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Class D - heaven or hell ? - Page 9

post #121 of 133
Quote:
Originally Posted by estreeter View Post

 

Excellent - I KNEW someone would take on for the team and pre-order the Mola-Mola ! Bravo, sir - we salute you. wink.gif

 

 

Huh?

 

I just wanted to read all the thread.  Was wondering which would be preferred to drive the HE-6s?

 

Emotiva UPA-1 mono blocks

 

Red Dragon mono blocks

 

Wyred4sound mono blocks

Gear mentioned in this thread:

post #122 of 133
Thread Starter 

Why would you go to that much trouble and expense when they are several cheaper headphone amps which will do the job ? The Lyr seems to have been designed for the HE-6, but I have never heard it. Conversely, I wouldn't be building a speaker rig around an amp choice that was based on a single headphone. 

post #123 of 133
Quote:
Originally Posted by estreeter View Post

Why would you go to that much trouble and expense when they are several cheaper headphone amps which will do the job ? The Lyr seems to have been designed for the HE-6, but I have never heard it. Conversely, I wouldn't be building a speaker rig around an amp choice that was based on a single headphone. 

Ah ha - I would be just replacing amps.  I already have the 2 X UPA-1s, they have just been on the Home Theater system.  So I'm thinking should I use them for the HE-6s or get something else and put the UPA-1s back on the HT system.  

 

Now to go into it further.  We just a little mini meet with three Headfi-ers.  Myself, Happy Camper and SoupRKnowva.

 
I think we all came out with the same thoughts.
 
It was all about the HE-6 in the first half.  We had 2 pair all together.
 
The source and amps that was used was.
 
The source:
I know we could have done better with the source.  The Buffalo III was not ready and the D2 didn't arrive yet.  So we was stuck with this.  However, the show must go one.
 
Duel UPA-1 Mono blocks runing in balanced mode.
 
B24 - A monster of an amp:
 
UPA-2
 
4-channel Fully Balanced B22
 
Duel Rotel RMB 100 Mono blocks (15+ years of age 125watts each)
 
First up was the B22:  It was Happy Camper and myself at this time:  This B22 is an amazing amp.  It does drive the HE-6 pretty good.  Volume knob at about 2 to 3 o'clock.  Sound quality was on par and very good, soundstage was just ok, bass was just ok, the clarity was good as well.  The only thing about the B22 was it seemed to run out of reserves at higher listening levels.  Other than that everything was very balanced.  Overall I give it a C
 
Next up was the UP-2:  The soundstage seem to open up.  everything seemed like it was a notch above the B22 except for the clarity.  I think the B22 had the best clarity of them all up to a point.  This amp sounded good a high volume levels.  We used the volume control on the source. This amp had lots of reserves in the tank to go all the way.  I didn't think the soundstage could open up any more until we went on.  Over all I give this amp an B
 
Next up was the MONSTER B24:  WOW,  this is a beast.  Lots of power and loads of reserves, it sounds great as well.  Soundstage was about the same as the UPA-2, still I think the B22 had better clarity.  However, the B24 had more power than the UPS-2 and it showed.  This is where the Bass started to kick in.  A tab bit more than the B22 and UPA-2 but noticeable.  Overall I gave it a B+  
 
Next up was the Rotel Mono Blocks.  Man, everything just opened up even more.  I mean the soundstage got wider the bass got a little tighter, the highs was crisper,  These little mono blocks was doing the damn thing.  They get an A
 
Next, 300 watts each of pure power - The UPA-1 mono blocks.  Meet over.  I have found my HE-6 rig, this rig did everything better: Bass, Clarity, Soundstage, nice and crisp highs, better Mids.  And the differences was very much noticeable.  I didn't think about it, but I had them all along in the living room on my Home theater system.  SoupRKnova and Happy Camper talked me into trying them out.  Yes, this is it.  This is the way the HE-6s should sound. A+
 
What we found out was any speaker amp is what should be used to drive the HE-6s.  I could live with any of the 4 speaker amp rigs that we used.  Now the B22 will only unleash its power on everything else except the HE-6.
 
We also found out that all HE-6s don't sound the same.  1 had more base, the other was a little bit sharper.  Different phones - different sound.
 
So other dedicated headphone amp IMO just will not do the HE-6 its just do.  I heard the Darkstar does, but at $3,500 no thank you.  The Lyr get mixed reports and I don't suspect the Lyr being anymore better than my 4-channel fully balanced 8X gain B22.
 
So I'm already here.
post #124 of 133
Thread Starter 

Thanks for the impressions, but it does seem like overkill to use a pair of 300W mono-blocks to drive headphones, even something as brutally insensitive as the HE-6. Also not sure what the link is with Class D technology - I could be wrong, but isn't everything in your post a conventional class AB design ? Still, its good to see the thread resurrected - I am still waiting for more developments in the NCore saga. 

post #125 of 133
Quote:
Originally Posted by estreeter View Post

Thanks for the impressions, but it does seem like overkill to use a pair of 300W mono-blocks to drive headphones, even something as brutally insensitive as the HE-6. Also not sure what the link is with Class D technology - I could be wrong, but isn't everything in your post a conventional class AB design ? Still, its good to see the thread resurrected - I am still waiting for more developments in the NCore saga. 

The link is that If I put the UPA-1s back in the HT system do I then go with class D. 

post #126 of 133

On the OP's inquiry, I mostly agree with Martin Colums take on class D, which is a number of years back now, but I would'nt dismiss class D topology as not capable of being advanced to high standards. I would'nt use class D for headphones, class D is best for efficient high power needs. They have gained wide popularity in commercial applications.

What I've heard of class D amps with speakers - they are tonally peculiar.  Sounds in the mid and upper registers, on even the better ones present tonal deviations that will make certain sounds seem weird IMO. They either try to roll off the top and hide it, or otherwise wind up towards dry on top but with decent extension. Mid range tends to be "neutral" to a fault, lacking some "real life" body and weight. Play a recording with some high piano notes or a muted trumpet. Voices can have a slight "autotune" or processed quality also.

Pluses- They can have unbeatable bass. If bass is your #1 thing and you're willing to forgive some shortcomings- class D may be for you. They also can have amazing dynamics, transparency, and transient response, as well as sound stage. In those areas they can equal or better good class A and AB amps. Because of that Class D might blow you away on a brief audition, but take one home for dedicated music listening for the long haul, and the tonal peculiarities might be noticed, or not. They can hit many items on a Hi-fi attribute list and achieve exemplary performance in many areas. But I have not heard one that sounds truly "musical". One thing I read said the NAD puts music in the room in a very matter of fact way, adding or taking away very little of the source played, but that it lacked a human quality. I think the day will come when class D is equal to the better class A and AB amps, do it for less money and attain wider "audiophile" use. Some say that day is here with NAD'S recent offerings. I have not heard the NAD 390. I thought about revisiting class D but I'd be hesitant to buy such a high tech, expensive product that is manufactured in China, and skeptical of the service life- I doubt these things are going to go burp free for 20 plus years like the Macs of yore. NAD's first M2 Stereophile review sample crapped out within 2 weeks.
 


Edited by stereoguy - 3/15/13 at 11:33am
post #127 of 133

Have enjoyed class-t for several years and do not regret it.  Went the diy route with some 41hz.com monoblocks (amp11: mostly smt components) which were fed by two toslink dac's effectively eliminating interconnects and speaker cables.  The amp outputs were terminated with 4-inch medium gauge wires with a banana on the end.

 

Quality components help although circuit design and pcb layout can make or break any device.  Installed some Black Gate caps and mil-spec resistors on a stereo amp from Autocostruire.com with excellent results (t100 hcl).  Definitely an amplifier topology that will continue to evolve since basic components continue to improve everyday.

post #128 of 133

Don't know about headphone amps... but... the Class D Audio brand of class D amps are reported by users (who have had both) to equal the finest high-end Class A/B amps out there (i.e. Krell, Levinson, Pass Labs, Rowland, etc.).  The one I have sure does - no aspect of the sound seems to be deficient in any respect.  

 

And... at the price... you really can't beat them at less than 10X their price.  

 

The W4S amps get much the same reviews.

post #129 of 133
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by stereoguy View Post

On the OP's inquiry, I mostly agree with Martin Colums take on class D, which is a number of years back now, but I would'nt dismiss class D topology as not capable of being advanced to high standards. I would'nt use class D for headphones, class D is best for efficient high power needs. They have gained wide popularity in commercial applications.

What I've heard of class D amps with speakers - they are tonally peculiar.  Sounds in the mid and upper registers, on even the better ones present tonal deviations that will make certain sounds seem weird IMO. They either try to roll off the top and hide it, or otherwise wind up towards dry on top but with decent extension. Mid range tends to be "neutral" to a fault, lacking some "real life" body and weight. Play a recording with some high piano notes or a muted trumpet. Voices can have a slight "autotune" or processed quality also.

Pluses- They can have unbeatable bass. If bass is your #1 thing and you're willing to forgive some shortcomings- class D may be for you. They also can have amazing dynamics, transparency, and transient response, as well as sound stage. In those areas they can equal or better good class A and AB amps. Because of that Class D might blow you away on a brief audition, but take one home for dedicated music listening for the long haul, and the tonal peculiarities might be noticed, or not. They can hit many items on a Hi-fi attribute list and achieve exemplary performance in many areas. But I have not heard one that sounds truly "musical". One thing I read said the NAD puts music in the room in a very matter of fact way, adding or taking away very little of the source played, but that it lacked a human quality. I think the day will come when class D is equal to the better class A and AB amps, do it for less money and attain wider "audiophile" use. Some say that day is here with NAD'S recent offerings. I have not heard the NAD 390. I thought about revisiting class D but I'd be hesitant to buy such a high tech, expensive product that is manufactured in China, and skeptical of the service life- I doubt these things are going to go burp free for 20 plus years like the Macs of yore. NAD's first M2 Stereophile review sample crapped out within 2 weeks.
 

 

Take your point on that review sample, but it isnt the first time that I've read a review where the reviewer had major problems with an amp - particularly a review sample that had 'done the rounds'. I dont know what the history of that particular M2 was, but they were VERY happy with the replacement unit, as was Robert Harley in the TAS review. NAD does have an unfortunate history with quality control, but I would hope that any problems would be confined to the 'bathtub' phenomenon - it either dies in the first 100 hours of operation or at the end of it's working life, some years down the track. Ultimately, I guess we wont know for another decade or so just how reliable the new amps prove to be over time - Mac have the luxury of knowing that the money they pump into quality control can be recouped from the sticker price.  

post #130 of 133
Quote:
Originally Posted by stereoguy View Post

On the OP's inquiry, I mostly agree with Martin Colums take on class D, which is a number of years back now, but I would'nt dismiss class D topology as not capable of being advanced to high standards. I would'nt use class D for headphones, class D is best for efficient high power needs. They have gained wide popularity in commercial applications.

What I've heard of class D amps with speakers - they are tonally peculiar.  Sounds in the mid and upper registers, on even the better ones present tonal deviations that will make certain sounds seem weird IMO. They either try to roll off the top and hide it, or otherwise wind up towards dry on top but with decent extension. Mid range tends to be "neutral" to a fault, lacking some "real life" body and weight. Play a recording with some high piano notes or a muted trumpet. Voices can have a slight "autotune" or processed quality also.

Pluses- They can have unbeatable bass. If bass is your #1 thing and you're willing to forgive some shortcomings- class D may be for you. They also can have amazing dynamics, transparency, and transient response, as well as sound stage. In those areas they can equal or better good class A and AB amps. Because of that Class D might blow you away on a brief audition, but take one home for dedicated music listening for the long haul, and the tonal peculiarities might be noticed, or not. They can hit many items on a Hi-fi attribute list and achieve exemplary performance in many areas. But I have not heard one that sounds truly "musical". One thing I read said the NAD puts music in the room in a very matter of fact way, adding or taking away very little of the source played, but that it lacked a human quality. I think the day will come when class D is equal to the better class A and AB amps, do it for less money and attain wider "audiophile" use. Some say that day is here with NAD'S recent offerings. I have not heard the NAD 390. I thought about revisiting class D but I'd be hesitant to buy such a high tech, expensive product that is manufactured in China, and skeptical of the service life- I doubt these things are going to go burp free for 20 plus years like the Macs of yore. NAD's first M2 Stereophile review sample crapped out within 2 weeks.
 

First off I haven't kept up with this thread and I will catch up. I can agree with some of your observations but in general no I can't. My first impressions of my Bel Canto mono blocks was positive and I continue to be very happy with them. I am not a bass guy, not even close. I listen to a lot, really a lot, of piano music and am very happy with the way my system handles this type of music. I also own other types of class D amplifiers and while like ICEpower the best  by no means am I unhappy with the others. As I previously mentioned I have owned, and still own tube, and SS amps, and like all of them. But for me, class D is my favorite.

 

cubdog

post #131 of 133
Quote:
Originally Posted by scalar vortices View Post

Have enjoyed class-t for several years and do not regret it.  Went the diy route with some 41hz.com monoblocks (amp11: mostly smt components) which were fed by two toslink dac's effectively eliminating interconnects and speaker cables.  The amp outputs were terminated with 4-inch medium gauge wires with a banana on the end.

 

Quality components help although circuit design and pcb layout can make or break any device.  Installed some Black Gate caps and mil-spec resistors on a stereo amp from Autocostruire.com with excellent results (t100 hcl).  Definitely an amplifier topology that will continue to evolve since basic components continue to improve everyday.

Currently using a DiyParadise Charlize2 t-amp while deciding what SET tube amp to go with next.  Very easy to live with and I'm in no hurry to replace it.

post #132 of 133
Thread Starter 

http://www.audiokarma.org/forums/showthread.php?t=524893

 

Firsthand review of the Ncore1200-based ATSAH from a class A stalwart on AK. The mono pairing is stickered so far above my budget that it may as well be the OP's Levinson monos, but if Class D is ever going to be compete with the 'best of the best', I assume this is where it needs to be positioned. 

 

post #133 of 133

I  would not touch any Class D amplifier with a barge pole, the ones I have heard made me feel ill

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