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Chip Amps Amplifiers based on integrated circuits

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Old 8th December 2011, 05:41 PM   #1
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Default Fun with Lepai, but looking for more

I apologize if this is not the right forum for this. I have several questions which are related but cover multiple topics.

I've been having lots of fun with T-amps, most recently (18 months or so?) with the Lepai line off of eBay. I enjoyed seeing that Parts Express is now carrying these because they really are fun. I've done little projects for the bathroom, garage, and my photography studio with them.

For most projects I have removed the case and upgraded the pots and built them into a new enclosure with the speakers, as well as integrating 12v SLA batteries which run for weeks without a charge and obviously provide nice, clean power. Basically ghetto blasters that are too big and heavy to be realistically carried around the ghetto on my shoulder. But they are still nicely portable and look pretty cool.

But now I'm wanting to do more. In particular I'm looking for two specific features and I'm wondering if anyone knows of any comparably "affordable" options here:

1. Remote control for at least the volume if not also power. This could be entirely different amp projects or some sort of remote-control potentiometer. Does that exist? Seems like a good thing to have. I don't need to have remote control of the tone knobs or anything like that.

2. Project-grade surround sound receiver and amp solution. Again, I like to incorporate the components within the speaker box. In the past I have done a couple of beautiful TV stands in my brother-in-law's cabinet shop. People who have seen them say I should make them for a living. Not particularly interested in going there, but I have had a lot of fun and I don't mind showing it off. I've had an idea for years for a tv stand with integrated center channel speakers (3-way, most likely) and receiver and amp built into the cabinet. I'm also thinking about ways to incorporate a blu-ray player and everything else so that all you see is the beautiful cabinetry, the drivers (I favor dramatically visible drivers over grills or cloth), and the screen. But I'm not anxious to tear apart a $500 receiver to do what I want. So what are my options here? Has anyone made any project-grade receivers? Or should I just find ways to hide a traditional receiver? I do want modern receiver features like HDMI input and 6.1 or 7.1 output, so taking apart older but otherwise great used amps doesn't really meet the design goals.

It should be obvious, but it bears stating that I'm more interested in the aesthetic design than the ultimate sound quality. I'm an audio enthusiast, not an audiophile. I don't have the time, budget, or testing equipment to do it "right" so I'm just having fun.

So, any suggestions?

Oh, and has anyone made a project-grade iPod/iPhone dock yet?

Thanks!


- Jon
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Old 9th December 2011, 04:36 PM   #2
frasco is offline frasco  Finland
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I've thought about building an amp with a built-in Arduino that could control everything digitally (IR remote, bluetooth, over internet, whatever). You could use a PGA2310/PGA2311 for volume control. For input you can use whatever you like, for manual input I'd use a rotary encoder connected to the Arduino. You can use another rotary encoder as input selector if you wish. This would go through the Arduino and relays switching the inputs.

Using the Arduino (or any other microcontroller you are comfortable with) you could easily do a bunch of cool stuff easily like auto power on/off, muting, audio "dimming", low volume auto-loudness, automatic input source selection.. anything you can think of really.
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