As of my last update in September 2021, a "Class T" audio amplifier might be referring to a specific type of amplifier developed by Tripath Technology. However, it's worth noting that Class T is essentially a marketing term used by Tripath for their amplifiers, and the more widely known and recognized term for this technology is "Class D." Class D amplifiers are known for their high efficiency and are widely used in audio applications.
Advantages of Class T (Class D) audio amplifiers:
High Efficiency: Class D amplifiers are very efficient compared to traditional Class A, B, or AB amplifiers. They operate by rapidly switching the output transistors between fully ON and fully OFF states, reducing power dissipation as heat and conserving energy.
Compact Size and Low Heat Dissipation: The high efficiency of Class D amplifiers allows them to be built with smaller heatsinks or even without one in some cases, resulting in a more compact and lightweight design.
Less Power Loss: Due to the switch-mode operation, the power loss in the output transistors is significantly reduced compared to other amplifier classes, which results in less wasted power.
Less Power Consumption: The reduced power loss and high efficiency lead to lower power consumption, making Class D amplifiers environmentally friendly and ideal for battery-powered devices.
Suitable for Portable Devices: The low power consumption and compact size make Class D amplifiers well-suited for portable audio devices like smartphones, tablets, and portable speakers.
Disadvantages of Class T (Class D) audio amplifiers:
Switching Noise: Class D amplifiers work by switching the output transistors at high frequencies (typically above the audio range). Sometimes, this high-frequency switching can create noise, which may require careful design and filtering to minimize.
Complex Design: Designing a high-quality Class D amplifier can be more complex than traditional linear amplifiers, requiring careful attention to layout, filtering, and noise control.
Potential Audio Distortion: Although modern Class D amplifiers can achieve excellent audio quality, lower-quality or poorly designed Class D amplifiers may exhibit audible distortion, especially at high power levels.
EMI/RFI Concerns: The high-frequency switching can introduce electromagnetic interference (EMI) and radio frequency interference (RFI), which may impact other nearby electronic devices if not properly managed.
Limited Bandwidth for Some Designs: Some Class D amplifiers may have a limited bandwidth, which can affect their performance at very high frequencies.
It's important to note that Class D amplifiers have evolved significantly over the years, and many of the disadvantages have been mitigated through advancements in technology and design practices. High-quality Class D amplifiers can now rival or even surpass the audio performance of traditional linear amplifiers while providing greater efficiency and power savings. Always consider the specific product and brand reputation when evaluating the advantages and disadvantages of any audio amplifier.