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THX Demos High-Efficiency Analog Amp Technology

1/10/2012 12:01:00 AM Eastern

LAS VEGAS — THX is coming to International CES
with a new analog amplifier technology said to deliver
sound quality that equals that of the best Class
A/B analog amplifiers while equaling or exceeding
the efficiency of most Class D “digital” switching
amps in normal use when playing music or movie
soundtracks.

The efficiency and small size of amps incorporating
the THX technology makes them suitable for use in
TV sets, automotive audio, high-quality tabletop audio,
powered speakers and high-quality battery-powered
portable audio products, THX senior VP Laurie
Fincham told TWICE. The technology is also suitable
for larger high-powered, performance-driven applications
such as high-end A/V receivers and audiophilequality
amplifiers, he said.

The amps can be small because in lower power
applications such as portables, the size of their heat
sinks will be “almost negligible,” he said. The amps
also don’t require big caps or inductors.

The technology will deliver “low distortion, low
noise and wide bandwidth without big heat sinks,” he
said. The technology boasts “distortion so low that
it is difficult to measure on even the best test equipment,”
he added.

As a result, the technology will deliver “the same
musical, natural sound quality as the finest Class AB
amplifiers,” the company said.

When playing a full-power sine wave, Class D amplifiers
are more efficient, he noted, but in real-world
conditions when playing even the loudest music, the
average power of a Class D amp will only be about
10 percent of the maximum sine wave power, so the
efficiency for both Class D and the THX amp technologies
will be both closer to 30 percent, he explained.
At lower listening levels, the THX technology
becomes much more efficient because its standing
dissipation is much lower, typically1/20th that of a
Class D amplifier, Fincham said.

Standby power consumption is extremely low, he
added. “When it does nothing, it takes nothing.”

The cool-running technology suffers “none of the
radio-frequency emissions problems that plague
most digital amplifiers,” making it especially suitable
for automotive applications, the company added.

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