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Chip Amps Amplifiers based on integrated circuits

Does Gainclone need periodic tuneups?
Does Gainclone need periodic tuneups?
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Old 19th April 2008, 07:57 AM   #1
kevingan is offline kevingan  United States
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Join Date: Oct 2007
Default Does Gainclone need periodic tuneups?

Hello, forum

This is my first post, and my construction skills are minimal--TIA for patience!

My question is about whether gainclones need periodic maintenance and adjustment.

I have a 3886 chipamp.com gainclone that was built by Tim Rawson for the person I purchased it from. I'm a longtime tube fan, but I replaced an EL-84 amp in my system with the gainclone a year ago for sonic reasons after careful A/B comparison.

However, I realized lately that the amp's sound had changed; very subtle and gradual, but I noticed that it seemed to have lost its grip on my speakers (Quad 10Ls--small 8 ohm sealed boxes), and/or that it didn't have the same presence as before.

I did a new A/B comparison with my tube amp, and the gainclone definitely sounded worse, losing the competition it had won a year ago. Nothing else in the system has changed.

Does this problem sound familiar to anyone, and indicate a need for adjustments or maintenance? It sounds sort of the way an amp sounds when the large filter capacitors age and dry out--it's thinned out a bit, lost some solidity--but these are just a year or two old.

Thanks for any insight and technical advice. I can solder, desolder, and use a multimeter! I can also relate a schematic to the actual amp in terms of locating parts, but I don't really understand circuits--yet.
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Old 19th April 2008, 08:35 AM   #2
Nuuk is offline Nuuk  United Kingdom
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Join Date: Feb 2003
Location: Somerset, SW England
It depends a lot on the quality of the capacitors used. But yes, some could need replacing.

The good news is, there are so few parts in a chip amp, it's not expensive to replace them, so give it a try and let us know how you get on.

At the same time sweat all the solder joints just to be sure!
The truth need not be veiled, for it veils itself from the eyes of the ignorant.
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Old 20th April 2008, 02:20 AM   #3
kevingan is offline kevingan  United States
diyAudio Member
Join Date: Oct 2007
Default Problem solved--thank you, Nuuk!

Thanks, Nuuk--because it's new and unfamiliar, I was looking for a complex solution to a simple problem. Your advice about checking the solder joints got me grounded--literally, because I went after all the grounding points and did the ordinary contact scrubbing, deoxit, and sweating some of the joints that I do with my tube amps.

And that seems to have done the trick--back in business, sounding like before.

Best of all, being in there and seeing how simple the circuit is helped me decide to get started on a 3875 kit--so thanks for that too! Looking forward to reporting on my first self-constructed gainclone. Cheers and thanks especially for the quick response.
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