Does it make sense in using a Class D amplifier with 24/192

Dear All,

I decided to take the plunge and try out a D-class amp: Allo Volt.
Once I have my set-up running I’ll try to do a comparison between the Volt and a Hirage Le Monstre Class-A.



What a lucid treatise! Absolutely clear now why only Roon was able to create a new paradigm for digital audio.

Thank you, Brian, for your very thoughtful, logical, and well-reasoned insights on the future of audio amplification. As an old (64) lifetime audiophile always in search of a better listening experience, I am constantly amazed by the technological progress I have witnessed.

I am also amazed by the large number of esoteric and exotic ultra-high-end audio products produced by relatively tiny organizations. Much of this gear is excellent, no doubt, but is there truly justification for the stratospheric prices of some of these items? Glancing at pricing for several of Stereophile’s Class “A” mono blocks for example, can take one’s breath away. In many cases, these hunks of audio gear appear to be more like works of art rather than audio components. I, as much or more than the next audiophile, admire and covet the impeccable and lovely casework on amps like the D’Agostino Momentum, the Classé Delta series, and many other thick face plated pieces; but of course, how an amp looks has nothing to do with audio fidelity.

You mention “There is big funding available for developing Class-D amps–because we need them everywhere”, but you do not mention who or what corporations are providing this funding. My guess is the companies who desire this small, high power, high quality, yet low cost amplification are the not so mom and pop like companies such as Apple, Amazon, and Google.

It all makes sense. I just helped a friend install a $399 Denon AV receiver with 7 channels of (likely Class D) amplification. The net weight is less than 20 Lbs. This budget priced HT receiver includes both Ethernet and WiFi networking, HEOS music streaming, a Hi-Res Audio DAC, Bluetooth, eco-mode, zone 2, and much more. Once all set up and connected to the network, it sounded truly impressive. When I compare this AVR to my high-end Pre-Pro and 5 channel amplifier separates system with a suggested retail price of $19,000; I have to ask, if I were subjected to a double-blind listening test, would I prefer the High-End gear? I honestly don’t know. My fear is it would it be an Emperor’s new clothes scenario. Feature for feature, there is no contest, I can however claim my amplifier alone weighs over 5 times more than the little Denon AVR. Surely that fact by itself must account for some kind of audible superiority. Or not.

Just recently I was pondering spending another wad of cash on an LPS for my Mytek Brooklyn. Some Brooklyn owners on the forums swear good clean DC power makes a significant improvement. Then again, I seem to remember the measurements section, from the review in Stereophile, stating the switching power supply in the Brooklyn was quite good. My monthly electric bill is already high enough.

So, could it be the road to audio bliss is not the High-End? Maybe that road is new technology and Class “D” amplification. I do believe Hi-Res audio files from HDTracks and 2L along with streaming MQA files as supplied by Tidal, and Roon are providing me the best listening experience of my life so far.

Most of the current Denon AV receivers (e.g. X1400H) are class AB, to my knowledge.

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You need to sample a signal at twice the highest frequency to reproduce it. This is the Nyquist frequency. Hence 44khz to reproduce up to 22k Hz.

What I am puzzled about is that a class d amp effectively digitises an analog signal using pulse width modulation before it is reconverted with filters and other clever stuff to feed your analog speakers. Effectively, it seems to me, undoing all the fab work your expensive DAC has done. Would be pleAsed to hear what I am missing here.