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Voltage Regulators for Line Level Audio. Part I : Zeners

Posted 15th January 2014 at 11:34 PM by rjm
Updated 16th January 2014 at 04:40 AM by rjm

This is the first of a series, where I will be investigating the output impedance and ripple rejection of various voltage regulator circuits using LTSpice.


Today, for the first "lesson" (I'm teaching myself, as much as anything) we will look at the very simple zener voltage regulator.

The load is 1 kohm, and the Zener breakdown voltage is 12 V. The load current is about 10 mA, and to avoid gross inefficiency we will limit the current flowing through the Zener to about 5 mA, by adjusting R1 accordingly. The input voltage is fixed at 18 V.

To measure the ripple rejection, we perform an AC analysis with the voltage source AC set to 1 and the current source AC set to zero. The ripple rejection is the negative value of the signal at Vout: so -20 dB means 20 dB ripple rejection (1 V ripple at Vin generates 0.1 V ripple at Vout at a given frequency.).

To measure the output impedance, again the AC analysis function is used but...
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A "music cafe", Kyoto.

Posted 13th January 2014 at 09:45 PM by rjm

A small corner of audio heaven, for anyone willing to pay the 500 yen cover charge.
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Hakko FX-950

Posted 20th December 2013 at 10:29 AM by rjm

Earlier this year I had a really, really bad experience attempting to get a new soldering iron. This time around I made my purchase through a reputable Japanese online retailer, and am now the proud and happy owner of a Hakko FX-950 soldering station.

Its an analog unit, and was discounted quite a bit as a result. Personally I'm happier with a rotary dial temperature control anyway.

This thing rocks! I've dragged my heels on getting a decent iron for so long its ridiculous. In my defense, I could always borrow a semi-decent one from work, so the pressure to buy my own was not as great as it otherwise might have been.

Top five reasons to spend the extra cash:

1. 70W, variable, closed loop temperature control. As much heat as you need, whenever you need it: the feedback loop means that the power is proportional to the conductance load: the tip will not cool down when heating up a large thermal mass.

2. Heats up to...
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Upgrading the Sapphire headphone amplifier (photos)

Posted 17th December 2013 at 10:10 PM by rjm
Updated 20th December 2013 at 10:14 AM by rjm

Straightforward transplant. Out with the old (anyone want them?) in with the new. Re-used the OPA134 op amp and my dog-eared pair of 0.47uF Multicaps.

On powering up I discovered that with the specified 10 ohms in R9,10 the output bias current was upwards of 200 mA and things were getting a bit toasty. I paralleled a second 10 ohm resistor, dropping the resistance to 5 ohms and dialing back the output bias current to about 70 mA. Latest schematic revision has R9,10 values edited to match.

Currents stable. Heatsink temperatures around 50 C. Output offsets around 15 mV. No noise or hum.

Presently giving it some burn in time.
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Sapphire Headphone Amplifier rev. 2.0

Posted 21st November 2013 at 11:45 PM by rjm
Updated 5th January 2014 at 08:17 AM by rjm (update schematic to 20f4)

Update: I've ordered parts for small number of Sapphire 2.0 kits. The normal price will be $125, but as an introductory offer the first batch will be available for $100. Kit includes a set of boards and all the parts for the board. You need to supply the transformers and diodes, as well as a volume control, and the chassis hardware.

Update: boards are in stock, see photo.

Original here, diyaudio thread here.

November. That time of year for finally getting around to advancing some of my audio projects a little.

The Sapphire has remained in "rev 1+" for some time now, partly because of time constraints, partly because of the lack of popularity, and partly because it was already a re-spin of the beta version and worked just fine.

There were a few housekeeping things I wanted to add though, which have been included in the 2.0 revision.

- added a dedicated ground (GND) pad to connect to chassis...
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Old

Marantz discrete op amp (line stage or headphone amp)

Posted 10th November 2013 at 11:00 AM by rjm
Updated 10th November 2013 at 01:11 PM by rjm

Last one for today.

I was having problems getting this to work, the key seems to be adjusting R6 to null the voltage offset. Works fine now, but this is just a rough reverse engineer of the diagram, the parts values and the type of transistors are essentially placeholders.

The input jFET is shown as a dual package. The output bias current is most likely much lower than the 100 mA I configured, so the class A output power is proportionately smaller. For the rest of the currents and the types of transistors used, your guess is as good as mine.

edit: R7 should most likely be closer to 47 ohms, while another 5p capacitor should go in parallel with the feedback resistor, R17.
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Old

The Pentamond

Posted 10th November 2013 at 05:17 AM by rjm

A rainy and cold afternoon here in Kyoto. The mind turns to audio circuits... headphone amplifiers... diamond buffers...

This is an answer to the question of how you scale up the basic diamond buffer circuit to higher output currents without making any modifications to the driving transistor pair.

You just add more outputs in parallel.

It seems to work pretty well under simulation.
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Old

Another diamond buffer variant

Posted 9th November 2013 at 11:42 PM by rjm

Browsing through an old issue of MJ (No. 1076), I found some sketches of the Marantz SA 11S3 SACD player analog circuitry which seemed interesting.

The are two discrete op amp "modules", one is used for the I/V converter and low pass filter, the other design is applied to both the line output and headphone outputs.

The parts and values are not given, so the circuit below is just a working mock up in LTSpice based on the published diagrams.

The output stage from the headphone / line driver op amp is attached below. There's a JFET input and BJT gain stage as well, and the whole thing is wrapped up in a feedback loop. The buffer itself, being unity gain, works just fine as a standalone circuit element.
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Hi-end audio, as seen from outside the bubble.

Posted 3rd June 2013 at 11:28 PM by rjm
Updated 3rd June 2013 at 11:32 PM by rjm

In early May Trent Wolbe traveled to the High End trade show in Munich, Germany. This is part one of a two part series exploring the cutting edge of audiophile technology.

By Trent Wolbe, writing for The Verge. A feature on high end audio part 1 and part 2.

Quote:
It was halfway through the next selection, a quietly seductive 24 / 192 recording of “Cielito Lindo,” that I realized I was enjoying the music quite a lot, not because I particularly enjoy bossanova versions of Mexican classics, but because the Evolution One speakers were recreating one of my favorite things about eating psychedelic mushrooms.
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Old

Hakko FX-888 : ebay unhappiness

Posted 29th May 2013 at 12:12 PM by rjm
Updated 29th May 2013 at 11:59 PM by rjm

Oh, for Heaven's sake...

Just got the FX-888 soldering station I bought on ebay.

It does not power up.

Do you know why it doesn't power up?

So glad you asked...

It does not power up because - pause for effect - the fuse board that fits on the power transformer is inserted the wrong way round. That's right, the full "rotated 180 degrees" deal.

Fortunately I have another soldering iron. You know, so I can fix my soldering iron...

*****

I would just return it, but the shipping would cost me half again what I paid for it. Perhaps ebay will refund me anyway. We'll see.

I think I know what happened: The people selling these are modding them by changing the voltage and power cord. The soldering stations are officially bound for the Chinese domestic market, 220 VAC. The box, when it came, had "110V" hand-written on it, though the instructions...
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