Class D amps sound inferior?

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by tb4sbp, May 10, 2021.

  1. tb4sbp


    May 9, 2017
    North East
    Greetings Everyone,
    I was watching a video the other day talking/explaining amp Classes. Pretty much all of the same with Class A, B and AB amps both tube and solid state. But one thing mentioned about Class D was something I had never heard before. The statement was that, and I am paraphrasing, Class D amps are digital and their output signal is also digital which makes for an inferior sound quality.
    Is this true?
    Doesn't Class D amps convert back to analog?
    Or is the conversion where the sound quality fails?

    I have a Fender Rumble 800 and never thought the sound was anything but very good.
    This statement that I heard will not sway me from my amp as there are many benefits to it that like a lot.

    I would like to hear from anyone and their thoughts, opinions or maybe technical knowledge on this topic

    Ellery, DJ Bebop and Peter Torning like this.
  2. 2saddleslab

    2saddleslab Supporting Member

    May 30, 2003
    People say lots of things. Let your ears be the judge.
  3. wcriley


    Apr 5, 2010
    Western PA
    The first tip off that the person in the video doesn't know their rectum from their elbow is the word "digital". Class D does not mean digital.
    Matt R, Ed Byrnes, fokof and 69 others like this.
  4. Hoyt


    Jun 29, 2006
    Saint Charles, IL.
    “A class-D amplifier or switching amplifier is an electronic amplifier in which the amplifying devices (transistors, usually MOSFETs) operate as electronic switches, and not as linear gain devices as in other amplifiers.“
    From Google.

    As someone else said, it’s best just to use your ears. Personally, I like the signal breakup of a tube amp for bass guitar, but prefer solid state designs for upright bass.
    While I think it’s important to understand your equipment (input sensitivity, ohm ratings, power handling/RMS, etc), it’s easy to lose focus on what the end goal might be that you’re looking for once you get bogged down in different amp design concepts.
  5. Guitalia


    Jun 7, 2008
    Baltimore, MD
    Please link to the video. I'm sure I'm not the only one here who could use a good laugh.

    By the way, class D amps have effectively replaced all previous amplifier designs in the professional sound systems used for arenas, festivals, etc.
    Last edited: May 10, 2021
  6. agedhorse

    agedhorse Supporting Member Commercial User

    Feb 12, 2006
    Davis, CA (USA)
    Development Engineer-Mesa, Product Support-Genz Benz
    This is how bad information, old wive’s tales and urban myths get perpetuated.

    Pretty much total hogwash, based upon poor quality designs using very obsolete technology and devices. While this might have been true 30-40 years ago, it hasn’t been true for the past ~20 years.
  7. micguy


    May 17, 2011
    As my rig is a pedalboard, and people hear me through the PA, I am completely unaware of the class of amplifiers that I'm playing through - most likely class D. I don't even get to hear what I actually sound like in the audience (I'm on in ears). All I know is I keep getting booked for gigs. There are things worth worrying about - what class you amplifier is is not worth occupying brain cells on.
  8. Geri O

    Geri O Endorsing Artist, Mike Lull Guitars and Basses Gold Supporting Member

    Sep 6, 2013
    Florence, MS
    Yeah, never listen to the creator of that video ever again.
    JPDsma, Haroldo, smogg and 15 others like this.
  9. lfmn16

    lfmn16 Supporting Member

    Sep 21, 2011
    charles town, wv
    Well, if you saw it on the internet, it must be true, right?
  10. musicman556

    musicman556 Gold Supporting Member

    Jul 3, 2019
    Smyrna, TN
    Every amp I own now is class D, and I've never sounded better.

  11. ezstep


    Nov 25, 2004
    north Louisiana
    Abe Lincoln said it on the internet. It must be true.
    Cirk, Nobis17, InnerCityBass and 13 others like this.
  12. wcriley


    Apr 5, 2010
    Western PA
    Also worth mentioning is that most of the processing gear, including mixers, in a modern sound system is truly digital.
    smogg, Jim Nazium, Reedt2000 and 6 others like this.
  13. abarson


    Nov 6, 2003
    Santa Cruz
    Consider for a moment: if a class D amplifier had digital output, how would you connect that to a speaker? All speakers are analog, otherwise I don't know how the human ear interprets a 1 or 0.

    If this is in the context of a Fender Rumble 800 Studio, that's a combo amp comprised of an analog preamp, digital signal processing for the effects, a class D analog amplifier and a speaker. Notice how the effects are more of a sidechain: if you took the effects out you'd still have an entirely competent combo.
    Last edited: May 10, 2021
    smogg, Rumblin, izzysane and 4 others like this.
  14. fdeck

    fdeck Supporting Member Commercial User

    Mar 20, 2004
    Madison WI
    HPF Technology LLC
    First, "digital" and "uses on-off switching" are two different things. Second, the audio industry brought a lot of the confusion itself by using "digital" as a marketing term, and by providing "explanations" that are easy to understand but factually wrong. Some of those explanations are based on other wrong explanations, and so on down the line.
  15. JRA

    JRA my words = opinion Supporting Member

    Kijuer, lizardking837, smogg and 2 others like this.
  16. gln1955

    gln1955 Supporting Member

    Aug 25, 2014
    Ohio, USA
    the "class D" designation is unfortunate since it perpetuates the idea that it is digital. Ignorant people making videos just can't help propagating that misinformation.
  17. inthevelvet

    inthevelvet Supporting Member

    Jul 2, 2012
    Washington DC
    I think the WD-800 sounds better than any amp made to date, Class D or not. Of course everyone has their own tastes. I finally got to the point that aside from something like a Dumble or some ridiculous vintage piece, I can afford whatever I want, the WD-800 is where it's at. I don't think I'm giving up anything with Class D personally. If someone wants to drag an SVT around to every gig though, more power to them.
  18. There is a non-OSHA endorsed test and also considered a non-insurable condition by the American Health Insurers Federation called the bass amp toe discomfort test.

    While wearing a standard non slip black shoe, drop bass amp of choice from a height of half ( 0.5 )meter unto the bass operator shoe targeting the toe box area. Note level of discomfort after the drop on a scale of 1 - 10. Ask the bass operator if his/her preference for amplification has changed.

    Thank you
    Jack Deth, Cirk, johnpbass and 25 others like this.
  19. Esteban Garcia

    Esteban Garcia bassist, arranger, aelurophile Supporting Member

    Apr 11, 2018
    Portland, OR
    This always gets confusing, so here's my quick reference.
    • Class A: analog, must use analog speakers
    • Class B: butane-powered (careful around open flame!)
    • Class AB: analog wattage with butane ohmage, loads < 2 ohms are extremely flammable
    • Class C: covid-resistant, mask still recommended indoors
    • Class D: digital, must use digital speakers; divide wattage by two to get equivalent analog power; inferior sound when used with analog speakers
    • Class Q: quantum power, infinite wattage but if you run a load under 2 ohms you may produce a singularity (not recommended)
    If it's not obvious, this is parody. Please don't believe unverified nonsense on the internet.
  20. msb


    Jul 3, 2002
    Halifax,N,S. Canada
    There’s a reason people love their Class D amps .
  21. Primary

    Primary TB Assistant

    Here are some related products that TB members are talking about. Clicking on a product will take you to TB’s partner, Primary, where you can find links to TB discussions about these products.

    Jun 21, 2021

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