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Daddy Dee

Tripath amps abound lately

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I am with DD. They do not sound LIKE tubes, but in the same vein provide accuracy without the edge and glare of raw transistor power. The other similarity is that I find them less fatigueing than SS.

Dave

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Daddy and Dave provide good descriptions of chip amps vs. tubes. I am also a big tube fan yet I am very fond of the tripath amps.

They do sound "somewhat" like tubes, but perhaps a smooth solid state amp is a better description. I have found that if you upgrade the power supply with the small guys (8-12 watts per), they do sound a bit more like tubes than the stock tripath variants. In fact, I now run a Sonic Impact Super T (mentioned by Daddy above) with the stand alone PSU from KingRex for the upper end of my Klipschorns and the sound is pretty amazing. Too bad there are not a lot of great choices of these chip amps for those who wish to run higher power and full range.

Thanks for your impressions Daddy. Curious to hear about the high noise of that amp. Most of the tripath amps I have heard are virtually dead silent.

Carl.

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My digital amp is a Panasonic, 100wpc. For reasons I can not figure, these do not get much respect from audiophiles. I think the chips are Texas Instruments. As has been noted here, my impressions are perfectly in line with those commenting on the Tripath, which suggests some reason other than sonics for the audiophile upturned nose. Could be the cost (I paid 123.00 for mine, I think retail was perhaps 300.00) or the brand. One further reason to believe this amp does its job very well is my new friend George Mims impressions. I did not point out or even mention the amp during his recent visit with his fellow muscian friend Taft Metcalf, but they were both completely moved by the reproduction of the acoustics of St. Martin's Church and the great Schoenberg George designed and played. One such audition by one of the world's finest organists who can detect a single malfunctioning pipe out of 5,000 equals about 100 audiophile opinions, IMHO.

There are times when I believe that audiophiles hear and have opinions about amplifier qualities that have nothing to do with their accuracy. I really have to believe this is the case here, as I find this amp to have all the qualities I desire...plenty of power, accuracy, fatigue-free, versatile, 7 lbs, no heat, excellent remote, dirt cheap.

Of course, I might be deaf and just don't know it.

Dave

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Dave,

Which Panny model receiver do you use?

Crites uses one, too, but don't know which one.

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SA-XR 25. I just did a search for all SA-XR and turned up not a one for sale. Apparently those who have them are keeping them...

I need to run an Ebay alert and see if any turn up. They were fairly common items there when I purchased this one in early 06.

The public reviews are all over the place running from spectacular to just adequate.

I find it hard to believe that there would be any significant differences in the sound quality of one unit over the other given the nature of the design, but it's a real poser why so have divergent opinions on these amps.

In any event, I've spent 1000 hours or more with mine and it is a keeper. I remain more satisfied with it than any amp I've ever used. I dumped my excess SS stuff the moment I heard it thinking that these would kill the SS amp market in a matter of a couple of years. That opinion was not based on audiophiles, but on the consumer market. Given these things are MUCH cheaper to build I figured the HT OEM's would go to them as fast as they could. Cheaper to build, cheaper to ship, and a higher profit margin. The only thing I can figure is that Joe Sixpack wasn't buying an amp that didn't weigh a fifth of the one next to it on the shelf at the same price.

I am still scratching my head...

When all is said and done folks can say or think what they want. This thing amplifies a signal without showing itself in any way I can detect. I do not want a "great sounding amp." I want an amp you can't hear over the music.

Dave

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Hey Dave, the Pannys do turn up on Audiogon from time to time, but they don't last long. The Pioneer Elite SC-05 and 07 have the B&O ICE modules but they sell for a pretty penny more than the Pannys, but they do offer the new codecs and such. I think every company will offer some version of digital amplification soon, many companies are already on board, Audio Research, Bryston and Meridian among many others.

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What do you think about the issues I raised about the consumer market? About all Joe Sixpack care about is price and weight. These are cheaper, which is good, but they have no heft at all.

I am still at a loss as to why the consumer market penetration is so minscule. Automobile units, boom boxes, and such come to mind. You'd think the low cost, low power demands, and such would make digital a no brainer. In fact, I was expecting high power amps on PC soundcards by now at 100 bucks or so. I purchased a Tio card amp (TriPath with no PC DAC, just amp) but haven't put it in anything. I am just finishing up my latest MBS project, the 7. It doesn't have any place for a card, but I may be able to get the Tio in there since it only needs power from the PC. If so, it would be pretty cool. This one has the VIA high res 8 channel DAC, no moving parts (no fan, and HDD is DOM, Disc On Module which is an 8gb Compact Flash mounted to a SATA adapter), about 1."' thick X 11" X 8," and mounts to the back of a monitor with VESA mount holes. It also does 1080P playback via hardware mpeg on board. Whole works is 12vdc.

Didn't mean to get off on that, but having a high powered digital amp on board would make such a media PC truly extraordinary.

I am either a visionary or an idiot. (That is not a poll) [:P]

Dave

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What do you think about the issues I raised about the consumer market?  About all Joe Sixpack care about is price and weight.  These are cheaper, which is good, but they have no heft at all. 

I think you hit the nail on the head. Most people feel better buying something large, heavy and overpriced. This is what we've learned to be quality. Audio products or not, most consumers will gravitate towards the larger, heavier product assuming quality is present. With audio, this has been true for years and I think manufacturers are still feeding consumers assumptions and tastes. Only recently with Class D amps and modern cd players are we finally achieving excellent results in a small, lightweight package. Give it time, and I'm sure the future will look quite different. I, like you Dave have envisioned a future of digital amps everywhere and I think someday we'll be right. Sure tubes and SS will always have a place and a following, but just as manufacturers were slow to change from tubes to SS, or boat manufacturers change from wood to fiberglass, these things take time. Most companies are far too fearful of alienating their customer base, and others I think are still finding ways to implement this new technology successfully. Time will tell, but I don't think your an idiot. [:D]

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Well, I think I'm ready to pack up the T amp-90 and ship it back to P-macaudio. It may be that I haven't waited long enough from my request for help, last Thursday, but the white noise problem is a deal breaker. It would be interesting to know if the white noise is a matter of defect or design. For now, I can't say.

I should mention that the white noise was not audible with music at volume, but with the amp at idle and the volume turned down, the white noise was substantial.

The T amp-20 OTOH is a sweetheart. It is somewhat more powerful than the Super T or Trends and sounds very good. The T-20 seems dead quiet.

For Tripath fans, it's a good option.

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DD, I am not an engineer and do not play one on TV, but that white noise has to be a problem in the analog circuitry or a flaw in the digital circtuitry that is amplifying a spurious signal. A digital amp should have no significant or audible noise at idle. My cheesy Panny doesn't make a sound at full volume with no signal applied.

Dave

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Sorry to hear that DD. Both of my t-amps are dead quiet (on 104 dB speakers, I might add), you shouldn't be hearing any noise.

I just got my decware switchbox in the mail (I don't think I could build the unit myself for much less), so will get things set up for listening session of the Virtue this weekend.

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Dave,

Thanks for that thought. That would indeed seem to indicate that the problem here is simply a defective unit. That's encouraging for the possibilities of having satisfactory performance, with a replacement unit.

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Thanks Blvdre,

Yeh. My other T-amps have all been dead quiet, too.

Interesting enough, the T-90 (which only plays intermittently) from Ebay via China was dead quiet, when it was playing. Ironic, no?

When it was in protect mode, or whatever caused it to shut down, it was REALLY DEAD QUIET!

I bet the Virtue is a sweetheart.

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Cute little guy. I've wondered about this unit. Of course, no AC adapter for that price. For t

For that price, one wonders if it's PCB is done the same way as the original plastic case T amp. I'm not up to the tech understanding, but it seemed to be parts placed in the board with solder paste and the whole thing heated to finish.

That 2024 board looked terrible, but it worked in the original T amp, even if it was a little edgier than the better built units.

I have to say I'm curious, too.

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OK, so I inspected the decware switch-box (before connecting) and found it was full of cold solder joints, and one completely non-wetting joint. It's going back. I think I need to build myself a nice passive to check out. Anyway, virtue testing will be with the wla12 pre. I think the wife is going on a shopping trip Saturday...

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Hmm. interesting. Not up to par for Decware, I'd think. Six sources would be handy for a switcher.

The box looks similar to the Niles axp-1, but the Niles can only switch five sources. I've got a Niles switcher and have been pleased with it.

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Hmm. interesting. Not up to par for Decware, I'd think. Six sources would be handy for a switcher.

The box looks similar to the Niles axp-1, but the Niles can only switch five sources. I've got a Niles switcher and have been pleased with it.

No, it's not. I think they'll be surprised when they see, and make some process changes. The Niles switcher looks very similar, and a bit cheaper to boot. I think I'm going to bite the bullet and build a nice passive, just to try it out. I'm thinking Goldpoint stepped attenuators and switches (all elma). Parts cost would be pretty reasonable, ~$300 for a really nice passive (including case, knobs, jacks, etc.)

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OK. Just a brief update here.

I have shipped the T-90 back to P-macaudio and want to make clear my comfort level in doing business with Paul M. I overlooked his email response to me, which he had turned around the very same day he'd received my email requesting a return or exchange due to the white noise issue. That was my bad.

Paul M is a guy I wish we could clone to have more of him doing business in audio. I am a return customer to P-macaudio having ordered and received a T-20 in March. He also has a 30 day satisfaction guarantee and will take a unit on return, of course, assuming original condition.

Had a chance to do some listening with Tony Reed listening to the T-20 and T-90. When I can get some things organized, I do want to share a review of our listening. My basic take on the T-90 is that is every bit as good as the Super T (and T-20) but with more distinct, powerful and controlled bass. It ought to be so, it has a big rascal torrordial transformer power supply bolted to the chassis.

When we have a chance to do some more listening we want to do some head to head listening with the Super T and Trends as well. Also want to try a tube preamp in front and see what that looks like.

Hope to do that before long.

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