ATI Battle Class AB vs Class D Amplifier Shootout

gene

gene

Audioholics Master Chief
Administrator
In market for a powerful 200 WPC amp? ATI has you covered with two completely different technologies . The AT4000 class A/B and the AT522NC Class-D amplifiers both fit into the 200-watt sweet spot and both have surprisingly similar specifications. The AT500 series is 25% cheaper and up to 50% lighter than the AT4000’s.

image.jpeg


So, how do they compare? Let’s find out.

Read: ATI Class AB vs Class D Amplifier Shootout
 
ryanosaur

ryanosaur

Audioholic Warlord
In market for a powerful 200 WPC amp? ATI has you covered with two completely different technologies . The AT4000 class A/B and the AT522NC Class-D amplifiers both fit into the 200-watt sweet spot and both have surprisingly similar specifications. The AT500 series is 25% cheaper and up to 50% lighter than the AT4000’s.

View attachment 29546

So, how do they compare? Let’s find out.

Read: ATI Class AB vs Class D Amplifier Shootout
Cool insight, Gene, Richard. Thank you!
 
Verdinut

Verdinut

Audioholic Ninja
Then you have the QSC DCA 1222 which is a 2 channel amp with the same power rating as the ATIs. Compared to the AT4002, it has the same THD figures but has lower IM distortion figures: < 0.01% vs < 0.03%. It also can drive four 8 ohm speakers in parallel which the ATI is not designed for. It similarly operates in Class A/B, but since it has a switching power supply, it is quite a bit smaller and weighs only 21 lbs compared to 51 lbs.

https://www.qsc.com/cinema/products/power-amplifiers/dca-series/dca-1222/

It also has the advantage of being cheaper than the ATI products. One of the reasons why I'm using three of them in my HT system.
 
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DigitalDawn

DigitalDawn

Senior Audioholic
Gene,

Thanks so much for the great review. Even though I'm an ATI dealer, I have not had a chance to hear the new ATI Class D Amps. Your review has been super helpful.
 
killdozzer

killdozzer

Audioholic Samurai
Very, very interesting. Thank you! Just what I'm searching and reading the last couple of days since I came across the "G Class" denotation on my Hitachi 8300 (pre-amp / amp combo).

Personally I would never mind a Class D. I would just need some reassurance that the inherent problems are solved and that now it can perform as well as AB Class. I actually really love small components provided they can do some serious output.

I was surprised to see how small TEAC AI-501DA-S when I saw it live in a shop where I live. I also like the idea of the efficiency, lightness and consequently not heating up. (as well as the green aspect of it all)
 
Paul DS

Paul DS

Audioholic
To me personally, I have found class D amps to sound every bit as good as A/B. I believe that the only reason that class A/B receivers/amps are still around is that many people buy and associate the quality of their equipment by the pound.
 
lovinthehd

lovinthehd

Audioholic Jedi
Too bad it had listening "tests" instead of a bench....doesn't tell me much when someone tries to interpret what they're listening to.
 
Out-Of-Phase

Out-Of-Phase

Audioholic General
Then you have the QSC DCA 1222 which is a 2 channel amp with the same power rating as the ATIs. Compared to the AT4000, it has the same THD figures but has lower IM distortion figures: < 0.01% vs < 0.03%. It also can drive four 8 ohm speakers in parallel which the ATI is not designed for. It similarly operates in Class AB, but since it has a switching power supply, it is quite a bit smaller and weighs only 21 lbs compared to 51 lbs.

https://www.qsc.com/cinema/products/power-amplifiers/dca-series/dca-1222/

It also has the advantage of being cheaper than the ATI products. One of the reasons why I'm using three of them in my HT system.
That QSC looks like a beautiful amp. How is the background fan noise?
 
Verdinut

Verdinut

Audioholic Ninja
That QSC looks like a beautiful amp. How is the background fan noise?
The fan on the DCA 1222 is rather quiet. In my living room, I am sitting at only 6 feet from the four QSC amps. Those amps have a variable speed fan. Together, the three 1222s are barely audible, but the fan on the 4 channel DCA 1824 which I am using for the surround channels makes more noise than the three 1222s powered on. The reason is that its fan has to cool 4 amplifier stages rather than 2 in the same size chassis.

With any music playing or when I am watching a film, I don't hear the fans. I'm sure @everettT can confirm the low noise of his 2 channel DCA 1622, a 300 watt/ch amp, and the enjoyment of its performance.
 
M Code

M Code

Audioholic General
To my ears...
The Class D ATi 500 Series amplifiers based on the Hypex output stage sounds incredible...
I would recommend anyone skeptical about the sonics of Class D go out and take a listen...


Just my $0.02... ;)
 
Kvn_Walker

Kvn_Walker

Audioholic Field Marshall
If my Outlaw 2200's ever die (IF!), something Hypex-based would be at the top of my list. Hopefully by then the prices will be a bit more down to earth.
 
AcuDefTechGuy

AcuDefTechGuy

Audioholic Jedi
There are some "hurdles" to these pro amps vs audiophile amps like the ATI. :D

Lab-wise, pro amps don't have the same great SNR or crosstalk numbers. Not debating actual sound quality at all. Just the lab SNR and crosstalk numbers that many audiophiles talk about.

Aesthetically, pro amps probably don't look very pretty to most people. :D
So if people are displaying towers with piano black gloss, they probably want something prettier for amps. :D

Feature-wise, pro amps don't have the typical 12V trigger that audiophile amps have.

So, as already mentioned, these are 2 different markets.

Will pro-amp companies try to cater to audiophiles by using sexier chassis, 12V, and getting sexier SNR/Crosstalk figures? That will be the day. :D
 
Phase 2

Phase 2

Audioholic Chief
Didn't Pass Lap just put out a class D amp? Around the 200 watt sweet spot.
 
Irvrobinson

Irvrobinson

Audioholic Spartan
But does it sway you any further on class D, tho?
No. The wide band measurements I saw in a review on another site convinced me the Hypex designs in particular might have merit. Subjective reviews just aren’t convincing, and I’m someone who believes that properly designed amps can sound different.
 
davidscott

davidscott

Audioholic Ninja
Thanks for the review. So class D is the real thing and looks to be here to stay. I never heard a class D amp so thanks again for the review.
 
P

PENG

Audioholic Slumlord
Too bad it had listening "tests" instead of a bench....doesn't tell me much when someone tries to interpret what they're listening to.
For a subjective review I think this one is one of the best (if not the very best) I have read. I thought it was objectively subjective.
 
P

PENG

Audioholic Slumlord
and I’m someone who believes that properly designed amps can sound different.
Of course, I think my 5 WPC class A Passlab amp was properly designed by Mr. Pass, but it will definitely sound different compared to my 300 WPC Bryston amp depending on the speakers I paired them with.:D
 
Swerd

Swerd

Audioholic Warlord
Agreed. Without measurements this review isn’t really useful.
For a subjective review I think this one is one of the best (if not the very best) I have read. I thought it was objectively subjective.
This wasn't so much a review, as a quick look-see with photos plus a quick & dirty blind listening comparison. As such, I thought it was useful, even if it wasn't a full & proper amplifier review with bench test measurments or listening tests with enough listeners to draw statistically significant conclusions.

I'm not looking for an amp, but I will remember that the ATI version of Hypex Class D designs, such as the AT522NC, got good marks from Gene AH.
 
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