Posted 7th September 2013 at 10:51 AM byalexcp (My DIY projects)
Updated 17th February 2014 at 06:08 AM byalexcp
I talked earlier about soundcard measurements, and here is some news: Pioneer Hill Software updated SpectraPLUS 5 so that it can now use ASIO.
ASIO (Audio Stream Input-Output) replaces Windows' own MME (MultiMedia Extensions) or DirectSound. As far as I understand, the beauty of ASIO is that it bypasses Windows Mixer and thus doesn't bring any issues associated with sample rate conversion or level adjustment.
The ASIO drivers that came with my E-MU 0204 crash every time (on Windows 7 and WIndows 8). Thankfully, there is ASIO4ALL, which works well for me.
First picture shows two spectra taken with SpectraPLUS: red is the E-MU 0204 output fed directly into E-MU's input; and blue is the output of the E-MU fed into Pete Millett's interface, output of the interface fed to the input of the interface, and then back to the sound card. THD+N is 0.000781% is the first case and 0.001272% in the second.
Posted 12th May 2013 at 08:51 PM byalexcp (My DIY projects)
This is a project developed by Douglas Self and published in the Elektor in October and November 2010.
The idea is rather unusual: "An interesting power amplifier can be made by connecting enough 5532s in parallel, how about 32 for a start? This may sound like a radical course of action, but it actually works very well, making it possible to build a very simple amplifier that retains not only the excellent linearity but also the power-supply rejection and the inbuilt overload protection of the 5532, which reduces the external circuitry required to a minimum."
Elektor used to sell PCBs for this project, which I used. I modified the circuit slightly to incorporate an active volume control along the lines of Douglas Self's preamplifiers.
My first mod on ZV4 came after I turned my disappointment into finding better part suppliers. I returned to my ZV4 and replaced the output caps with something marginally more decent from eBay. The sound improved a notch. Aha!
My second mod was to rebuild the power supply. I threw away one of the toroids, added a softstart circuit from Hypex, and put in a CRC filter with some Mundorf HC caps. One power supply for two single ended channels forced me to learn about grounding and add input transformers and balanced...
Posted 9th April 2013 at 07:40 PM byalexcp (My DIY projects)
Updated 12th May 2013 at 04:49 PM byalexcp(Added better photos)
I built this one a while ago but could not find time to post.
This is a Class B power amplifier that follows the Ultra-LD Mk.3 amplifier design published by the Australian Silicon Chip magazine in 2011, which in turn draws heavily from the concept of a Blameless amplifier devised by Douglas Self. I used a different power supply and speaker protection, and changed the grounding scheme vs what was published.
The distortion at 1 kHz is below my measurement capabilities, and the amplifier does sound very nice, although it seems to give more sibilance than my Class A amplifiers.
The acid test I use is the dual CD "The Very Best of Placido Domingo" album published by EMI Classics. Many amplifiers I have heard cannot deal well with Domingo's tenor, esp. on louder and higher tones. Class A amps, particularly those using simple internal structure like the Zen series, perform well in this test. This amplifier seems to do better than any other...
Posted 9th April 2013 at 07:10 PM byalexcp (My DIY projects)
Updated 2nd November 2013 at 12:17 PM byalexcp(Added better photos)
Big, hot, and heavy! Just completed it and adjusted for distortion, have not had yet a real chance to listen to it. (Update: I have listened to this amp for some time, and it seems to be a keeper, at least for now.)
The build is in a 4U/400 case from modushop; each side has two 200mm heatsinks, each holding six MOSFETs (three complementary pairs) and a biasing circuit.
The construction is dual mono (separate transformers for each channel) with CRC filtered +/- 18V rails, quiescent current is 3A per channel. Eight Mundorf MLytic® HC High Current Power Caps and two 300VA toroids occupy the most of the chassis, while the actual electronics is mounted on the sides.
Now I need a balanced preamp. I contemplate building some variant of BoSoZ, but am also thinking about a SuperSymmetric balanced preamp using JFETs or tubes...
UPDATE: No- and low-feedback amplifiers have no (or little) control over output errors and thus poor PSRR. On this premise,...
The amp uses low-voltage 12AE6A tubes for voltage amplification and BUF634 solid state buffers to drive the load. Each tube houses two diodes (unused) and a triode, here loaded with a CCS. The whole thing runs off a 24VDC power brick and consumes maybe 150mA after the tubes heat up.
The DC operating point of the triode can be adjusted with a multiturn trimpot. The original AudioXpress article talks about the influence of the operating point on the sound and suggests to trim for symmetrical clipping, then adjust for the subjectively best sound.
The aha! moment came when I connected the amp to my sound card and looked at the distortion spectrum. On small signals (~300mV output into 300 ohm) the distortion is 2nd harmonic only. The operation point can be trimmed to the point where the the 2nd harmonic goes into the noise floor! I've read about this but...
The exposure 2010S CD player has an easy internal layout, where most of the components sit on a large PCB.
The original clock is based on the 74HC04N chip located in the middle of the PCB, to the left from the three white power connectors connecting the toroidal transformer. A close-up picture shows the crystal resonator wrapped in a black heat-shrink tube, two 33pF capacitors on each side of the resonator (those with black dots on top), and a resistor R75, which also serves in the circuit. The oscillator is built on the single invertor (pins 13 and 12 of the IC).
The original clock is generating 16.9344 MHz at 5V CMOS levels.
To install XO2.2, I removed the resonator and the capacitors, leaving the resistor in place. I connected the signal cable from XO2.2 to the...
Posted 28th January 2012 at 06:39 PM byalexcp (My DIY projects)
Updated 12th May 2013 at 05:01 PM byalexcp(Added photos)
Just finished fine tuning my First Watt F5 clone.
I built it about a year ago out of parts that I had on hand back then, including a power supply reused from another project. The resulting sound was rather disappointing. Now I spent time matching transistors and tuning the feedback network. The amplifier now is very close to the performance described in the original service manual.
I am listening to F5 (the music is Tchaikovsky performed by Wiener Philharmoniker and von Karajan) and realizing that it is so good that if this was my first amplifier, I might not be interested in building anything else.
Update: after a year, this is still the best amplifier.
Update: I purchased the official F5 PCBs from the diyAudio store. I will rebuild the amplifier, hopefully with better FETs and other parts.