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Old 28th October 2007, 09:27 AM   #1
dazzdax is offline dazzdax  Netherlands
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Default popularity of chip amps/gain amp clones

Hi folks, I wonder what is the reason for popularity of chip amps/gain amp clones among the audiophile DIY society? Is it because of it's simplicity and therefore it's accessibility for DIY'ers to build one? Is it because of the sound quality? If these gain amps have superior sound quality (due to minimal amount of parts?), why don't more mainstream manufacturers (like Krell and Mark Levinson) go for this technology instead of making such very complicated amps with more than 1,000 parts?

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Old 28th October 2007, 09:56 AM   #2
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Yes.
Yes.
Some do.

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Old 28th October 2007, 11:09 AM   #3
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I have built a number of amplifiers over the years. Some were very complicated and some were simple. The gainclown in my opinion offers those less schooled the ability to build and bring a project to completion.

With respect to quality of sound.... the gainclown sounds ok for what it is. It offers simplicity with so so results. Will it offer the same performance as an amplifier with 1000 parts.....I sincerely doubt that any serious audio addict would pick the clown over a 3K amplifier.

So, whats the appeal? Cost is one prime factor for sure. The alility to customize the clown with those primo capacitors and resistors is another. Maybe the challenge of seeing how small one can size the heatsinks and still have it operate somewhat.

When A/B'd against a fully complimentry amplifier like a GAS Ampzilla, Son of Ampzilla, SAE2400 just to name a few its apparent flaws will stand out sharply.

I built one......not proud of it but then again I can always get my money back as long as there are people out there that will readily accept a piece of junk as serious audio.
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Old 28th October 2007, 02:45 PM   #4
Nuuk is offline Nuuk  United Kingdom
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Quote:
If these gain amps have superior sound quality (due to minimal amount of parts?), why don't more mainstream manufacturers (like Krell and Mark Levinson) go for this technology instead of making such very complicated amps with more than 1,000 parts?
Perceived value! If you want to charge a lot for your amp, it is no good a reviewer looking inside and saying it is a chip amp! I recently spoke with a manufacturer who plans to bring out a power amp. They like the sound of the UCD modules but won't use them for that reason. They want their design to be theirs!
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Old 28th October 2007, 02:57 PM   #5
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Chip power amps and the category called Gainclones are fantastic value for money. That doesn't mean they sound crappy and cost next to nothing ! They stand up very well against amps in their power category and even some expensive amps. You cannot compare them with high powered amps as they would run out of steam quite fast.
If you like good sound and have reasonably sensitive speakers ( around 88db/watt ) then 25 to 50 watts is pretty loud . If you like stomach pounding bass then chip amps are not for you.

They don't produce the best sound money can buy but they are certainly good . Good being a relative term , this can be interpreted in many ways . Look at the number of people who have built gainclones and other chip power amps. Would they do it if they were not good ? After all the discussions through many forums they would have been dead long ago if they didn't sound good ! The final decision is yours . Go listen to a well made unit and decide if it's up to your expectations.
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Old 29th October 2007, 02:38 AM   #6
Leolabs is offline Leolabs  Malaysia
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The main weakness is low output power,otherwise many manufacturer will implement them.
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Old 29th October 2007, 04:34 AM   #7
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burnedfingers says:
Quote:
I built one......not proud of it but then again I can always get my money back as long as there are people out there that will readily accept a piece of junk as serious audio.
You know, you really don't have to sugarcoat your assessment.
Feel free to tell us how you really feel!


One man's junk is another man's treasure.
Deception can only exist in one's perception.
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Old 29th October 2007, 02:19 PM   #8
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Default popularity of chip amps?

burnedfinger, I think people suffer from preconcieved notions about chip amps, like they cant be good there an IC simple no parts. People always think of the old STK modules that where lacking a lot in the sound and performance arena, but thats old tech.
The LM series are simple and true performers, and if your willing to take the time and effort can compete with the best. They use a class A current mirrow front with Class A pre- drive stage up to a very well matched Qausi drive and out put stage all with very close tollerance laser ecthed resistors and only two internal multi layer chip caps, they also offer the ability to have less then a three millimeter feed back loop! do that with a descrete.......
I to was a disbeliever then I took the leap and got hooked. I build BPA's, and have replaced my two bridged Carver 4.0t's and Krell KAS250 with one BPA 400 and BPA200.

As for real manufactures useing chips, well Jeff Rolands Concerta jumps to mind! and there are quite a few others.
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