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Don't think there have been many direct comparisons. Biggest differences seem to be; heat, efficiency, weight and power requirements mostly in favor of Class D amps. As for the Pioneer D3, unfortunately the only thing I have to go by is the Pioneer literature.
 

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I just laid down coin for an SC-71 after an audition last night. It replaced an old and failing VSX-43TX (class A/B). I haven't gone through setup yet so I have to go on what I heard at the audition. Both my wife and I were pleased that the basic character of the sound was very close to what we had liked about the older set. It seemed a little bright but the owner of the A/V place said he had just done the basic Auto MCACC and bright is supposedly normal in that case. I'll know better when I get it more dialed in this weekend.

FWIW
 

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The difference between Class A/B and Class D amps is simply efficiency. The sound you get from them if kept within the design limits should be the same.
Receivers with class D amps will reach much closer to the actual posted output specifications than a receiver with Class A/B amps.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
While I have not seen anything specifically negative about Pioneer D3 as it compares to A/B biased amps I have not seen anyone do a direct comparison either. I am hoping that someone has done a direct comparison and will share their opinions here. But I am also realizing that Pioneer may not be downsampling their signal as much as some other manufacturers when doing MCACC which could make the product sound better compared to a manufacturer who downsamples everything to 48kHz. (Can someone confirm that they do not downsample to 48kHz at least in their upper end products?)
 

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Im not sure where this 48kHz downsampling concern is coming from? I challenge anyone to actually hear the difference between that and a higher sample rate.
 

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Please explain the 48kHz downsampling you are talking about.

Where is it happenings and for what purpose?

Whatever the answer is why would a higher frequency be less preferable?
 

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Hi Tony,

The difference between Class A/B and Class D amps is simply efficiency. The sound you get from them if kept within the design limits should be the same.
No and maybe.:)
Compared to AB, Class D amps tend to have higher output impedance and must have low pass output filtering to attenuate the HF switching noise.
The result of this is that they can have varied HF response depending upon load (speaker impedance, mainly at HF). So that's the "No" part.
The maybe, is that it's also entirely possible that because this variance is at high to very high frequency, coupled with the fact that the amplitude variance can be small.
So there is a chance small sound differences can be heard...and a chance they can't. This of course excludes the imaginary stuff possibilities.:)
Don't know the specifics of the Pioneer, but I suspect between them and their TAD division, they have done a stellar job to minimize these effects with their proprietary chips.

cheers
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Hi Tony,


No and maybe.:)
Compared to AB, Class D amps tend to have higher output impedance and must have low pass output filtering to attenuate the HF switching noise.
The result of this is that they can have varied HF response depending upon load (speaker impedance, mainly at HF). So that's the "No" part.
The maybe, is that it's also entirely possible that because this variance is at high to very high frequency, coupled with the fact that the amplitude variance can be small.
So there is a chance small sound differences can be heard...and a chance they can't. This of course excludes the imaginary stuff possibilities.:)
Don't know the specifics of the Pioneer, but I suspect between them and their TAD division, they have done a stellar job to minimize these effects with their proprietary chips.

cheers
Thank You.
 

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Well I can now say that the D3's are IMO great. One drawback that the VSX-43TX (class A/B) had was it struggled a little with the 4Ω load of the Infinities. Not so with the D3's, drove them without so much as a whimper. Plenty of power to spare. The Adv. MCACC gives you so much flexibility it's a little tough to take it all in (the 43 was manual setup only) but now at the end of the day the system sounds great. If I were backed into a corner and forced to say what about the sound stood out as best I'd have to shrug. Nothing was a star. The sound has depth, warmth, detail, and crispness without being bright. I don't think anyone would walk in on a session and go 'ooo great bass' or 'good vocals' or point out any one thing. I'd expect them just to nod and if they said anything just say 'nice'. I was looking to hopefully duplicate the sound quality of the 43 and what I got was an improvement. :T

Oh, ... it's lighter, too. That didn't hurt - literally.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
By very recent reviews as well as my own in store listening, I am coming to the conclusion that the D3 amps may be as good sounding as the best of A/B amps found in receivers and probably better. But the additional benefit is higher power output at lower impedances but still dependent upon good power supply design which is benefited by the high efficiencies of these amps. I wonder if Pioneer will again improve on these amps in their next (2014) models...

Thank you,

Chucka
 

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I am coming to the conclusion that the D3 amps may be as good sounding as the best of A/B amps found in receivers
That seems reasonable.

and probably better.
Doubtful and not reasonable :).
Amps (voltage/current multipliers) don't have a "sound", unless by design (as explained in my previous post), or by fault.
As I also explain, it is possible, due to the nature of class d, for there to be a slight difference, load dependent, than AB...though "better" would be purely subjective and perhaps a deviation from neutrality or an "artifact".

But the additional benefit is higher power output at lower impedances
That could indeed be a benefit.

I wonder if Pioneer will again improve on these amps in their next (2014) models...
Possibly. And the 2016. And 2018...and....:).
But if one is really that concerned about amp capability, buy the receiver with all features you need, including preouts...then buy an external amp with all the output vs load capability you need. Today.:D

cheers
 

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Discussion Starter #15
I am comparing the sound of the D3 amplifier using good A/B amps as a reference, and agreeing with you that all well designed analog amps sound the same. But as you used the description"BY DESIGN", I think this still is the state of the high efficiency (D3 type) amplifier design in that all are engineers are still trying "by design" to duplicate the sound of analog amplifiers (and the sound of a piece of wire). From what I am now seeing, it looks like Pioneer may be there in their D3 design.
 

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The A/B's in the 43 showed some strain when I pushed them to higher levels with a 4Ω load. Not so with the D3's. The power reserves in the D3's seem to free up the speakers and let them run unrestricted. That kind of head room in an A/B would have come at a pretty high price on many levels.
 

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Discussion Starter #17
The A/B's in the 43 showed some strain when I pushed them to higher levels with a 4Ω load. Not so with the D3's. The power reserves in the D3's seem to free up the speakers and let them run unrestricted. That kind of head room in an A/B would have come at a pretty high price on many levels.
In listening tests at BB (poor location but the only place I can find around here with the Pioneer's) against A/B amps near the same receiver cost, so far the B3 amps seems to perform better because of their efficiencies. I believe this is based upon headroom with more power reserve rather than any audio quality comparison between the two which may be the same at low levels. So this looks like it matches what you also have found when speakers are driven to higher levels.
 

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From reading this thread, without quoting multiple responses, it seems as though the d3 amps may be the best out there for the price, particularly if your system is of lower sensitivity.
 

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I really have not heard any of the Pioneer AVR's with the class D amps so please dont take what I say seriously for todays equipment.
I have heard some of the earlier class "D" amps and while they killed the bottom end, very very efficient, the top end was rather dry sounding and did not flesh out the music like "A" or "AB". Now again, this was a couple years ago so things may have changed, I would love to hear the newer stuff.
 

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Discussion Starter #20
I really have not heard any of the Pioneer AVR's with the class D amps so please dont take what I say seriously for todays equipment.
I have heard some of the earlier class "D" amps and while they killed the bottom end, very very efficient, the top end was rather dry sounding and did not flesh out the music like "A" or "AB". Now again, this was a couple years ago so things may have changed, I would love to hear the newer stuff.
This is why I am so concerned about D3 as I did not like the sound of any of the earlier Class "d" amplifiers and always prefered almost any Class A/B amplifers that had enough power for the application in any of my auditions for speakers. But now that I have to put together a system with a RECEIVER only, I am comparing as many rceivers as I can with different speakers and the Pioneer seems to be standing out because of their D3 amplifiers and their higher efficiencies resulting in higher headroom with all channels operating.

Chucka
 
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