in this thread? Obviously it means nothing to me, and if it means something to you, the false advertising is moot anyway since you seem to know what you're saying.

Anyway, I contend a horse will whip a donkey every time head to head, but when all is said and done, some people enjoy riding a donkey, and others enjoy riding a horse. Who whips what doesn't really matter, unless your own opinion means more to you than others and you feel the need for acknowledgement of the so-called facts -- which I find humorous because this is like a scientist trying to convince my accountant that time slows down as you approach the speed of light, and shouting in his face, "shut the fk up because you don't know what you're saying!!"
post #98 of 176
Quote:
I'm not quite agreeing with this Rick, if you look at my quote above, the question the thread is discussing is which will sound better at a particular price point.
That is a hard one to answer straight up because I CAN build a simple discrete Op-Amp with a dual jfet input and a single mosfet output (all class a of course ) that would wipe the floor with a good amount of the opamps considered ready for "prime time" at the same or less cost but the opamp would be way easier to power so in the end I would go over budget on the powering side.

Quote:
First, you are making the blanket statement, therefore it is your responsibility to provide the proof
well it is obvious I am left with just the written word as proof so I have to relay o the body of evidence and accepted facts to backup what I know to be true.There is enough press,enough reviews,enough build threads and project pages,enough blow by blow stage design files (see erno borbely fo one,forssell for another then N.Pass) that when read and weighed tend to back up my findings but very very few examples whewre head to head someone actually prefers a chip opamp to a discrete design assuming competant design work and a good layout.

The fact that I have eliminated every single analog IC from from my home system and have gone to all class A means I beleive my own words and the reason for the exodus of the chips is they were ALL found lacking in direct comparison.Is this is personal taste thing and no more ? could be but if yes then I am in good company because that is the same path many others who are into high end audio or design high end equipment also take.


The original question on monolithic vs discrete is a loaded one because obviously ther are some really cheap op-amps that make acceptable music and more expensive op-amps that canmake even good music but there is a finite "peak curve" where the I.C. flat out runs out of gas in the head to head with discrete having much room yet to expand and get better leaving ALL chips behind.
Yes it will cost more but always ? No.there are some damn expensive chip amps and some good reasonably priced discrete amps that in direct head to head the discrete will 99% of the time win when price is equal and above the rock bottom where comprimise is a must

Quote:
It isn't even a challenge to find fifty and let's face it, I think we probably agree that the Giilmore technically wipes the floor with the Perreaux.
nope.not taking THAt bait man.nope
post #99 of 176
Quote:
I, for one, don't know what "class A" really means,
fully explained at the very beginning of this thread

Quote:
and I would guess a majority don't either unless they have an EE background. Those who tout their product as being "class A", who are they trying to fool?
If they are honest no one.If the product slides out of the A region and into the AB region often it can get very confusing to the novice since "pure" class a is one thing but hanging "class a" on a peice of gear can mean anything since it only need be in class a operation for a very limited amount of the signal and the statement true though misleading

Quote:
Anyway, I contend a horse will whip a donkey every time head to head, but when all is said and done, some people enjoy riding a donkey
even if only because "like goes to like" and the donkey is stubborn so.......


Quote:
unless your own opinion means more to you than others and you feel the need for acknowledgement of the so-called facts -- which I find humorous because this is like a scientist trying to convince my accountant that time slows down as you approach the speed of light, and shouting in his face, "shut the fk up because you don't know what you're saying!!"
The thing about fact is they are what they are and do not waver.to deny something is "factual" when it is and is known to be is just being argumentive.
Fact is class a operates as decribed,class b operates as decribed,class ab operates as described and the reason for the operational modes are facts.

If you like something else it is TASTE but does not change the facts


My observations in the rant thread were dead on though.It is always those with the least understanding of a thing arguing the most and for what reason I have no clue.

the internet is a resource people and if my "facts" bother you then do your own research,compare actual amps from the various groups,listen,think,form your own opinion.that is valid.

to say "i do not agree" and then back it up with nothing proves only you want to argue not that you know anything
post #100 of 176
Despite the palpable tension in here, it's an interesting topic. As a great fan of HeadRoom products, purely based on sound and my search for what my ears think is neutral, I'm a little confused by this thread. Not because the arguments for the superiority of the discrete class A output designs don't make sense, but because of the sheer quality of some of the chip opamp based designs out there. It's certainly a matter of sonic taste, however I'm not sure many people here would claim that the Gilmore Lite wipes the floor with a HeadRoom Max, despite the discrete class A versus pseudo class A OPA627's with buffers. I also doubt that in any measurable (or audible) way, it can be shown that the chip design is doing destructive things to the original signal that the discrete design isn't (in this particular case in point, not in general).

As always, it really does seem like a moment for 'it's what you do with it that counts...'
post #101 of 176
Quote:
Originally Posted by rickcr42
well it is obvious I am left with just the written word as proof so I have to relay o the body of evidence and accepted facts to backup what I know to be true.There is enough press,enough reviews,enough build threads and project pages,enough blow by blow stage design files (see erno borbely fo one,forssell for another then N.Pass) that when read and weighed tend to back up my findings but very very few examples whewre head to head someone actually prefers a chip opamp to a discrete design assuming competant design work and a good layout.
I think we're fundamentally in agreement here since I concur that any equally well implemented discrete amplifier will sound better to the majority of critical listeners and that the vast majority of the technical folks would stand up and vote in it's favor. I think the main disagreement is just that I don't think it's all, hell I had several head-fiers tell me just recently that they preferred the Meta42 and equally inexpensive opamp based designs over the Gilmore Lite and these were people who have listened to many head phone amps. Heck, I like my HR-2 just fine although as everyone knows I'm "Happy Gilmore." I just think it's better to select your amplifier based on hearing it rather than picking it because it checks some box on a magic spec. sheet. And I think that a poorly implemented Class A can sound worse than a well implemented Class AB. I find this simplification a little unusual coming from you since as I remember your posts in the pasts, you've always stressed listening to the design to make sure it's right and sounds good, not just designing by the numbers. might this be your back pain talking?
post #102 of 176
Quote:
Originally Posted by TheSloth
As always, it really does seem like a moment for 'it's what you do with it that counts...'
That's pretty much where I'm coming from. Once upon a time, it was a night and day thing and the gap was pretty big and very audible. Over time that gap has shrunk considerably. I guess my argument there would be that it's a case where the whole is the sum of it's parts and while one part might be worse in one of the implementation, it can be made up for to a certain extent by the rest of the parts being of greater quality. For instance the GL has a wal wart to power it that is not as I remember, the equal of the HeadRoom Max. Can this overcome the Class A advantage? I would argue that yes, to some it may in fact do so and my personal conjecture would be that the majority of listeners would prefer the Max over the Gilmore Lite. (Of course, ignoring the crossfeed option )
post #103 of 176
Quote:
several head-fiers tell me just recently that they preferred the Meta42 and equally inexpensive opamp based designs over the Gilmore Lite and these were people who have listened to many head phone amps.

Honest electronics are what every one says they want until they actually hear it many times.Then it is the colored or the artificially exciting that draws initial attention.Folks want their amp to DO SOMETHING and not just raise the volume level so they look for any tonal difference and when they hear it announce it sounds "better" even though they are hearing coloration.
System matching,taste,need to cover up other flawed areas in the system withthe amp,all kinds of reason why choices are made

BUT !

I do not think I would live to see the day when someone would pay $5,000 for an "Op-Amp in a box" (OK,Maybe a headroom but that is a different creature ) but see that in the discrete arena often.Is this just elitism and having no merit ? They are being suckered because they could have purchased an opamp based amp just as good for $500 and had $4,500 left over for CDs ? My opinion is no.My opinion is you get what you pay for even though less for more as you climb the scale and that means discrete or tubes but NOT opamps.

opamps are fine up to a point (strictly portable for my taste) but once that point of "can't make it better" is reached discrete takes over and runs down the path to the next "as good as it gets" at which time usually it is triodes that take over if the ultimate is the goal though some may prefer solid state even at that plateau.Notice there are no opamps up there ? there is a reason for that and all about limits and just how much you can squeeze out of a "closed box" such as an I.C. chip.

You can fake the output into some part of class-a,you can improve the output drive and dynamics by adding a driver stage after the opamp but you can not change the basic structure of the chip unless you "unplug" it and replace it with a potted discrete class-A opamp module because you have no control over the actual operation but only over what you hang on it and that means it must be comprimised since no way can the designer see all posible uses for the device before they occur,even a so called "audio" opamp is mostly accidental except for a rare few like the 627/637
post #104 of 176
Pentium 4 prescott dual-core CPUs dissipate more than 200 watts of heat off of a 90nm-process core via thermal paste coupled heatsink and fan; an op-amp is comparative in size and has to dissipate significantly less. Appropriately heat-sinked, you could likely rely on a well-built enclosure's passive cooling (build it so that there is an airflow channel underneath and going up over the amplifier and the heat generated by the amplifier will act as a rough thermal pipe , constantly moving air over the amplifier). Thermal adhesive rather than simply paste removes the need for exterior means of attachment provided the op-amp iis well soldered into place.

Presto, legitimately class-A op-amp based setup. I imagine the reason this hasn't been done is because it's retarded and serves only to circumvent a design obstacle that's easier to completely avoid by using a superior-for-the-purpose design, ergo discrete amplifiers.

I'm going to build a class-a op-amp with a cooler from an ATX motherboard southbridge and thermal adhesive as a proof-of-concept, one of these days.
post #105 of 176
It is relevant to note, as you did, that some opamps are designed for audio. I don't know if there are others, however the 627/637 were designed with a specific use in mind. Of course, they cannot be completely customised to the circuit in which they are placed, however they do have an intended use right back to the design stage.
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