Class D amplifiers in AV applications
Posted on 03 May 2021
Ultra Efficient • Ultra Cool • Ultra Reliable • Ultra Power
A decade ago Extron pioneered the use of Class D amplifiers in AV applications. We have continuously reinvented Class D with our meticulous approach to engineering and the development of unique, patented technologies, designed to address the particular requirements of AV workflows and installations.
Since our team of dedicated power systems engineers designs all Extron Class D amplifiers from the ground up, including our Everlast power supplies, we know exactly what’s inside down to the component level. Each component and its placement is carefully chosen and designed into the total system for peak efficiency and reliability. This is not possible for other manufacturers who utilize offshore OEM power modules.
The XPA® Ultra lineup of ENERGY STAR qualified power amplifiers represents Extron’s ongoing commitment to innovation and taking on the challenge to put more high performance channels in less space.
Ultra High Channel Density
Starting with the industry leading channel density of the XPA U 358, the XPA Ultra line of amplifiers delivers its channel count in one rack space. That’s because when we call an amplifier a 1RU device, it actually does only take up one rack space. An amplifier that needs a rack space above for ventilation or another rack space for a transformer unit, isn’t really a 1RU device. With rack space at a premium, the ability to install more channels into less space, with less cooling required, is increasingly important.
Select a channel configuration from the tabs below to see how the XPA Ultra stacks up against other amplifier brands.
Engineering an amplifier with the performance and reliability of the XPA Ultra is hard. There are no shortcuts. Using the same OEM designs that other manufacturers use would not achieve the Extron mission of providing the best solutions to meet the requirements and high expectations of our customers.
The photographs below illustrate key differences in the Designed by Extron approach compared to other manufacturers’ OEM approach. Click the photographs for details.
Ultra Fast Wake Up Time
Extron XPA Ultra amplifiers carry on our commitment to conserve energy and reduce costs with their ENERGY STAR qualified designs. All Extron amplifiers have an auto power-down feature that places the amplifier into standby after 25 minutes of inactivity, consuming less than 1 watt of energy.
When audio is detected while in standby, waking up fast enough such that the beginning of audio is not cut off has long been a challenge, now solved by Extron engineers for the XPA Ultra lineup of amplifiers. The graphic and audio examples below show the difference between the XPA Ultra waking up completely in less than 100 milliseconds compared to competitors’ Class D amplifiers that can take well over two seconds to achieve nominal power. As you will hear, a half second of missed audio can dramatically change the meaning of a sentence.
An XPA Ultra amplifier runs cooler than other Class D amplifiers. An amplifier that generates excessive heat not only wastes a rack space above it by requiring space for cooling, it also places more demand on rack cooling systems and reduces component life. The higher cooling requirements and failure rates of other Class D amplifiers lead to higher costs and downtime. The convection cooled XPA Ultra amplifiers run quieter, cooler, and longer, thanks to the cumulative effect of Extron’s meticulous thermal engineering.
All XPA Ultra amplifiers operate at an industry-leading efficiency up to 77%. An efficient amplifier delivers the highest possible percentage of its input power to output power for speakers. Power not delivered is wasted as radiated heat, which causes further waste in higher cooling costs and energy requirements.
Ultra Low AC Power Draw
A highly efficient amplifier will require less electrical power than an inefficient amplifier to deliver the same amount of amplification to speakers. The more efficient, ENERGY STAR qualified XPA Ultra amplifiers, with their Everlast power supplies, reduce electrical costs in terms of kilowatt hours used and power infrastructure required.