Discrete Amplifier vs. IC Chip

Discussion in 'Amps, Pre-Pros & Receivers' started by Shadow_Ferret, Apr 24, 2005.

  1. Shadow_Ferret Audioholic Chief

    Shadow_Ferret
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    I'm researching for a receiver and came across this definition of a certain namebrand receiver. It says they are "receivers that use TDAS,Totally Discrete Amplifier Stages. A lot of others use IC Chip amp sections."

    What does that mean? What is the difference between the two types and is one preferred over the other?
  2. Shadow_Ferret Audioholic Chief

    Shadow_Ferret
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    Wow. Was this that boneheaded of a question? ;)

    I thought at least one of the technophiles here could a least point me to a link or something. I did do a cursory search here and couldn't find it in the glossary or anything that directly related to this.
  3. annunaki Moderator

    annunaki
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    Shadow,

    Basically an IC or chip amplifier has all of the output stages together in one large chip. A discrete design has independent output devices for each channel. That is my understanding of it for the most part.
  4. Shadow_Ferret Audioholic Chief

    Shadow_Ferret
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    OK, thanks.

    But is one better than the other or one preferred?

    I keep hearing terms like "warmth" and such applied to recievers, does either one of these designs contribute to a certain "sound?"

    Or is there really no difference whatsoever sound-wise?
  5. annunaki Moderator

    annunaki
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    I think it would be difficult to differentiate in a listening test.

    However, the Discrete amplifier could potentially be more dynamic. Discrete designs are generally considered superior as they use (usually) higher grade components. Discrete is usually preferred.

    As far as "warmth" and other things go most of that is waived goodbye when a simple blind test is done. (meaning voltage impedance and level are all kept in check) Some people claim to hear these things, but usually their comparisons are flawed and not equal. if there would be any difference in this instance, like stated before, it would most likely be dynamics.
  6. Shadow_Ferret Audioholic Chief

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    Thanks much.
  7. warnerwh Audioholic

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    You will pay more for discrete components but not necessarily gain anything. That said most amps that use discrete components are built and designed better than your typical mass market junk receivers. You will pay for this however and whether it's worth it to you is another thing. Another good point about discrete components in electronics is when it fails it can be fixed and it may not cost much if say a cap or resistor goes where a receiver with a chip amp will need the entire part replaced which can cost as much as the receiver is worth. Another point is that if you want high power then a separate amp is usually necessary for say 200wpc or more. The amps from Parasound, Rotel etc cost alot of money compared to a receiver but look at how much they weigh and how well they're built. These amplifiers will run speakers that have hard phase angles with low impedances in stride where a receiver may overheat and shut itself off or worse. The dynamic headroom is usually higher too.

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