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Class-T/D Amps for 2.0/2.1 Setups

Discussion in 'Audio, Video & Home Theater' started by Kursah, Oct 25, 2013.

  1. Kursah

    Kursah

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    Well, my favored until yesterday Dayton DTA100-a class-t amp bit the dust after almost 2 years of service. I am looking at many different options, and am also thinking about making some changes but am unsure.

    At this point I have a FiiO E9 as my dedicated headphone amp and for that it's performed amazingly well. I do not have the E7 dac for it, as I just use the analogue outputs from my Auzen Forte card.

    I am thinking I may just go with another dedicated speaker amp, but am wondering whether or not I should go digital. If I do, then really I would no longer need a sound card due to the digital signal being the same since no sound processing or conversion would happen in the PC correct?

    I'm still unsure if digital is for me or not...and really my E9 sounds great through all my earbuds and headphones I don't want to get rid of it, but I am also wondering what I could do for a more all-in-one solution that would provide a good strong and clean signal to my headphones and speakers (with sub outputs as well so I don't have to run low-level inputs from the amp as as well).

    I am thinking a receiver, but I don't really have the room on my desktop unless I get one that supports a monitor as I'm using a couple monitor stands from staples so I have room for my 2 workstations in one desk.

    To keep things simple I may just go for another amp that has analogue inputs.

    Another question, even though I've owned this sound card since 2009, I can't recall and I'm just about to head into Business class...haven't found if I can enable or use the sub output (orange) in 2.1 mode. I already have one splitter so I can use one signal to my HP amp and one to the speaker amp. I could use the pass-thru from the HP amp to the speaker amp...but then both need to be on. That bothered me. But then the wiring mess I created by wanting a headphone amp with volume control and then adding my hi-fi system really made headache lol!

    Suggestions? My budget? $100. I can stretch it a little bit...I was going to recently downsize my rig to a m-atx. So if I could convert to digital and simplify things that'd be cool. But I really do like the EQ in the Creative Console, and really my Forte has been a champ of a card...even with drivers that were never truly fixed...I will say I've yet to hear the buzzing from the Win 8 drivers.

    Sorry for the long post and spaced thoughts...as most of my research threads go I will hopefully post my findings and research on this topic as I get time to and I look forward to the suggestions of my fellow TPU'ers. Thanks all!

    :toast:

    Brands I'm looking at for Class D/T amps:
    SMSL SA-98E
    SMSL SA-50
    Topping TP21 mkII
    Topping TP30
    LP-2020A+ Lepai
    and some others as well..but these all seem to be pretty damn good. I am using my Pioneer SB21's, which have been replaced with SB22's. Around 89db sensitivity iirc. I am using my powered Dayton DT-100 10" powered sub (iirc that's the right model, it too has since been replaced with a newer version).

    Here's my monitor stands my current amp setups hide under: http://www.medicalartspress.com/staples-monitor-stand/cbs/264093.html?cm_mmc?cm_mmc=SEM_PLA_264093

    If I could find a solution that would fit there that's what i'm after.
  2. tigger

    tigger I'm the only one

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    what about active speakers, and your sub? Imho Active speakers can sound better than passive with an amp.

    These are what I am using now, they are studio speakers.
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    Each speaker is exactly the same. I don't know the wattage.

    They have Immedia broadcasting ltd on the back but I don't know any other details about them.
    Last edited: Nov 3, 2013
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  3. Kursah

    Kursah

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    Not going to be able to afford active speakers that will match my passive Pioneers at that price-point. The replacements run $130 on amazon now:

    http://www.amazon.com/dp/B008NCD2LG/?tag=tec06d-20

    I did a ton of research and almost went audioengine or swan when I had money...now I made some sales...I have around $100 to play with and 2 great speakers that need an amp.

    Here's my old thread and it's research: http://www.techpowerup.com/forums/showthread.php?t=161273&highlight=replace x-230

    I may need to go back through it and re-read. But honestly at this point I'm kinda stuck with my speakers.

    :toast:
  4. tigger

    tigger I'm the only one

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    I guess you need a nice small 2 channel amp.

    My monitors were really cheap, and they sound great, even without a sub.
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  5. BumbleBee

    BumbleBee

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  6. Kursah

    Kursah

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    Thanks for the links! I was looking at the n22, but like the rest you linked are out of my budget range of $100.

    Hmm...this is gonna be a challenge.

    I am looking at this: https://www.springwateraudio.com/st...duct_info&cPath=1&products_id=51#.Umm_BfmshcY

    But even that pushes my budget....and I'd have no sub out like i do now, requiring me to use my current wiring mess.

    I was thinking the Sherwood RX4105: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B0002EPWC0/?tag=tec06d-20

    That was going to be one I was gonna choose back when I decided to move on from my logitech speakers...and maybe I should have went that way. But it's a huge stereo receiver, though weighing in at 20 pounds and solid reviews makes it seem like a solid buy. But I couldn't put my monitor on it, nor have room for a full size receiver on my desk. Hence why I like the little amps. I really like the SMSL SA-98E, I just wish it had a sub out.

    I guess I could stick with analogue audio and just have it that my HP amp has to be on to have my speaker amp on...

    I wish that TEAC was more affordable!
  7. BumbleBee

    BumbleBee

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    I really don't like Class T amplifiers because of the high distortion and clipping. a lot of people praise them but you can find just as many people complaining they break.

    I read nothing but good things about the TEAC. you could try looking for a used or b-stock unit.



    the products at these audio shows are very expensive!

    I really like the Musical Paradise MP-301 but you need really sensitive speakers (93 dB and higher).

    I don't envy your situation :p
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  8. Kursah

    Kursah

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    Well the more I look at the Sherwood RX4105 the more I wonder if I could make it work..I don't NEED a receiver that damn large though.

    The more I look at that Emotiva Mini-X a-100 the more I am drawn to it.

    I still really like the SMSL SA-98E, but it doesn't seem to be as well covered out there. And you are right class T does have it's ups and downs, but is more specific to my budget type. It does seem there are some good ones out there too, my Dayton was not great...but it was pretty damn good right up until it's death. There has to be solutions for different budgets that work very well. I continue my research as I just don't have the funds to really go over the $100 mark. :(

    Thanks for the solutions thus far guys! :toast:
  9. Kursah

    Kursah

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    This is a tough spot I'm in! Too many directions to go...if I could blow $500 and be done with it I would!

    Now I'm debating whether or not I should keep the FiiO E9 HP amp, or ditch it and get a receiver that hopefully has a solid HP amp or go back to using my Forte's amp (which is honestly pretty decent...I just prefer the E9's extra bit of power and the volume knob).

    Started a thread with more detail on Head-Fi as well: http://www.head-fi.org/t/687599/my-amp-died-need-suggestions-100-200-budget

    Adds some more details to my situation, and I've increased my budget to a she doesn't know but will kill me when she does $200...lol. I want to know exactly what I'm getting into before I dive in..and any suggestions are welcome! Thanks for the help so far!

    :toast:
  10. Kursah

    Kursah

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    Well might be avoiding small amps altogether.

    The small amps I am looking at seriously are:

    Emotiva mini-X a-100 - $169.99

    PROS: On sale for $169, but still spendy, lots of power with really good reviews, 5-year warranty, has line out as well and 3 different ways it can be powered on, size should fit nicely for my needs, claims true 50wpc, which will be a HUGE increase over the Dayton on it's best day.

    CONS: May have to move the FiiO E9 to a new location to make room since this is a dedicated speaker amp and factors larger than the Dayton, not sure if line-out is affected by internal volume or not as it's a chaining line-out. Something that size should have a headphone output as well imho (me being picky tho...because then I can sell my FiiO and recoup some losses). Power switch on the back, not sure if any of it's featured power-on options will work for my needs...this thing will be under my computer monitor stand...I can reach behind it, but it'll be kind of a pain...also don't see the need to have it on all the time either.

    Maverick Tubemagic A1 - $199.99

    PROS: 2 amps in one, Tube and SS, Speaker and Headphone, size will fit under my monitor stand, should power my speakers (84db) at least decently well, power swtich on the front, fairly good reviews, can change out tubes and mod. Will power my ear gear better than my FiiO E9 and is recommended for bassheads (me!). Tube amp for headphones is praised and upgrade-able.

    CONS: Maxes out my budget, only ~20wpc for Speaker Amp may not be loud enough...but I wonder if it would at least be close to what the DTA-100a was? Line out is not muted when using headphones meaning if you use it for a SUB it will always be going regardless of output you use, meaning I need to use Hi-Level inputs again. Some complain on humming noises, but that seems to have been from initial models 2 years ago.

    That's it for the little guys now. I did some more researching...and the LP-2020+ even with a better PSU won't necessarily feed what I want and as had been stated class-T amps aren't necessarily the most dependable..at least cheap ones.

    So then we move onto the big toys...the receivers. I am hesitant because of the space and power consumption of these beasts...that and it seems touch-and-go with the headphone output circuit on more modern receivers. Yet I don't have the money nor time to maintain an older receiver unit. I need something that works and will work. If I decide to tinker with it, fine...but I don't have time to fix...or I should say fix when I should be enjoying my tunes! :D

    I have looked at Sony, Sherwood, Onkyo, Denon, Pioneer, Yamaha, and a couple others as well...I think I may have narrowed my search down to:

    DENON AVR-1312 - $129.99 + $20+ S/H

    PROS: A ton of features and connectivity, stronger value, ready to move to 5.1 when I am, if I end up going that route in the future I won't need to upgrade, plenty of expand-ability. Sub-out rca port, tons of inputs. Good reviews even for the most basic in this line of AVR's. Plenty of power, 75wpc (my speakers are spec'd for 80). Will even be ready for HDMI fun if i get my TV back from the bedroom. Then I can wall mount it and use the shelf for my amps and goodies...hmm I just thought about this. Has a 1/4" headphone jack, that if powered enough will allow me to sell the FiiO E9 to recoup some of my over $100 expense budget losses. Though, I still have the Auzen, which has amped HP jacks on the card and amps the front port as well. If I decide to go digital, this AVR has a DAC...not sure if it matches the DAC that my card has yet or not. But if I were to downsize my PC and ditch the sound card and onboard processing, I'd be ready. I love Denon products! My D2000's are amazing, and I've had great experience with their other goodies over the years.

    CONS: HUGE, not sure how I'd make it work with my current config! Lowest model on the totem pole, so offers the least in features and extra goodies...though I don't plan to make this a home theater, yet...it's my PC/office/workbench entertainment area. The one I'd be buying is a refurb, but has a 1-year warranty. Does the HP output have enough power to supplement my E9 so I could sell that and recoup my losses?




    Well that's what I have for now... it's narrowed down...all choices are more than my initial budget allows and I'm still not sure how I'll scrape up enough to choose any of them. The closer to $100 the better...which favors the Denon. The more power the better...Denon. Sub out preferred... Denon. Fit my desk.. either small AMP. Headphone amp to replace E9...Maverick A1.

    So far I'm feeling like the Denon may be my best choice period. I am hesitant because I don't know about the headphone output nor how I'll fit it on my desk atm.

    Decisions..decisions. I've spent too many hours this weekend researching this...as I do when I upgrade or make any decision. I didn't go receiver last time...I'm thinking it may be time. Thoughts? Anyone use that receiver? The 1612 is 199.99 on that site refurbished...so it'd be $220-ish shipped...that's just too much right now. It has a better DAC, network capabilities (I think), EQ, etc.
  11. tigger

    tigger I'm the only one

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    I like the denon, but then I've always liked denon stuff
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  12. FR@NK

    FR@NK

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    I like that Denon aswell, it should work fine for powering a 2.1 setup.

    Although I notice it doesnt have any preouts or even analog 5.1 inputs.
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  13. Kursah

    Kursah

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    Good call FR@NK. It must only accept digital 5.1. Which whatever..my best DAC and audio on my Auzen is to the Front channels/headphone amp outputs...the other channels are more mediocre standard duty iirc from my research.

    I really like the Denon too...I found the 1513 is only $25 more...but I am researching if the newer model is worth it or not.

    My biggest deal now is with the headphone output...how the volume works with different headphones and earbuds, how it drives them, etc. I can't seem to find anything anywhere on that...I would assume it "should" work quite nicely with my Denon D2000 headphones that are super easy to drive and in that case there should be no issues. But it's merely an assumption.

    Thanks guys! I am really leaning towards it the Denon 1312 atm.
  14. BumbleBee

    BumbleBee

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    I forgot about Maverick Audio. 20 watts can be a lot or a little. your speakers are hard to drive because they have a sensitivity of 84 dB and you need double the wattage for every +3 dB increase in SPL.

    1 watt makes 84 dB
    2 watts make 87 dB
    4 watts make 90 dB
    8 watts makes 93 dB
    16 watts makes 96 dB

    etc.
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  15. Kursah

    Kursah

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    Well some more research and talking with others and I am going to find a way to afford the Denon AVR-1612 or 1613. There's a $10 difference, the 13 uses networking and can do firmware updates over network, streaming, internet radio, etc...the 12 has no networking, needs dropped off for firmware.

    The 13 series just has more internet media and connectivity capabilities. Might be nice later on...worth $10? Maybe...
  16. Kursah

    Kursah

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    Well I ordered the Denon AVR-1613 a couple nights ago, should arrive on the 6th. Looking forward to it! I've been comparing the FiiO E9 to my Auzen on the rear port, and FP. The FP has the most aggressive volume and goes the loudest without distortion to my ears...the E9 in close second (though pushes my JVC HADX3's better...I've yet to break out my D2000's. I'm trying to tune my HARX700's so I can maybe sell my other phones). The rear HP amp port on my Forte is good...but I've only tried it with my HARX700 at this time. But it seems to have a lower volume responsiveness...though I haven't cranked it yet.

    I'm thinking I may still sell the E9. We'll see. I do wish the Auzen would mute the speakers when a pair of headphones was plugged into the rear jack too...it does on the front which works beautifully. I'm honestly surprised at just how good the sound is from the FP connection!

    I can't wait to get that Denon on my desk and make it fit and wire it up lol! Gonna be a huge chore...may rewire my desk too while I'm at it. For the price and 1-year warranty, the refurb 1613 should treat me very well for a long time...or well I'll be stuck to headphones for a while!

    :toast:
  17. tigger

    tigger I'm the only one

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    Good buy if you ask me, but for now I love the little active speakers. I don't know the wattage but they go very loud indeed.
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  18. Kursah

    Kursah

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    Well I forgot to update this thread!

    So I got really sick about the time my Denon AVR-1613 showed up and am still on the mend, but 10000X better! I got the Denon hooked up, and WOW. Blown away...easily worth the 2X the Class-T amp it replaced! Sure it's a large 5.1 receiver but it's amazing! The headphone output has tons of power, and I'm using analogue to the receiver because digital doesn't transfer EQ-ing for some reason...probably a Creative or Auzen thing. I was under the assumption it should. Oh well...sounds great anyways. My speakers sound AAAAAMAZING! My sub hasn't ever sounded better and I have yet to use the included mic and EQ setup that many people praise Denon receivers for.

    If you are doing a good 2.1 setup and have the room...I highly recommend one of these! Accessories4less shipped it fast, and packaged pretty darn well too! I am super impressed and content with my investment! I haven't turned on my FiiO E9 since getting the Denon btw. :D

    :toast:

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