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Old 13th May 2016, 11:25 AM   #1
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Default Remote Control for the BPBP

Confusions about the options and possibilities how to combine the BPBP with the Maya remote control, made me decide to start this thread, where all info being scattered over several threads now combined in one place.

Intro
A preamp without a remote control, in particular for controlling the volume, is only half a preamp.
The BPBP is a superb preamp, with a solid circuit design, but most special is the absolute excellent PCB design that makes it stand op top what is possible today.
The circuit design itself was used almost exactly by Mark Levinson (and probably by many others also) over the last 10 years for all their models of Pre-amps, with the difference that they use Fet switches in a linear R-2R network for volume control, where the BPBP uses a standard linear Pot.

A pot can be remote controlled by using a motorized version, with added hardware, but more elegantly is to control the volume digitally.
Fet’s as being used by ML cannot compete with Relays in behaving like ideal switches and also a linear R-2R network is way more complex in # of components and in steering without having any advantage over a logarithmic attenuator, so the choice how to replace the pot was easy to make.


Realisation
In controlling those relays, a remote control is needed, and my attention was caught by the well-designed MAYA remote controller, having lots of options, like Bluetooth and a learning IR remote control, 64 steps to control the volume in 1dB steps, multi-channel select and last but not least a serious display giving lots of information.

A complete Maya system must be seen as a “passive” preamp where the signal comes in, gets attenuated passively via a logarithmic relay switched attenuator and leaves the system without any amplification in between.

As such, Maya is doing a great job.
The BPBP however is an active system with a very high CMRR and dynamic range, where volume control is integrated in the feedback of an Op-Amp.

As good as passive preamps may be, the top of the preamps is reserved for active preamps when looking at test magazines like for instance Stereophile.
An interesting feature is that hardly any high end preamp has a tone control, which is also not available on the BPBP.

There are however some potential restrictions like only having 2 input channels.
For this reason a 6 channel GB was started on this Forum.

Another restriction is, that the BPBP is in its basic form has no provision for a remote control.
To solve this problem, a Volume Control Board (VolCB)* was developed giving the possibility to have 64 steps of 1dB each, to being steered by the same Maya controller that also controls the passive Maya preamp.

And here it is where things are beginning to become complicated.
There are three different boards start with: the BPBP pre-amp, the Volume Control Board that replaces the stereo pot and the Maya controller.
This volume control board (VolCB) can select via the Maya remote control between the 2 channels that are available on the BPBP preamp.
If you wanted more channels at your disposal, there was the 6 channel GB board that is operated manually, but no longer available.
With a new GB PCB would it be possible to select 4 or maybe even 6 channels from a similar external input/output board directly from the existing Volume Control board, because the control hardware is already there.

If someone can give me all the essentials of the 6 input GB, I could make a redesign directly to be controlled from the VCB. Maybe 4 balanced inputs should be enough for most situations?
It would be also nice to add a balanced record output to this external board.

Do not confuse these multi-channel options with the multi-channel boards that Maya supplies for a complete system, because they cannot be used for the purpose of selecting input channels in combination with the BPBP.

In case you are happy with a passive preamp, I think the full Maya system will be an excellent choice with the option to have multiples of 4 input channels either Single Ended or Balanced.
When you want to go for the top in high end active preamps, take the BPBP.
However using the full Maya system with all its features like having many input channels IN FRONT of the BPBP, thus placing two preamps in cascade makes no sense at all and should not even be considered.


To conclude for Stereo Applications:

1) use either the full Maya system with expandable multi-channel inputs, or
2) The BPBP with standard 2 input channels to start with, combined with the Volume Control Board and the Maya controller subset, as in this diagram or (later)

Maya_BPBP.jpg

3) The BPBP with an added multi-channel board (still to be designed) with 4 or 6 balanced input channels to choose from and also equipped with a balanced record output, again combined with the standard Volume Control Board and the Maya controller subset.


* Until now this board was called the “Hans” PCB, but I suggest changing this name from now on in VolCB.
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Old 13th May 2016, 06:46 PM   #2
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Hi Hans,

Is your PCB for sale? And for the Maya controller, we just need to controller board? What about microcode, does it need to be a special revision?

Can you please post links to your thread where to get the different PCBs?

Thanks
Do
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Old 13th May 2016, 07:44 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pinnocchio View Post
Hi Hans,

Is your PCB for sale? And for the Maya controller, we just need to controller board? What about microcode, does it need to be a special revision?

Can you please post links to your thread where to get the different PCBs?

Thanks
Do
Hi Do,
The bare VolCB (price still TBA) and the fully populated and working MAYA controller (price 140,- Euro) can be both bought from Tibi, see here

Maya R2R Advanced Volume controller

and here

https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets...gid=1638000354

You will not need a special microcode.

Hans
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Old 17th May 2016, 11:28 AM   #4
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Since the VolCB will probably not go in production before the end of May, I have made a slight addition to it, where steering signals for the selection of max. 6 inputs have been made available, to be selected from the standard Maya remote controller.

At the same time I will publish this week the Design + Gerbers for a 4 input PCB, where no alterations to a fully populated BPBP will have to be made. A PCB that will be steered and fully integrated with the VolCB, the BPBP and the MAYA remote controller.
A balanced Tape Out to be also be provided on this board.
Just 4 inputs because this is probably enough for 99% of all cases, thereby not overstressing the budget.

Hans
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Old 17th May 2016, 02:27 PM   #5
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This is really good news!

Do
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PREAMPs : Bal AMB α10 + JC-80 | Bal DCB1 | Bal LDR3x | AMPs: AMB β24 | ExtremA | FO v1.4 | USSA5 | TSSA | Telos 390 Clone | NX Amp | FC-100
DACs : TPA Buffalo II + OPC's NTD1 I/V | JLsounds | Mirand AK4490 + Discrete Output Speakers : Troels Gravesen ATS-4 | Sagwee LT V3
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Old 17th May 2016, 05:45 PM   #6
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Here is the circuit diagram of the "4 channel remote PCB", rest to follow soon.

The working is as follows:
The middle XLR inputs on the BPBP remain to be channel 1.
The outer XLR inputs (the former BPBP channel 2) connect to J7 /J8 of the new boards, see the diagram below, outside the cabinet with short twisted wires, preventing to having to change anything at all to a fully populated BPBP.
J1/J2 on this new board are for Channel 2, J3/J4 for channel 3 and J5/J6 for channel 4.

J9 connects to the VolCB, for selecting the proper channel, J10/J11 are the balanced tape output, coming via J12 from the VolCB, and J13 replaces the channel select switch S1 on de BPBP.


Input Select.jpg

Hans
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Old 18th May 2016, 05:16 AM   #7
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Will you be producing the board as a GB?

Thanks
Do
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PREAMPs : Bal AMB α10 + JC-80 | Bal DCB1 | Bal LDR3x | AMPs: AMB β24 | ExtremA | FO v1.4 | USSA5 | TSSA | Telos 390 Clone | NX Amp | FC-100
DACs : TPA Buffalo II + OPC's NTD1 I/V | JLsounds | Mirand AK4490 + Discrete Output Speakers : Troels Gravesen ATS-4 | Sagwee LT V3
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Old 18th May 2016, 07:57 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pinnocchio View Post
Will you be producing the board as a GB?

Thanks
Do
I have no interest whatsoever, but maybe Tibi can add this to the VolCB in the Maya GB.
After having finished the PCB I will contact him.

Hans
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Old 18th May 2016, 01:06 PM   #9
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Here is the 3D look of the 4 input board, any comment or suggestions?
Left: Tape , Right: Output to BPBP

4_1 input select.jpg

Hans
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Old 19th May 2016, 03:37 PM   #10
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Here is the final PCB providing 4 input channels plus a tape output for the BPBP.
I have asked Tibi whether he could produce this board just as the VolCB.
But anybody could take the challenge to make a GB of both boards, this PCB and the VolCB.
The Gerbers are available.

4_3 input select.jpg

The PCB measures 235 x 40 mm.
The text on the left `balanced in´ is misleading and should be ´Tape Out´.

Hans

Last edited by Hans Polak; 19th May 2016 at 03:43 PM.
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