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Chip Amps Amplifiers based on integrated circuits

It looks like a ship from Star Trek: TNG...
It looks like a ship from Star Trek: TNG...
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Old 15th May 2010, 09:03 AM   #1
llamaboy is offline llamaboy  United States
diyAudio Member
Join Date: Dec 2009
Location: California
Default It looks like a ship from Star Trek: TNG...

...but I like to call it,
Because it's overkill and I like it. And it's messy, might clean it up a little.

Click the image to open in full size.

This is my first "finished" (still getting the housing together, will be a small wooden box with a screen on top for the light to shine out from. Will not be little orange/red LED pictured)

Power section:
2x 330uF Panasonic FC's in standard config.
Generic PCB mount switch (temporary)
Generic Metal film resistors from some Asian country.
18v of alkaline goodness.
The Meat:
Burr Brown OPA2132P (hopefully temporary)
4x (2x2) ERO KP1832's @ 6400pF each.
Same resistors as power section. (Gain: 5.4)

Click the image to open in full size.

It all started with my first CMoy, built from Radio Shaq. The thing just wasn't cutting it. 9v, generic 330 uF caps (light blue), green coupling caps...it was okay, not much of an improvement over my...can I say it here? Quietly, and it should be okay...
...a little bit of an improvement over my Boosteroo.
So I took a break from soldering things, and I started this beast. Those generic film caps again, but wait. That big box of caps from the Electronic Goldmine awhile back? It had about 36ish of these crazy huge ERO caps...
So I stuck two of them on. Now, with a 96 kHz, 24-bit recording of a Marylin Manson vinyl, I could understand every word, could hear not only the guitars, but the pick hitting the strings. Oh God...the first amp I've built that is worth a damn!
But it was still lacking, just not enough power. It hit highs and mids fantastically, but I wasn't getting that laid-back Burr-Brown sound. Amazing sound stage, but, forgive me for asking...
Hey, where's the bass? You sound great, except in that department.
So, I had an idea. More big, long blue things! Yea, put a couple more in parallel. Should do something.
Now I'm getting that Burr-Brown sound, to the point where I want something clearer. Something more accurate and revealing at about 7.5v-9v per channel. I hope this OPA2132 is only temporary, even though it is a lot nicer than anything else I have for headphones.

Tomorrow I'll (hopefully) be able to finish the little wooden box it is going in, and be able to show that off. Maybe finish a couple more CMoy boards, I have about 4 or 5 sitting on my table, partially completed.

1. Op-Amp suggestions? I want more clarity, damn it.
2. Something more space-saving, but as good (if not better) than the ERO caps? Maybe something boxy, but something flexible would be best.
3. Suggestions on getting PCB mount stereo jacks to stay on the wooden box, but still be removable later when I can get a hold of some nicer, panel mount jacks? All I can think of is hot glue.
4. Other suggestions to make it sound better?
5. Has anyone done a CMoy with the power portion on another board and powered by 24v or higher? Next I'm planning on either a Gainclone or the most ridiculous CMoy variant I can come up with so I have something really perminant to help out my pathetic SoundBlaster "X-Fi" Extreme Audio without spending much.

Yea, I'm cheap. That's why I got into this stuff.

Click the image to open in full size.
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Old 25th May 2010, 06:57 AM   #2
llamaboy is offline llamaboy  United States
diyAudio Member
Join Date: Dec 2009
Location: California
Default Improved design

The design wasn't very durable, so I scrapped it and built a vastly improved version. It sounded great, but it was just so messy. So I came up with this, which needs the wiring cut down to fit the enclosure (cheap wood box, stained and lacquered by moi), but is a lot cleaner than the last thing, and sounds better:

Click the image to open in full size.

-Went from 4x ERO KP1832 coupling caps to 6x ERO blah blah blahs. Three by three, parallel on each channel. The way the protoboard is laid out made this very easy, and I could even add another pair of these caps (making a cool pyramid) if I feel like it. I was hoping this wouldn't cause degradation, and my ears haven't been able to find any as of yet, other than a treble ceiling on MP3s, but on CD's, FLAKs, and 96 kHz vinyl recordings, it sounds awesome.
-Op-amp went from the OPA2132 up to an OPA2107. Sounds a lot more dynamic, with a less exaggerated bass. I know some people put this chip down, but I like it. If anyone has any suggestions on something better to run on 18v, I'm all ears.
-Resistors matched to something sort of close to the same values on each side. They have also been lain out better. Will be replaced when I get around to ordering better resistors.
-Big, blue LED shines through metal grill on top of enclosure. Since it is a wood box with a grill on top, I wanted to give it a "glowing" effect instead of just the usual LED sticking out telling you if it is on or off. I like it enough that I'm thinking about using a smaller box and making it into an old fashioned looking night light for the wife.

Click the image to open in full size.

I'll put pictures up of the completed object when the excess wires have been chopped down and heat-shrunk, and everything is mounted.

Next short-term project will probably be a fully modular CMoy breadboard thing, with tons of DIP sockets to easily throw different capacitors and resistors on there until I can find the perfect combos before soldering things together.
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