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Old 15th July 2003, 05:07 PM   #1
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Thumbs up yet another noob's gainclone up and running

First of all I'd like to thank all of you chip amp fanatics for enthusiastically and patiently giving advice to newbies like myself in this forum. Biggest thanks goes to NUUK as I surfed his site so often that I prolly memorized the contents on his gainclone pages

I actually stumbled upon this site as I was thinking about a DIY amp project. Not scrictly in a DIY sense, but some kit so I can solder and assemble everything just for fun. I thought about some tube amp kit, and also aksa. Then somehow I was linked to this chip amp forum and there was no turning back

I started lurking, and reading pretty much every single post. After a few weeks of lurking I decided to build my own. I mean there is this chip amp plus a few resistors and caps and a power supply, how hard can it be??? So I started buying parts. I went the cheap way. Here is my parts list:

surplus 25v-0v-25v 300va toroid $25 from apexjr.com
generic rca connectors from apexjr.com real cheap

surplus heatsink
15amp bridge rectifier made in taiwan
10k and 300k carbon comp resistors
spst toggle switch
fuse holder
1000uf 100v panasonic cap all from local supply real cheap

4.7uf blackgate cap from partsconnexion.com (min order surcharge $$$ )
cheapo binding post and 100k stereo pot from radioshack
18gauge generic hookup wire free from work

I follwed that famous "Peter Daniel GainClone" schematic and I mounted everything on a scrap piece of wood from my garage.
The result is truly ghetto looking but when I hooked it up to my generic panasonic dvd player and Paradigm studio 80 speakers I was so pleasantly surprised. My gain clone (or PeterDaniel Clone or Thorston Clone ) sounded absolutely incredible compared to my hk receiver. There seems to be more detail and separation of the music. Bass seems to be lacking but I highly suspect that it's due to the fact that the gain clone tightened up the bass so much that what I had before was actually "loose" bass, thus appearing louder. I turned up the volume and the chips got real hot. Large heatsinks are absolutely necessary. My only reservation at this point is that on some music where there is well recorded finger snapping or live recording where audiences are clapping their hands, the gain clone sounded a little unnatural, harsh, zinggy, I don't really know how to describe it but generally lacking that "flesh grinding against flesh" quality. But I don't notice it in other types of music and I listen to everything except country. Overall the gain clone is absolutely the #1 price/performance piece of audio gear I've ever owned. It sounds so good that I don't even want to bother to tweak it with higher quality parts.

My advice for all you newbie lurkers out there: read all the posts here and read NUUK's excellent page, and start building one for yourself (be extra careful working with mains voltage). You won't be disappointed

p.s. Will post some photos of my gain clone soon....
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Old 15th July 2003, 07:52 PM   #2
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Default zinginess

Congrats, fellow n00b! My amp sounded pretty much like yours until yesterday when I bypassed the Panasonic PSU electrolytics. The zinginess in the highs pretty much went away. I can recommend my 1 uF Auricaps ($7 from PartsConnexion), but probably any other kind of small value film and foil cap bypass would help.

Exactly how small is your heatsink? How efficient are your speakers? It's interesting to know that there is a lower limit to heatsink size, because my gargantuan one (6"x7"x4") doesn't even get warm, even with four bridge rectifiers mounted on it along with the two chips. I'd like to use a smaller one but I guess I can't get too small.
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Old 15th July 2003, 08:27 PM   #3
Nuuk is offline Nuuk  United Kingdom
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Hi Rocktboy and welcome to the club!

Thanks for your very kind comments on my FAQ page, it really is encouraging to get some feedback and know that all the work is appreciated. I must remind people that a number of others helped with that page and they are credited at the bottom of the page.

Now, your GC reactions and findings mirror my own quite closely. I think that it is now accepted that running the GCs with 35+V rails means that the chips will run hot. So it's a question of bigger heatsinks or a small transformer!

Like glyphen, I bypass my decoupling caps with 0.1uFs and don't get the effects that you describe.

I look forward to seeing your pictures. Have you decided on what sort of case to use yet?
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Old 16th July 2003, 07:40 PM   #4
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due to recent money issues i will just leave my gainclone "open air" as it is. here are some pics:
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Old 16th July 2003, 07:42 PM   #5
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maybe i am having heat problems because the heat sink fins are facing down that's the heat sink i got and i don't have a choice on how to mount it another way

my speakers are paradigm studio80's and i believe they are 89db's sensitive. i like to hear them loud though....
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Old 16th July 2003, 07:44 PM   #6
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my listening room setup

someday i'd like to have a clear acrylic case for the gain clone with 1 or 2 blue led's
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Old 16th July 2003, 08:18 PM   #7
Nuuk is offline Nuuk  United Kingdom
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Quote:
due to recent money issues i will just leave my gainclone "open air" as it is.
You may not be where you want to be but remember that the best place to live is just inside your income

If it works, there's no real hurry for a case but I wonder if you could turn it on its side to increase the air flow over the heatsink fins?

My choice would be some sort of acrylic casing as well and one day I may just get round to making one.

One advantage of leaving it open is to admire your work while you enjoy the music!
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Old 16th July 2003, 08:48 PM   #8
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Gainclone, 16x9 TV, and a 16x9 Dog, what more could a person hope for.

Congratulations.
Don’t be too anxious to give up the breadboard look. It has its own chic-ness. My favorite GC photos have mostly been open chassis.
Sometimes exploiting what you have to work with can evolve into something special.
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Old 16th July 2003, 11:00 PM   #9
moe29 is offline moe29  United States
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just remember you have some exposed connections there that
are very dangerous! At least cover up your mains connection and
secondaries. Just brushing up against that could ruin your day.
(voice of experience? nahhhhh!)

nice work! - be safe to build more
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Old 16th July 2003, 11:12 PM   #10
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Default Well I reckon a wet nose is a good conductor too…

Quote:
Just brushing up against that could ruin your day.
A curious pooch with a healthy wet nose could also receive quite a wallop too.

(I need to change my avatar. Even my typing is starting to sound like Slim Pickens!)
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