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What about T-Amps?, Is the audio quality good, and what about the value.
Bullit
post Oct 28 2010, 03:50
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I found some really cheap T-Amps, these tiny desktop amps. Stereo and sometimes up to 20W per channel or more. Some claim "audiophile" quality.

Are they any good? And what other classes of amps are there?



This post has been edited by greynol: Nov 2 2010, 16:58
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ojdo
post Oct 28 2010, 11:18
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I'm no amplifier expert, but the wikipedia article on Electronic amplifiers seems to be very concise about the different classes (A, AB, B, C, D, ...) available.

In general I believe that the audible differences between the different modern amplifiers are neglectible as long as they have enough power to drive the attached speakers.


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andy o
post Oct 28 2010, 11:42
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I think they're some variation of Class D. Read the numbers well though. I'm pretty sure they're like 5W @ 8 Ohm,.
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DVDdoug
post Oct 28 2010, 17:59
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I'd treat it as a "black box", and I wouldn't worry about what's inside. To the user it's the performance (and cost) that counts, and I don't worry too much about how the designers & engineers achieve that performance.

Probably, the most important thing you can guess from the design approach is something about the power efficiency (power out/power in). And, there's more than one way to measure that, since power-out is not constant in normal use.... Idle or low-output power consumption is probably most important, and a simple 'ol class A/B amp with an unregulated power supply can be very good under these conditions.

QUOTE
Some claim "audiophile" quality.
I would hope so! With modern electronics, it's very cheap and easy to build an amp with low-distortion, low-noise, and flat frequency response (from 0Hz - 100kHz or more if you want). There's no reason for any amp to have any audible defects (other than noise)! ...I know that's not enough for some "audiophiles" who hear things that can't be explained with normal measurements & normal science. biggrin.gif

Of course, more-power costs more-money for bigger, higher-power components. Ruggedness costs money, quality construction costs money, "look & feel" costs money, etc. And, if you're buying an integrated amp, conections & controls cost money too...
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Bullit
post Oct 28 2010, 19:15
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QUOTE (DVDdoug @ Oct 28 2010, 18:59) *
I'd treat it as a "black box", and I wouldn't worry about what's inside. To the user it's the performance (and cost) that counts, and I don't worry too much about how the designers & engineers achieve that performance.


That's true, but I notice they're cheap with high power output and most claim great audio quality. Also, very small in most cases.

Do you know of any amps in the $300 (can be used) range that give high power output in a small package?
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Slipstreem
post Oct 28 2010, 19:25
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Please define "high power output".
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DVDdoug
post Oct 28 2010, 21:23
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QUOTE
Do you know of any amps in the $300 (can be used) range that give high power output in a small package?
If I was looking for a power amp, I'd go to the Musician's Friend website (or a similar website that sells pro audio gear) and sort the amps by price. You should find plenty of amps in the $300 or less price range.

I know that Peavey has a new line of "lightweight" amps, that I assume uses some new switching technology. I believe they are well under $1 per watt.

This post has been edited by DVDdoug: Oct 28 2010, 21:49
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pawelq
post Oct 29 2010, 00:43
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QUOTE (DVDdoug @ Oct 28 2010, 16:23) *
QUOTE
Do you know of any amps in the $300 (can be used) range that give high power output in a small package?
If I was looking for a power amp, I'd go to the Musician's Friend website (or a similar website that sells pro audio gear) and sort the amps by price. You should find plenty of amps in the $300 or less price range.


Careful! Some pro amps have cooling fans. May be noisy!


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andy o
post Oct 29 2010, 16:04
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Sorry but are we talking a different kind of amp now? Cause these specific "T-Amps" are nowhere near high powered. They're (quite notoriously) around 5W @ 8Ω. The figures quoted that state something like "20W" are at 4Ω and 10% THD. I have one and it's OK if you can get it for 30-40 bucks which was the price when they came out and were raved about by such enlightened authorities as 6moons wink.gif. Then the audiophiles got ahold of it and there were multi-hundred dollar versions of it, but the guts are the same. According to Wikipedia the makers of this specific chip, Tripath, filed for bankruptcy in 2007.

BTW you also need to have reasonably efficient speakers. I have a pair of Klipsh RB601's (rated at 95 dB) and they are fine for my small bedroom with this amp. Computer use is a good use for it too. And as was explained to me before here, you probably need to watch out more for speaker damage when using underpowered amps.

Regarding small powerful amps, I think the best option is a Class D amp, no? I have also been looking but couldn't find any reasonably priced ones a while ago. It doesn't help eiher that very few companies are using Class D. The best I could find was the Rotel RB-1510 which goes for $500 and is not widely available, even less online. If anyone knows any alternative I'd also be interested.

This post has been edited by andy o: Oct 29 2010, 16:16
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LordWarlock
post Oct 29 2010, 20:42
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Class T amp is a Class D amp (the T was just a marketing name referring to Tripath), just a bit modified, with higher efficiency and (presumably) higher audio quality. There are several versions of the Tripath chips used in these amplifiers with wattage ranging from 2x15W up to 2x350W (that's the highest I have seen), and the higher powered chips do have much better specs regarding THD.
I wouldn't say that Class D amplifiers are rare, on the contrary. They are used in mobile phones, in most "single box" home theater systems, car stereo amplifiers (check pioneer for example, almost all their car amplifiers are class D) etc.
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Arnold B. Kruege...
post Oct 29 2010, 23:18
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QUOTE (Bullit @ Oct 27 2010, 22:50) *
I found some really cheap T-Amps, these tiny desktop amps. Stereo and sometimes up to 20W per channel or more. Some claim "audiophile" quality.

Are they any good?


T-amps are based on chips developed by Tripath. They are switchmode amps, which means that they attain high efficiency by switching their outputdevices fully off and fully on at a high high frequency in the 100s of KHz. This contrasts with traditional power amps that operate their output devices in partial conduction which causes them to dissipate far more heat.

The bad news about switchmode power amps is that they usually have filter networks that smooth out the high frequency switching into a regular audio signal. These networks are often the largest components of the amplifier and may cause the output impdedance of the power amp to rise at high audio frequencies, which can affect their frequency response in real world loudspeaker loads.

IME the Tripath amps did not comptete with even fairly inexpensive traditional power amps in terms of measured performance. There are other ways to obtain efficiency without the same drawbacks.

This post has been edited by Arnold B. Krueger: Oct 29 2010, 23:20
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andy o
post Oct 30 2010, 04:38
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QUOTE (LordWarlock @ Oct 29 2010, 12:42) *
Class T amp is a Class D amp (the T was just a marketing name referring to Tripath), just a bit modified, with higher efficiency and (presumably) higher audio quality. There are several versions of the Tripath chips used in these amplifiers with wattage ranging from 2x15W up to 2x350W (that's the highest I have seen), and the higher powered chips do have much better specs regarding THD.
I wouldn't say that Class D amplifiers are rare, on the contrary. They are used in mobile phones, in most "single box" home theater systems, car stereo amplifiers (check pioneer for example, almost all their car amplifiers are class D) etc.

Yeah, but the OP was referencing the "T-Amp" and posted pictures. Those have also been marketed as "20W" but they're all the same 5-reasonable-watts ones. Also, those are the ones famous for being cheap, at least at first.

Regarding Class D amps, I was talking about a home amp you can buy. I have seen Pioneer's options (I have a Pio receiver), but even in the Elite line only the most expensive ones (the SC series) have Class D, and there don't seem to be any weight/space savings. Some years ago Panasonic had consumer level Class D-powered receivers, and were pretty small, but I don't know what happened that they stopped producing them.

This post has been edited by andy o: Oct 30 2010, 04:39
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Slipstreem
post Oct 30 2010, 13:25
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QUOTE (andy o @ Oct 30 2010, 04:38) *
Yeah, but the OP was referencing the "T-Amp" and posted pictures. Those have also been marketed as "20W" but they're all the same 5-reasonable-watts ones. Also, those are the ones famous for being cheap, at least at first.

They're still cheap enough if you're happy to buy direct from Hong Kong (Link), although the internals of the Lepai do look like something from the late 70s. tongue.gif
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andy o
post Oct 30 2010, 17:17
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QUOTE (BearcatSandor @ Oct 29 2010, 20:15) *
If you want a lot more power, much better build quality then check out http://store.virtueaudio.com/ They are designed to take different levels of power supplies for different levels of power output (up to 80 watts) including batteries for the ultimate in quiet power. They will probably be my next amps. Most likely a virtue TWO.

Sorry but if I were you I'd cut my losses and run away fast from that website and their audiophool products. "100 hour break-in" should be a clear warning, and also the $700 CD "bargain" CD player and the $99 aluminum five-dollar-remote.
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BearcatSandor
post Oct 31 2010, 01:33
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QUOTE (andy o @ Oct 30 2010, 10:17) *
QUOTE (BearcatSandor @ Oct 29 2010, 20:15) *
If you want a lot more power, much better build quality then check out http://store.virtueaudio.com/ They are designed to take different levels of power supplies for different levels of power output (up to 80 watts) including batteries for the ultimate in quiet power. They will probably be my next amps. Most likely a virtue TWO.

Sorry but if I were you I'd cut my losses and run away fast from that website and their audiophool products. "100 hour break-in" should be a clear warning, and also the $700 CD "bargain" CD player and the $99 aluminum five-dollar-remote.

Well they have a 30 day return policy. I'd let my ears vote. Personally, i'm after power efficiency as well as good sound. I love the sound of the Bel Canto mono blocks, but since i'm looking to build a 10 or more channel Ambisonic system i need to cut my per-channel costs a bit.



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andy o
post Oct 31 2010, 01:46
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QUOTE (BearcatSandor @ Oct 30 2010, 17:33) *
I'd let my ears vote.

OK then. But I'm pretty sure ABX and other testing methods were design just to prevent our ears to do just that.

QUOTE
Personally, i'm after power efficiency as well as good sound. I love the sound of the Bel Canto mono blocks, but since i'm looking to build a 10 or more channel Ambisonic system i need to cut my per-channel costs a bit.

Those amps and their products in general don't really look all that cost-effective, that was my point.

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BearcatSandor
post Oct 31 2010, 03:17
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QUOTE (andy o @ Oct 30 2010, 18:46) *
QUOTE (BearcatSandor @ Oct 30 2010, 17:33) *
I'd let my ears vote.

OK then. But I'm pretty sure ABX and other testing methods were design just to prevent our ears to do just that.

QUOTE
Personally, i'm after power efficiency as well as good sound. I love the sound of the Bel Canto mono blocks, but since i'm looking to build a 10 or more channel Ambisonic system i need to cut my per-channel costs a bit.

Those amps and their products in general don't really look all that cost-effective, that was my point.

What amps do you like, that the OP and i might benefit from?




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andy o
post Oct 31 2010, 12:27
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QUOTE (BearcatSandor @ Oct 30 2010, 19:17) *
What amps do you like, that the OP and i might benefit from?

I'm kind of on the same boat as you and the OP in that I'm looking for an affordable Class D amp (if there are actual weight/space savings). But that I'm calling BS on that site doesn't mean I have an actual alternative, sorry for being a useless party pooper. smile.gif

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honestguv
post Oct 31 2010, 15:45
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QUOTE (Slipstreem @ Oct 30 2010, 14:25) *
They're still cheap enough if you're happy to buy direct from Hong Kong (Link), although the internals of the Lepai do look like something from the late 70s. tongue.gif

Or USA for a bit more:
http://www.parts-express.com/pe/showdetl.c...0#windowcontent
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Slipstreem
post Oct 31 2010, 17:54
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Indeed, and I think they represent very reasonable value for money at the bargain prices if the end-buyer has reasonable expectations. I'm in the process of designing a very similar amplifier (although using a different manufacturer's Class D chips), and I can't get the build cost down below 37UK if buying the components from general electronics parts stores in non-bulk quantities.

I'll still go ahead with the project anyway as the aim is to build an amplifier with a very similar spec to the Trends amp but in a considerably smaller case measuring just 66x66x28mm. It's a shame to see so many of the miniscule Class D amplifier boards that are available to the DIY electronics enthusiast ending up in almost empty 19" rack-mount cases, so I'm going for the complete opposite. wink.gif

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andy o
post Oct 31 2010, 20:18
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OK, I didn't know Tripath had put out other chips out there, it seems it's relatively recently cause I had looked for something a bit more powerful before and didn't find anything. This one I think is a rebranded original "T-Amp" but it's in the high end of the price spectrum, and I don't know how much value will this one (30W @ 8Ω) offer at $100. I wonder if "Lepai" makes them...

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Bullit
post Oct 31 2010, 23:22
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$20 amplifier? Is that single use?

When I mean cheap, I mean cheap compared to good amps. So something less than $200 to $300. Smaller package is better since I don't have so much space for a full receiver. I'm considering this instead of powered monitors.

I need something that will drive two medium size stereo monitors. That's like what, 150W per monitor? The behringer truth passive needs 150w for 8.75" speaker and a 1" tweeter.

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greynol
post Nov 1 2010, 01:26
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QUOTE (Bullit @ Oct 31 2010, 15:22) *
When I mean cheap, I mean cheap compared to good amps.

How do you know that the TA2020 is not also a "good" amp? Why insist that an amp under $200 is not good?

QUOTE (Bullit @ Oct 31 2010, 15:22) *
The behringer truth passive needs 150w for 8.75" speaker and a 1" tweeter.

Depending on your desired SPL and depending on the listening area, you won't necessarily need 150 Watts.


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Bullit
post Nov 1 2010, 01:33
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QUOTE (greynol @ Nov 1 2010, 01:26) *
QUOTE (Bullit @ Oct 31 2010, 15:22) *
When I mean cheap, I mean cheap compared to good amps.

How do you know that the TA2020 is not also a "good" amp?


I don't. I am assuming based on the pricing ($20), that the Lepai is going to be single use.

QUOTE
Why insist that an amp under $200 is not good?


Well, from my experience as cost goes up so does quality but with diminishing returns after a certain point for most products. What would you consider the sweet spot to be money wise, before you start to see diminishing returns?
Or to put it another way, what is the minimum amount of money you would feel comfortable spending on a stereo amp without all the bells and whistles that receivers have.

QUOTE
Depending on your desired SPL and depending on the listening area, you won't necessarily need 150 Watts.


Do most speakers contain info on the overall loudness. Like, at 80W the speaker puts out 89db at 1 meter or something...

I guess I should figure out how much power I need and can use before determining the amp size. But if I want to drive bigger speakers because I won't be using a sub, won't I need more power compared to smaller speakers? Assuming similar loudness for both. Let's say the smaller one is 6" and the larger is 8".

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andy o
post Nov 1 2010, 02:48
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I don't know what you mean by "really cheap" then, but the original T-amps got famous for being around $30. They're also 5W @ 8 ohm. If you wanted say more than 100W, it's not gonna be nearly that small, that's why I asked if you suddenly changed th type of amp you were asking about.
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