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High End D-Class. Live or let die?

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PrekoBare
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Re: High End D-Class. Live or let die?

Post by PrekoBare » 18 Jan 2012, 16:34

Gerner, again an analogy with watch market that can be used as prediction. Before quartz revolution in the 1970s, high precision chronographs could not be achieved on the cheap. You want it, you pay for it. The majority of people could not, so they have to settle for inferior or average mechanical watches. They differed mostly on style and peripheral features, but were not precise (the principal quality of watch as time tracking device) .

Then came quartz watches and the stories of their fabulous accuracy (+-10 seconds a year). The stories were true, but not complete. SOME quartz watches have that accuracy IF they are thermocompensated. The majority of quartz mechanisms are not thermocompensated and have an error of approx. 5 seconds a day. It is still way more accurrate than average mechanical watch and was GOOD ENOUGH for the majority of consumers.

HEQ (high end quartz) with several seconds per year accuracy was possible, but there were only handful on the market.
And they were sold rather sheepishly, with little marketing. For example, Omega made several HEQ watches, but they did not even advertise them as such - it would send the message that their other watches are actually substandard. Bulova is making one HEQ right now (precisionist) and could be purchased for $200 or so. There are more expensive Bulovas that are garbage when compared with Precisionist line, yet they are made and sold.
Citizen makes radio control watches ($400) that are synched to atomic clocks. Yet, they are only fraction of their product line.
This watch makes any analog chronograph obsolete technology. Yet, it is not in high demand. People do not need it actually.


What's the moral of this story? Human nature.


For the majority of people, GOOD ENOUGH is leading principle in life, on condition they are not embarassed to be seen as cheap.

On other hand, people like to splurge money on things that will boost their ego.


Class D for amplification is what quartz was for the timekeeping. Revolutionary. No doubt, it could be made to be superior to other classes of amps, but
the problem will be with perception of Class D among customer base, the same HEQ has in comparrison with ordinary quartz (cheap and good enogh, but not desirable as status symbol).

The bulk of class D will be cheap units built into car stereos, HT in a box and similar. Even if High End Class D (let's call it HECD)
becomes available, it will have the same image problem HEQ has.


The prospect of Jeff Rowland, Krell or Classe building HECD amp are about the same as premium watch brands building HEQ - more an exception than rule.

It would endanger their core business - luxury line of good enough products.


My prediction: Never Say Never again.

we will have to look for high end jewels among the mediocre crop of Class D. Those jewels could be anywhere, they could be cheap, they could be expensive, made by small wannabee or established player.
"Najbolje je neprijatelj dobrog"

Volter

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PrekoBare
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Re: High End D-Class. Live or let die?

Post by PrekoBare » 18 Jan 2012, 20:25

Gerner wrote: It is very individual what common sense is. For me it is to get the maximum out of what I have choosen to be good enough for me.

:-)
Sure. you know the 4 types of personality diagram. And there is budgetary issue that also could
have 4 types (stupid with no money to spend, stupid with money to spend, smart without money, smart with money to spend)

Smart person who spend money he does not have on a rock solid thing he can not afford is more stupid
than stupid with money who can afford to throw the money down toilet drain bying some idiotic thing.

There is also peer pressure. Average Joe is afraid when he makes choice that he will make stupid one, so
he sticks with the benchmark. I believe that's the secret of success of companies like Mc Intosh. You could do better,
but no one can tell you your kit is no good. It is a safe zone.

Having a killer Class D amp is sort of having Citizen Atomic on your wrist at the party -you have THE instument
for timekeeping (that's what watch is for) no $30 ETA disguised as $10,000 "watch" can come even close. But you will be
looked at like someone who "does not know what a good watch is". Better not try to explain them anything - you could get beaten up. Ditto for the owners of kilobuck/kilowatt conventional amps. When someone invests himself into equipment so heavilly, it becomes unhealthy.

Ability to quickly learn, un-learn and quickly re-learn is the measure how young we are.

I listened Class D for a while from the bottom of the food chain - Panasonic SA-XR45. For digital I could not fault it.
I used to play fun with the visitors - when they thought my power amps were playing they liked it. When I powered off everything and left Panasonic, all of sudden, they changed opinion and found a ton of complaints.

I am afraid that Class D amplifier equivalent of $200 Bulova Precisionist is not going to happen, unless brought to the market by the major Japanese company as their engineering experiment. (Nikon D40 is another fine example how major Japanese company can issue killer instrument ans sell it for pennies)
"Najbolje je neprijatelj dobrog"

Volter


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Re: High End D-Class. Live or let die?

Post by dr.sah » 19 Feb 2012, 16:41

I have Nuforce ref 18. Very good amps.


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Re: High End D-Class. Live or let die?

Post by dr.sah » 08 Mar 2012, 18:17

Im using Nuforce DAC-9 as preamp.


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Re: High End D-Class. Live or let die?

Post by dr.sah » 08 Mar 2012, 18:18



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Re: High End D-Class. Live or let die?

Post by lautrecred » 08 Mar 2012, 19:38

cause he's deaf like you :))))

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Re: High End D-Class. Live or let die?

Post by prophet » 14 Mar 2012, 12:25

Gerner wrote:http://www.6moons.com/industryfeatures/ncore/1.html

Shall be exciting to hear the extreme Kavena (Sweedish) version vs. NuForce Ref 20. Appointment in Malmo later this spring.

Hypex NC400 + PSU for DIY for less than 500,- EuroMoney. If as claimed they are better or rivals the very best, it is very cheap.

https://www.hypexshop.com/DetailServlet?detailID=4466

What do you think about these modules:

http://www.newclassd.com/index.php?page=31

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Re: High End D-Class. Live or let die?

Post by prophet » 14 Mar 2012, 15:19

Gerner wrote:I think they are awefull ...
Dunno about relevance of these tests, bat found them very interesting:

http://www.audiodesignguide.com/ClassD/classD.html

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Re: High End D-Class. Live or let die?

Post by PrekoBare » 14 Mar 2012, 20:47

Gerner wrote: Hypex NC400 + PSU for DIY for less than 500,- EuroMoney. If as claimed they are better or rivals the very best, it is very cheap.

https://www.hypexshop.com/DetailServlet?detailID=4466
Gerner, have you heard serbian "zamisli, dvaes' na kajmaku, pivo, sopska, kafa i baklava, sve za 200 dinara. Au, pa gde to ima? Pa nema nigde, al' je jeftino :) "

They are out of stock again. Almost Vaporware.
"Najbolje je neprijatelj dobrog"

Volter

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Re: High End D-Class. Live or let die?

Post by DejanM » 19 Apr 2012, 20:45

Logical question: why JR doesn't take other module than ICE ?

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Re: High End D-Class. Live or let die?

Post by DejanM » 20 Apr 2012, 08:07

Gerner wrote:Still I think it's about old fashioned vanity. D-Class when best does not come cheap either. So paying that money and not being able to show 2 x 80 kgs of massive iron and aluminum is maybe a reason?
I do not believe much in that. Maybe there are some guys who are mostly paying attention to the weight of the unit but I do not think that JR is one of them. Neither I believe that the market puts necessarily the price of the unit in context of its weight.

Who knows what the reason for this switch might be - but it would be interesting to know it ... One reason might be that the Hi End community still didn't really accept class D as equal concept to the classes AB or A. And although there are some good class D amps out there, 90% of all Hi End amps are still not class D ...


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Re: High End D-Class. Live or let die?

Post by nuforce » 17 May 2012, 09:25

Nuforce is probably one of the few class-D manufacturer with its own patent (US patent granted in 2007) and R&D. And we uses not only our own class-d design but also other chips on the market. Since we started selling our first product in 2005, we have expanded into many categories and performance level, so I can say that our experience and road map reflects where class-D is going.

As many of you have recognized, with advance in technology, each generation of class-d gets better. When we started to win over many audiophiles with our power amp in 2005, after more than 8 years, with thousands of high-end customers worldwide, there is no question that the best class-d implementation can match the best solid state or tube amp. On the other hand, commercial reality (pricing pressure) and market requirement also resulted in many class-d power amp (mostly chips) being designed for low cost, low power requirement.

Nuforce vision is to design the best sounding audio for a consumer lifestyle, whether it is for portable, entry level home use, or high-end audio. So how do we decide what goes into high-end audio and how far can we push the performance limit for a $299 (Dia) or $549 all digital power amp (DDA-100, to be released in late June) ?

To be honest, the performance difference between high-end audio and entry level priced audio is getting smaller. For example, the soon to be released DDA-100, at $549 (USD or Euro), offers 4 digital inputs (1 USB, 1 coaxial, 2 optical) and 50W@8ohm x 2 speaker outputs with high-end audiophile-grade sound quality. On the other extreme end, our Ref 18 cost more than 15X. In any industry, extreme performance and limited market demand resulted in high price (Ferrari cost 20X the price of entry level car). I will use these two products to illustrate where we see class-d going in the coming years.

Why does Ref 18 or 20 cost so much more? These are the factors:
1. R&D time. A new generation of high-end class-d amp takes years to develop, not months. A typical "analog" class-D design converts input audio signal into small pulses with varying width, amplifies the pulses, then convert them into audio. A good class-D design implements the conversion at very high frequency (Nuforce is perhaps the only implementation running at 400kHz) with real time feedback and error correction, utilizing high quality parts. At low power, it is possible to implement the entire design in a chip, therefore reducing cost and optimizing performance. At high power (> 100W) things started to get costly and complicated. Therefore it is exponentially more difficult to make a high-end audiophile-grade class-D amp to sound as good as a solid state amp. There are many things to optimize. The bottom line is class-d implementation is a lot more complex than solid state or tube.
To increase the power of Ref 18 (Ref 20 is not going to sound much better than Ref 18), we originally thought that adding a bigger power supply with some minor adjustment on the amp would be enough, after some initial prototyping. We were wrong. Because this new amp has to be just as perfect as the Ref 18. So round after round of optimization and reliability testing. And the schedule keep slipping. Ref 20 is simply designed for people who really need more power than Ref 18.
2. Performance requirement - audiophiles pick on everything. High-end class-D such as Ref 18 is becoming near flawless (on our website review section, you can read 3 generations of reviews from V1 to V3). Therefore to develop V4, we can not do any incremental improvement on the same architecture. We have every intention to keep advancing high-end class D, but V4 is going to be a multi-year effort. Even if we think it is possible, there is no point in redesigning a good architecture just to end up with incremental sound improvement. With our Ref 18 near flawless using V3 technology, V4 has to do more than just sounding better. So we will make an attempt with V4 not only sounding better than current V3, but also more reliable and with adjustable sound characteristic.
We plan to go where no class-D has gone before :)
3. Build quality - lower price product such as DDA-100 have to cut cost whereas Ref 18 uses big and heavier chassis, with lots of shielding inside.

We have to amortize the R&D cost over a smaller number of units, that added to the cost of high-end products as well.

How can we offer a high-end integrated amp such as DDA-100 for so little money and how far have we pushed the performance?
I would dare to say that DDA-100 sounded better than our V1 generation power amp which retails for more than $2000 8 years ago. Today, we can achieve the same performance at about 1/4 the price 8 years ago. DDA-100 uses an all digital chip so that brings the cost down significantly. Surprisingly, the performance is incredibly good after we did some optimization to the system design. The limitation with such a design is that we don't have much room to modify it or increase the power. We have to start from the ground up again if we are going to offer a higher power DDA-100.

The bottom line for high-end Class D is that it has to keep pushing the limit, and fewer and fewer high-end companies are able to do so (either because they lack the R&D capability or are dependent on module supplier such as icepower).

Jason

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Re: High End D-Class. Live or let die?

Post by sn » 17 May 2012, 12:25

Thank you for this information and the membership in the forum, Mr.Jason Lim.

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Re: High End D-Class. Live or let die?

Post by zika » 23 May 2012, 20:28

Javite kada se DDA-100 pojavi u našim krajevima. Hvala...

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Re: High End D-Class. Live or let die?

Post by DejanM » 23 May 2012, 21:12

Slusao ove nove NF mono blokove i to je sviralo zbilja dobro. Ali ono sto je izazvalo podizanje obrva kod mene jesu novi Jeff Rowlands monos u AB klasi. To radi izgleda fantasticno. To isto bih mogao da kazem i za Plinius pojacala (slusao dva komada) i to svira zbilja odlicno (A klasa).

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