SHATTERED GLASS … No more tubes – Class D all the way baby and loving it!

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OzarkTom

I agree with Wind, no more tube amps. I have owned my DAC Cherry amps for close to three years now. I did try a couple of HQ Set amps since then, but the DAC's held their own.

I tried many Class D amps over the years, even the NC 1200 amps, but the cheap chip amps and DAC amps sounded the best. If critical SQ, DAC amps will fill the bill. These are my last amps.

My buddy Rex says the same. I believe he has owned more amps than anyone here on AC. Rex even sold his LIO after getting the STM. He said the DAC STM had more detail and bigger sondstage.

martinr

I'm using Oddysey Stratos mono blocks to power my (now vintage) VR-4 SR next gen III Hovland speakers.  My plan has been to purchase a SET amp with attenuator to power the top modules, and use the Stratos to power the lower modules.  After reading this thread I'm thinking I need to re-evaluate my game plan. For any of you that own the Cherry stereo amp, will the binding posts accept larger banana speaker cable connectors? 4 full size banana connectors seem large considering the amount of space between the binding posts on the back of the Cherry Stereo amp. (I'm using Morrow Audio SP-6's). Also, do you miss the "bloom" characteristic of a SET amp?....Thanks!

- Martin

GregC

I own Golden Cherry amps that I use on my front channel speakers (shared between 2 channel and HT), a King Maraschino for my center channel, and two Inline Marachinos for my rear surround speakers.  I am using 60v power supplies for all the amps.  Tommy has created a superb product. 

mfsoa

WOW Greg, you are amply amplified!

jonbee

The source (sans preamp) was the same for both the Coincident SET and the Texas Instruments board. I'm now using a Nuprime DAC-10 which has a very clean integrated preamp. I know it's hard to comprehend, much less accept that a $20 amp could kick to the curb a very highly regarded tube amp with some of the best tubes available.  :whip:
I use a modded DAC-10 as well, and the combination with 60V Kings is as clear and clean as mountain water. I needed real "cajones" for my Avalon Opus, which are very transparent, resolving and quite a tough load. The Ms have no problem at all driving them, and the sound is liquid as well as astonishingly detailed.
« Last Edit: 12 Dec 2017, 03:25 am by jonbee »

Shear Bliss VMPS

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To martinr

I bi-wire VMPS Super Tower Rs with spades and bananas with no problem.

Wind Chaser

My buddy Rex says the same. I believe he has owned more amps than anyone here on AC. Rex even sold his LIO after getting the STM. He said the DAC STM had more detail and bigger soundstage.

I haven't heard the LIO, but I can't say I'm surprised. Given the price of the LIO and the accolades it has received, it sure makes the Maraschinos seem like a bargain. :thumb:
« Last Edit: 12 Dec 2017, 03:43 am by Wind Chaser »

Wind Chaser

Do you miss the "bloom" characteristic of a SET amp?

I'm not sure what you mean by "bloom" but I will say that there isn't any aspect or quality of the SET sound that I feel I am missing. In short anything the SET did well, the Maraschinos do better, including bodily presence, 3 dimensional space, scale and top end air. These amps leave every tube amp I've ever heard or owned in the dust.  :wave:

Wind Chaser

I use a modded DAC-10 as well, and the combination with 60V Kings is as clear and clean as mountain water. I needed real cajones for my Avalon Opus, which are very transparent, resolving and a tough load. No problem at all.

I'm approaching close to a 1000 hours on both the DAC and amps... I don't know if it's the DAC or the amps or a combination of both, but the end result seems to keep improving.

AmpDesigner333

Since these amps receive an analogue input signal and amplify in the analogue domain, I don't think they can be classified as digital amps.
Here's an insightful look at the breakdown of the various approaches to amplification. The article was written six years ago.
The audio signal is internally represented digitally, so this is a nomenclature "gray area".  We've even discussed changing the name of Digital Amp Co to Cherry Amp Co, but then the DAC DAC would be the CAC DAC.  Not as cool  8).

Another interesting fact is that both clocked and non-clocked (purely combinatorial) logic is used in the process (Classic Cherry, Maraschino, MEGAschino).  Yes, analog-in, analog-out.  Back in the 90s and early 2000s, we developed clocked digital modulation techniques (digital input), both open and closed loop.  Open-loop "direct digital" performance was respectable, but just not as good.  For example, we get almost 20dB more dynamic range and an order of magnitude lower distortion with our newer technology.

Good catch, though.

Thanks as always (:

AmpDesigner333

I'm approaching close to a 1000 hours on both the DAC and amps... I don't know if it's the DAC or the amps or a combination of both, but the end result seems to keep improving.
Ahhhhh.  "Break in"....

Well, based on re-measurement results being IDENTICAL when measuring Classic Cherry and Maraschino Amps from months to years old (and in some cases, shipped around the world and back)....  Same for DACs.  No difference in measured performance when re-testing.  Those that have known me over the years have probably heard/read my standard speech about measurements at some point.  :o

My theory is that "what's changing is" your awareness of detail that was previously suppressed (buried under noise, coated by distortion, rolled off, etc.).

Thanks for your kind post, and glad you're enjoying our products!

AmpDesigner333

When our member Trung sold gave away his Dodd monoblock 300b amps about a week ago, I considered buying them, but...
I've been so enamored with Jeremy's  TDA7297 amp that I didn't even make an offer.   I've got a pair of EL84 amps that Gary D built for me that I'll keep as log as I can hear, but I'm not in the market to buy.  Chip amps are the real deal, and the bang for the buck is unmatchable.
Just mentioning that Cherry Amps are NOT based on pre-fab modules or "chip amps".  We design our patented and proprietary amplifiers from scratch.


Wind Chaser

Just mentioning that Cherry Amps are NOT based on pre-fab modules or "chip amps".  We design our patented and proprietary amplifiers from scratch.

And that's why they are so damn good extraordinary! You can't push the envelope and expect superior results by doing what everyone else is doing. There's no substitute for brilliance and ingenuity; without that even a million dollars in R&D won't make a difference.  :lol:

martinr

I'm not sure what you mean by "bloom" but I will say that there isn't any aspect or quality of the SET sound that I feel I am missing. In short anything the SET did well, the Maraschinos do better, including bodily presence, 3 dimensional space, scale and top end air. These amps leave every tube amp I've ever heard or owned in the dust.  :wave:

Thanks for the response Wind Chaser!

Wind Chaser

I just finished listening to two incredible pieces of music, Martynaz Levickis Theme From La Forza Del Destino and Meditation by Nigel Hess. I’m stunned beyond words.  :D





JLM

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Late to the party, but many congrats Windy for "finally" coming to Class D.  I've been running Class D mono-blocks for several years and last spring upgraded from the original Channel Island Audio D-100's with single ended inputs to tiny Temple Audio 70 watt XLR input mono-blocks.  Just as you stated, leaving them on 24/7 and being in mono-block configuration are wonderful ideals realized.  Not fretting over (expensive) interconnects* (my new mono-blocks are internally balanced with XLR inputs) or tube rolling are additional pluses.  Here in Michigan the amp heat could be welcomed in the winter, but saving on electricity (even with our solar panels) year round should always be another plus.

In response to others, the upstream gear should also be of balanced design to take full advantage of Class D.  Benchmark makes the point that vanishingly low distortion is only possible via balanced construction.  Gear that is inherently balanced cost more to build (being dual mono) but will be quieter.  My simple system now is 100% balanced.

*The best XLR cables (made by professional companies) I could find cost around $50/pair so no need to skimp on length.  Being an audio old fart, just can't accept the concept of boutique wire, IMO it's simply a case of the emperor's new clothes.  XLR cables need no shielding (no worry about crossing wires or having extra lengths rolled up) and have better connectors. 

AmpDesigner333

This post is a reminder for me to comment on XLR cables, shielding, and CMRR....

 :D

Wind Chaser

That’s going to be an interesting discussion. I recently acquired two new and very different pairs of interconnect cable. One is 12’ lengths of a well regarded balanced cable terminated with XLR plugs; the other 2 meter lengths of single ended cable terminated with RCA plugs. I’m not going to give anything away just yet ... but I will tell all at a later date. :D

AmpDesigner333

JLM,

I mostly agree regardng "boutique wire". However, shielding on balanced interconnects is good to have. We've measured the difference between noise performance with different wires, even balanced. This was done out of curiosity to see how close the audio signal can come to a switching power supply without affecting noise performance.  The input stage of most balanced products subtracts neg from pos and has a finite Common Mode Rejection Ratio (CMRR).  This allows some noise to "get through" the input stage, and once it's there, you can't get rid of it.  You can filter out RF, but there's no such thing as a perfect filter. The other issue is GND, which is connected through the shield of the wire. This is a necessary connection, but this subject has been covered well by others.  Here's some good reference info from Rane:
http://www.rane.com/note151.html

Thanks for your post.

-Tommy O

AmpDesigner333

"Life's too short to be changing tubes"
-Art S / Allentown PA

My neighbor Art who sadly passed away in 2013 was a former surgeon and audiophile.  He was a tube amp fan for several decades.  He had boxes and boxes of tubes, and many amps.  Fancy, high dollar amps. He was biased against Class-D for the usual reasons - he was told they weren't any good.  He hadn't heard a Class-D amp in his life, until mine.  He was astounded, and that was with my early designs, which only morphed into higher performance. He loved having deep, clean bass.  He loved the black background and low distortion.  He loved the extended bandwidth and fast transient response.  Most of all, he loved CLEAN sound.  He was also a fan of nostalgia audio, but really appreciated the practical aspects of my amps, too, like reliability and high performance for the money.   Cherry Amps aren't just any Class-D.    The old Class-D, from the module crowd, is like a Toyota Prius compared to Cherry Amp, the Tesla of amplifiers!