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A SINAD of 80 or SINAD of 100 Can You Really Tell The Difference?

Jim Creek

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For a while now I’ve had the urge to ‘upgrade’ my old Emotiva BasX A300 amp with a SOTA Class D. After reading many discussions here, I’m questioning if I’ll actually hear any difference.

Can anyone with excellent hearing distinguish the difference between SINAD 80 and SINAD 100? I don’t want to buy something only to find it is no improvement.

My goal this year is to sell off all my hobby stuff and use money to help the planet somehow. I sold some eyepieces a while back then donated the money to a couple of wildlife charities. Then I sold more eyepieces and a Lionel train to pay for my new Class D amp. Is it worth buying a new amp or better donating the money again? I don’t know.
 

fpitas

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I very much doubt it. All the results I've seen indicate human ears are good for 70dB max, usually much less.
 

johnhopfensperger

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Not quite an answer to your question, but you definitely want the best snr possible in your sources. Even a sinad of 100db in a source can result in an audible noise floor in you amplify it enough. (E.g., plug it into a powered monitor at full volume).

Doubt it matters in the power amp though.
 

Grotti

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I don't think anyone can hear a SINAD of 60, let alone 80, if the SINAD is predominantly distortion, rather than noise.

That's why I'm happy with my current amplifiers.

S
+1

But if my amplifier dies, I would rather invest in SOTA. Just to play safe :)
 

fpitas

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+1

But if my amplifier dies, I would rather invest in SOTA. Just to play safe :)
If my class A horn amp ever dies, I'll replace it with a SOTA class D. Somewhere, audiophiles are crying softly :D
 

Sokel

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If I was you I would search a little about the SINAD of the internal amps of the high rated active monitors.


(hint: better look other upgrades)
 

RDoc

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Not quite an answer to your question, but you definitely want the best snr possible in your sources. Even a sinad of 100db in a source can result in an audible noise floor in you amplify it enough. (E.g., plug it into a powered monitor at full volume).

Doubt it matters in the power amp though.
I doubt that very much. Do you have anything to back up that statement?
 

Speedskater

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Can you hear a difference while:
a] Hear a just 'noticeable difference' while doing an ears only test while using vary demanding test tracks?
b] Hear a difference while listening to real music under normal circumstances?
 

restorer-john

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For a while now I’ve had the urge to ‘upgrade’ my old Emotiva BasX A300 amp with a SOTA Class D. After reading many discussions here, I’m questioning if I’ll actually hear any difference.

Can anyone with excellent hearing distinguish the difference between SINAD 80 and SINAD 100? I don’t want to buy something only to find it is no improvement.

My goal this year is to sell off all my hobby stuff and use money to help the planet somehow. I sold some eyepieces a while back then donated the money to a couple of wildlife charities. Then I sold more eyepieces and a Lionel train to pay for my new Class D amp. Is it worth buying a new amp or better donating the money again? I don’t know.

The audible difference will likely be in the residual noise area, less so, the distortion.

Can you hear residual noise in your current system at any level, and if so, does it bother you? If the answer is no, stick with what you have and save the planet instead. :)
 

Vacceo

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I very much doubt it. All the results I've seen indicate human ears are good for 70dB max, usually much less.
Amir can and has demonstrated it.

Yes, I cheated in the previous sentence because I haven't added that Amir and people like him are trained to precisely discern for differences. 70 db to 100 db is a serious jump, but if the difference were between a 100 db and a 90db amp, I think even a trained professional would start having issues.

Me being untrained? Probably not if the difference is distortion-dominated. If it's noise dominated, I may get it.
 

valerianf

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THD 0.001% is related to 100 dB SINAD.
THD 0.01% is related to 80 dB SINAD.

In the 80's the japanese manufacturers of audio amplifiers started proposing 100 dB SINAD amplifiers to compete against the 80 dB SINAD old generation.
At that time, the audio sound quality was really improved with the new designs.
It was class AB amps.

Nowadays we are speaking about class D amps.
Some weakness of class D amps are: low amplifying gain that requires an additional amplifier buffer lowering the SINAD, instability on complex load that could lower the SINAD.
So, yes, buy the 100 dB SINAD class D amp: at home, the real SINAD of the amplifier unit will be lower than the one measured in the lab on a resistor...
You may ear a difference in the sound ( hiss level, high frequencies distortion).
 

RDoc

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Amir can and has demonstrated it.

Yes, I cheated in the previous sentence because I haven't added that Amir and people like him are trained to precisely discern for differences. 70 db to 100 db is a serious jump, but if the difference were between a 100 db and a 90db amp, I think even a trained professional would start having issues.

Me being untrained? Probably not if the difference is distortion-dominated. If it's noise dominated, I may get it.
If you're referring to Amir's comments that I think you are, he also said that he only did it by finding specific passages and repeating them many times. Most people don't do that, they just listen straight through.
There were some listening tests recently between a tube amp which measured as the worst ever and an "amplified wire". Many people couldn't tell the difference. As it turned out, I could, but only by repeating very selected passages and I got a lot better with practice. The first time straight though, they were VERY difficult to tell apart. Unfortunately, I think the test has been taken down.
 

RDoc

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THD 0.001% is related to 100 dB SINAD.
THD 0.01% is related to 80 dB SINAD.

In the 80's the japanese manufacturers of audio amplifiers started proposing 100 dB SINAD amplifiers to compete against the 80 dB SINAD old generation.
At that time, the audio sound quality was really improved with the new designs.
It was class AB amps.

Nowadays we are speaking about class D amps.
Some weakness of class D amps are: low amplifying gain that requires an additional amplifier buffer lowering the SINAD, instability on complex load that could lower the SINAD.
So, yes, buy the 100 dB SINAD class D amp: at home, the real SINAD of the amplifier unit will be lower than the one measured in the lab on a resistor...
You may ear a difference in the sound ( hiss level, high frequencies distortion).
Depends on the amp. A couple of recent class D amp reviews have included reactive load testing and they did very well, SINAD >100db for all loads. I'm hoping reactive load testing becomes a standard part of amp reviews.
 

McFly

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THD+N 0.001% is related to 100 dB SINAD.
THD+N 0.01% is related to 80 dB SINAD.

Fixed that for you.

As I just demonstrated with my SMPS in class AB amp thread, an 83DB SINAD Amplifier was audible at my listening position, because the sum of its noise (from its power supply) was coming out of the speakers.

THD of the amp was down over 105dB.

After mods the amp had a SINAD of 94dB and silence, even with my ear next to the speaker cone.

Noise is the real problem IMO. THD, lesser so., especially if 2nd harmonic.
 

DVDdoug

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I grew-up with analog and to me 80dB is great!!! (And audibly perfect to my ears under any "normal" conditions).

Two or 3 issues that make things "fuzzy"...

Some people are better at hearing defects than others.

The "S" (signal) isn't always 100%. I believe Amir uses 5W for power amplifiers, but manufacturers may use full power and that makes a "better number". The higher the "S" the higher the SINAD (as long as you're not overdriving the amplifier into clipping where distortion gets suddenly worse). With an actual SINAD of 80dB probably nobody can hear the noise or distortion.

But program material is constantly varying and at low levels or during silence the noise may become audible. The absolute noise level depends on the gain, how close you are to the speakers, the efficiency of the speakers, and ambient noise might drown-out the electrical noise.

The nature of the noise (or distortion) also matters. A mid-frequency whine is more audible (and more annoying) than white noise. (A-weighted measurements help with that.)

Harmonic distortion is less audible than intermodulation or other kinds of distortion because all real world sounds contain harmonics already. And lower order harmonics are less audible than higher order harmonics.
 
OP
Jim Creek

Jim Creek

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The audible difference will likely be in the residual noise area, less so, the distortion.

Can you hear residual noise in your current system at any level, and if so, does it bother you? If the answer is no, stick with what you have and save the planet instead. :)
I can put my ear on the speaker screen with the Pre90 preamp turned all the way up and hear nothing, no hiss, dead silence. I’m dying to buy a NCX500 or Eigentakt or Nilai but I can’t justify it now. Damn!
 
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