Gallium Nitride GaN Class D Amplifiers

In my recent research for a possible upgrade to my current amp (Benchmark (AHB2) I was reading about the new higher end design for Class D. I'm very interested in learning more about these new GaN(Gallium Nitride) designs. Three companies are offering some very well reviewed products and they are not going crazy with Watts per channel:

Orchard Audio offers a 250 watt Amp

AGD a 100 watt

Atmos-Phere also a 100 watt

What's interesting  is while Orchard is a new company AGD and Atmos-Phere have been around a while producing high end Tube amps. In almost every review it is noted how these newer designs sound like Class A or Tubes with all the benefits of Solid State. One reviewer couldn't go back to his tube amps after extended listening to the Orchard. No wonder AGD and Atmos-Phere are getting into this technology. It's very exciting as these amps are highly efficient turning over 90% of the power they draw into sound compared to about 78% with A/B designs and I believe even significantly lower for Class A. They run cool and usually weigh between 10-28lbs. I plan to do more investigation. Small size and light weight with decent power is very attractive. There are also mono block offerings for more power if needed. These are not cheap Class D products. They are well designed and constructed.

Orchard Audio's base model is around $2700and their Dual mono version with larger power supplies is $5500.

Both AGD and Atoms-Phere are $5000

Mono blocks for each are about twice the cost.

Has anyone had any experience, demos, etc ., with these types of GaN Class D amps?



@tvad The three Class D amps that did not meet my expectations were AGD, Orchard and Atma-sphere, the 3 amps brought up by the OP.  I currently own A/S OTL and Conrad Johnson amps and recently sold some Pass amps all of which I am comparing to.  Over the years I’ve also owned quite a few other amps, both tube and solid state, so I do have some foundation to compare to.  Like I’ve also said in other threads the GAN amps imo are getting close to the sound of tubes.  They’re just not there yet. Whether they ever will is not for me to say.  The easiest way to explain it and what I have also said before is that they don’t have the “soul” of a tube amp. There are of course several pluses.  They’re light weight, run cool, and in some cases a good value if that is what you’re looking for.  Again, sorry to say they just don’t sound like tube amps.  I had hoped they would.

@marco1, thank you for specifying the amps.

Interestingly, two of those...AGD Productions and Orchard Audio...were two I also auditioned about four years ago.

I arrived at the same conclusion as you did.

Nevertheless, I believe AGD Productions GAN amps (and I suspect Atma-Sphere GAN amps as well), are worthy of recommendation and audition.

@mbmi, It's interesting that you mentioned the Pascal module as a step up, having heard the Pascal in Aavik, Axxess, and JRDG amps I think you may be correct as those amps all sound top shelf.

I have too much stuff already but would love to find a spot for the new HiFi Rose integrated.  That company and a few others are really upping the bar when it comes to new and innovative HiFi products, or Future Fi as it is increasingly being referred to online.

@marco1 I suspect there are other synergy issues. I rather enjoy my GaN amplifiers, I do not put them in the same category as my tube amps I do think they are very close. Love the detail. YMMV and I only have OCC copper IC's and speaker cables in the GaN system.