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Chip Amps Amplifiers based on integrated circuits

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Old 2nd May 2008, 08:10 AM   #151
jimbo51 is offline jimbo51  Australia
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Quote:
Originally posted by Bluto


People wonder why newbees have so many questions. Consider all the options and applications to think of. You almost need to know about everything to know about anything.

Bluto,

I think you are making it harder for yourself by trying to know everything before you start. That's not the way the learning process works.

I'm not sure of the cross-cultural relevance but I'm familiar with the phenomena of disappearing up one's own a***hole! That may be a danger in this case.

While the huge effort going into the discussion and detailed contributions is admirable I can't help thinking that the journey needs to be taken by each of you in small, achievable steps.

To re-iterate earlier advice, start by trusting the providers of simple, well designed kits such as Peter Daniel or BrianGT. They'll have most of the issues already covered. You may initially be unsure of yourself and may find gaps in the documentation but filling those small gaps is where you start the learning process.

Then as you discover how the basics work you can start to explore the options and enhancements...... later, not now!

However, there are many learning styles so whichever way you go I wish you all well.

Jim
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Old 2nd May 2008, 08:29 AM   #152
Bluto is offline Bluto  United States
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Hi Jimbo 51 -

I like your analogy!

Well said and point taken.

I'm 35+ years way from a serious interest in Audio. Back in 'The Day' all you needed to consider was - was it gona be a receiver, integrated amp/source or separates and what for Speaks. The options now with electronics are near to endless. Seems each day I see a new way to tie together Audio/AV and PC. I don't mind upgrading equipment from time to time, I merely want to avoid making the wrong choices initially in how I put together a system that works efficiently in entirety. Some days it overloads my brain .... show's , huh??

Bluto
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Old 2nd May 2008, 08:52 AM   #153
Nuuk is offline Nuuk  United Kingdom
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Jimbo51 beat me to it but I was going to say that a 1000 mile journey starts with just one step.

Yes, hi-fi is a more complex subject than it used to be, but so is most any subject that involves technology. Conversely, it has never been as easy as it is today, to find information and help, all over the place for the want of a little internet research.

Bluto, as Jimbo51 also said, if you try to aim for the 'perfect' finished system, the project will overwhelm you and you will never get started. Focus on the chip amp first. Build one, get it working with any source, a pot-in-a-box and some old speakers. That will give you the experience and the confidence to go to the next step, eg a pre-amp.

These 200 dollar mistakes you refer to are not a mandatory part of building a chip amp and reading between the lines, tell me that your 'problem' is not the necessary information to build a chip amp, but the confidence to trust in your ability to do so!

Dan means well, but his inability to call a spade a spade, or write clearly and precisely is only ever going to make you (and other newbies) more confused and apprehensive. Why all this anguish over coming up with a design? There are proven designs all over the place, simple to build, and often described enough to be copied, even if the newbie may need to ask a question or two on this forum.


The most 'frightening' part of building a chip amp is powering it from the mains supply. However, if you build the power supply section first, in steps, there is little you can do wrong other than blow a fuse. Once you have that supply working OK, you will be a lot more confident in tackling the amp section. And when you have the correct voltages coming from the PSU, there is honestly very little you can do to even damage the chip which is the most expensive part you can damage.

Please understand this clearly. Many (hundreds) COMPLETE BEGINNERS have successfully made a chip amp with no more resources than you have available now.

Dan - 'we are all born teachers, and must spend our lives studying to become pupils'!
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Old 2nd May 2008, 09:08 AM   #154
Bluto is offline Bluto  United States
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Todays Newbee Lesson Learned -

Thought perhaps I'd save some dough and use some cases from a Sanyo 3/1 unit I'd bought on Ebay for computer room that arrived DOA.

Size seemed just right. Tuner & Cassette cases were about 4 x 10 x 16. Took me about an hour to totally gut the Tuner. Steel isn't much thicker than toilet paper. Japanese definitely know how to attach pieces to make things appear sturdy.

Me thinks an investment in a case a wise idea.

I now own a nice new clear plastic ruler with frequencies listed on it. Some magnets too.

Bluto
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Old 2nd May 2008, 09:13 AM   #155
Nuuk is offline Nuuk  United Kingdom
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The case is often the hardest part to source so you are well ono your way.

Now - go here , read, read, and read again. Click on the link to the spreadsheet, copy that list of parts, and if you can't find them over your side of the pond, ask here for some help in locating them.
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Old 2nd May 2008, 10:57 AM   #156
Bluto is offline Bluto  United States
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Hi Nuuk -

Another really good post. Thanks. I learn at least one valuable lesson from near to everything you say.

I think I do give the impression that building a Chip Amp scares me. It doesn't. It never has even from a plus year ago when I 1st began to read about them. What scares me is making one stupid mistake and blowing $50 - $80 !!! I simply don't have it to waste.

I frequent about 3 Forums. I lurk at about another 4 of special interest. This is the only 1 I regularly post on, I just like it here. Amongst all those and no one wants to admit such I've seen at least 50 testimonies from guys who built a Kit, made a mistake and fried it. A year ago I was gona buy a kit right off the bat til I started seeing those posts. It was then that I started reading all of the material from the Kit manufacturers and seeing my questions unanswered in both their material on site as well as in their manuals and then when I posed those unanswered questions via e-mail I found them unwilling to answer. I've already documented my objections to other material I've seen on the web.

I have COPD, a heart condition and Diabetes. As a result I frequently get episodes of localized intermittent paralysis and tremors throughout the day. It also causes momentary blurring of vision. It's no big deal. Millions in their 50's have same condition. Lasts seconds at a time and is gone and I generally can feel it coming on. It is a consideration if I'm doing detail work such as soldering or when working with something like electricity. A 1/4 inch in a design, even an 1/8th could make things much easier for me. A picture rather than a schematic with Gychangs description " red wire to terminal #1 as in photo # 3" would make all the difference in the world to not just a person such as me but to any newbee at all.

I'm being misunderstood if I leave anyone with the impression I have objections to the actual designs of any of these Kit designers! I have nothing but respect for these guys! I love the work of Peter Daniels and Brian GT and others. How, would I, as a newbee, even know what to object about? My objections are as I have stated.

I don't know Dan at all and this is my 1st venture into the Chip Amp section of this site. I've even gotten PM's telling me He doesn't know what He's doing including one from a guy who I also don't know and didn't clearly identify himself. Why to me? I'm not running anything here. I, admittingly, ask the most questions and attempt to dissuade negativity towards it's goal. It's not fair in my estimation in the 1st place. Anyone here in this section not a newbee could tell me the sky was falling and I'd look up.

I was initially planning on building either Mark Houston's Synergy or Mike @ Dogbreathes design. I could not reach Mark and could not see Mikes photos clear enough to understand . Theres also a big gap between operations in available info on that design.

I still see nothing wrong with another new design that represents fewer parts and can be documented for an easier build for a newbee. I made a personal commitment to Dan that if he designs an easier to build amp than whats out there that I can more easily understand how to build I'd build it. I'm keeping that commitment unless those of you who sincerely believe you know better can show him the error of his ways and he says " Yeah, I see that'. As said before if no one can, whats the difference between Dan having a new design vs. what at one point in time was someone else's new design?

When Dan says he believes his efforts have been futile I'll go back to my intentions on the designs I had in mind or chance a Kit. At that point, if such happens, I'm going to post on it's build and if I get no customer support I'll post on that as well. I think I said initially my desire was to consider this scratch build as merely step 1.

The $200 mistake I referred to was me thinking a guy could buy some decent used amps and use his PC as a Pre while running a media player and skip the GC altogether. Until tonight when the subject of using a soundcard as a Pre came up I'd never considered it. I want to run 3 pair of speakers off of gainclones. With me it's not just 1 build. Now you even have bass and treble control if you want it. I had decided on GC due to all I've read convincing me it's cleaner. My concerns regards Pre's now even if I chose to stay with GC's were the compatibility of any GC designers with soundcards being used as Pre's. Soundcards seem to me to open up a whole new realm of possibilities, make the GC an even better choice than standard amps and save me the time and trouble as well as expense of building Pre's. Thats why I said even more study is required... seems you can't just build anything and expect multiple use from it.

I love your comments regards the PSU and have thought the same thing but didn't have the guts to just say so. Seems to me the teaching has the cart before the horse. It also goes a long way towards eliminating the fear factor. It would be a vast help to me as a newbee and I believe to others as well to get past the PSU 1st.

Sometimes the forums are just absolutely excellent in finding what you need. Other times I can come to them and spend 8 hours and despite searching every logical way I can think of I come away with zilch.

As usual I thank you for taking the time to try and educate guys like me, most simply leave us on the bench like the lousy ball players when we were all 10 years old. It is appreciated.

The one taught to me was 'A cinch by the inch, hard by the yard'. It wouldn't rhyme in The Queens English.

Bluto
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Old 2nd May 2008, 12:28 PM   #157
Nuuk is offline Nuuk  United Kingdom
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Bluto, believe me, nobody appreciates your worry about blowing a large amount of money more than I do!

But like I said, if you build from scratch, rather than investing in a kit, the worst you are likely to do is blow a chip at a cost of a few dollars. They say you can't make an omlette without breaking some eggs, but it is not unreasonable to expect to build a chip amp without breaking anything.
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Old 2nd May 2008, 12:58 PM   #158
Bluto is offline Bluto  United States
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Nuuk -

I did see that in your post, meant to comment and it slipped my mind.

That really surprised me. Why all the crying I've seen from guys? They made it sound as if they'd blown the board, chip and entire circuitry.
'Whole new kit ' some said.

Bluto
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Old 2nd May 2008, 01:04 PM   #159
Nuuk is offline Nuuk  United Kingdom
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Quote:
That really surprised me. Why all the crying I've seen from guys? They made it sound as if they'd blown the board, chip and entire circuitry.
That may be more than any other reason is why I prefer to recommend building your own instead of buying a kit.

When you build something yourself, you see where parts go and how (even if you don't know why). So if a part gets damaged, you feel much more confident in sourcing that part and replacing it yourself. In the case of a kit, I think many people feel if it isn't working, the whole thing needs replacing because they don't understand which part of it has gone wrong.

Analogy:

How simple it is to build or repair a PC [b[once you have done it yourself[/b]. But to those that haven't, it appears mystical, and something way beyond their capabilities. So those who build their own often save money, no so much on the original build, but in being able to over-come any subsequent problems without the need to throw themselves on the mercy of a shop or repair business.

Edit: Don't you Americans pay a lot of money for this sort of counselling?
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Old 2nd May 2008, 01:44 PM   #160
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I think Nuuk's comments here are very valid.

A couple of months ago, I knew nothing about this, and I mean nothing. I didn't even know it was possible to build an amp yourself. I have no background in electronics at all. I'll admit, I knew a resistor from a capacitor, but hadn't even heard of an inductor.

Fortunately, I'm in a position where I felt $100 wouldn't be the end of the world if things didn't work out, so just went ahead and bought a Dual Mono kit from BrianGT.

Initially my plan was just to use that with a pot, very simple, but once I had made those boards and got them running, I felt more confident in expanding the project. I read a buffer could really improve the sound of these amps, so added the discrete transistor buffer on DD which I built myself on stripboard.
I then went on to add a remote control board for the motorpot and a USB NOS DAC and what started off as a nice simple project I felt I could handle quickly snowballed into a project I would probably have been too overwhelmed to begin had I tried.
I'll admit though, things did go wrong along the way, I blew up several caps as well as a couple of test speakers - I really recommend getting some very cheap drivers to test things out on (I mean a couple of $ each) then if you blow them theres no real harm done. These problems though were all ironed out through a combination of me using my head and the kind help of people on this board. TBH, I still have some problems that need to be addressed, but I'm sure when I have the time to address them, I'll get the help I need.

I'd say take the plunge and get the amp kits. Things become a LOT clearer when you have them in front of you, and rest assured that if you do run into trouble, people here will come to your rescue
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