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REVIEW: Ray Samuels Audio Dark Star solid state headphone amplifier - Page 11

post #151 of 372

Any claims of the Darkstar being Class A or even close to it are false.  It is a OPA541 based chip amp with a opamp based phase splitter/driver.  Think Gainclone but with far worse specs and performance. 

post #152 of 372

Really? Didn't know that. If that's true it would certainly explain why people have reported it runs very cool. Running cool definitely isn't a characteristic of a true class A amp. I just assume there was some magic going or some new topology or something. It really wouldn't matter to much to me though if it sounds as good as reported.

post #153 of 372
Quote:
Originally Posted by spritzer View Post

Any claims of the Darkstar being Class A or even close to it are false.  It is a OPA541 based chip amp with a opamp based phase splitter/driver.  Think Gainclone but with far worse specs and performance. 


I don't see "Class A" written anywhere in Ray's description of the amp.

And, as far as it being worse than a gainclone? 

To quote the dude:  "That's just, like, your opinion, man."

 


 

 

post #154 of 372
Quote:
Originally Posted by TheWuss View Post

I don't see "Class A" written anywhere in Ray's description of the amp.


Not to imply that Ray's obligated to track down and correct any and all misinformation about his products but other people were saying it was class A.

post #155 of 372

Brent is right, there is no mention of it being class A in the description on his site. But Mike at headphonia, tries to explain why it doesn't run hot being class A when someone challenged him about the validity of it being class A if it runs so cool. So there appears to be some misconceptions and false info being spread about this amp. I don't think Ray should be held responsible for other people inaccuracies, unless they got their inaccuracies from him which I seriously doubt.

 

Eventhough it's an opamp based amp, those internals look very impressive. The design and layout looks very nice and polished. Chip based amps can sound very good if the design and layout is right. I do prefer discrete designs though, but discrete doesn't "always" mean better especially if it's not done right.


Edited by moodyrn - 1/4/12 at 10:36am
post #156 of 372

From the review/advertisement posted in Headfonia, Mike asked Ray if the Dark Star was indeed a Class A amplifier as it was not posted anywhere on the RSA site.

 

Here is Mikes reply to myself; 

 

Hi John, Interesting to hear that it was not posted on Ray's website, but this is what he told me: "The amp will continue in class A if it is not pushed beyond it's capability. The DarkStar is so powerful that it is just almost impossible to cross from A-B class." Indeed I can't differentiate any difference in the sound whether I'm just running a single Beyerdynamic T1 (600 ohms - very low current req) or driving a K1K-HE6, T1 all simultaneously. The dynamics, dynamic range, transients, are all consistent so I suppose the amp never really does leave class-A.

 

From a technical stand point as spritzer has pointed out the amp cannot run Class A. Someone’s telling fibs.

 

Again here is the link for the Headfonia article for you own reading;

http://www.headfonia.com/voltage-monster-ray-samuels-dark-star/

 

post #157 of 372

Wow! It's hard to believe Ray would say that, but it's also hard to believe Mike would make something like that up. So given that reported exchange between Mike and Ray, it's now on Ray to come and clear things up. I'm really interested to see how he would respond. I don't see how it would be possible for this thing to run class A, but I'm no electrical engineer. So there's maybe some magic going on we don't know about. But still, the only thing that matters is how good it sounds. But if there are claims being made that's entirely untrue, then that's certainly something to be concerned about IMO.

post #158 of 372

From the opa541 datasheet  (http://www.ti.com/lit/ds/symlink/opa541.pdf)

The quiescent power supply current is a maximum of 25ma. Not all of which

is in the output stage, but assuming that it is, 25ma into 50 ohms is 32 milliwatts.

This is clearly a low bias class AB amplifier as defined by wikipedia and everyone else.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Class_A_amplifier#Class_A

 

In contrast, my dynahi has a quiescent current of 300ma, about 4.5 watts into 50 ohms.

post #159 of 372

I received my Dark Star yesterday afternoon.  It's way to early to compare it to my Liquid Fire and Luxman SQ-N100 but I will say that I'm impressed and that is coming from a guy that listens mainly to tube equipment.  I have my PS Audio PWD mkII feeding the DS through its balanced inputs and the LF through its SE input.   I plan to get another set of balanced cables so that I can connect my WFS Dac 2 to the DS giving me 2 different DAC flavors to choose from.  I've only listened to one of my headphones, LCD2 r1, so far and it is sounding better than ever.   Next up will be either the LCD3 or HE6.

post #160 of 372
Quote:
Originally Posted by SteveM324 View Post

I received my Dark Star yesterday afternoon.  It's way to early to compare it to my Liquid Fire and Luxman SQ-N100 but I will say that I'm impressed and that is coming from a guy that listens mainly to tube equipment.  I have my PS Audio PWD mkII feeding the DS through its balanced inputs and the LF through its SE input.   I plan to get another set of balanced cables so that I can connect my WFS Dac 2 to the DS giving me 2 different DAC flavors to choose from.  I've only listened to one of my headphones, LCD2 r1, so far and it is sounding better than ever.   Next up will be either the LCD3 or HE6.



Holly Macro Steve!! A DS, LF and the Luxman? Do you stil have the Zana Duex too?

I am still waiting for the upgrade kit for my PWD.

 

 

post #161 of 372

Really want more LF vs DS comparison. 

 

EDIT: Considering an LF is about to do nasty things to my wallet in the February run.
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by SteveM324 View Post

I received my Dark Star yesterday afternoon.  It's way to early to compare it to my Liquid Fire and Luxman SQ-N100 but I will say that I'm impressed and that is coming from a guy that listens mainly to tube equipment.  I have my PS Audio PWD mkII feeding the DS through its balanced inputs and the LF through its SE input.   I plan to get another set of balanced cables so that I can connect my WFS Dac 2 to the DS giving me 2 different DAC flavors to choose from.  I've only listened to one of my headphones, LCD2 r1, so far and it is sounding better than ever.   Next up will be either the LCD3 or HE6.



 

 


Edited by MorbidToaster - 1/19/12 at 8:47am
post #162 of 372

Quote:

Originally Posted by MorbidToaster View Post

Really want more LF vs DS comparison. 


x2.

post #163 of 372


Quote:

Originally Posted by musicman59 View Post



Holly Macro Steve!! A DS, LF and the Luxman? Do you stil have the Zana Duex too?

I am still waiting for the upgrade kit for my PWD.

 

 



Hi Jose, no the Zana Deux SE was sold to make room for the LF.  As it is, I've run out of room on my 6 shelf rack.  I have the 3 amps, 3 DACs plus the PWT and the Running Springs power conditioner.  You are going to love the PWD upgrade.

 

 

post #164 of 372

DarkStar #17 has arrived home to Birmingham, Alabama.

 

So far, so good...

 

wink.gif

post #165 of 372

Quote:

Originally Posted by TheWuss View Post

DarkStar #17 has arrived home to Birmingham, Alabama.

 

So far, so good...

 

wink.gif


Congrats!  Looking forward to hearing some impressions.

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