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  • Odd and Even Order harmonics

    Yo yo

    Been looking at some amp reviews, and have noticed that some people tend to go on about odd and even order harmonics. One guy said that the Matchless DC 30 being class A ment you didn't have to hear odd order harmonics.

    I understand that this is generally the harmonic distortion that you hear when you crank, but can anyone shed some light as to what amps fall into each category, and better still, has anyone got clips highlighting the difference?

    Thanks!

  • #2
    I promise that anyone who goes on at length about odd vs. even order harmonics has no idea what they're talking about.

    And saying that "you don't have to hear odd order harmonics" because an amp is running in Class A is complete bull****************.
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    • #3
      Well see, in an A/B amplifier, those fragile harmonics get beat up by those pesky odd order harmonics. In a class A amplifier, those fragile harmonics are preserved, and are much happier.









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      • #4
        In a Class A amplifier, there's no crystalline lattice.
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        • #5
          Yo yo

          Been looking at some amp reviews, and have noticed that some people tend to go on about odd and even order harmonics. One guy said that the Matchless DC 30 being class A ment you didn't have to hear odd order harmonics.

          I understand that this is generally the harmonic distortion that you hear when you crank, but can anyone shed some light as to what amps fall into each category, and better still, has anyone got clips highlighting the difference?

          Thanks!


          hm.. that'd be difficult, as anything generating sound with a string is creating those harmonics anyhow, IIRC. tube amps are know for ACCENTUATING odd order hamonics... but they'd still be there.

          i wouldn't get hung up on amp classes, honestly... you have to listen to them, and a lot of companies will throw 'class a' as a marketing term anyhow and not substantiate it. most preamps, to my knowledge, are class A anyhow by virtue of design-- so they're not lying.. but inasfar as i know, real class a amps are fairly rare, and not necessarily practical.

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          • #6
            I even mentioned this to a friend the other day. I was like "Yeah, tube amps don't produce as many even order harmonics as SS amps do, but no one has any idea wtf that really means, it just gets parroted ad nauseam."
            Move along people, nothing to see here.

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            • #7
              hm.. that'd be difficult, as anything generating sound with a string is creating those harmonics anyhow, IIRC. tube amps are know for ACCENTUATING even order hamonics... but they'd still be there.

              i wouldn't get hung up on amp classes, honestly... you have to listen to them, and a lot of companies will throw 'class a' as a marketing term anyhow and not substantiate it. most preamps, to my knowledge, are class A anyhow by virtue of design-- so they're not lying.. but inasfar as i know, real class a amps are fairly rare, and not necessarily practical.


              you're missing the point.

              the deal is for a single test frequency, which additional frequencies are generated not that they are already present.

              for a 1kHz sine wave, if the added frequencies are 2k, 4k, 6k, 8k... then even order harmonics are generated and if 3k, 5k, 7k, 9k... are generated then odd order harmonics are generated.

              yes, the amp design matters.
              Grease Monkey... SLO... M90... Dual Rect... Others...

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              • #8
                my limited understanding of harmonics is this- odds are percieved of as 'pleasant and soft', evens are considered 'angular and unpleasant' due to the ways in which the waveform of a note 'aligns' with itself-- that being that any plucked note will have the fundamental-- plus, as it vibrates, have proportional amounts of other notes within it as it moves. both tube and solid state amps reproduce both equally until they start cutting the 'edges' of the waveform (i.e. distorting).. when clipping occurs, it become painfully obvious, as the solid state clips and makes the evens stick out more, and it get more harsh. tubes clip softly, and when it does-- it's naturally accentuated odd order harmonics are amplified, sounding warmer.

                it's actually pretty interesting stuff as you look at 'sinusoidal patterns' of strings and see how it's all based on proportions. i don't fully understand its implications as it's math of a higher order than i can process..

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                • #9
                  you're missing the point.

                  the deal is for a single test frequency, which additional frequencies are generated not that they are already present.

                  for a 1kHz sine wave, if the added frequencies are 2k, 4k, 6k, 8k... then even order harmonics are generated and if 3k, 5k, 7k, 9k... are generated then odd order harmonics are generated.

                  yes, the amp design matters.


                  i'm not sure what point i'm missing? i know the amp design matters-- but my point was that it isn't just the CLASS of the amp that matters in terms of sound-- and that marketing terms can really blur the picture.

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                  • #10
                    the deal is for a single test frequency, which additional frequencies are generated not that they are already present.

                    for a 1kHz sine wave, if the added frequencies are 2k, 4k, 6k, 8k... .


                    I'm not sure that the 6K would qualify as an even order harmonic - I think it has to be a whole octave above the fundamental to qualify as 'even order'....here's an explanation someone gave me in the lesson loft forum:

                    Originally Posted by Leo Plumtree
                    Only 'even order' harmonics with only binary factors produce octaves. 6:1 is two octaves plus a pure fifth, for example.

                    1:1 unison
                    2:1 octave
                    3:1 octave and pure fifth
                    4:1 two octaves
                    5:1 two octaves plus 5-limit Just major third
                    6:1 two octaves plus pure fifth
                    7:1 two octaves plus septimal m7
                    8:1 three octaves
                    9:1 three octaves plus Just major second
                    10:1 three octaves plus 5-limit Just major third
                    11:1 three octaves plus...um, something between a 4th and aug 4th
                    12:1 three octaves plus a pure fifth

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                    • #11
                      This is quite informative....

                      http://www.sheldonamps.com/classD.htm
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                      • #12
                        I'm not sure that the 6K would qualify as an even order harmonic - I think it has to be a whole octave above the fundamental to qualify as 'even order'....here's an explanation someone gave me in the lesson loft forum:


                        IIRC, an octave is typically 2x the frequency-- i.e. 1000hz octave up is 2000, an octave down is 500hz.

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                        • #13
                          If you take a sine wave and keep adding odd harmonics to it it looks more and more like a square wave.
                          If you keep adding even harmonics to it it approaches a triangle wave.

                          Go listen to a pure square wave and a pure triangle wave and see which you prefer.












                          Or just go and try out the amps and see which you like the sound of. oke:
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                          • #14
                            This is a classic case of "class" warfare perpetrated by misguided liberal socialists trying to take over the country. Oh, wait...this damned political election season crap is getting to me.

                            Here are the facts:

                            Even-order harmonics generated in the output stage are canceled out in push-pull output stages. This does *not* mean that even-order harmonics generated in the previous stages are canceled - they are passed right through, so a push-pull amplifier will have both even and odd order harmonics, just less even-order harmonics than a single-ended amplifier.

                            Amplifier class has nothing to do with it - a class A or class AB push-pull stage will both cancel the even-order harmonics. In fact, it can be argued that a true class A push-pull output stage will actually cancel *more* even-order harmonics than a class-AB amp because they are likely more symmetrically balanced.

                            The real answer is that a *single-ended* output stage will not cancel even-order harmonics generated in the output stage, while a *push-pull* output stage will cancel them. Again, only the harmonics generated in the output stage will be canceled. Therefore, the output stage distortion generated by a single-ended amp will be predominantly even-order, while the output stage distortion generated by a push-pull amp will be predominantly odd-order.

                            So, if by your definition, even harmonics = good, odd harmonics = bad, then you'd best only play single-ended amps, like Fender Champs, and throw away all your push-pull amps, like Marshalls, Matchless, higher-power Fenders, and almost every other amp over 10W ever made because they cancel your even harmonics in their output stages.

                            The problem here is that people don't know what they are talking about (even amp builders). They think "single-ended" and "class A" are the same thing (they aren't), and then extrapolate that to: "Matchless claims to be class A, so it must not cancel even-order harmonics" (which is isn't, it is cathode-biased, not class A, and they are not the same thing).

                            Listen to the *amps*, not to the misguided "experts" and reviewers who don't have a clue...

                            Randall Aiken
                            http://www.aikenamps.com

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                            • #15
                              The "Class" thing is just about how the amp processes the power coming into the amp, how the power valves work.

                              "Class A, B, D etc." is just a label, NOT a rank. A Class A amp is not better than Class B etc.

                              In a rough nutshell, Class A amps run the power 100% of the time. Class A/B amps run two valves in tandem, with the signal split so one valve amplifies one half of the signal, and another valve amplifies the other- the "push-pull" you hear about.


                              "Class A" doesn't mean that it's a better amp than "Class B", not at all.

                              In fact, the bad thing about "Class A" is that it is very inefficient about handling power. Amplifiers used for radio frequency carriers etc. are "Class H" I think- very extremely efficient.

                              Of course they'd probably sound crap for guitar .
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                              Originally Posted by lfrz93


                              btw petejt,
                              is that you in your avatar?









                              Originally Posted by petejt







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