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Old 2nd August 2010, 02:56 AM   #1
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I'm new on this forum . This question might not be " Politically Correct " or even allowed ! But , my first exposure to this world was on a site called " Chip Amps . Com " , which was a " link " when I put " Gainclone "
into " Search " .

So , those pretty Red and Blue PCBs and kits were the ones I first saw , and ( wrongly , ) thought were what EVERYONE had to use ! [ I know , real dumb ; almost mentally challenged . ] Then , I learned that folks print - out their own , with programs from the computer . ( Do they send them " out " to get the copper put on ?? ) Just recently , looking at this sites " Gallery " , I saw the boards of Peter Daniel . I have no idea of the
relative costs , ( and it doesn't matter , as it is a " one - time " expense ,
ant the finished - product / sound - quality is all that interests me.) But , are some PCBs " better " or " Higher - Quality " than others ? Or , is the main difference the brands / quality of the components in the kits ?

Forgive me if I am in " forbidden " territory !
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Old 2nd August 2010, 03:04 AM   #2
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Some PCBs are indeed better quality than others - the evidence is in the care taken with the layout. In particular, correct grounding has a huge influence on sound quality. In my experience, component quality has a far lesser impact than layout.

Bottom line - if you're interested in sound quality, choose a board which shows the designer knew what they were doing in regard to layout of decouplers and grounding.
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Old 2nd August 2010, 03:42 AM   #3
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Yes , even with NUUK's great " Sticky " on the Power Supply , all the talk about the grounding problems scares me ! So , which PCBs are the best
laid - out ? Are " Home Brewed " ones really better than those from someone with Electronics Training ??

David V. Webber
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Old 2nd August 2010, 04:02 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DaveSail View Post
Yes , even with NUUK's great " Sticky " on the Power Supply , all the talk about the grounding problems scares me !
There's a relatively simple solution to this - go balanced. Haven't noticed any boards offering balanced so far yet. That's probably because balanced means bridged and bridged chip amps need to be paralleled, which brings another set of problems

Quote:
So , which PCBs are the best laid - out ?
I've only examined one commercially available one - the one you already mentioned from Peter Daniel. In my view its good to very good but not quite optimal.

Quote:
Are " Home Brewed " ones really better than those from someone with Electronics Training ??
Interesting question. I do have electronics training myself (a 4-year EE degree) but wasn't taught this practical stuff in relation to sound quality on my course. I had to find it out myself by experimentation. So I'd say that if the home-brewer has practical experience of getting the best sound quality, I'd trust that more than formal electronics training.
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Old 2nd August 2010, 04:12 AM   #5
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Quote:I've only examined one commercially available one - the one you already mentioned from Peter Daniel. In my view its good to very good but not quite optimal.

Why not your own gainclone chip amp board,I am ready to wait for a superior ground design.
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Old 2nd August 2010, 04:17 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Praudio View Post
Why not your own gainclone chip amp board,I am ready to wait for a superior ground design.
An excellent question.

I'm a systems designer, I'm not really interested in making available individual components. I am working on a bridged/paralleled chip amp design as part of a bigger project which I'll certainly post up when its ready. I'm not interested in manufacturing any boards myself, I'll just make available the design files for people to do their own thing.
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Old 2nd August 2010, 04:24 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DaveSail View Post
Are " Home Brewed " ones really better than those from someone with Electronics Training ??
You should definitely not interpret 'home brew' as being of lesser quality than a commercial product (in almost any industry). In the commercial environment, there are often many production constraints imposed on products due to limitations in budget, production timelines, parts availability ... or all of the aforementioned.

The dedicated home audiophile more often than not doesn't have to contend with these issues. I have seen plenty of outstanding designs made available on this very forum, quite often at no charge. And quite often far superior to commercial offerings.

Take advantage of the immense knowledge and experience of the forum members, regardless of their formal qualifications!
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Old 2nd August 2010, 04:38 AM   #8
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In the commercial environment, there are often many production constraints imposed on products due to limitations in budget, production timelines, parts availability ... or all of the aforementioned.
Not just production constraints, but design constraints too which are potentially far more important. Its not at all uncommon for marketing not to understand what the customer really wants.

I totally agree with your sentiments - home brewed is by no means a second-best option in audio, even though in beer I could never quite match the taste of Abbot...
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Old 2nd August 2010, 04:59 PM   #9
Minion is offline Minion  Canada
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I"ve made many , many LM3886 PCB"s at home and most all worked perfectly ... The advantage is that it is Quick and cheap .....

On the other hand I bought several LM3886 PCB"s on e-bay for $2.50 a piece that worked well ....

Cheers
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