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  1. #1
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    Gallium Nitride Class D Amplifiers

    In my recent research for a possible upgrade to my current amp (Benchmark (AHB2) I was reading about the new higher end design for Class D. I'm very interested in learning more about these new GaN(Gallium Nitride) designs. Three companies are offering some very well reviewed products and they are not going crazy with Watts per channel:

    Orchard Audio offers a 250 watt Amp

    AGD a 100 watt

    Atmos-Phere also a 100 watt

    What's interesting is while Orchard is a new company AGD and Atmos-Phere have been around a while producing high end Tube amps. In almost every review it is noted how these newer designs sound like Class A or Tubes with all the benefits of Solid State. One reviewer couldn't go back to his tube amps after extended listening to the Orchard. No wonder AGD and Atmos-Phere are getting into this technology. It's very exciting as these amps are highly efficient turning over 90% of the power they draw into sound compared to about 78% with A/B designs and I believe even significantly lower for Class A. They run cool and usually weigh between 10-28lbs. I plan to do more investigation. Small size and light weight with decent power is very attractive. There are also mono block offerings for more power if needed. These are not cheap Class D products. They are well designed and constructed.

    Orchard Audio's base model is around $2700and their Dual mono version with larger power supplies is $5500.

    Both AGD and Atoms-Phere are $5000

    Mono blocks for each are about twice the cost.

    Has anyone had any experience, demos, etc ., with these types of GaN Class D amps?

  2. #2
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    Re: Gallium Nitride Class D Amplifiers

    The AGD room at the Florida Audio Expo has been a favorite of mine for a few years.
    Main System

    Lumin X1 > Boulder 1161 > Scansonic MB3.5 B

    Headphones

    Home: HiFiMan Susvara > Schiit Lyr+
    Portable: Focal Radiance > AQ Dragonfly Cobalt / Chord Hugo 2

  3. #3
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    Re: Gallium Nitride Class D Amplifiers

    I heard the ADG with a speaker I'm not familiar with, I believe the name was Ocean Wave. This was at a show, I thought the sound was good.

    One or two members have the Atmosphere and Ralph pops in from time to time.

    Future Audiophile reviews a lot of Class D but they really seem to push them. They don't try to hide the bias.

    Not long ago I was hunting an amp and didn't want one that weighed 100 lbs. My amp then weighed 65 lbs. the replacement weighs 107. Not looking forward to moving it again but my ears are happy.
    Aurender ACS10 w/Audioquest Diamond USB, Esoteric N05xd
    Mark Levinson #526, 534 & JBL 4367's
    Clearaudio Performance DC w/Maestro cart
    Clarus Concerto & their Crimson cables

    HT: Marantz AV8003, Linn 5125, JBL SAM3ha, Revel s30,
    SVS PC13 Ultra
    Transparent, Analysis Plus & Tributaries. PS Audio filtering
    Sony XBR-75X940D & BDP
    Parasound P6, MBL 8006b, Artisan speakers/subwoofer

  4. #4
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    Re: Gallium Nitride Class D Amplifiers

    No mention of Merrill Audio (which seemed to make quite a splash several years ago)? Not inexpensive though.

  5. #5
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    Re: Gallium Nitride Class D Amplifiers

    Mr Peabody

    I can’t imagine dealing with 107 pound amps.

  6. #6
    Senior Member
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    Oct 2014
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    Re: Gallium Nitride Class D Amplifiers

    Love my Atma-Sphere “Class D” monoblocks. Light weight, cool running, more powerful than my DIY Firstwatt amps. These amps have linear power supplies, and have both RCA and balanced XLR inputs.

    I have 95 db speakers, so 100 watts is great, in fact I use -10 db adapters. I do plan to get the pre-amp adjusted (resistor change for -6 db).

    Being class A fan previously, I use a tubed pre-amp, but the amps run great straight from the DAC. Ralph did a great job designing, and voicing, these amps.
    Amplification : Modwright LS300 - Atma-Sphere "Class D" monoblocks
    Digital : MSB Premier DAC+Digital Director, Oppo 203, Sonos Port (W4S mod)
    Analog : Technics SL1200G, Boulder 508
    Speakers : Daedalus Audio Muse Studio
    Headphone : BHSE + Voce

  7. #7
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    Re: Gallium Nitride Class D Amplifiers

    Quote Originally Posted by Bones13 View Post
    Love my Atma-Sphere “Class D” monoblocks. Light weight, cool running, more powerful than my DIY Firstwatt amps. These amps have linear power supplies, and have both RCA and balanced XLR inputs.

    I have 95 db speakers, so 100 watts is great, in fact I use -10 db adapters. I do plan to get the pre-amp adjusted (resistor change for -6 db).

    Being class A fan previously, I use a tubed pre-amp, but the amps run great straight from the DAC. Ralph did a great job designing, and voicing, these amps.
    Yes, I have the Atma-Sphere Class D monos too. I'm very pleased with them after previously using SET tube amps. No regrets in switching.

    For me, the "Class" of an amp or whether it's tube or ss is irrelevant - it's just the sound that matters and how much enjoyment I get from listening. I home-auditioned many ss amps and chose a Purifi Eligentakt based one that matched or bettered the others and my earlier SETs. Recently I bought the A-S amps and there's very little difference though perhaps (hopefully) I'll notice a bigger difference when I upgrade my preamp.
    Sources - NAD M50.2 (streamer, CD player, CD ripper, hard drive music store)
    Amplification - NAD M33 all-in-one, NAD M12 preamp (in reserve), Atma-Sphere Class D monos
    Speakers - Avantgarde Duo XD, Avantgarde Duo (2006) - both aesthetically modified

  8. #8
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    Re: Gallium Nitride Class D Amplifiers

    When Merrill went to the Element series the amps went out of my budget reach. I have still yet to hear one.

    I did get to audition his former top of the line monoblocks in my system. I wanted to like them. I heard a set at Axpona driving Sadurna horns and the sound was incredible. In my system they were fast and clean, neutral. I was using Pass at the time and maybe the contrast was to much at the time. I just wasn't engaged.


    Quote Originally Posted by GSOphile View Post
    No mention of Merrill Audio (which seemed to make quite a splash several years ago)? Not inexpensive though.
    Aurender ACS10 w/Audioquest Diamond USB, Esoteric N05xd
    Mark Levinson #526, 534 & JBL 4367's
    Clearaudio Performance DC w/Maestro cart
    Clarus Concerto & their Crimson cables

    HT: Marantz AV8003, Linn 5125, JBL SAM3ha, Revel s30,
    SVS PC13 Ultra
    Transparent, Analysis Plus & Tributaries. PS Audio filtering
    Sony XBR-75X940D & BDP
    Parasound P6, MBL 8006b, Artisan speakers/subwoofer

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Gallium Nitride Class D Amplifiers

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