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Superregs for your line-level projects

Posted 9th December 2013 at 07:52 AM by jan.didden
Updated 10th December 2013 at 06:02 PM by jan.didden

It’s a recurrent issue: you want to build a preamp, a DAC, a phono stage, anything that needs a nominal supply voltage between 3.3 and 15VDC, positive and/or negative polarity. Sometimes you want several supplies to isolate stages from mutual interference via the power supply. So you want a power supply regulator that approaches an ideal DC voltage source as best as possible within reasonable cost. In your search, you inevitably run into the term ‘superreg’ – so where does the name come from and what is it?

The history of very high performance low-voltage regulators is well documented on Walt Jung’s website (www.waltjung.org – look under Library|Regulators & References). An early design that attracted attention was Mike Sulzer’s, published in 1980 and 1981 in Audio Amateur. I added something to that in 1987, and then I was invited by Walt Jung to work on a further improved version. This was published in a series of four articles in Audio Amateur in 1995 by Walt (part 1, 2) myself (part 3) and Gary Galo (part 4). To the best of my knowledge, it is to this design that the term ‘superreg’ refers to. Later on, Walt published some additional refinements in 2000 in AudioXpress, the successor to Audio Amateur.

There’s a lot to say about these designs and although they do look relatively simple, almost all components and details are optimized in long hours of testing. The articles on Walt’s’ website give all the details. If you are interested in detailed measurements, see again the original articles or the recent (2012) measurements comparing many regulator designs with listening tests by Jack Walton in Linear Audio Vol 4. The most important of the comparisons are on www.linearaudio.net under Articles (look for ‘Color graphs for Jack Walton's regulator article in Vol 4’).

One of my contributions to the 1995 series was a compact PCB design for the positive and negative regulator that was sold by Old Colony Sound Lab for more than 10 years. When OCSL folded I received many requests for the PCB and finally I decided to redo it and update it to Walt’s’ 2000 article, and this article is about this PCB.
This article reviews the superreg design and gives an updated PCB design for the positive and the negative regulator. The PCBs are available from the diyaudio store. Each PCB contains one pos and one neg reg, but they are completely separate so you can cut them apart if needed.

Read the full article with schematics, board layout, stuffing guides etcetera here.

(c) 2013 Jan Didden
Posted in Uncategorized
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Total Comments 7

Comments

  1. Old Comment
    vdi_nenna's Avatar
    Thanks Jan! A good, inexpensive regulator board is sorely needed! Thank you!

    Now, if we can just get someone to make a good discrete opamp board in single and dual configurations, we'd not need much else!

    All the best and happy holidays

    Vince
    permalink
    Posted 20th December 2013 at 01:51 PM by vdi_nenna vdi_nenna is offline
  2. Old Comment
    jan.didden's Avatar
    Yes, that's a good idea! Let me think about that....

    Jan
    permalink
    Posted 21st December 2013 at 07:51 AM by jan.didden jan.didden is offline
  3. Old Comment
    Hi, Jan.

    I don't have any of the Audio Amateur articles you reference handy for reference, but I have always assumed, perhaps incorrectly, that the term "super-reg" referred to the work of Alan Wright. As I'm sure you know, his regulator consists of a current source driving a shunt regulator, similar conceptually to the Salas HV regs.
    permalink
    Posted 22nd December 2013 at 04:52 PM by jlevro jlevro is offline
  4. Old Comment
    nicoch58's Avatar
    HI Jan , this baby is good for mA max ?

    edit
    I just see the D44H11 are rated 10A !
    permalink
    Posted 22nd December 2013 at 09:00 PM by nicoch58 nicoch58 is offline
    Updated 22nd December 2013 at 09:07 PM by nicoch58
  5. Old Comment
    jan.didden's Avatar
    Max current spec

    The 10A is a max spec for the pass device but not for the regulator! Check the thread about this, about 1A is possible but for higher currents you need to make some changes.
    permalink
    Posted 23rd December 2013 at 07:03 AM by jan.didden jan.didden is offline
    Updated 23rd December 2013 at 07:07 AM by jan.didden
  6. Old Comment
    jan.didden's Avatar

    Super reg term

    The first use of the term 'super reg' I found was for the Sulzer regulators in TAA, probably early 80-ies. But at the time the term didn't really catch on yet. After the Jung/Didden series in 1995 it DID catch on, so that's why I believe that most people, when they refer to the term 'super reg' refer to those regulators.
    Alan may have used the term for his design as well; what time would that have been?
    permalink
    Posted 23rd December 2013 at 07:06 AM by jan.didden jan.didden is offline
  7. Old Comment
    My guess is that would have been mid-90's as well. So perhaps solid-state guys would think of Jung/Didden, whereas tube guys would think of Wright!
    permalink
    Posted 23rd December 2013 at 01:16 PM by jlevro jlevro is offline
 
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