Here is some more fodder for the digital amp mavens, and the Tripath subject in general.
Last week Vinnie Rossi sent me a prototype battery powered Tripath amp based on the chip found in the PowerWave and Sonic Impact, the 2024, I believe it is. He has worked hard on optimizing the signal path, using audiophile grade electrical components, employing a few discoveries made along the way. The unit came in a natty black powder-coated aluminum case, with machined aluminum volume control and spiffy blue LED 'on' light on the front. I should mention that my absolute first impression of the amp was its fit n finish. Vinnie did a really nice job on this Tiny Terror.
Initial Sonic Impressions
Zero Noise. None, nada. We're ready to spin and we're off the National Electrical Grid here and with a battery powered Scott Nixon DACkit, and this concept makes me happy. icon_mrgreen.gif The need for complex power conditioning is naught.... Music arises from a completely black background. This only serves to enhance the now well known ability of Tripath amps to "unbundle" individual instruments from even dense mixes.
Warm midrange typical of Tripath sonic signature, as is bass control even at very low volume. Strident, etched highs more often noticeable with string and piano sounds, which contain complex harmonics in the upper-register. This is due almost entirely to the fresh, as yet un-worked chip, and it is exactly what I expected. It has been well established over the last couple years that one should not really judge the Tripath sonic before the first THREE months, left on full time, so burn in will likely take longer here.
Out of the box, the VinnieR amp completely eclipses the ability of the batter power Sonic Impact; I really didn't expect it, but this is an entirely different beast, with tons more speaker control, and just alot of sound coming from this little box.
Nothing Accesses Current Like A Bunny:
The optimized amp with battery power makes an already fast amp even faster, and was commented on by the kids as well. Attack transients were often startling. --Absolutely superb speaker control. I played it loudly for six hours on Saturday, and it recharged in under 20 minutes. Such is the nature of highly efficient digital amps. This one keeps going and going and...
Depends on your speakers. Using drivers with real world sensitivity, over 90db in my book, this approach might be all the amp some of us would ever need. Using outstanding drivers like the Fostex FE207E, (96db) and the Radian coaxial 502/B (97db) the bat-T-ery amp has more than enough juice to drive even the most hardened headbanger howling from the room. I know, because I did just that to a real headbanger on Saturday. The crossover-less Fostex, though far from broken in its supposed mandatory minimum 100 hours, sounded best, exhibiting better synergy to my ears, than even the Radians. So far sooo good.