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Chip Amps Amplifiers based on integrated circuits

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Old 7th August 2011, 03:02 AM   #1
gychang is offline gychang  United States
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Default chip amp vs t-amp, how do they compare?

I have been soldering (adding pot/input selector) on several t-amp clones (mainly from Arjen's). T-amps sound very good to my ear playing my fullrange diy speakers. Usually listen to jazz and vocals, no rock, rare orchesteral music.

I am starting to wonder what this chip amp is all about?, gainclone with all different numbers are confusiong to me. I am interested in trying out a basic model (willing to buy a kit and solder...)

what are the sonic differences if any?, any particular kit that I can try?

thanks,
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Old 7th August 2011, 05:58 AM   #2
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T-amp has more detail, better treble especially. It falls terribly short in output power too soon if you want more than moderate sound levels.

Some (depends on the design, when you DIY you have more options) chip amps have more soundstage, tighter bass, but much of this is as mentioned above, more reserve power when it's needed.

I'm not up to date on what the best kit or best bang for the buck is at the moment and you didn't mention which chipamp chip or how elaborate, budget, what speakers it'll be driving, etc.
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Old 7th August 2011, 07:14 AM   #3
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I've thought along the same lines. I might suggest a pair of LM1875s. Plenty of kit choices, and support docs are easy to find. I have an LM1876 and 24VCT transformer in my project queue. It should be a pretty fair contender against my DTA-1 and Lepai TA2024.
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Old 7th August 2011, 11:39 AM   #4
bcmbob is offline bcmbob  United States
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gychang,

Let me suggest you take a look at the kits available from chipamp.com. Many feel their LM3886 amps are as good as anything available. Assembly is straight forward and simple. I have the dual mono package and the sound quality and power output are excellent.
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Old 7th August 2011, 12:45 PM   #5
gychang is offline gychang  United States
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bcmbob View Post
gychang,

Let me suggest you take a look at the kits available from chipamp.com. Many feel their LM3886 amps are as good as anything available. Assembly is straight forward and simple. I have the dual mono package and the sound quality and power output are excellent.
their new website is not fully functional, but will keep checking. Guess one difference is chipamp has to use transformer, where I am used to t-amp clone with just a DC adapter. I am looking for about 25-50w/ch 8ohms, is their a good "beginner's" (<$50) kit somewhere?
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Old 7th August 2011, 01:15 PM   #6
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chipamp can work with a dc adapter(s). You would need 2 24v smps min ( a very popular model on ebay) or to get full pull out of the kits you would need 2 36v adapters. Most 24v supplies can even been adjusted for 20-30v which would make them perfect.

Of course then you switch from a hum problem to a hiss problem...
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Old 7th August 2011, 01:21 PM   #7
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You're basically comparing the worst of the worst of the Tripath based amps against a whole group of amps. And while the t-amp will hold it's own in specific circumstances it's inevitable that headroom will become a problem unless your system is massively horn loaded.

Instead look at the better Tripath options available for example the very high voltage version of the amp11 from 41hz. That's pretty much unbeatable and will get you all what the t-amp is good at just better, and completely make up for it's few short-comings like head-room, as 150W into 8 ohms is easily obtainable.

Chip-amps are basically the t-amp of the last century. They were very good for the price, and still are but they require an extremely stable supply, or you're not going to get much out of them sound quality wise.
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Old 8th August 2011, 10:09 AM   #8
jemraid is offline jemraid  United Kingdom
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Hi GY,

No need to buy a kit, there are so few components that a chip amp can be soldered point to point. Have a go at this and see how you get on.

Click the image to open in full size.

I bought the LM1876's on eBay for 7 the rest are just pennies, heatsinks from a scrap yard.

Jim
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Old 8th August 2011, 12:41 PM   #9
gychang is offline gychang  United States
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Originally Posted by jemraid View Post
Hi GY,

No need to buy a kit, there are so few components that a chip amp can be soldered point to point. Have a go at this and see how you get on.

Click the image to open in full size.

I bought the LM1876's on eBay for 7 the rest are just pennies, heatsinks from a scrap yard.

Jim
very interesting, is there a pictorial instructions for a newbie with minimal schematic know how?
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Old 8th August 2011, 12:57 PM   #10
jemraid is offline jemraid  United Kingdom
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Dear GY,

If you type 'point to point' chip amp into Google lots of info will appear and then compare what you see to the data sheet of the chip you are going to use you will soon get the hang of it.

It's quite difficult to destroy these chips especially if you attach them to the heatsink first and solder one item at a time.

Jim
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