Starkrimson® GaN Technology / Implementation
What is a Gallium Nitride (GaN) Amplifer?
Gallium nitride (GaN) amplifiers are solid state switching amplifiers “class-D” amplifiers that use GaNFETs (GaN transistors) instead of MOSFETs (silicon transistors)
- a newer type of transistor that uses gallium nitride, a special material, instead of silicon.
- like supercharged MOSFETs. They can switch current on and off much faster and more efficiently than traditional MOSFETs.
- especially useful in high-frequency and high-power applications, like in audio power amplifiers.
What music lovers, enthusiasts and audiophiles like about GaN is that the amps sound like a tube amp or a class-A amp without any of the real-world grief that comes with tubes and class-A amps.
For example, GaN amps:
- are small and light.
- create almost no heat.
- aren’t heavy.
- have very stable power into 2, 4 and 8 ohm speakers.
- Our amps are stable from 16 ohms all the way down to 1 ohm.
- they also tend to be relatively affordable.
Tubes create a lot of heat meaning if a tube amp draws 100 watts of power from the wall, 80 watts is lost to heat alone. Class-A amps draw ALL of the power from the wall and “boil it down” to make a very tube-like sound but without tubes. Some class-A amp fans notice their amps on their electric bill as they draw that much power from the wall. Class-A amps also create a ton of heat which can cause major issues in an equipment rack. GaN amps don’t have these problems.
What Benefits Can I Expect from a GaN Audio Amp?
GaNFETs provides the following sonic/sound quality benefits over traditional MOSFETs:
- GaN amps sound less harsh.
- GaN amps have a cleaner, more open high frequency response.
- GaN amps sound more transparent or less “like an amp” which is widely considered to be a very good thing.
- GaN amps have the ability to resolve more sonic detail “high resolution”.
Simply put GaN amps sound like the best amp designs from the world of high-end audio over the years (tubes, class-A, class-AB etc…) but don’t have any of the downsides or the high cost.
Music lovers, enthusiasts and audiophiles are specifically exited about the promise of GaN amps, and who can blame them?
Starkrimson is an Analog Amplifer!!!
You read that right. Starkrimson (150W) and Starkrimson Ultra (500W) are analog switching power audio amplifiers. The “d” in class d does not mean “digital.”
The pulse-depth modulation (PDM) is performed completely in the analog domain and is then amplified by the GaN power stages.
This sets Starkrimson apart from its counterparts that use digital modulation techniques using FPGAs, DSPs, and processors.
Why do Starkrimson Amps Sound so Good?
Starkrimson (150W)and Starkrimson Ultra (500W) audio amplifiers use my proprietary DC-coupled, fully balanced dual feedback modulator. This allows the amplifier to be completely balanced from input to output, through the use of bridged GaN power stages.
GaN technology enables the Starkrimson audio power amps to switch at ~800kHz which is 2-3 times faster than traditional class d amplifiers using silicon transistors. This very fast switching allows for the use of a simple LC (inductor and capacitor) filter, which allows the amplifier to have practically no phase shift from DC (0Hz) to 30kHz.
The filter is a very important part of a class-D amplifier. Starkrimson uses oversized very high-quality, oxygen-free copper (OFC) inductors and a very high-grade film capacitor.
Having high-quality components will only get you so far; Starkrimson’s 4-layer PCB is state-of-the-art. It uses a custom stack-up with high-end dielectric (insulating) material and ENIG (gold) finish.