How Does Amp Power Efficiency Affect Fidelity?

Stereo amplifiers will by nature squander some level of power they consume. Picking a music amplifier with high efficiency may lower the amount of squandered energy. I'm going to talk about a few little-known details about amplifier power efficiency to help you buy the perfect type.

Numerous challenges are a result of amplifiers which have low power efficiency: Amplifiers that have small power efficiency will squander a great amount of power. It is smart to bear in mind the additional power expense while choosing between a high- and low-efficiency type. The wasted power is dissipated by the amplifier as heat. Amplifiers that have small efficiency typically have several heat sinks to help dissipate the wasted power. Heat sinks and fans need space and are pricey. The amp thus will get relatively large and pricey. Furthermore heat fans will generate operating noise. To help radiate heat, low-power-efficiency amplifiers require sufficient air circulation. As a result they cannot be put in places with no circulation. Also, they can not be mounted inside water resistant enclosures.

Because low-efficiency amplifiers will produce merely a small fraction of the energy consumed by the amp as usable audio energy, the amp needs a bigger power supply than high-efficiency products leading to higher cost. Additionally, the thermal stress on the circuit board components as well as amp materials is more severe and may even lessen the reliability. When shopping for an amplifier, you can find the here efficiency in the data sheet. This figure is normally listed as a percentage. Class-A amps are amongst the least efficient and provide a efficiency close to 25% only. On the other hand, switching amps, also known as "Class-D" amplifiers deliver efficiencies of up to 98%. The higher the efficiency figure, the less the level of energy wasted as heat. A 100-Watt amp which has a 50% efficiency will have an energy consumption of 200 Watts.

Take note, however, that efficiency will depend on how much power the amplifier provides at a given moment. Amps possess larger efficiency while supplying larger output power than while operating at low power due to the fixed power that they consume regardless of the output power. The efficiency figure in the amp data sheet is typically given for the maximum amp output power. The measurement setup of amplifier power efficiency uses a power resistor which is attached to the amp. The amp itself is being fed a constant-envelope sine-wave tone. Next the power consumed by the resistor is tested and divided by the energy the amplifier uses. Ordinarily a full power profile is plotted in order to show the dependency of the efficiency on the output power. Due to this the output power is swept through several values. The power efficiency at each value is calculated and a power efficiency plot created. While selecting a sound amp you will need to weigh efficiency versus fidelity as low-efficiency analog amps frequently provide the maximum audio fidelity whilst digital models are going to have larger distortion. A number of more sophisticated audio amplifier designs, like Class-T amps, can minimize audio distortion to amounts close to the ones from analog audio amps and in addition are able to achieve great signal-to-noise ratio. Selecting one of these kinds of amps will offer high power efficiency and at the same time large audio fidelity.

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