Class D vs Class A/B


Cynic0l

CarAudio.com Enthusiast
Jun 28, 2019
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Posting cause I can’t find an old thread so,
Are Class A/B amps more beneficial in terms of SQ compared to Class D? I’ve read a few thread where some of you mentioned that back in the days, they were but no so much nowadays. Can someone explain why again, if you believe so? Or conversely, are they still better for SQ purposes? Thanks playas
 

Radiospank

Senior VIP Member
Mar 27, 2012
222
12
los angeles
I personally run the DD C4.100 which is class AB, I also considered the Morel 4 channel which is also class AB. In general Class AB Amps are known for a warmer sound than a class D, even tho class D amps are found in some high end home audio amps they still tend to have a more neutral sound than the class AB. Will your ears know the difference? Probably in a comparison, but will you know the difference once installed? My guess is not, you will be happy with a class D with quality component speakers.

I can be a stickler for this stuff and I’m happy I went with morel components and a class AB amp to power them because it just adds a bit of warmth to the sound and it’s pleasing to me. I believe I would be just as happy with a class D as I’ve owned them before and didn’t think twice about it.
 
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Clifff150

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Jan 10, 2012
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Depends who you ask. I like class D for the size and personally I like to have more power on hand. I was using a class d for my front stage and I switched to an a/b but that thing got stupid hot and honestly preferred the class d sound. They are different brands (JL class D, Image Dynamics class a/b) but same power.
 
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Jeffdachef

Gunz That Turn on Nunz
Feb 5, 2013
18,468
772
South Coast Metro, CA
Posting cause I can’t find an old thread so,
Are Class A/B amps more beneficial in terms of SQ compared to Class D? I’ve read a few thread where some of you mentioned that back in the days, they were but no so much nowadays. Can someone explain why again, if you believe so? Or conversely, are they still better for SQ purposes? Thanks playas
its more a question of cheap amps vs well built SQ amps with good filtering low thd and nosie levels. Cheap class a/b will be just as shit as a cheap class D but class D has more power. Expensive class A/B will be just as good as Expensive class D but class D has more power. All the SQ legends and top tier brands are expanding to class D because its the future. There will be no difference in sound once you have everything tuned right in your setup. The tuning and acoustical treatments is 10000000x more important than choosing a class ab or class D amp thats the absolute least of your worries and priority.
 

Popwarhomie

10+ year member
Jan 22, 2010
8,269
1,264
FL
I went from A/B to D, back to A/B and then back to class D. No noticeable difference other than SNR between some of them. I'll stick with class D from now on.
 
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Jeffdachef

Gunz That Turn on Nunz
Feb 5, 2013
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South Coast Metro, CA
a legendary SQ competitor's build with all class D amplification and a 6th order box. AKA two ported boxes in one. These old dinosaur myths need to die lmao. For reference this guy is the owner of hybrid audio technologies and last year he got the highest score ever in the history of IASCA SQ league.
 
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hispls

CarAudio.com Veteran
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Sep 10, 2009
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I’ve read a few thread where some of you mentioned that back in the days, they were but no so much nowadays
Very old news and what's changed is mostly advances in semiconductors. There is no reason apart from some nostalgia piece, to use class A/B amps anymore.

Richard Clark still has his 10,000$ and within their limitations and correcting for response with EQ and proper gain settings you cannot hear the difference from one amp to the next.
 
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Cynic0l

Cynic0l

CarAudio.com Enthusiast
Jun 28, 2019
65
15
a legendary SQ competitor's build with all class D amplification and a 6th order box. AKA two ported boxes in one. These old dinosaur myths need to die lmao. For reference this guy is the owner of hybrid audio technologies and last year he got the highest score ever in the history of IASCA SQ league.
Holy shit that thing is beautiful. And that part about the bass illusion coming from the front is crazy as hell...
 
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Cynic0l

Cynic0l

CarAudio.com Enthusiast
Jun 28, 2019
65
15
Depends who you ask. I like class D for the size and personally I like to have more power on hand. I was using a class d for my front stage and I switched to an a/b but that thing got stupid hot and honestly preferred the class d sound. They are different brands (JL class D, Image Dynamics class a/b) but same power.
Thank you for the input!!
 

Radiospank

Senior VIP Member
Mar 27, 2012
222
12
los angeles
I would read reviews of some professionals and gauge what they say about the amps, my first instinct isn’t to go after the cheapest class D out there and believe it’s as good as Another brands. There is still a lot that goes into producing a good quality amp that sounds good.
 

Jeffdachef

Gunz That Turn on Nunz
Feb 5, 2013
18,468
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South Coast Metro, CA
Class A design is the least efficient but has the highest sound fidelity. Class B design is a little more efficient, but full of distortion. Class AB design offers power efficiency and good sound. Class D design has the highest efficiency but isn't quite as high-fidelity.
true 15 years ago, not so nowadays. Technology has far advanced since then.
 

hispls

CarAudio.com Veteran
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Sep 10, 2009
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Class A design is the least efficient but has the highest sound fidelity. Class B design is a little more efficient, but full of distortion. Class AB design offers power efficiency and good sound. Class D design has the highest efficiency but isn't quite as high-fidelity.
And yet still nobody has taken Richard Clark's money.
I would read reviews of some professionals
And until one of those "professionals" takes Richard Clark's money they're just blowing smoke out their arse.

There's reasons to buy a higher quality amplifier, but sounding different than something else really isn't going to be a think these days.
 
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Jeffdachef

Gunz That Turn on Nunz
Feb 5, 2013
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South Coast Metro, CA
And yet still nobody has taken Richard Clark's money.

And until one of those "professionals" takes Richard Clark's money they're just blowing smoke out their arse.

There's reasons to buy a higher quality amplifier, but sounding different than something else really isn't going to be a think these days.
apparently a couple of people passed it and richard clark has made all sorts of excuses not to pay and reneged on his bet. There was a non related thread where he was brought up and everyone out of the wood work came out and was trashin on him in diyma a couple years ago btw. But in general most people failed. Mainly because he literally RTA and EQ's the signal so its completely identical and use it within power capacity so most normal people would never tell the difference. Which is why I tell people install, acoustical treatments and tune is everything. After a proper tune, all amps sound the same just class D has more power so theres no use in going class A/B unless you are SQ illiterate and cant tune for shit and rely on amplifier colouring for "warmth" which is easily achieved with a proper tune anyways.
 
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Radiospank

Senior VIP Member
Mar 27, 2012
222
12
los angeles
apparently a couple of people passed it and richard clark has made all sorts of excuses not to pay and reneged on his bet. There was a non related thread where he was brought up and everyone out of the wood work came out and was trashin on him in diyma a couple years ago btw. But in general most people failed. Mainly because he literally RTA and EQ's the signal so its completely identical and use it within power capacity so most normal people would never tell the difference. Which is why I tell people install, acoustical treatments and tune is everything. After a proper tune, all amps sound the same just class D has more power so theres no use in going class A/B unless you are SQ illiterate and cant tune for shit and rely on amplifier colouring for "warmth" which is easily achieved with a proper tune anyways.
I think like you some people believe EQ is the answer, but there are many other factors to consider on how the final sound is achieved. An amp certainly does just amplify the signal but several other things can color the sound and that’s why I still say don’t settle on the cheapest amp out there. Lots of enthusiasts will agree that certain amps sound better with more dynamic sound, better separation etc. there is a point of diminishing returns on components and since we can’t all demo them, the need for a professionals opinion on a product is pretty valuable.
 

Jeffdachef

Gunz That Turn on Nunz
Feb 5, 2013
18,468
772
South Coast Metro, CA
I think like you some people believe EQ is the answer, but there are many other factors to consider on how the final sound is achieved.
Have them Take the 10k challenge then

The Richard Clark Amp Challenge is a listening test intended to show that as long as a modern audio amplifier is operated within its linear range (below clipping), the differences between amps are inaudible to the human ear. Because thousands of people have taken the test, the test is significant to the audiophile debate over audibility of amplifier differences. This document was written to summarize what the test is, and answer common questions about the test. Richard Clark was not involved in writing this document.

The challenge

Richard Clark is an audio professional. Like many audiophiles, he originally believed the magazines and marketing materials that different amplifier topologies and components colored the sound in unique, clearly audible ways. He later did experiments to quantify and qualify these effects, and was surprised to find them inaudible when volume and other factors were matched.

His challenge is an offer of $10,000 of his own money to anyone who could identify which of two amplifiers was which, by listening only, under a set of rules that he conceived to make sure they both measure “good enough” and are set up the same. Reports are that thousands of people have taken the test, and none has passed the test. Nobody has been able to show an audible difference between two amps under the test rules.

This article will attempt to summarize the important rules and ramifications of the test, but for clarity and brevity some uncontroversial, obvious, or inconsequential rules are left out of this article. The full rules, from which much of this article was derived, are available here and a collection of Richard's comments are available here.

Testing procedure

The testing uses an ABX test device where the listener can switch between hearing amplifier A, amplifier B, and a randomly generated amplifier X which is either A or B. The listener's job is to decide whether source X sounds like A or B. The listener inputs their guess into a computerized scoring system, and they go on to the next identification. The listener can control the volume, within the linear (non-clipped) range of the amps. The listener has full control over the CD player as well. The listener can take as long as they want to switch back and forth between A, B, and X at will.

Passing the test requires two sets of 12 correct identifications, for a total of 24 correct identifications. To speed things up, a preliminary round of 8 identifications, sometimes done without levels or other parameters perfectly matched, is a prerequisite.

Richard Clark normally has CD source, amplifiers, high quality home audio speakers, and listening environment set up in advance. But if the listener requests, they can substitute whatever source, source material, amplifiers, speakers (even headphones), and listening environment they prefer, within stipulated practical limits. The source material must be commercially available music, not test signals. Richard Clark stipulates that the amplifiers must be brand name, standard production, linear voltage amplifiers, and they must not fail (e.g. thermal shutdown) during the test.

Amplifier requirements

The amplifiers in the test must be operated within their linear power capacity. Power capacity is defined as clipping or 2% THD 20Hz to 10kHz, whichever is less. This means that if one amplifier has more power (Watts) than the other, the amplifiers will be judged within the power range of the least powerful amplifier .

The levels of both left and right channels will be adjusted to match to within .05 dB. Polarity of connections must be maintained so that the signal is not inverted. Left and Right cannot be reversed. Neither amplifier can exhibit excessive noise. Channel separation of the amps must be at least 30 dB from 20Hz to 20kHz.

All signal processing circuitry (e.g. bass boost, filters) must be turned off, and if the amplifier still exhibits nonlinear frequency response, an equalizer will be set by Richard Clark and inserted inline with one of the amps so that they both exhibit identical frequency response. The listener can choose which amplifier gets the equalizer .
 
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Jeffdachef

Gunz That Turn on Nunz
Feb 5, 2013
18,468
772
South Coast Metro, CA
Class d has gotten better but a/b better sound. If just need raw power for subs class d. Front staging a/b
Wanna back that up by taking the richard clark amplifier challenge that's objectively proven otherwise with a relatively large research sample size.

Only people that had a decent score had pitch perfect hearing a extremely rare genetic trait while every so called audiophile in the car audio universe all failed completely.
 
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donfina420

CarAudio.com Newbie
Oct 5, 2020
15
0
Nevada
Wanna back that up by taking the richard clark amplifier challenge that's objectively proven otherwise with a relatively large research sample size.

Only people that had a decent score had pitch perfect hearing a extremely rare genetic trait while every so called audiophile in the car audio universe all failed completely.
Richard Clark from autosound 2000? My experience has been a/b sounded better. Some will tell u all amps sound the same too
 

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