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

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CnoEvil

New member
Aug 21, 2009
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SteveR750 said:
System matching, surely.
Yes, but just trying to put a little "meat on the bones".

Though it has to be born in mind what a wise old bird has said on here - "Why drive something like a Golf...........".
 

plastic penguin

Well-known member
Apr 28, 2008
1,636
83
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Covenanter said:
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
RX8 are too big and all-consuming for my room - really want away from those dreaded hard domed tweeters that MA produce. That's not fair, they are wonderful speakers and had years of real pleasure but they do limit the choice of amp and source as I've found to my (emotional) cost.
 
T

the record spot

Guest
Maybe worth pointing out, if it's not already been done, that you're at the mercy to some extent of the quality of the mastering of the recorded material and the production in general.

Two Class A amps worth considering would be XTZ's D100 A3 and the Jungson 88A the latter of which doesn't seem to run excessively hot.
 

Overdose

New 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.
I know you're not really a digital type of chap, but have you considered EQ? The article below is a bit dated, but is very informative. EQ can pretty much give you whatever type sound you desire, subject to speaker limitations, which I'm sure you wouldn't have.

http://www.soundonsound.com/sos/dec01/articles/warmth.asp
 

SteveR750

New member
Mar 11, 2005
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The only Class A amp I have ever liked came out of Milton Keynes in 1986. I suspect it's class A/B when set to Hi Gain.

I can't comment on a tube hi fi amp as I've never heard one, but there is a vast difference between transistor and tube guitar amps, in fact a huge sonic difference in valve class A and A/B, but then they are for a lot of the time designed to sound good when clipped, which a SS amp doesn't naturally.
 
A

Anonymous

Guest
SteveR750 said:
The only Class A amp I have ever liked came out of Milton Keynes in 1986. I suspect it's class A/B when set to Hi Gain.

I can't comment on a tube hi fi amp as I've never heard one, but there is a vast difference between transistor and tube guitar amps, in fact a huge sonic difference in valve class A and A/B, but then they are for a lot of the time designed to sound good when clipped, which a SS amp doesn't naturally.
So what's the bigger difference? Vast or huge? :p
 

ID.

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Feb 22, 2010
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plastic penguin said:
However, its achilles heel is female vocals like Adele, Joss Stone or Simon & Garfunkel (remastered), Beatles (remastered) and it sounds a little cold.
Interesting, because that is probably the standout strength of my class D amplification... maybe you want it to sound more like a class D amp...or just start to casually audition more speakers to see whether they bring you what you are looking for :)
 

Singslinger

New member
Jul 31, 2010
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Class A amps are supposed to be warm, revealing and detailed, so perhaps a switch to a speaker with those characteristics? I'm sure there are many forum members who would be able to suggest suitable alternatives - Harbeth for example, has already been mentioned. I'd add one from left field - US maker Joseph Audio's Pulsar speaker is as warm and detailed as they get. If they are available in the UK, they might be worth a listen.

Alternatively, perhaps some mains treatment (if you don't already have any) such as PS Audio's Perfect Wave PS10 might help. Good luck!

PS I do use a class A amp - the Accuphase E-560.
 

CJSF

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May 25, 2011
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Class A, B XYZ!!! . . . In all my years, it has never been a consideration, maybe that because I have always been a valve man . . . the bottom line has always been, what does the sound do for me? PP, you are looking at the greener grass over the fence . . . some of your music is to your liking, some not so good, may I respectfully suggest its the sours/material and treatment there of? You seem to me to be going around in circles rather than accepting that there are differences that cannot be resolved easily.

You note in your signature, "loads of cable" . . . why not back track, you might find a combination that is more to your liking and dont ignore the cheap stuff! Check through your system, the little points, cable connections etc., by the way, I believe . . . 'I know' cable can be direction, keep this in mind. I was getting unhappy with my sound a couple of weeks ago, worked through all connections and variables, finally found one of the speaker stand floor spikes was not grounded properly, all is now sweetness and light.

Reading these pages, it seems to me, often, a good sound is found, but there is always an itch . . . trying to scratch that itch throws everything off. The road back seems hard to find for some?

Dont bother with the music that is not engineered to your liking . . . :doh: I do this all the time with my preferred digital source, dip toe in, no, not my type of music, or, I dont remember it like that, move on quickly.

CJSF
 

Electro

Well-known member
Mar 30, 2011
43
2
18,545
Many people say that class A amps sound warmer than other type of amps but this has not been my experience , it might just be a psychological effect because class A amps are warm or hot to the touch :)

Also I think people mistake the effects of class B crossover distortion as brightness or a cold sound so when they hear a class A or high bias class AB amplifier and it sounds smooth and detailed without any harsh grainy distortion the sound appears warmer or more ear friendly for want of a better description .

Changing speakers for others with a rolled off top or recessed mid can lessen some of the bad effects of class B crossover distortion but never eliminate it and only leads to frustration and disappointment in the long term IMO .

The only way to get that class A crossover distortion free sound is with a well designed class A or high bias class AB amplifier , this is why people like myself and CNO are constantly recommending these types of amplifier . ;)
 

plastic penguin

Well-known member
Apr 28, 2008
1,636
83
19,770
CJSF said:
Class A, B XYZ!!! . . . In all my years, it has never been a consideration, maybe that because I have always been a valve man . . . the bottom line has always been, what does the sound do for me? PP, you are looking at the greener grass over the fence . . . some of your music is to your liking, some not so good, may I respectfully suggest its the sours/material and treatment there of? You seem to me to be going around in circles rather than accepting that there are differences that cannot be resolved easily.

You note in your signature, "loads of cable" . . . why not back track, you might find a combination that is more to your liking and dont ignore the cheap stuff! Check through your system, the little points, cable connections etc., by the way, I believe . . . 'I know' cable can be direction, keep this in mind. I was getting unhappy with my sound a couple of weeks ago, worked through all connections and variables, finally found one of the speaker stand floor spikes was not grounded properly, all is now sweetness and light.

Reading these pages, it seems to me, often, a good sound is found, but there is always an itch . . . trying to scratch that itch throws everything off. The road back seems hard to find for some?

Dont bother with the music that is not engineered to your liking . . . :doh: I do this all the time with my preferred digital source, dip toe in, no, not my type of music, or, I dont remember it like that, move on quickly.

CJSF
No I'm not chasing my tail. As we're all hi-fi nuts, it's good explore (other) possibilities. In the main I am very happy with my set-up - this thread has confirmed, mainly, that my system's weak link is the speakers. Like all of us - or most anyway - I'm trying to push the very feasible limits of my kit, and discovering how far one can manipulate the presentation.

Can't really ever seeing myself buying a valve or a Class A amp... just not practical: They tend to use more electricity than the average SS amp, proned to overheating (my amp is used between 4-6 hours most days), and I think those reasons are more of a compromise than my one or two current issues.

No doubt once I have the money then the RS6s will be history. As I mentioned from day one, over two years ago when I purchased the Leema, it'll act as a catalyst or hub in which my whole system will be built around. The Pulse has too many strengths to discard...
 

plastic penguin

Well-known member
Apr 28, 2008
1,636
83
19,770
Electro said:
Also I think people mistake the effects of class B crossover distortion as brightness or a cold sound so when they hear a class A or high bias class AB amplifier and it sounds smooth and detailed without any harsh grainy distortion the sound appears warmer or more ear friendly for want of a better description .

Changing speakers for others with a rolled off top or recessed mid can lessen some of the bad effects of class B crossover distortion but never eliminate it and only leads to frustration and disappointment in the long term IMO . . ;)
Yes, I've found that PMC 'i' range has a slightly recessed midband, in comparison with the MAs, likewise Totems. In fact I find the Totem Arros slightly smoother than PMCs...
 

CJSF

New member
May 25, 2011
251
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0
plastic penguin said:
CJSF said:
Class A, B XYZ!!! . . . In all my years, it has never been a consideration, maybe that because I have always been a valve man . . . the bottom line has always been, what does the sound do for me? PP, you are looking at the greener grass over the fence . . . some of your music is to your liking, some not so good, may I respectfully suggest its the sours/material and treatment there of? You seem to me to be going around in circles rather than accepting that there are differences that cannot be resolved easily.

You note in your signature, "loads of cable" . . . why not back track, you might find a combination that is more to your liking and dont ignore the cheap stuff! Check through your system, the little points, cable connections etc., by the way, I believe . . . 'I know' cable can be direction, keep this in mind. I was getting unhappy with my sound a couple of weeks ago, worked through all connections and variables, finally found one of the speaker stand floor spikes was not grounded properly, all is now sweetness and light.

Reading these pages, it seems to me, often, a good sound is found, but there is always an itch . . . trying to scratch that itch throws everything off. The road back seems hard to find for some?

Dont bother with the music that is not engineered to your liking . . . :doh: I do this all the time with my preferred digital source, dip toe in, no, not my type of music, or, I dont remember it like that, move on quickly.

CJSF
No I'm not chasing my tail. As we're all hi-fi nuts, it's good explore (other) possibilities. In the main I am very happy with my set-up - this thread has confirmed, mainly, that my system's weak link is the speakers. Like all of us - or most anyway - I'm trying to push the very feasible limits of my kit, and discovering how far one can manipulate the presentation.

Can't really ever seeing myself buying a valve or a Class A amp... just not practical: They tend to use more electricity than the average SS amp, proned to overheating (my amp is used between 4-6 hours most days), and I think those reasons are more of a compromise than my one or two current issues.

No doubt once I have the money then the RS6s will be history. As I mentioned from day one, over two years ago when I purchased the Leema, it'll act as a catalyst or hub in which my whole system will be built around. The Pulse has too many strengths to discard...
'Tail chasing' . . . a personal view looking from the 'outside in' . . . seems to be a problem associated with the; . . . "hifi nut"? In the old days, we used to go round and round, in danger of disappearing down the 7mm hole in the middle:wall: Now a little older and wiser, one has learned . . . set a goal, work towards it, achieving satisfaction on reaching the goal, but the 'goal' has to be clearly defined.

" . . . The Pulse has too many strengths to discard . . . " I'm certainly not saying dump the system or that it is poor, far from it, I suggested 'back track' on what you have in stock. I found this very rewarding last year, saved me money and frustration, giving surprise and pleasure on more than one occasion with subtleties I had missed . . . :?

As for valves overheating . . . thats a misconception I have heard many times . . . by their nature of operation, they 'look and get warm', drive them hard they get very warm . . . some more than others? . . . I have never had problems with 'overheating' . . . I've seen capacitors and resistors 'burn out' in 'solid state' circuits!

However, all that said . . . if one wants the best, one has to grasp the nettle, some times at a cost . . . ??????

CJSF
 

Covenanter

New member
Jul 20, 2012
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I think you have muddied the waters a bit here by talking about Class A and Class B amplifiers. What you are hearing may be crossover distortion but I kinda doubt it. That's not to say that it doesn't exist, it is inherent in Class B amplifiers, but with modern amplifier design it's going to be a small factor and I'm not sure it would produce the results you describe anyway. What is certain is that if it is crossover distortion and you can't stand the effect then you are going to have to change the amp because trying to compensate for it will actually make things worse.

I think you are going to have fun trying to sort this out though!

Chris
 

Covenanter

New member
Jul 20, 2012
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PS WRT Adele the recording of "21" is to my mind (ears) very harsh and metallic (I suspect it has been compressed to make it sound good on cheap equipment) and I would never judge a hifi on the basis of how it sounded. In some ways it sounds better on my car's CD player than on my hifi!

What other female voices does it struggle with?

Chris
 

Rethep

Well-known member
May 2, 2011
15
0
18,520
plastic penguin said:
Can't really ever seeing myself buying a valve or a Class A amp... just not practical: They tend to use more electricity than the average SS amp, proned to overheating (my amp is used between 4-6 hours most days), and I think those reasons are more of a compromise than my one or two current issues.
Depending on your musical taste, (even cheap) valve-amps give you qualities an (even expensive, whatever class) ss-amp can only dream of! Only the bass is a different story. Even cheap ss-amps give you stronger bass than expensive valve-amps. So, if your main interest is loud and/or rythmic popmusic, look elsewhere. Otherwise, depending on the importance of your energy-bill, a valve-amp will be the best choice imo.
 

plastic penguin

Well-known member
Apr 28, 2008
1,636
83
19,770
CJSF said:
plastic penguin said:
CJSF said:
Class A, B XYZ!!! . . . In all my years, it has never been a consideration, maybe that because I have always been a valve man . . . the bottom line has always been, what does the sound do for me? PP, you are looking at the greener grass over the fence . . . some of your music is to your liking, some not so good, may I respectfully suggest its the sours/material and treatment there of? You seem to me to be going around in circles rather than accepting that there are differences that cannot be resolved easily.

You note in your signature, "loads of cable" . . . why not back track, you might find a combination that is more to your liking and dont ignore the cheap stuff! Check through your system, the little points, cable connections etc., by the way, I believe . . . 'I know' cable can be direction, keep this in mind. I was getting unhappy with my sound a couple of weeks ago, worked through all connections and variables, finally found one of the speaker stand floor spikes was not grounded properly, all is now sweetness and light.

Reading these pages, it seems to me, often, a good sound is found, but there is always an itch . . . trying to scratch that itch throws everything off. The road back seems hard to find for some?

Dont bother with the music that is not engineered to your liking . . . :doh: I do this all the time with my preferred digital source, dip toe in, no, not my type of music, or, I dont remember it like that, move on quickly.

CJSF
No I'm not chasing my tail. As we're all hi-fi nuts, it's good explore (other) possibilities. In the main I am very happy with my set-up - this thread has confirmed, mainly, that my system's weak link is the speakers. Like all of us - or most anyway - I'm trying to push the very feasible limits of my kit, and discovering how far one can manipulate the presentation.

Can't really ever seeing myself buying a valve or a Class A amp... just not practical: They tend to use more electricity than the average SS amp, proned to overheating (my amp is used between 4-6 hours most days), and I think those reasons are more of a compromise than my one or two current issues.

No doubt once I have the money then the RS6s will be history. As I mentioned from day one, over two years ago when I purchased the Leema, it'll act as a catalyst or hub in which my whole system will be built around. The Pulse has too many strengths to discard...
" . . . The Pulse has too many strengths to discard . . . " I'm certainly not saying dump the system or that it is poor, far from it, I suggested 'back track' on what you have in stock. I found this very rewarding last year, saved me money and frustration, giving surprise and pleasure on more than one occasion with subtleties I had missed . . . :?

As for valves overheating . . . thats a misconception I have heard many times . . . by their nature of operation, they 'look and get warm', drive them hard they get very warm . . . some more than others? . . . I have never had problems with 'overheating' . . . I've seen capacitors and resistors 'burn out' in 'solid state' circuits!

CJSF
Not really sure what you mean by "backtrack". I have a very basic set-up, and all my cables, apart from speaker wires, I've had years.

My reading of valve is they get inherently warm. This is why most reviews I've read on here and other mags/online reviews advise you give them plenty of space. Like a light bulb that generates heat so does a valve, that's the basic concept of a valve...

Also, the amount of hours my amp is used the valves would need to change every couple of years.
 

CnoEvil

New member
Aug 21, 2009
556
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Electro said:
Many people say that class A amps sound warmer than other type of amps but this has not been my experience , it might just be a psychological effect because class A amps are warm or hot to the touch :)

Also I think people mistake the effects of class B crossover distortion as brightness or a cold sound so when they hear a class A or high bias class AB amplifier and it sounds smooth and detailed without any harsh grainy distortion the sound appears warmer or more ear friendly for want of a better description .

Changing speakers for others with a rolled off top or recessed mid can lessen some of the bad effects of class B crossover distortion but never eliminate it and only leads to frustration and disappointment in the long term IMO .

The only way to get that class A crossover distortion free sound is with a well designed class A or high bias class AB amplifier , this is why people like myself and CNO are constantly recommending these types of amplifier . ;)
....again, I agree! :grin:
 

plastic penguin

Well-known member
Apr 28, 2008
1,636
83
19,770
Covenanter said:
PS WRT Adele the recording of "21" is to my mind (ears) very harsh and metallic (I suspect it has been compressed to make it sound good on cheap equipment) and I would never judge a hifi on the basis of how it sounded. In some ways it sounds better on my car's CD player than on my hifi!

What other female voices does it struggle with?

Chris
TBH, it doesn't struggle with any voices. Even poor quality recordings vocals sound beautifully clear, but certain albums like Adele 18, Dido, Joss Stone's 'Mind, Body & Soul' lacks a bit of depth or realism. On the flipside Kate Bush sounds wonderful and believable, likewise Nora Jones and Sheryl Crow.

The answer is certainly speaker related. I have a very good idea which ones I'd finally audition, not straight away.
 

CJSF

New member
May 25, 2011
251
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plastic penguin said:
So if valve amps aren't warmer than SS why choose them? What makes them stand out from the SS crowd?
Warm, what is warm??? thick, woolly, warm and detailed??? No PP valves are musical with potential control and authority that just does not come over on a lots of SS. Some valves are warm(er) but then one could say SS is cold and analytical . . . descriptions that are personal, any more than trying to describe an acoustic in an auditorium, there are all sorts?

I like the 'Croft' hybrid amps, they have a valve pre side doing all the good things that valves do to delicate input signals, then a meaty Mosfet power side, giving controlled welly!!! if you want welly that is. I partner my Croft with PMC speakers, some dont like that?

CJSF
 

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