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I have been contemplating getting a David Berning amp for my Tannoys for some time now. The problem is, Berning uses an SMPS based power supply in the amps. I have tried some SMPS based amps and CDPs before (Crayon Audio, Linn). The result has been very discouraging. The sound was always somewhat digital, 2 dimensional, grainy and ultimately more irritating than relaxing.
I live near 3 huge radio towers so the RFI in my area is very high. I was told that these high bandwidth switching power supplies are much more susceptible to RFI and that is why the RFI pollutes the signal causing the kind of sound I hear from these equipments. Can this be true ? Will that also mean getting a Berning amp will be a no no ?
I am not entirely sure of this, but as I understand it, modern Berning amplifiers, which is to say current ones, do use a switching type PS. This would mean there is a chance that the amplifier itself would generate RFI. Thus, it would be wise to place the amplifier at some safe distance from other electronics in the system. Long ago, a local friend of mine was using a very early Berning amplifier with an Audible Illusions Modulus preamplifier, and we could hear a clicking sound on his speakers, until he separated the amplifier from the preamplifier by a few feet. However, this potential issue would not make any difference as regards other sources of RFI, so far as I know. Further, in practice I know of no instance where the ZH270 and its ilk have been shown to be the source of any problems of this type. In the past year, I played with a ZH270 in my own system, albeit where the amp and preamp are separated by 20 feet, and it was dead silent. David Berning is a very smart guy, and he is well aware of these issues; I am sure that his designs take all such problems into account, therefore. For sure, there is nothing about the ZH270, ZH230, etc, that make them particularly sensitive to external sources of RFI. In other words, forgeddaboudit.
The switching power supply in the Berning amps is not anything like your standard wallwart. I have two Berning ZH-270 power amps and they are simply the best amps I have ever owned. They are driving a pair of biamped Maggie 3.6's and the results are stunning. I cannot easily answer the rfi question but I love these amps
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