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My subjective opinion on "2 channel vs 3 channel"

post #1 of 4
Thread Starter 

I was always wondering is 3 channel design really superior to 2 channel design? I tried to find topic in head-fi about 2 channel vs 3 channel and although i don't know much about technical subject, i think 2 channel is seem to be better in an objective view. I was wondering why there are only few 3 channel amp out there (AMB amps, Meir amps) and most of headphone amps include TOTL like Burson, V200, GS-1 ... are all 2 channel amp? But i also admire Tikan and PPL work, they are great designer and know very well about what they are doing so my question is still there until i build a headphone amp that can switch between 2 channel and 3 channel to find out the truth. My amp is very simple with opamp voltage stage and output class AB buffer it run on dual 9V battery, i use the opa1641 or JRC2068D for all 3 channel.

- 2 channel: this sound definitely more clean, more clear, more open, it has larger soundstage, the detail is easier to pick out, high frequency is more extend, bass is faster and hit harder (maybe the more extend of HF lead to perception of better bass slam and speed).

-3 channel: the whole sound is smoother, easier on the ears, mid is fuller, lusher, although it sound quite close compare to 2 channel, the soundstage is deeper and imaging is also better, it's as detail as 2 channel but you must focus a little more to hear the detail.

So in conclusion, i think 2 channel is technical better but 3 channel has it own magic in the lusher, smoother and 3d sound. It's really hard for me to pick that one i like better, it's really come down to what type of music i listen to.

post #2 of 4
Quote:
Originally Posted by proid View Post
 

I was always wondering is 3 channel design really superior to 2 channel design? I tried to find topic in head-fi about 2 channel vs 3 channel and although i don't know much about technical subject, i think 2 channel is seem to be better in an objective view. I was wondering why there are only few 3 channel amp out there (AMB amps, Meir amps) and most of headphone amps include TOTL like Burson, V200, GS-1 ... are all 2 channel amp? But i also admire Tikan and PPL work, they are great designer and know very well about what they are doing so my question is still there until i build a headphone amp that can switch between 2 channel and 3 channel to find out the truth. My amp is very simple with opamp voltage stage and output class AB buffer it run on dual 9V battery, i use the opa1641 or JRC2068D for all 3 channel.

- 2 channel: this sound definitely more clean, more clear, more open, it has larger soundstage, the detail is easier to pick out, high frequency is more extend, bass is faster and hit harder (maybe the more extend of HF lead to perception of better bass slam and speed).

-3 channel: the whole sound is smoother, easier on the ears, mid is fuller, lusher, although it sound quite close compare to 2 channel, the soundstage is deeper and imaging is also better, it's as detail as 2 channel but you must focus a little more to hear the detail.

So in conclusion, i think 2 channel is technical better but 3 channel has it own magic in the lusher, smoother and 3d sound. It's really hard for me to pick that one i like better, it's really come down to what type of music i listen to.

 

Build the three channel amp and then ground the isolated output ground to common ground on the amp.  Depending on the amp, the sound difference can be significant.

 

Note that if you test it that way, you'll get very bad results - something NWAVGUY didn't understand - you have to lift the output ground in the testing connection.

 

I think there are amp designs that probably would not improve from 3-channels to justify the extra cost.  Balanced has its own set of advantages, so a 6-channel is sort of useless.  Tube amps are often built without feedback and I think that negates some of the advantages, too, but I'm not certain of that.

post #3 of 4
Quote:
Originally Posted by tomb View Post
 

Tube amps are often built without feedback and I think that negates some of the advantages, too, but I'm not certain of that.

 

Output impedance in the ground channel of OTL amps screws up stereo separation. 

 

In the case of transformer coupled tubes: When you look at the signal current loop you see that it does not actually require ground at all, and some notable TC amps dont even ground the outputs. This is of course risky - it is much safer to ground the outputs, and when it is so obvious that no signal current flows between the 2 channels here there is no reason not too. 

 

There is no reason for 3 channels in a tube amp. 

post #4 of 4
Quote:
Originally Posted by nikongod View Post
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by tomb View Post
 

Tube amps are often built without feedback and I think that negates some of the advantages, too, but I'm not certain of that.

 

Output impedance in the ground channel of OTL amps screws up stereo separation.

 

In the case of transformer coupled tubes: When you look at the signal current loop you see that it does not actually require ground at all, and some notable TC amps dont even ground the outputs. This is of course risky - it is much safer to ground the outputs, and when it is so obvious that no signal current flows between the 2 channels here there is no reason not too.

 

There is no reason for 3 channels in a tube amp.

Makes sense - thanks for the explanation! :)

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