DiyMobileAudio.com Car Stereo Forum banner

1 - 20 of 31 Posts

·
Banned
Joined
·
625 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
i've always used class a/b for running a front stage... can class d do just as well? if so what are your recommendations for class d amplifiers that are almost as good and can pass SQ qualifications?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,049 Posts
I won’t use anything but class D. Class D has closed the sound quality gap where you’d never hear a difference between quality amps, you’d need multi-thousand dollar measuring equipment to identify a difference. This is true in home audio but even more so in car audio where the environment is louder. Add in the size and efficiency advantages of class D and to me it is a no brainer.

Regarding brands, the MMATS HiFi series has become pretty popular on DIYMA for having sound quality and lots of power in a small package. Arc Audio is another popular one. But Alpine, JL and many others have a full line of digital amplifiers that are well regarded.
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
4,729 Posts
There are undoubtedly some amps that are bad.

But any of the high end amps would not cause me any concern, and I come from using only Class-AB.

Even the best speakers are using speced with higher Distortion than most amps THD+N ratings. If you are using top of the line speakers, you probably want more of a top shelf amp.
 
  • Like
Reactions: imickey503

·
Registered
Joined
·
768 Posts
I won’t use anything but class D. Class D has closed the sound quality gap where you’d never hear a difference between quality amps, you’d need multi-thousand dollar measuring equipment to identify a difference. This is true in home audio but even more so in car audio where the environment is louder. Add in the size and efficiency advantages of class D and to me it is a no brainer.

Regarding brands, the MMATS HiFi series has become pretty popular on DIYMA for having sound quality and lots of power in a small package. Arc Audio is another popular one. But Alpine, JL and many others have a full line of digital amplifiers that are well regarded.
I hope you aren't insinuating that the D in Class D stands for digital. :unsure:
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
7,739 Posts
I've fooled around with car stereo since the early 90's (quit trying to guess the year or my age ) where we all used A/B amps and on into later years where class D entered the consumer level. I will use any amp class that I deem necessary for the install space constraints whether it be A/B, D, GH or even a hand operated piston. I have not heard any decent amp that sounded bad due to class. If anything, it was just a poor design and that includes A/B.

This long standing rumor of D not being good for midrange and up frequencies has been one of the most misleading and that's coming from a guy known to put out some good ones over the years. Even the PPI/ Soundstream nano boards I've found to be pleasant enough to not overlook.

All amps do not sound the same, but that can be so vague to where it has little value in what to use. Find a reliable, true power amp that suits your needs.. run it!

Man & Machine... Power Extreme!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
767 Posts
I really wish I could say one way or another. But I have seen so many set ups where it does work. But then you run into that setup that JUST does not sound smooth or harsh. Then another setup? Sounds great with different gear or speakers.

This post does F ALL in helping. But really? Try out and amp and test it. See if you like it. Let your ears be the Judge.

I just have not had that much experience in Class D high end front stage. I would not hesitate to try it out. What I have heard however?

  • Best if going active due to crossover distortion.?
  • Best for weak electrical systems or limited power / space available.
  • Multi Channel amps are plentiful for for the price/Performance?
  • Tend so sound more dry and clinical or accurate. Tonality is rather forward sounding? (I can't tell yet)
I just have not heard a BAD sounding amp in a while. Bad speakers? Yes. Bad Amps? Very few. I can tell when they just don't sound right or muffled or congested. But try them at different ohm loads? And they sound terrific.

as long as you don't buy those really cheap Chinese kits that seem to have Distortion right off the bat and seem to make more noise even without a signal, then I guess you'll be fine. I'm one of those people who really like to have a first-hand A&B experience where I can absolutely tell the difference between an amp and another amp. And so far I really can't do that yet. or say with absolute 100% determination that one digital amplifier sounds heaps better then a A/B amp in the same price point or class or worse under testing in real world installs.

As long as they are working as spec'ed? I can't tell with average speaker loads and music.


THE SNAFU? Under REALLY efficient Horn type speakers.. I can sometimes hear noise when in a quiet passage that is not on the recording on a Bench power supply that is admittedly dirty. And I think that has to do with the EMI more then the amp design then topology. (mostly, but then again... Once or twice is not a Repeatable benchmark test)



Now if it was ME? I'm that guy that just likes to know WHO made the AMP and WHO stands behind it. That way I FEEL it is good. Not if it IS that so called wire with gain. The sound as long as it does what it is suppose to sadly comes second to the way the equipment makes me feel. The overall quality of the build, longevity, etc means heaps more to me then if it is the Esoteric Best out there.

The other SNAFU? Sonic Signature. Most people would call this tone. With MY OWN experience of Class A/B and A single ended amps I have had the pleasure of listening too? As much as I loved the amp in the quiet parts, I loved how it sounded at the limit. Class D really IN MY OWN OPINION AND EARS---Does not SOFT CLIP GRACEFULLY (In a musical editudue) It sounds harsher at the limit or the odd Blip or Sudden overstretched dynamic signal.

It reminds me more of the NEC Chip amps having a Stark Tube like presentation. Warm if I had to say it. But this just so happens to be more related to how the output stage does its job and the driver circuitry. All aside, class D amps seem to have this Nack for Garbage in, garbage out. They also tend to set them up with tight tolerances. Class A/B for example seems to have more of the ABility to handle A badly recorded Musical score. (Mic Overloads etc)

Again, ALL THIS can be taken care of IF set up right in the First place. So really again, its just a toss up most of the time until you get to amps over the $500 mark from my experience. As you get better parts, you seem to get better results that have less variance. Things like Matched and Balanced parts do matter in the long run.

My advice for Class D amps? If the guy who made it put his John Hancock on there? Go for it. Class A/B has been Perfected by the people all over the world. You can get ANY class A/B amp to sound Fantastic. Upgrades are easy, but not to repair them as everyone does their own thing. So Class D overall will sound the same from your $200 amp to your $500 amp range. Many use the same parts.

Class A/B? its all over the road map. From Dry, to Fat to just weak and undynamic. But just about ANY commercial grade amp out there is going to sound great as long as they copied another Amp Designers stuff. Like I said, I never met a CLass A.B amp I didn't think would sound good with music if bought new. Even the CHEAP as Crap BlauuugFpuckt sounded good. A tad Bit lacking in the dynamics department and clarity, but good.

But BOY,,, When a CLass D amp goes? MAN do you HEAR IT. You KNOW something is wrong ASAP. This has to do more with how its made as parts in most of these amps are the K.I.S.S. way of doing things to limit signal path. So IMO, they due seem to sound llike a wire with gain as any noise in the chain will be very audible as Nasty Harmonics.
Most of the time? A bad output device or Driver Board is the culprit. And since today, Power is what people tend to buy? They all seem to be chasing that LAST little bit of output for cost of that Power vs. Quality of the output. Its Exactly a wire with gain if you ask me from a design point of view. Again, JUST MY OPINION on SOME BRAND$.


Cost & Value? Its hard to go wrong with a well made Class D Amp. I mean really? That is where most of the Development is at now days. So you really can't go wrong with a reputable manufacturer of CLass D amps. Pioneer does a FANTASTIC JOB! MMATS from what I heard sounded very good as well.

If going full active? Class D is a Solid choice. Cost per what you can get? Great.

So, just let your ears be the guide. If its bad? Just take it back and get another one. Try again and salt the soup till you like it.

I just FEEL better knowing my gear was made by someone who Cares more about Sound Quality and Build quality then a Company just wanting to offer something for all people. I'm not all people. I want gear made for not just me, but something the guy himself would be Bitching if it did not work right.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
179 Posts
If you've always run a/b amps on your front stage in the past and have the space and the electronic requirements to do so then go for it. Amp technology has come along way and there are plenty of testimonies and data that would indicate that class D amps are on par with the battle tested classic a/b designs of yesteryear. I would be more concerned of DSP integration/tuning if that's the route your going as I see alot of those issues on this forum more than anything.
 
  • Like
Reactions: imickey503

·
Registered
Joined
·
50 Posts
I have used everything from Orion HCCA, PPI Art Series, RF Power in the old days to Alpine, Jl and Arc Audio class D amps now. While there were minor differences between the class AB amps, they were all enjoyable to listen to. When I bought the PDX V9, I thought it sounded fine. After I replaced it with the xd1000/5, I realized that the Alpine was flat (spatially), undynamic and boring. Same DSP/settings and speakers. I firmly believe that we measure things we can't hear and that we can hear differences that we can't measure. Some really smart reviewer (Harry Pearson maybe?) once said that the problem with amplifiers is that you needed speakers to hear them and vice versa. As always trust your own ears with your own music and use what sounds good to you. J
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
8,482 Posts
I won't use anything but Class D in a car anymore. There's no reason to use A/B, they are too big, and too inefficient. I'm sure there are still bad full range Class D amps out there, but stick with a good brand and you'll be happy.

I loved the Alpine PDX line, I had a V9 and a F4, both excellent.

I've recently been using the Kenwood Excelon stuff, I had a small X301.4 that was great, and now I'm using a X901.5, which is also excellent.

I've used Denon, and Zuki A/B amps, and although they were both great, they are dinosaurs and they have no place in any of my builds going forward. The Alpines and Kenwoods sound every bit as good as the "boutique" or "high end" Zuki and Denon. They are much easier on the electrical system, thus requiring smaller AWG wiring, and they fit just about anywhere.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,783 Posts
I actually ran a bunch of blinds tests on my bench comparing the two. I had one bad Alpine class A/B amplifier and some mediocre ones and some great class D amplifiers so I’m not so sure the amplifier class/technology has as much to do with it as much as just how good the design actually is implemented. I will say I believe it’s much harder to design and build a good sounding class D amplifier than the proven class A/B architecture and a high price doesn’t alway guarantee you the best sound. My favorite class D so far is a cheap ass Pioneer D8604 and Pioneer PRS D4200F and my Favorite Class A/B is a DLS cci44 and old school Alpine 3548.

 

·
Registered
Joined
·
179 Posts
Power, good clean power is all any front stage needs and it doesn't care where it comes from... I run huge dinosaur a/b amps because I have plenty of space to pull it off. If I didn't have the space, I would definitely be looking at a small footprint class D amplifier.
 
  • Like
Reactions: imickey503

·
Registered
Joined
·
8,482 Posts
That's the same combo I have been running for a few years now, no complaints at all with them and the size makes mounting them fairly simple.
Were you the one who stole mine? Haha

I really liked those amps, I had them stacked under the seat, they fit well, I really liked the wire connectors too (some people don't) 2 broke, but Alpine sent me a whole set super quickly. Mine never got hot, and always sounded great.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
8,482 Posts
No!! That sucks yours were stolen though, is that the reason for using the Kenwoods now?
Yeah, it's been a couple of years now, but my old Subaru was stolen, and gutted. They got 2 PDX amps, a P99RS (without the faceplate), Pioneer stage 4 mids, LPG tweeters, a pair of SBP 15" subs, and a bunch of weird shit, like my shift knob, haha. They couldn't get my midbass drivers out, so they just poked holes through them.

I decided to keep this new build a little simpler, and wanted to see how far I could get with pretty budget friendly stuff, so far so good.
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
4,729 Posts
I took a speed reading course, but it alters the message.

I've fooled around with car stereo since the early 90's (quit trying to guess the year or my age ) where we all used A/B amps and on into later years where class D entered the consumer level. I will use any amp class that I deem necessary for the install space constraints whether it be A/B, D, GH or even a hand operated piston. I have not heard any decent amp that sounded bad due to class. If anything, it was just a poor design and that includes A/B.

  • This long standing rumor of D not being good for midrange and up frequencies has been one of the most misleading and that's coming from a guy known to put out some good ones over the years. Even the PPI/ Soundstream nano boards I've found to be pleasant enough to not overlook.
All amps do not sound the same, but that can be so vague to where it has little value in what to use. Find a reliable, true power amp that suits your needs.. run it!

Man & Machine... Power Extreme!
No offence Bad boy... your post was good.
The hand operated piston, was like a prophesy describing posts to come.
While mostly true, amp choice is like a religion.
 
  • Like
Reactions: imickey503

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,697 Posts
Class D amps are absolutely on par with class A/B amps. Just get a good quality amp from a good company and you'll be hard pressed to hear any difference from a good class A/B amp. JL Audio, Alpine, Pioneer, MMATS, and many others make great SQ quality class D amps.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
179 Posts
Now if only class D amps would catch up with aesthetics. They all seem to have this boring stackable drink coaster look. Amplifiers should look as badass as they sound.
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
924 Posts
Now if only class D amps would catch up with aesthetics. They all seem to have this boring stackable drink coaster look. Amplifiers should look as badass as they sound.
06D3E284-D447-4111-9071-5589E9AE8060.jpeg


Peep the design of the new NCore Biketronics amp in the middle. But the point of Class D is to be small, inconspicuous, and not seen per se.
 
1 - 20 of 31 Posts
Top