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How to make a SS amp sound like a Class A?

Overdose

Well-known member
Feb 8, 2008
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plastic penguin said:
Nope, not getting rid of my Leema, interested in seeing how close one could get without the amp losing its essential qualities... what speakers and source.
Some solid state amps are class A, or have I missed the point?:?
 

plastic penguin

Well-known member
Apr 28, 2008
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Overdose said:
plastic penguin said:
Nope, not getting rid of my Leema, interested in seeing how close one could get without the amp losing its essential qualities... what speakers and source.
Some solid state amps are class A, or have I missed the point?:?
Yes, I was trying to be a little subtle. Clearly it didn't work on this occasion.
 

chebby

Well-known member
Jun 2, 2008
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The Pulse is a class A/B amp, but the point at which it goes to class B is virtually at 'switch on' (or about 0.5 watts).

Some A/B amps 'switch over' to class B at a much higher output (ATC amps remain in class A operation until about 2/3rds of their maximum output for instance).

So, practically speaking, the Pulse is never going to operate in class A even at very low outputs.
 

Electro

Well-known member
Mar 30, 2011
43
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I don't think you can make any amp sound like class A if it is not class A :?

The main difference in the class A sound comes from the complete elimination of crossover distortion which is a type of distortion that can make an amplifier sound grainy and harsh .

Class A operation completely eliminates this type of distortion but at the cost of low efficiency and considerable heat output combined with large size and weight .

Just because an amplifier is a class A design it does not automatically mean it will sound better than any other type of amp ie AB / B OR D , in my opinion the quality of design and the parts used are equally important to good sound quality but CNO may not agree with my last statement :grin: ;) .
 

plastic penguin

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Apr 28, 2008
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So my Pulse, let's say, with Harbeth speakers wouldn't sound anything other than analytical? With certain music it does sound quite organic or earthy, but other music, generally remastered stuff, it can sound a bit mechanical.
 

Electro

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Mar 30, 2011
43
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Overdose said:
Crossover distortion? So whatever this is, Class A amps eliminate it?

Edit: I see, yes. Not the speaker type crossover then.
No nothing to do with the speaker crossover .

Here is a good explanation .

http://www.electronics-tutorials.ws/amplifier/amp_7.html
 

chebby

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Jun 2, 2008
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plastic penguin said:
So my Pulse, let's say, with Harbeth speakers wouldn't sound anything other than analytical? With certain music it does sound quite organic or earthy, but other music, generally remastered stuff, it can sound a bit mechanical.
I can get my head around 'analytical' (just), but you've totally lost me with 'organic', 'earthy' and 'mechanical'.

As for Harbeths, the designer has always said (over and over again) to use any amplifier that is working properly and is operated within it's designed limits.

I'm pretty sure your Leema will be fine.
 

Electro

Well-known member
Mar 30, 2011
43
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One thing I will say is that if you listen to a well designed class A or high bias class AB amplifier then the absence of crossover distortion is very obvious IMHO :)
 

plastic penguin

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Apr 28, 2008
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chebby said:
plastic penguin said:
So my Pulse, let's say, with Harbeth speakers wouldn't sound anything other than analytical? With certain music it does sound quite organic or earthy, but other music, generally remastered stuff, it can sound a bit mechanical.
I can get my head around 'analytical' (just), but you've totally lost me with 'organic', 'earthy' and 'mechanical'.

As for Harbeths, the designer has always said (over and over again) to use any amplifier that is working properly and is operated within it's designed limits.

I'm pretty sure your Leema will be fine.
What I mean by "earthy" or "organic", think of vegetables. Organic veg should be grown naturally and therefore taste natural. There you have it "totally natural" sounding amp. Play disco types songs, acoustic stuff and it sounds great. However, its achilles heel is female vocals like Adele, Joss Stone or Simon & Garfunkel (remastered), Beatles (remastered) and it sounds a little cold.

Perhaps that's the compromise... don't really know, hence the question.
 

BenLaw

Well-known member
Nov 21, 2010
475
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Why don't you a demo a class A amp with your speakers? Then you will see whether it improves the music you describe. Personally I would have thought you'll have more room for improvement, and certainly more scope for a different sound, by changing your speakers. Which I thought was what you were looking at doing anyway?
 

Covenanter

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Jul 20, 2012
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plastic penguin said:
chebby said:
plastic penguin said:
So my Pulse, let's say, with Harbeth speakers wouldn't sound anything other than analytical? With certain music it does sound quite organic or earthy, but other music, generally remastered stuff, it can sound a bit mechanical.
I can get my head around 'analytical' (just), but you've totally lost me with 'organic', 'earthy' and 'mechanical'.

As for Harbeths, the designer has always said (over and over again) to use any amplifier that is working properly and is operated within it's designed limits.

I'm pretty sure your Leema will be fine.
What I mean by "earthy" or "organic", think of vegetables. Organic veg should be grown naturally and therefore taste natural. There you have it "totally natural" sounding amp. Play disco types songs, acoustic stuff and it sounds great. However, its achilles heel is female vocals like Adele, Joss Stone or Simon & Garfunkel (remastered), Beatles (remastered) and it sounds a little cold.

Perhaps that's the compromise... don't really know, hence the question.
Without trying to be rude, and apologies if you think it is, why did you buy it if it sounds "cold"? Didn't you audition it?

Chris
 

BenLaw

Well-known member
Nov 21, 2010
475
7
18,895
plastic penguin said:
What I mean by "earthy" or "organic", think of vegetables. Organic veg should be grown naturally and therefore taste natural. There you have it "totally natural" sounding amp.
Or go for something like this:



(Technically a fruit, I know, but you get the idea.)
 

plastic penguin

Well-known member
Apr 28, 2008
1,671
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Covenanter said:
plastic penguin said:
chebby said:
plastic penguin said:
So my Pulse, let's say, with Harbeth speakers wouldn't sound anything other than analytical? With certain music it does sound quite organic or earthy, but other music, generally remastered stuff, it can sound a bit mechanical.
I can get my head around 'analytical' (just), but you've totally lost me with 'organic', 'earthy' and 'mechanical'.

As for Harbeths, the designer has always said (over and over again) to use any amplifier that is working properly and is operated within it's designed limits.

I'm pretty sure your Leema will be fine.
What I mean by "earthy" or "organic", think of vegetables. Organic veg should be grown naturally and therefore taste natural. There you have it "totally natural" sounding amp. Play disco types songs, acoustic stuff and it sounds great. However, its achilles heel is female vocals like Adele, Joss Stone or Simon & Garfunkel (remastered), Beatles (remastered) and it sounds a little cold.

Perhaps that's the compromise... don't really know, hence the question.
Without trying to be rude, and apologies if you think it is, why did you buy it if it sounds "cold"? Didn't you audition it?

Chris
Not rude at all - as I mentioned before all equipment below silly money is going to be compromised, and the speakers I heard improve a wonderful amp. Therefore just gauging opinion on how far one thinks an amp of the Leema quality can be taken (or how close to Class A or valve amp). The other reason for mentioning Harbeth or even Sonus Fabers...
 

BenLaw

Well-known member
Nov 21, 2010
475
7
18,895
plastic penguin said:
Covenanter said:
plastic penguin said:
chebby said:
plastic penguin said:
So my Pulse, let's say, with Harbeth speakers wouldn't sound anything other than analytical? With certain music it does sound quite organic or earthy, but other music, generally remastered stuff, it can sound a bit mechanical.
I can get my head around 'analytical' (just), but you've totally lost me with 'organic', 'earthy' and 'mechanical'.

As for Harbeths, the designer has always said (over and over again) to use any amplifier that is working properly and is operated within it's designed limits.

I'm pretty sure your Leema will be fine.
What I mean by "earthy" or "organic", think of vegetables. Organic veg should be grown naturally and therefore taste natural. There you have it "totally natural" sounding amp. Play disco types songs, acoustic stuff and it sounds great. However, its achilles heel is female vocals like Adele, Joss Stone or Simon & Garfunkel (remastered), Beatles (remastered) and it sounds a little cold.

Perhaps that's the compromise... don't really know, hence the question.
Without trying to be rude, and apologies if you think it is, why did you buy it if it sounds "cold"? Didn't you audition it?

Chris
Not rude at all - as I mentioned before all equipment below silly money is going to be compromised, and the speakers I heard improve a wonderful amp. Therefore just gauging opinion on how far one thinks an amp of the Leema quality can be taken (or how close to Class A or valve amp). The other reason for mentioning Harbeth or even Sonus Fabers...
You say 'how close to' as though there is a pecking order with valve and class a above your leema. Some might think so, but probably a minority. More realistically, they're just different. So a good, price comparable valve amp will sound different from your leema, but not inherently better. IMO this isn't about 'taking' the quality of your amp anywhere; it's a good amp but if you want a different sound try a different one, class a and valves included.
 

plastic penguin

Well-known member
Apr 28, 2008
1,671
119
19,870
BenLaw said:
plastic penguin said:
Covenanter said:
plastic penguin said:
chebby said:
plastic penguin said:
So my Pulse, let's say, with Harbeth speakers wouldn't sound anything other than analytical? With certain music it does sound quite organic or earthy, but other music, generally remastered stuff, it can sound a bit mechanical.
I can get my head around 'analytical' (just), but you've totally lost me with 'organic', 'earthy' and 'mechanical'.

As for Harbeths, the designer has always said (over and over again) to use any amplifier that is working properly and is operated within it's designed limits.

I'm pretty sure your Leema will be fine.
What I mean by "earthy" or "organic", think of vegetables. Organic veg should be grown naturally and therefore taste natural. There you have it "totally natural" sounding amp. Play disco types songs, acoustic stuff and it sounds great. However, its achilles heel is female vocals like Adele, Joss Stone or Simon & Garfunkel (remastered), Beatles (remastered) and it sounds a little cold.

Perhaps that's the compromise... don't really know, hence the question.
Without trying to be rude, and apologies if you think it is, why did you buy it if it sounds "cold"? Didn't you audition it?

Chris
Not rude at all - as I mentioned before all equipment below silly money is going to be compromised, and the speakers I heard improve a wonderful amp. Therefore just gauging opinion on how far one thinks an amp of the Leema quality can be taken (or how close to Class A or valve amp). The other reason for mentioning Harbeth or even Sonus Fabers...
You say 'how close to' as though there is a pecking order with valve and class a above your leema. Some might think so, but probably a minority. More realistically, they're just different. So a good, price comparable valve amp will sound different from your leema, but not inherently better. IMO this isn't about 'taking' the quality of your amp anywhere; it's a good amp but if you want a different sound try a different one, class a and valves included.
This is why I'm asking - heard Class A amp about 2.5 years ago and valve amps a lot further back, plus these growing numbers of valve/Class A users is making me slightly paranoid.

Don't get me wrong I absolutely love the sound 'as is', but really looking to see if I can get closer to the ideal sound with speaker/source change.
 

Covenanter

Well-known member
Jul 20, 2012
63
0
18,540
I wonder if you might do best by upgrading the speakers? I'm one of those who thinks that speakers are the most important part of a system (as long as you have a decent source) and if you like MA speakers then maybe look at the RX8s?

Chris
 

BenLaw

Well-known member
Nov 21, 2010
475
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18,895
plastic penguin said:
This is why I'm asking - heard Class A amp about 2.5 years ago and valve amps a lot further back, plus these growing numbers of valve/Class A users is making me slightly paranoid.

Don't get me wrong I absolutely love the sound 'as is', but really looking to see if I can get closer to the ideal sound with speaker/source change.
Well, don't let what other people say make you paranoid. If you love the sound, don't change for the sake of change or because of what anyone else says. If, however, from your experience 2.5 years ago you heard something 'more ideal' then go do some more listening, you never seem to have much problem sourcing something to listen to. I have to say I'm surprised at your 'hankering' as you've always said how happy you are with your setup. And as I say, my understanding was that if you were looking to change anything it would be your speakers. As you are so enamoured with the Leema, I'd suggest that's where to look if you really do fancy a change.
 

CnoEvil

New member
Aug 21, 2009
556
8
0
Electro said:
I don't think you can make any amp sound like class A if it is not class A :?

The main difference in the class A sound comes from the complete elimination of crossover distortion which is a type of distortion that can make an amplifier sound grainy and harsh .

Class A operation completely eliminates this type of distortion but at the cost of low efficiency and considerable heat output combined with large size and weight .

Just because an amplifier is a class A design it does not automatically mean it will sound better than any other type of amp ie AB / B OR D , in my opinion the quality of design and the parts used are equally important to good sound quality but CNO may not agree with my last statement :grin: ;) .
@ Electro

I pretty much agree with all of this. Class A has to be done right to sound good, and that isn't going to be cheap, especially for SS. There are SS amps that claim "A" status, that are in fact "hi-bias" amps. It so happens that (imo) most SS Class A sound better, but it is not a cast iron guarantee.....and may be because there aren't very many of them.

Tube amps are like everything else ie. good and bad.

@PP

I believe that nothing really sounds like a Valve amp, except a Valve amp. I also agree that nothing sounds like a SS Class A amp unless it is fully biassed away from the "B".

You can get a hint of it by careful choice of source and speakers, that minimize the digitalitus that can afflict systems......though some people are more sensitive to it than others.

Well designed CDPs or DACs that incorporate tubes can help. The Rega Dac is also one of the more "analogue" sounding out there.

Speakers can greatly help, with brands like Harbeth and SF (as you've pointed out) and some of the Spendor range. The Kef R series are always worth a listen as well.
 

CnoEvil

New member
Aug 21, 2009
556
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0
iceman16 said:
Hi PP, Have you heard the Focal 816W SE? Btw,my AMS35i still gives me some goosebumps >)
Glad you're enjoying it.......just wait till you get the the "right" source!
 

chebby

Well-known member
Jun 2, 2008
1,232
4
19,195
Oh, and class A solid-state amps consume a LOT of electricity. Just reading the specs of one particular 20wpc example that uses 192 watts even when 'resting'.

They also get hot, very hot, especially when powered on but doing nothing. So lots of ventilation.
 

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