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Amplifier Measurements

All amplifier measurements are performed independently by BHK Labs. All measurement data and graphical information displayed below are the property of the SoundStage! Network and Schneider Publishing Inc. Reproduction in any format is not permitted.

Measurements were made at a line voltage of 120V AC, both channels driven, and were taken on both channels using the Hegel H590’s AES, Analog 1, and BNC digital inputs. Unless otherwise noted, the data reported below are for the left channel.

Power output

  • Power output at 1% THD+N: 322.7W @ 8 ohms, 524.9W @ 4 ohms
  • Power output at 10% THD+N: 400.0W @ 8 ohms, 648.6W @ 4 ohms

Additional data

  • Input/output polarity (analog and digital): noninverting
  • AC-line current draw at idle: 98.0W, 1.3A, 0.64PF
  • Gain: output voltage divided by input voltage, 8-ohm load, Lch/Rch
    • Balanced inputs: 42.7X, 32.6dB / 42.6X, 32.6dB
    • Unbalanced inputs: 42.9X, 32.7dB / 42.7X, 32.6dB
  • Input sensitivity for 1W output into 8 ohms, Lch/Rch
    • Balanced inputs: 66.2mV / 66.4mV
    • Unbalanced inputs: 65.9mV / 66.2mV
  • Output impedance @ 50Hz: 0.013 ohm
  • Input impedance @ 1kHz
    • Balanced inputs: 9.3k ohms
    • Unbalanced inputs: 7.0k ohms
  • Output noise, 8-ohm load, balanced inputs terminated with 600 ohms, Lch/Rch
    • At reference volume setting
      • Wideband: 0.646mV / 0.629mV, -72.8dBW / -73.1dBW
      • A weighted: 0.084mV / 0.080mV, -90.6dBW / -91.0dBW
    • At maximum volume
      • Wideband: 0.659mV / 0.643mV, -72.6dBW / -72.9dBW
      • A weighted: 0.122mV / 0.120mV, -87.3dBW / -87.5dBW
    • At minimum volume
      • Wideband: 1.13mV / 1.07mV, -68.0dBW / -68.4dBW
      • A weighted: 0.107mV / 0.105mV, -88.4dBW / -88.6dBW
  • Output noise, 8-ohm load, unbalanced inputs terminated with 1k ohms, Lch/Rch
    • At reference volume setting
      • Wideband: 0.633mV / 0.618mV, -73.0dBW / -73.2dBW
      • A weighted: 0.077mV / 0.076mV, -91.3dBW / -91.4dBW
    • At maximum volume
      • Wideband: 0.465mV / 0.468mV, -75.7dBW / -75.6dBW
      • A weighted: 0.072mV / 0.075mV, -91.9dBW / -91.5dBW
    • At minimum volume
      • Wideband: 1.15mV / 1.06mV, -67.8dBW / -68.5dBW
      • A weighted: 0.106mV / 0.104mV, -88.5dBW / -88.7dBW

Measurements summary

The H590 is Hegel Music Systems’ newest, most powerful integrated amplifier-DAC.

Chart 1 shows the H590’s frequency response with varying loads. The output impedance is low enough that there was negligible variation with the NHT dummy speaker load.

Chart 2 illustrates how the H590’s total harmonic distortion plus noise (THD+N) vs. power varied for 1kHz and SMPTE IM test signals and amplifier output for loads of 8 and 4 ohms. The level of distortion is quite low.

The Hegel’s THD+N as a function of frequency at a number of increasing power levels is plotted in Chart 3. The increase in distortion with frequency is moderate.

Chart 4 plots the H590’s damping factor vs. frequency. The shape of the low-frequency rolloff curve is unusual, and the high-frequency rolloff begins at a lower frequency than the norm.

The Hegel’s spectrum of harmonic distortion and noise residue of a 10W, 1kHz test signal is shown in Chart 5. The AC line harmonics are quite low but relatively complex. The signal harmonics are dominated by the second and third harmonics, with the higher harmonics decreasing quickly.

Some key measurements of the Hegel H590’s digital section were taken. Its BNC input was fed with a full-scale, 0dBFS digital signal level, and, using the volume control, the main amplifier outputs were set as close as possible to 5W/8 ohms. The frequency response is shown in Chart 6.

Chart 7 shows the results of a revealing measurement that I always do on a DAC: a test of its input/output linearity. This measures the amplitude of a decreasing 1kHz signal for both channels with a 1kHz bandpass filter, in order to track the signal down into the noise. The results for sample rates of 44.1, 96, and 192kHz were about the same; for clarity, I’ve shown here only the result for the 44.1kHz sample rate. I additionally changed the measurement bandwidth to 22kHz; the resulting curve shows the residual noise level in the audioband, which in this case is at about CD resolution.

Chart 1 - Frequency response of output voltage as a function of output loading

Chart 1

Red line = open circuit
Magenta line = 8-ohm load
Blue line = 4-ohm load

Chart 2 - Distortion as a function of power output and output loading

Chart 2

(Line up at 200W to determine lines)
Top line = 8-ohm SMPTE IM distortion
Second line = 4-ohm SMPTE IM distortion
Third line = 8-ohm THD+N
Bottom line = 4-ohm THD+N

Chart 3 - Distortion as a function of power output and frequency

Chart 3

(8-ohm loading)
Red line = 1W
Magenta line = 10W
Blue line = 70W
Cyan line = 200W
Green line = 270W
Yellow line = 290W

Chart 4 - Damping factor as a function of frequency

Chart 4

Damping factor = output impedance divided into 8

Chart 5 - Distortion and noise spectrum

Chart 5

1kHz signal at 10W into an 8-ohm load

Chart 6 - Frequency response of AES/EBU digital input at amplifier output

Chart 6

Red line = 44.1kHz
Magenta line = 96kHz
Blue line = 192kHz

Chart 7 - DAC input/output linearity of both channels

Chart 7

24-bit/44.1kHz resolution with 1kHz bandwidth filter
Red line = left channel
Magenta line = right channel

24-bit/44.1kHz resolution with 22kHz bandwidth filter
Cyan line = left channel
Blue line = right channel

All amplifier measurements are performed independently by BHK Labs. All measurement data and graphical information displayed below are the property of the SoundStage! Network and Schneider Publishing Inc. Reproduction in any format is not permitted.

These measurements were taken at 120V AC line voltage, both channels driven. Measurements were taken on both channels, using inputs 1 and 2. Unless otherwise noted, the data reported below are for the left channel.

Power output

  • Power output at 1% THD+N: 133.3W @ 8 ohms, 241.3W @ 4 ohms
  • Power output at 10% THD+N: 179.2W @ 8 ohms, 318.0W @ 4 ohms

Additional data

  • Input/output polarity (analog and digital): noninverting
  • AC-line current draw at idle: 95.0W, 1.06A, 0.65PF
  • Gain: output voltage divided by input voltage, 8-ohm load, Lch/Rch
    • Balanced inputs: 69.9X, 36.9dB / 69.7X, 36.9dB
    • Unbalanced inputs: 71.4X, 37.1dB / 71.1X, 37.0dB
  • Input sensitivity for 1W output into 8 ohms, Lch/Rch
    • Balanced inputs: 40.4mV / 40.6mV
    • Unbalanced inputs: 39.6mV / 36.7mV
  • Output impedance @ 50Hz: 0.2 ohm
  • Input impedance @ 1kHz
    • Balanced inputs: 37.5k ohms
    • Unbalanced inputs: 260.0k ohms
  • Output noise, 8-ohm load, balanced inputs terminated with 600 ohms, Lch/Rch
    • At reference volume setting
      • Wideband: 1.69mV / 0.815mV, -64.5dBW / -70.8dBW
      • A weighted: 0.161mV / 0.0764mV, -84.9dBW / -91.3dBW
    • At maximum volume
      • Wideband: 2.28mV / 2.09mV, -61.9dBW / -62.6dBW
      • A weighted: 0.407mV / 0.389mV, -76.6dBW / -77.2dBW
    • At minimum volume
      • Wideband: 4.23mV / 1.01mV, -56.5dBW / -68.9dBW
      • A weighted: 0.423mV / 0.106mV, -76.5dBW / -88.5dBW
  • Output noise, 8-ohm load, unbalanced inputs terminated with 1k ohms, Lch/Rch
    • At reference volume setting
      • Wideband: 1.67mV / 0.773mV, -64.6dBW / -71.3dBW
      • A weighted: 0.161mV / 0.0774mV, -84.9dBW / -91.3dBW
    • At maximum volume
      • Wideband: 1.40mV / 1.03mV, -66.1dBW / -68.8dBW
      • A weighted: 0.145mV / 0.0999mV, -85.0dBW / -91.0dBW
    • At minimum volume
      • Wideband: 4.24mV / 1.02mV, -56.5dBW / -68.9dBW
      • A weighted: 0.393mV / 0.106mV, -77.1dBW / -88.5dBW

Measurements summary

Gryphon Audio Designs’ Diablo 120 integrated amplifier builds on the ten-year-long success of Gryphon’s Diablo 300 model.

Chart 1 shows the frequency response of the Diablo 120 with varying loads. The output impedance is low enough that there was negligible variation with the NHT dummy speaker load.

Chart 2 illustrates how the Diablo 120’s total harmonic distortion plus noise (THD+N) vs. power varied for 1kHz and SMPTE IM test signals and amplifier output for 8- and 4-ohm loads. Note that Gryphon claims to use zero overall feedback in the Diablo 120; the levels of distortion, though higher than in most feedback designs, are still reasonable.

The Diablo 120’s THD+N as a function of frequency at a number of increasing power levels is plotted in Chart 3. The levels of increase are moderate.

The Gryphon’s damping factor vs. frequency, plotted in Chart 4, is unusual in its relative flatness. This is a natural consequence of the absence of any overall negative feedback being used, and of not having a series inductor in an output-stabilizing network.

Chart 5 plots the Diablo 120’s spectrum of THD+N residue of a 10W, 1kHz test signal. The AC line harmonics are very low but relatively complex. The signal harmonics are dominated by the second and third harmonics, with higher harmonics of decreasing magnitude.

Some key measurements of the Diablo 120’s digital section were taken. Its AES input was fed with a full-scale 0dBFS digital signal level, and the main amplifier outputs were set as close to 5W/8 ohm as possible with the volume control. Chart 6 shows the frequency response with both of the filter settings, Slow and Fast.

Chart 7 plots the results of a revealing test that I always do on DACs: measure the output amplitude of a 1kHz signal with a 1kHz bandpass filter at full-scale digital level with decreasing input signal level, down to where the output level meets the noise floor. This reveals that the Diablo 120’s noise floor in this test was about -110dBFS, which is pretty good for 24-bit input data.

Chart 1 - Frequency response of output voltage as a function of output loading

Chart 1

Red line = open circuit
Magenta line = 8-ohm load
Blue line = 4-ohm load
Cyan line = NHT dummy-speaker load

Chart 2 - Distortion as a function of power output and output loading

Chart 2

(Line up at 30W to determine lines)
Top line = 4-ohm SMPTE IM distortion
Second line = 8-ohm SMPTE IM distortion
Third line = 4-ohm THD+N
Bottom line = 8-ohm THD+N

Chart 3 - Distortion as a function of power output and frequency

Chart 3

(8-ohm loading)
Red line = 1W
Magenta line = 10W
Blue line = 30W
Cyan line = 70W
Green line = 120W

Chart 4 - Damping factor as a function of frequency

Chart 4

Damping factor = output impedance divided into 8

Chart 5 - Distortion and noise spectrum

Chart 5

1kHz signal at 10W into an 8-ohm load

Chart 6 - Frequency response of AES/EBU digital input at amplifier output

Chart 6

Slow filters
Red line = 44.1kHz
Magenta line = 96kHz
Yellow line = 192kHz

Fast filters
Cyan line = 44.1kHz
Green line = 96kHz
Blue line = 192kHz

Chart 7 - DAC input/output linearity of both channels

Chart 7

24-bit/44.1kHz resolution with 1kHz bandwidth filter
Red line = left channel
Magenta line = right channel

All amplifier measurements are performed independently by BHK Labs. All measurement data and graphical information displayed below are the property of the SoundStage! Network and Schneider Publishing Inc. Reproduction in any format is not permitted.

Notes: The PS Audio Stellar M700 was measured at 120V AC line voltage at its balanced input, unless otherwise noted. The Audio Precision AUX-0025 external filter was used for all measurements -- again, except as noted.

Power output

  • Power output at 1% THD+N: 357.0W @ 8 ohms, 712.0W @ 4 ohms
  • Power output at 10% THD+N: 465.0W @ 8 ohms, 930.0W @ 4 ohms

Additional data

  • Input/output polarity: noninverting
  • AC-line current draw
    • Operate: 20.0W, 0.28A, 0.56PF
    • Standby: 11.0W, 0.18A, 0.52PF
  • Gain: output voltage divided by input voltage, 8-ohm load
    • Balanced input: 33.9X, 30.6dB
    • Unbalanced input: 33.9X, 30.6dB
  • Input sensitivity for 1W output into 8 ohms
    • Balanced input: 83.4mV
    • Unbalanced input: 83.4mV
  • Output impedance @ 50Hz (see text): 0.022/0.0081 ohm
  • Input impedance @ 1kHz
    • Balanced input: 98.8k ohms
    • Unbalanced input: 50.0k ohms
  • Output noise, 8-ohm load, balanced/unbalanced inputs without AUX-0025 filter
    • Wideband: 0.98V, -9.2dBW
  • Output noise, 8-ohm load, unbalanced input terminated with 1k ohms
    • Wideband: 1.58mV, -65.1dBW
    • A weighted pin 3 of B input open: 179.0uV, -84.0dBW
    • A weighted pin 3 of B input connected to pin 1 (ground): 147.7uV, -85.6dBW
  • Output noise, 8-ohm load, balanced input terminated with 600 ohms
    • Wideband: 1.57mV, -65.1dBW
    • A weighted: 151.6uV, -85.4dBW

Measurements summary

The M700 mono power amp is a member of PS Audio’s new Stellar line of models. Its circuitry comprises a combination of a special PS Audio Gain Cell front end and a powerful class-D power amp section.

Chart 1 shows the M700’s frequency response with varying loads. Like most class-D circuits, this one has some out-of-band high-frequency peaking. Note that these data were taken without the AUX-0025 external filter, to reveal the amp’s true out-of-band HF response. Note also that the level at the high-frequency end of the chart does not continue to attenuate, due to the almost 1V of switching output noise.

Chart 2 illustrates how the M700’s total harmonic distortion plus noise (THD+N) vs. power varied for 1kHz and SMPTE intermodulation test signals and amplifier output into loads of 8 and 4 ohms. The amount of distortion is low, and is dominated by noise up to about 10W, above which it rises smoothly to the onset of clipping.

The PS Audio’s THD+N as a function of frequency at several different power levels is plotted in Chart 3. Here, the increase in distortion with frequency is rather pronounced.

The M700’s damping factor vs. frequency is shown in Charts 4A and 4B. The amplifier has two sets of output terminals, the wire pairs of each going back to the actual single output of the class-D amplifier. When the damping factor measurement is driven and measured at one of these outputs, the damping factor is lower with a higher output impedance than when measured at the other, undriven output terminals. This difference is due to the resistance of the internal wire pair being driven and measured.

Chart 5 plots the spectrum of the Stellar M700’s harmonic distortion and noise residue of a 10W, 1kHz test signal. The AC line harmonics are below the level of the noise, and the signal harmonics are dominated by low amounts of the second and third harmonics.

Chart 1 - Frequency response of output voltage as a function of output loading

Chart 1

Red line = open circuit
Magenta line = 8-ohm load
Blue line = 4-ohm load
Cyan line = NHT dummy-speaker load

Chart 2 - Distortion as a function of power output and output loading

Chart 2

(Line up at 100W to determine lines)
Top line = 8-ohm SMPTE IM distortion
Second line = 4-ohm SMPTE IM distortion
Third line = 8-ohm THD+N
Bottom line = 4-ohm THD+N

Chart 3 - Distortion as a function of power output and frequency

Chart 3

(4-ohm loading)
Red line = 1W
Magenta line = 10W
Blue line = 100W
Cyan line = 300W
Green line = 600W

Chart 4 - Damping factor as a function of frequency

Chart 4A - measured at output terminals

Chart 4A

Damping factor = output impedance divided into 8

Chart 4B - measured at internal output

Chart 4B

Damping factor = output impedance divided into 8

Chart 5 - Distortion and noise spectrum

Chart 5

1kHz signal at 10W into an 8-ohm load

All amplifier measurements are performed independently by BHK Labs. All measurement data and graphical information displayed below are the property of the SoundStage! Network and Schneider Publishing Inc. Reproduction in any format is not permitted.

Notes: All measurements were made at 120V AC line voltage, both channels driven -- and, unless otherwise noted, through the Direct (DIR) balanced input.

Power output

  • Power output at 1% THD+N: 595.0W @ 8 ohms, 988.0W @ 4 ohms
  • Power output at 10% THD+N: 777.0W @ 8 ohms, 1324.0W @ 4 ohms

Additional data

  • Input/output polarity: noninverting
  • AC-line current draw
    • Idle: 125W, 1.52A, 0.67PF
    • Standby: 4.0W, 0.06A, 0.52PF
  • Gain: output voltage divided by input voltage, 8-ohm load
    • BAL input: 18.21X, 25.2dB
    • RCA input: 18.23X, 25.2dB
    • DIR input: 3.996X, 12.0dB
  • Input sensitivity for 1W output into 8 ohms
    • BAL input: 155.3mV
    • RCA input: 155.2mV
    • DIR input:  707.8mV
  • Output impedance @ 50Hz: 0.014 ohm
  • Input impedance @ 1kHz
    • BAL input: 792k ohms
    • RCA input: 534k ohms
    • DIR input: 78.6k ohms
  • Output noise, 8-ohm load, BAL input terminated with 600 ohms
    • Wideband: 193.2uV, -83.3dBW
    • A weighted: 72.8uV, -91.8dBW
  • Output noise, 8-ohm load, RCA input terminated with 1k ohms
    • Wideband: 208.1uV, -82.7dBW
    • A weighted: 74.8uV, -91.6dBW
  • Output noise, 8-ohm load, DIR input terminated with 600 ohms
    • Wideband: 124.8uV, -87.1dBW
    • A weighted: 67.4uV, -92.5dBW

Measurements summary

The Taurus Mono is a high-powered amplifier in Constellation Audio’s new Revelation Series of models. All Constellation power amps use a unique circuit design comprising MOSFET and JFET devices. The power-output stage uses only N-type devices, driven symmetrically.

Chart 1 shows the frequency response for both the Direct (DIR) and Balanced (BAL) inputs. Since the response deviation for open circuit, 8 ohms, and 4 ohms were virtual overlays, due to the Taurus Mono’s low output impedance, these curves are for an 8-ohm loading.

Chart 2A illustrates how, in DIR mode, the Taurus Mono’s total harmonic distortion plus noise (THD+N) vs. power varies for 1kHz and SMPTE IM test signals and amplifier output load for loads of 8 and 4 ohms. Chart 2B shows the results for BAL mode.

The DIR input’s THD+N as a function of frequency at several different power levels is plotted in Chart 3. The rise in distortion at high frequencies is fairly pronounced.

The Taurus Mono’s damping factor vs. frequency, shown in Chart 4, is relatively high, remaining at 2-3kHz before declining with increasing frequency.

Chart 5 plots the spectrum of harmonic distortion and noise residue of a 10W, 1kHz test signal. The magnitude of the AC-line harmonics is relatively complex and the signal harmonics are dominantly the third harmonic -- a mark of the symmetry of the plus and minus half-cycles of the signal.

Chart 1 - Frequency response of output voltage as a function of output loading

Chart 1

Red line = DIR input 8-ohm loading
Magenta line = BAL input 8-ohm loading

Chart 2 - Distortion as a function of power output and output loading

Chart 2A - DIR input

Chart 2A

(Line up at 100W to determine lines)
Top line = 4-ohm SMPTE IM distortion
Second line = 8-ohm SMPTE IM distortion
Third line = 4-ohm THD+N
Bottom line = 8-ohm THD+N

Chart 2B - BAL input

Chart 2B

(Line up at 20W to determine lines)
Top line = 4-ohm SMPTE IM distortion
Second line = 4-ohm THD+N
Third line = 8-ohm SMPTE IM distortion
Bottom line = 8-ohm THD+N

Chart 3 - Distortion as a function of power output and frequency

Chart 3

(8-ohm loading)
Red line = 1W
Magenta line = 10W
Blue line = 30W
Green line = 100W
Yellow line = 400W

Chart 4 - Damping factor as a function of frequency

Chart 4

Damping factor = output impedance divided into 8

Chart 5 - Distortion and noise spectrum

Chart 5

1kHz signal at 10W into an 8-ohm load

All amplifier measurements are performed independently by BHK Labs. All measurement data and graphical information displayed below are the property of the SoundStage! Network and Schneider Publishing Inc. Reproduction in any format is not permitted.

Note: Unless otherwise noted, measurements were taken at the balanced left-channel input, at a line voltage of 120V AC.

Power output

  • Power output at 1% THD+N: 60.4W @ 8 ohms, 39.6W @ 4 ohms
  • Power output at 10% THD+N: 79.3W @ 8 ohms, 104.5W @ 4 ohms

Additional data

  • Input/output polarity: noninverting
  • AC-line current draw
    • Operate: 242W, 2.4A, 0.84PF
    • Standby: 1.2W, 0.03A, 0.29PF
  • Gain: output voltage divided by input voltage, 8-ohm load (Lch/Rch)
    • Balanced inputs: 17.55X, 24.9dB / 17.43X, 24.8dB
    • Unbalanced inputs: 34.45X, 30.7dB / 34.11X, 30.7dB
  • Input sensitivity for 1W output into 8 ohms (Lch/Rch)
    • Balanced inputs: 161.1mV / 162.2mV
    • Unbalanced inputs: 82.1mV / 82.9mV
  • Output impedance @ 50Hz: 0.99 ohm
  • Input impedance @ 1kHz
    • Balanced inputs: 196k ohms
    • Unbalanced inputs: 92k ohms
  • Output noise, 8-ohm load, balanced inputs terminated with 600 ohms, Lch/Rch
    • Wideband: 231.3uV/85.5uV, -81.8dBW/-90.3dBW
    • A weighted: 33.8uV/29.8uV, -98.5dBW/-99.6dBW
  • Output noise, 8-ohm load, unbalanced inputs terminated with 1k ohms, Lch/Rch
    • Wideband: 970.0uV/1000.0uV, -69.3dBW/-69.0dBW
    • A weighted: 200.2uV/200.2uV, -83.0dBW/-83.0dBW

Measurements summary

The VT80 is a power amplifier in Audio Research’s new Foundation Series, which is said to have a new auto-bias arrangement for the output tubes. These tubes are large KT120s, each operated conservatively at a plate dissipation of about 25W.

Chart 1 shows the frequency response of the VT80 with varying loads. An output impedance of about 1 ohm, which is typical of tubed power amps, causes considerable variation of the output level with load. With the NHT dummy speaker load, the variation in output level with frequency is about +0.5/-1.0dB. The high-frequency, -3dB bandwidth is about 60kHz.

Chart 2 illustrates how the VT80’s total harmonic distortion plus noise (THD+N) vs. power varies for 1kHz and SMPTE intermodulation test signals and amplifier output load for 8- and 4-ohm loads at the 8-ohm output tap. The distortion in this plot starts to rise quickly above 10-20W, depending on the load. Interestingly, the distortion with a 4-ohm load at the 8-ohm tap begins to rise at about 10W, and at 20W for an 8-ohm load on the 8-ohm tap. Note that a load of 4 ohms on the 4-ohm tap would produce a level of distortion similar to that produced by an 8-ohm load on the 8-ohm tap in the chart.

Chart 3 plots the VT80’s THD+N as a function of frequency at several different power levels. The increase of distortion with frequency is reasonable, and the very-low-frequency region shows more distortion at higher power levels.

Chart 4 plots the VT80’s damping factor vs. frequency. The quite low damping factor is typical of tubed power amplifiers, is constant over quite a wide frequency range, and begins to decrease at about 4kHz.

A spectrum of the residue of harmonic distortion and noise of a 10W, 1kHz test signal is plotted in Chart 5. AC-line harmonics are quite complex in frequency content. The signal harmonics are dominated by the second and third harmonics, with decreasing amounts of lower-level higher harmonics.

Chart 1 - Frequency response of output voltage as a function of output loading

Chart 1

Red line = open circuit
Magenta line = 8-ohm load
Blue line = 4-ohm load
Cyan line = NHT dummy speaker load

Chart 2 - Distortion as a function of power output and output loading

chart2

(Line up at 20W to determine lines)
Top line = 4-ohm SMPTE IM distortion
Second line = 4-ohm THD+N
Third line = 8-ohm SMPTE IM distortion
Bottom line = 8-ohm THD+N

Chart 3 - Distortion as a function of power output and frequency

Chart 3

(8-ohm loading)
Red line = 1W
Magenta line = 10W
Blue line = 30W
Cyan line = 60W
Green line = 75W

Chart 4 - Damping factor as a function of frequency

Chart 4

Damping factor = output impedance divided into 8

Chart 5 - Distortion and noise spectrum

Chart 5

1kHz signal at 10W into an 8-ohm load

All amplifier measurements are performed independently by BHK Labs. All measurement data and graphical information displayed below are the property of the SoundStage! Network and Schneider Publishing Inc. Reproduction in any format is not permitted.

Note: Unless otherwise noted, all measurements were taken using the balanced input of the Bryston 4B3’s left channel, with 120V AC line voltage driving both channels at 29dB gain.

Power output (stereo mode) @ 1kHz

  • Power output at 1% THD+N: 354.0W @ 8 ohms, 552.0W @ 4 ohms
  • Power output at 10% THD+N: 424.0W @ 8 ohms, 626.0W @ 4 ohms

Power output (mono mode) @ 1kHz

  • Power output at 1% THD+N: 1190W @ 8 ohms
  • Power output at 10% THD+N: 1440W @ 8 ohms

Additional data

  • Input/output polarity: noninverting
  • AC-line current draw at idle: 81.0W, 1.09A, 0.62PF
  • Gain: output voltage divided by input voltage, 8-ohm load
    • Stereo mode
      • Balanced input (29dB gain): 28.26X, 29.0dB
      • Balanced input (23dB gain): 14.13X, 23.0dB
      • Unbalanced input (29dB gain): 27.27X, 28.7dB
      • Unbalanced input (23dB gain): 14.12X, 23.0dB
    • Mono mode
      • Balanced input (29dB gain): 27.84X, 28.9dB
      • Balanced input (23dB gain): 13.91X, 22.9dB
      • Unbalanced input (29dB gain): 27.65X, 28.8dB
      • Unbalanced input (23dB gain): 13.79X, 22.8dB
  • Input sensitivity for 1W output into 8 ohms
    • Stereo mode
      • Balanced input (29dB gain): 100.1mV
      • Balanced input (23dB gain): 203.3mV
      • Unbalanced input (29dB gain): 102.3mV
      • Unbalanced input (23dB gain): 200.3mV
    • Mono mode
      • Balanced input (29dB gain): 101.6mV
      • Balanced input (23dB gain): 203.3mV
      • Unbalanced input (29dB gain): 102.3mV
      • Unbalanced input (23dB gain): 205.1mV
  • Output impedance @ 50Hz
    • Stereo mode: 0.008 ohm
    • Mono mode: 0.018 ohm
  • Input impedance @ 1kHz
    • Stereo mode
      • Balanced input: 20k ohms
      • Unbalanced input: 29k ohms
    • Mono mode
      • Balanced input: 10.5k ohms
      • Unbalanced input: 7.8k ohms
  • Output noise (stereo mode), 8-ohm load, balanced inputs terminated with 600 ohms, Lch/Rch
    • 29dB gain
      • Wideband: 413.9uV/406.6uV, -76.7dBW/-76.9dBW
      • A weighted: 98.69uV/96.98uV, -89.2dBW/-89.3dBW
    • 23dB gain
      • Wideband: 215.9uV/209.0uV, -82.4dBW/-82.6dBW
      • A weighted: 53.04uV/49.13uV, -95.0dBW/-95.2dBW
  • Output noise (stereo mode), 8-ohm load, unbalanced inputs terminated with 1k ohms, Lch/Rch
    • 29dB gain
      • Wideband: 419.7uV/410.5uV, -76.6dBW/-76.8dBW
      • A weighted: 99.43uV/98.98uV, -89.1dBW/-89.3dBW
    • 23dB gain
      • Wideband: 219.8uV/213.0uV, -82.2dBW/-82.5dBW
      • A weighted: 54.99uV/51.09uV, -94.2dBW/-94.9dBW
  • Output noise (mono mode), 8-ohm load, balanced inputs terminated with 600 ohms
    • 29dB gain
      • Wideband: 413.9uV, -76.7dBW
      • A weighted: 98.69uV, -89.2dBW
    • 23dB gain
      • Wideband: 215.9uV, -82.4dBW
      • A weighted: 53.04uV, -94.5dBW
  • Output noise (mono mode), 8-ohm load, unbalanced inputs terminated with 1k ohms
    • 29dB gain
      • Wideband: 419.7uV, -76.6dBW
      • A weighted: 99.43uV, -89.1dBW
    • 23dB gain
      • Wideband: 219.8uV, -82.2dBW
      • A weighted: 54.99uV, -94.2dBW

Measurements summary

The Bryston 4B3 is a high-power stereo power amplifier capable of operating in bridged-mono mode; most measurements were also made in the mono mode.

Chart 1 shows the 4B3’s frequency response with varying loads. The output impedance over most of the audioband is low enough that the IHF load would not show any appreciable difference within that bandwidth. In mono mode (not shown), the amount of change with load at 200kHz was about double.

Chart 2A illustrates how the 4B3’s total harmonic distortion plus noise (THD+N) vs. power varies for 1kHz and SMPTE IM test signals into 8 and 4 ohms. Chart 2B shows the results for the mono mode into 8 ohms. The levels of distortion are very low.

THD+N as a function of frequency at several different power levels is plotted in Chart 3. The degree of increase in distortion at high frequencies is admirably low.

Chart 4 shows the 4B3’s damping factor vs. frequency: though high at low frequencies, it starts to decline at a lower frequency than in most solid-state designs. The damping factor for the mono mode (not shown) is similar in shape but about half the magnitude.

The spectrum of the harmonic distortion and noise residue of a 10W, 1kHz test signal is plotted in Chart 5. The magnitude of the AC line harmonics is reasonably low, and dominated by odd harmonics of 60Hz. The test-signal harmonics are very low, consisting mostly of the second and third harmonics.

Chart 1 - Frequency response of output voltage as a function of output loading

Chart 1

Stereo mode
Red line = open circuit
Magenta line = 8-ohm load
Blue line = 4-ohm load

Chart 2 - Distortion as a function of power output and output loading

Chart 2A

Chart 2A

Stereo mode
(Line up at 100W to determine lines)
Top line = 4-ohm SMPTE IM distortion
Second line = 4-ohm THD+N
Third line = 8-ohm SMPTE IM distortion
Bottom line = 8-ohm THD+N

Chart 2B

Chart 2B

Mono mode
(Line up at 100W to determine lines)
Top line = 8-ohm SMPTE IM distortion
Second line = 8-ohm THD+N

Chart 3 - Distortion as a function of power output and frequency

Chart 3

Stereo mode
(8-ohm loading)
Red line = 1W
Magenta line = 10W
Blue line = 30W
Cyan line = 100W
Green line = 300W

Chart 4 - Damping factor as a function of frequency

Chart 4A

Stereo mode
Damping factor = output impedance divided into 8

Chart 5 - Distortion and noise spectrum

Chart 5

Stereo mode
1kHz signal at 10W into an 8-ohm load

All amplifier measurements are performed independently by BHK Labs. All measurement data and graphical information displayed below are the property of the SoundStage! Network and Schneider Publishing Inc. Reproduction in any format is not permitted.

Note: Unless otherwise noted, measurements were made at 120V AC line voltage, using the balanced inputs, and with the left channel.

Power output (stereo mode) @ 1kHz

  • Power output at 1% THD+N: 414.8W @ 8 ohms, 665.9W @ 4 ohms
  • Power output at 10% THD+N: 510.0W @ 8 ohms, 800.0W @ 4 ohms

Power output (mono mode) @ 1kHz

  • Power output at 1% THD+N: 1328W @ 8 ohms
  • Power output at 10% THD+N: 1450W @ 8 ohms

Additional data

  • Input/output polarity: noninverting
  • AC-line current draw
    • Standby: 2.1W, 0.04A, 0.44PF
    • Operate: 267.0W, 3.1A, 0.72PF
  • Gain: output voltage divided by input voltage, 8-ohm load
    • Stereo mode, Lch/Rch
      • Balanced inputs: 28.04X, 29.0dB / 27.06X, 28.7dB
      • Unbalanced inputs: 28.35X, 29.1dB / 27.36X, 28.7dB
    • Mono mode
      • Balanced input: 59.94X, 34.8dB
      • Unbalanced input: 54.30X, 34.7dB
  • Input sensitivity for 1W output into 8 ohms
    • Stereo mode, Lch/Rch
      • Balanced inputs: 100.7mV / 104.5mV
      • Unbalanced inputs: 99.8mV / 103.4mV
    • Mono mode
      • Balanced input: 51.5mV
      • Unbalanced input: 52.1mV
  • Output impedance @ 50Hz
    • Stereo mode: 0.0033 ohm
    • Mono mode: 0.0065 ohm
  • Input impedance @ 1kHz
    • Stereo mode, Lch/Rch
      • Balanced inputs: 210k ohms / 219k ohms
      • Unbalanced inputs: 105k ohms / 109k ohms
    • Mono mode
      • Balanced input: 152k ohms
      • Unbalanced input: 78k ohms
  • Output noise (stereo mode), 8-ohm load, balanced inputs terminated with 600 ohms, Lch/Rch
    • Wideband: 337.2uV/323.5uV, -78.5dBW/-78.8dBW
    • A weighted: 133.1uV/97.9uV, -86.6dBW/-89.2dBW
  • Output noise (stereo mode), 8-ohm load, unbalanced inputs terminated with 1k ohms, Lch/Rch
    • Wideband: 333.3uV/325.4uV, 78.6dBW/-78.9dBW
    • A weighted: 130.1uV/97.9uV, -86.7dBW/-89.2dBW
  • Output noise (mono mode), 8-ohm load, balanced inputs terminated with 600 ohms
    • Wideband: 501.0uV, -73.0dBW
    • A weighted: 188.5uV, -83.5dBW
  • Output noise (mono mode), 8-ohm load, unbalanced inputs terminated with 1k ohms
    • Wideband: 498.3uV, -75.1dBW
    • A weighted: 190.7uV, -83.4dBW

Measurements summary

Parasound’s Halo JC 5 is one of the latest results of John Curl’s long-established expertise in power-amplifier design. Weighing a hefty 90 pounds, it’s a beautiful unit, impressive indeed.

The frequency responses for the Halo JC 5’s stereo and mono modes are plotted in Charts 1 and 1A. Notable are the smooth high-frequency rolloff and the good regulation with load changes. The greater rolloff in mono mode is essentially caused by the outputs of the two stereo channels in series into the loads.

The JC 5’s total harmonic distortion (THD) plus noise and SMPTE intermodulation distortion are shown in Charts 2A and 2B for, respectively, the stereo and mono modes. (In mono mode, the JC 5 is specified for 8-ohm loads.)

Charts 3A and 3B plot the Halo JC 5’s THD+N vs. frequency and power. The rise in high-frequency distortion is typical of most of the power amplifiers I test.

The Halo JC 5’s damping factor vs. frequency in stereo mode, plotted in Chart 4, is typical of solid-state amplifiers: high at low frequencies, and falling above a few hundred hertz. Not surprisingly, the result in mono mode (not shown) looked similar, but with about half the damping factor. Again, this is because, in mono mode, the output is the series output of the two stereo channels.

Chart 5, the spectrum of a 10W, 1kHz signal into 8 ohms, shows low amounts of signal harmonics, mainly the second and third harmonics -- a good thing for sound. Also visible, however, are large amounts of line-based hum harmonics; these are of high enough magnitude to contribute to the total harmonic measurement amount.

Chart 1 - Frequency response of output voltage as a function of output loading

Chart 1A - stereo mode

Chart 1A

Stereo mode
Red line = open circuit
Magenta line = 8-ohm load
Blue line = 4-ohm load

Chart 1B - mono mode

Chart 1B

Mono mode
Red line = open circuit
Magenta line = 8-ohm load
Blue line = 4-ohm load

Chart 2 - Distortion as a function of power output and output loading

Chart 2A - stereo mode

Chart 2A

Stereo mode
(Line up at 100W to determine lines)
Top line = 4-ohm SMPTE IM distortion
Second line = 8-ohm SMPTE IM distortion
Third line = 4-ohm THD+N
Bottom line = 8-ohm THD+N

Chart 2B - mono mode

Chart 2B

Mono mode
(Line up at 100W to determine lines)
Top line = 8-ohm SMPTE IM distortion
Second line = 8-ohm THD+N

Chart 3 - Distortion as a function of power output and frequency

Chart 3A - stereo mode

Chart 3A

Stereo mode
(4-ohm loading)
Red line = 1W
Magenta line = 10W
Blue line = 75W
Cyan line = 200W
Green line = 400W
Yellow line = 600W

Chart 3B - mono mode

Chart 3B

Stereo mode
(8-ohm loading)
Red line = 1W
Magenta line = 10W
Blue line = 100W
Cyan line = 600W
Green line = 1200W

Chart 4 - Damping factor as a function of frequency

Chart 4

Stereo mode
Damping factor = output impedance divided into 8

Chart 5 - Distortion and noise spectrum

chart5

Stereo mode
1kHz signal at 10W into an 8-ohm load

All amplifier measurements are performed independently by BHK Labs. All measurement data and graphical information displayed below are the property of the SoundStage! Network and Schneider Publishing Inc. Reproduction in any format is not permitted.

Note: Unless otherwise noted, measurements were taken at the Devialet Expert 130 Pro’s left-channel Coax 1 digital input, at a sampling rate of 96kHz and with 120V AC line voltage, both channels driven.

Power output

  • Power output at onset of limiter: approximately 100W @ 8 ohms, 200W @ 4 ohms

Additional data

  • Input/output polarity (digital and analog inputs): noninverting
  • AC-line current draw
    • Standby: 6.0W, 0.13A, 0.40PF
    • Operating: 33.0W, 0.35A, 0.82PF
  • Gain: output voltage divided by input voltage, 8-ohm load (Lch/Rch)
    • Analog unbalanced inputs (volume full up at +30dB): 284.6X, 48.6dB / 262.3X, 48.3dB
    • Digital input (-20dBFS input with volume at 0dB): 2.483V / 2.480V
  • Input sensitivity for 1W output into 8 ohms (Lch/Rch)
    • Analog unbalanced inputs: 9.9mV / 10.8mV
  • Output impedance @ 50Hz: 0.01 ohm
  • Input impedance @ 1kHz
    • Analog unbalanced inputs: 16.5k ohms
  • Output noise, volume at 30dB (Lch/Rch)
    • Wideband: 6.44mV/5.82mV, -52.8dBW/-53.7dBW
    • A weighted: 0.063mV/0.060mV, -93.0dBW/-93.5dBW
  • Output noise, volume at 0dB (Lch/Rch)
    • Wideband: 6.28mV/5.55mV, -53.1dBW/-54.1dBW
    • A weighted: 0.040mV/0.032mV, -97.0dBW/-98.9dBW
  • Output noise, volume at -20dB (Lch/Rch)
    • Wideband: 5.76mV/5.47mV, -53.8dBW/-54.3dBW
    • A weighted: 0.071mV/0.063mV, -92.0dBW/-93.0dBW
  • Output noise, volume at -30dB (Lch/Rch)
    • Wideband: 5.81mV/5.49mV, -53.8dBW/-54.2dBW
    • A weighted: 0.075mV/0.063mV, -91.5dBW/-93.0dBW

Measurements summary

The Expert 130 Pro is an unusual and clever combination of class-A and class-D amplification: The class-A section swings the output voltage, and the class-D section supplies most of the output current. Unique among designs using class-D circuitry, there is no output low-pass filter. As a result, the Devialet’s high-frequency response is quite independent of load. The Expert 130 has a limiter circuit that prevents it from clipping, which meant I couldn’t run my usual test of clipping behavior along with the power output at 1% and 10% THD+N. The Devialet’s digital switching frequency noise was low enough that I didn’t need to use Audio Precision’s AUX-0025 external low-pass filter in my testing, as I usually do.

I tested the Devialet’s volume-control tracking using a 1kHz test tone with the reference volume being that of the 5W output with a 500mV signal input. Volume-control tracking was within less than 0.1dB with volume settings of +30dB to -30dB.

Chart 1A shows the frequency response of the Expert 130 Pro with varying loads and with my usual vertical scale: the curves of the open circuit and 8- and 4-ohm loads are direct overlays; that is, they’re identical. The analog input frequency response with a sampling frequency of 96kHz looks about the same. Chart 1B plots the Expert 130 Pro’s frequency responses for sample rates of 44.1, 96, and 192kHz. For these kinds of response curves driven by the Audio Precision digital generator, it’s not possible to follow the curves very far into the high-frequency cutoff region, due to those frequencies approaching one-half the sampling frequency.

Chart 2 illustrates how the Expert 130 Pro’s total harmonic distortion plus noise (THD+N) vs. power varies for 1kHz and SMPTE intermodulation test signals and amplifier output for loads of 8 and 4 ohms. The amount of distortion is quite low, and is dominated by noise rather than by distortion per se over much of the power range. This test yielded very similar results when taken at the Devialet’s analog input.

The Expert 130 Pro’s THD+N as a function of frequency at several different power levels is plotted in Chart 3. This amplifier’s levels of distortion are so low that measuring its THD+N with an 80kHz filter bandwidth, as I usually do, didn’t actually reveal the distortion, which remains largely below the level of the noise. To compensate for this, in Chart 3 I reduced the measurement bandwidth to 22kHz, at the cost of showing an increase in distortion in the last two octaves of the audio range. Nonetheless, the readings are still largely dominated by noise, and show the distortion’s tendency to rise at higher frequencies.

The Devialet’s damping factor vs. frequency is plotted in Chart 4. These data were taken as a function of the Devialet’s volume-control setting, and surprisingly showed this variation in the high-frequency shape. Note that is with the digital input signal set to Off, and the output of the channel measured driven differentially from a separate power amplifier. A regulated 1A of current as a function of frequency is applied to each phase of the tested amplifier’s output as a function of frequency.

Chart 5 plots the spectrum of the Expert 130 Pro’s harmonic distortion and noise residue of a 10W, 1kHz test signal. The line harmonics are visible but low in magnitude. The signal harmonics are mainly the second, with lower-level, higher-order harmonics above that. These data show just how low the Devialet’s distortion is, and the values in Chart 3 approach this.

Chart 1A - Frequency response of output voltage as a function of output loading

Chart 1A

Red line = open circuit
Magenta line = 8-ohm load
Blue line = 4-ohm load

Chart 1B - Frequency response of output voltage as a function of sample rate

Chart 1B

Red line = 44.1kHz
Magenta line = 96kHZ
Blue line = 192kHz

Chart 2 - Distortion as a function of power output and output loading

Chart 2

(Line up at 20W to determine lines)
Top line = 4-ohm SMPTE IM distortion
Second line = 8-ohm SMPTE IM distortion
Third line = 4-ohm THD+N
Bottom line = 8-ohm THD+N

Chart 3 - Distortion as a function of power output and frequency

Chart 3

(8-ohm loading)
Red line = 1W
Magenta line = 10W
Blue line = 30W
Cyan line = 60W
Green line = 80W

Chart 4 - Damping factor vs. frequency and volume control

Chart 4

Damping factor = output impedance divided into 8

Red line: +10dB
Magenta line: 0dB
Blue line: -10dB
Cyan line: -20dB

Chart 5 - Distortion and noise spectrum

Chart 5

1kHz signal at 10W into an 8-ohm load

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