WAM Census 2021 Results - Amplifiers

lostwin

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So, ready for some more results...?

The next question in the Census aimed to capture the types of amplifier technology now being utilised, as well as whether balanced or un-balanced connections are used.

The question read;

“What types of amplifier technology do you use (or power amp if using a pre) and do you run balanced connections or traditional RCA? (select multiple if applicable)”

214 (of 215) respondents provided some data. In respect of type of amplifier 254 answers in total are considered, remembering that some respondents will have more than one HiFi system (or seek different flavours in their main system) and so potentially own than one type of amp.  The response “No Separate Amp – Active Speakers” has been excluded for now, we will pick this up in the Speaker results.

Amp type final final.PNG

The very established Class A or Class AB transistor technology is fairly dominant, but valve amps hold a notable share at 26% and more recent Class D tech looks to be making a significant impact by making up nearly 20% of the amplifiers in use.  EDIT; this chart is updated to merge Hypex with Class D and correct the percentages

In respect of balanced vs un-balanced connection the response rate was lower (probably compromised by trying to squeeze too much into one question). Based on the 106 responses, the results look like this – pretty much a dead on two-thirds, one-third split in favour of un-balanced.

Amp connection.PNG

As with the previous results, if you wish me to run the data to get a different way of comparing, let me know and I'll see what I can do.

 
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pmcuk

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Thanks for that. Quite a big difference between Class A and Class A-B, though. And this describes valve equipment as well as solid state.

Do you have anything more precise - I can't remember the questions? Mind, I'm not sure all users would know if their equipment was Class A or AB. 

Looks like solid state goes into Class A and Class A-B since it can't go anywhere else. 

 

lostwin

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Ok, so I may have exposed my lack of knowledge in the answer set here. Certainly no intent to single out a specific manufacturer- I believed that Hypex was a distinct amp technology, I can look to merge with Class D results.

No split is available for class A vs class A/B as this was a single response only.

The intent was to capture the broad trends in amplifier technology, hopefully even with an imperfect split this still shows something worthwhile.

 

StingRay

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Why have actives been excluded?  Most will be AB or D, so that is distorting these results. Not all actives have the amp inside the speakers either. Also some powered speakers,have amps inside, but are not active.

 
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Jules_S

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Why have actives been excluded?  Most will be AB or D, so that is distorting these results
I think it's as @lostwin has mentioned, they'll be discussed in the speakers results. This question was to do with separate amplifiers - one could venture that when selecting active speakers one doesn't choose the technology of the built in amplification specifically (and one has no say in the matter) whereas with separate amps and passive speakers, the choice of technology is up to the user, and hence the question to capture that preference.

With the benefit of hindsight, I'd probably agree that class A and AB should have been separated, but perhaps that could be done in a future re-run of the survey, it would be useful. Perhaps also a clearer valve / SS split could be fashioned, but I appreciate it's difficult to get all the possible permutations into a limited number of available questions, so well done @lostwin for this very good effort 👍🏼

For me I think that the real interest will come from being able to analyse and compare the results from future surveys with this one, to identify the trends and changes, rather than just the absolute results from the one survey

 
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StingRay

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I think it's as @lostwin has mentioned, they'll be discussed in the speakers results. This question was to do with separate amplifiers - one could venture that when selecting active speakers one doesn't choose the technology of the built in amplification specifically (and one has no say in the matter) whereas with separate amps and passive speakers, the choice of technology is up to the user, and hence the question to capture that preference.

With the benefit of hindsight, I'd probably agree that class A and AB should have been separated, but perhaps that could be done in a future re-run of the survey, it would be useful. Perhaps also a clearer valve / SS split could be fashioned, but I appreciate it's difficult to get all the possible permutations into a limited number of available questions, so well done @lostwin for this very good effort 👍🏼

For me I think that the real interest will come from being able to analyse and compare the results from future surveys with this one, to identify the trends and changes, rather than just the absolute results from the one survey
I don’t agree, I think whether active or passive is not relevant here. I don’t agree that if you have actives that you don’t choose the type of amplifier, I choose AB, I did not want D at the time. This is excluding some amplifiers from the results so they won’t be accurate. 

 

Jules_S

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You don't choose the amplifier separately, that's the point here.

I rather suspect that most active speaker owners didn't explicitly include or exclude brands from their shortlist based on the amplifier technology in use. Although my speakers are only partially-active (bass section only) I certainly didn't think "oh I'd love a pair of those, if only they weren't Class D".

 
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JANDL100

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I disagree strongly with this poll. 

Why didn't you pose specific questions targeted precisely at the exact systems I am currently using or that I favour due to my own personal biases? 

And it is out of date, as I have swapped out my valve amps for a solid state class AB. This should have been allowed for. Tsk. Very sloppy. 

🤣

 

StingRay

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You don't choose the amplifier separately, that's the point here.

I rather suspect that most active speaker owners didn't explicitly include or exclude brands from their shortlist based on the amplifier technology in use. Although my speakers are only partially-active (bass section only) I certainly didn't think "oh I'd love a pair of those, if only they weren't Class D".
That’s like saying actives don’t have amplifiers. Many people choose amps without knowing or considering what class they are. 

If amps are separate but active are they included?  

This question not about brand names. Probably the same for buying separate amps. 

The question , IMHO, should be about what type of power amp you use, not whether you have active or passive crossovers. 

 
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lostwin

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To help move things on, whilst I have not yet fully worked through the speaker results, it looks as if about 10% will relate to active speakers with built in amps.  Results above should therefore give a decent reflection of the remaining 90%. 

 

lostwin

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I think all we can say is that solid state amps are around twice as popular as valve amps.
Yes, ‘traditional’ tech solid state is, then you need to add on newer tech class D and the like. Personally, I wouldn’t have predicted valve amps to be quite as prevalent as indicated and, as Dom noted, class D is making significant inroads into good quality systems.

 
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simon g

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I was surprised that so many people have class D given the age profile of this forum.
Well, one of the many advantages of older age is that you have longer to have experienced many things, inc Class D amps! My first experience was 15+ years ago with a Bel Canto Evo 2i. I was amongst the first in the UK to buy a Tact iintegrated amps. So, nothing new in Class D so no reason that it would only appeal to 'youngsters" 😀

Class D has certainly come on a ways and is now a credible alternative; not necessarily better or worse, merely different.

 
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StingRay

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I was surprised that so many people have class D given the age profile of this forum.
It's only about 17%, I would have thought A/AB (50%) would have been higher, and valves (26%) lower. 26% use Value power amps, I do find that very surprising. 

 
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JANDL100

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Class D, my goodness yes, old geezer that I am I've been using it off an on for 15 years or more. 

Been there, done that. Rather gone off it now. 

 
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