digital amps

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  • 12-29-2003, 12:25 PM
    Earfull
    digital amps
    Sony, Panasonic and now JVC are offering "digital amps" as part of their home theater packages! What exactly makes a digital amp different from a traditional amplifier...how good are they??..and are they the future of amplified sound???
  • 12-29-2003, 10:41 PM
    poneal
    I'm not a digital amp expert but I believe they are mostly class D amplifiers. They run much cooler than traditional A/B amps, provide more wpc without being strained, and are more efficient. I do belive that the digital amps will be taking a larger market share as time goes on. Here is a short article on digital amps:

    http://www.elecdesign.com/Articles/I...ArticleID=3802

    Hope this helps as the digital world encroaches on us all.
  • 01-02-2004, 07:00 AM
    Geoffcin
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Earfull
    Sony, Panasonic and now JVC are offering "digital amps" as part of their home theater packages! What exactly makes a digital amp different from a traditional amplifier...how good are they??..and are they the future of amplified sound???

    Digital amps are going to be a major player in the future. Right now most are being used for bass, and subwoofers. But several companies have produced full range amps, one being the PS Audio HCA-2.
    http://www.stereophile.com/images/ar...psahcapic1.jpg

    This amp is one of the lowest priced amps ever to receive an "A" rating from Sterophile. While that may not mean much to some members of this forum, it sure means a lot to the manufactures!
  • 01-03-2004, 12:08 AM
    topspeed
    Not everyone makes a good amp, digital or otherwise.
    It would take too long to describe the technical details that differentiate analog and digital amps so just read this:
    http://www.stereophile.com//amplific...729/index.html

    There are a number of really exceptional digital amps now available such as the PS Audio HCA2, Bel Canto EvO, and Spectral (or is it Spectron?). They have been used for years in powered subs because of their efficiency. Because they allow transistors to do what they are suppossed to do, which is switch on/off, they waste very little energy (dissipated as heat in analog amps) and consume very little energy on standby (try that with your class A). They are also load invariant so you can drive even the meanest 'stats and planars with them without worry of strain. They are comparatively small in stature and usually don't require heat sinks or venting which is a huge advantage if you are tight on rack space. When done right, like the HCA2, a digital amp can marry the best of solid state analog amp qualities (bass depth, slam, speed, clarity, and extension) with the musicality of tubes (warm, lush mids, airy highs). That's when it's done right...

    When there hasn't been enough engineering or parts put into it, digital amps can be horrible. Noisy, hollow, and anestheptic in nature. Their packaging benefits are easy to see (the 35 lb HCA2 simply thumped a 70lb Odessey Stratos) but when the design is skimped on, a class D amp can sound just as nasty as any poorly designed analog amp. In fact, probably moreso because of their efficiencies. Without wasting anything from the source, an abundant supply of clean power is absolutely paramount. I'd be wary about the power supplies that are usually squeezed into receivers.

    As far as digital amps future? I'd bet you'll see them becoming a major factor in the next few years. Their benefits are too big to ignore.