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Chip Amps Amplifiers based on integrated circuits

chip amp recomendation
chip amp recomendation
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Old 6th February 2012, 10:47 AM   #1
kentan is offline kentan
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Join Date: Sep 2009
Red face chip amp recomendation


I am going (trying) to build a chip amp to replace my Sugden A21a class A amplifier.....

My son have built one with the boards from audiosector.com and this little amp is (to my ears) sounding better than my class A Sugden amp! The soundstage is bigger, livelier and more "fun"...
Because of this (and because of him telling me that his home build is better than my amp.. ...) I am planning to build a new chip amp....

I have been looking towards chipamp.com/audiosector.com/twistedpear.com/sympatio.. and a lot of the cheap ebay offerings from china...

I am writing this to hopefully get an advice on which amp sounds the best? Or an advice on what kit to build..

I know that the answer to this question is difficult to get... but... hopefully some of you have tried the different types..

I am going too use the amp single ended, but have been looking towards the sympatico amp from Russ White.... Have anybody listened to this is an SE configuration.. or compared it to audio sector 4780 amp?

The speakers I am using are a pair of Proac 1sc, witch I think are quite heavy to drive....

Best Regards

Kenneth (Kentan)
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Old 6th February 2012, 12:39 PM   #2
GloBug is offline GloBug  Canada
Join Date: Jun 2011
I think if you stick with the main brands you will at least get a real chip and genuine parts.

Also consider chipamp.com, you will get more power supply capacitance with that kit vs the audio sector kit. Although its easy enough to add to any of the kits.

I am currently beefing up my audioesector LM3875 kit. Basically they have no power supply filter/capacitance.

They are fun amps, thanks for sharing how it compares to your class A, most would keep that a secret.

Have fun.
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Old 6th February 2012, 04:21 PM   #3
alexcp is offline alexcp  United States
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chip amp recomendation
Think about My_Ref_RevC by Mauro Penasa. My personal (and totally subjective) view is that is sounds much better than a plain vanilla chipamp.
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Old 6th February 2012, 06:12 PM   #4
littlerick is offline littlerick  United Kingdom
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Location: Lincolnshire UK
I had a 4780 kit from audiosector... first time ever with any kit or even using a soldering iron... It wasnt difficult to put together and the sound is fantastic compared to ANY amp I have owned before.

Go for it!
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Old 7th February 2012, 09:56 AM   #5
bcmbob is offline bcmbob  United States
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Location: Bay City, Michigan

The MyRef amps are totally amazing as a straight stock build. There are several mods that take their performance far above many high end boutique offerings. Those additions can lead to an investment around $150 - $200 per channel - Well worth every penny.

The dual mono and/or stereo LM3886 kits from Chipamp.com hold their own against a stock MyRef and include everything a builder needs (minus transformer and mechanics)in a proven economical solution.

With your current speakers you might not be able to hear all the benefits of a fully modded MyRef. If you intend to upgrade to something with an 8" to 10" woofer, the full spectrum of the MyRef can be thrilling.

A third suggestion is:
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You have to source your own parts with this but the sound is excellent. Other ebay vendors offer similar full kit versions of this BPA150 design. There is also full support on these amps here on the forums.
Bob M.
"Arrange Whatever Pieces Come Your Way."

Last edited by bcmbob; 7th February 2012 at 09:59 AM.
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Old 7th February 2012, 11:06 PM   #6
Sjef is offline Sjef  Netherlands
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Chipamps can be very nice, but it depends totally on your loudspeakers wich one will sound best in your situation.

I have a Audiosector LM3875 chipamp wich I use a a midrange amp in my threeway active system. They don't have to do anything below 150Hz and above 3.5kHz wich makes life easier for them. My midrange units are 16ohm/ 96db/1W wich makes life even more easier for the amps.

In this situation the chipamp (gainclone) sounds every bit as good and in some ways even better then my 300B se amps, no doubt about it. Also tried it with bigger PSU caps but it took all the life out of the amp, so back to the original 1500uF. The CarlosFM snubber supply didn't do it for me here, sounds just like a plain old 13 in a dozen transisssssstor amp. On other loudspeaker it may be better, don't know.

Driving a pair of old KEF Calinda loudspeakers however the audiosector lm3875 amp sounds pretty bad (the 300B SE amps are not any good here either) An old NAD amp I have here sounds way better on them but this same NAD amp is pretty cold, harsh and flat on my active midrange drivers.

Threat them as if they are SE triode amps with only 3 to 8 watts per channel and give them an easy load and they (the simple gainclone with small psu caps) will really shine like few other amps can, if not, look somewhere else

I have heard the MyrefC ones on some scanspeak reference monitor and while the loudspeakers where pretty overrated imho the Myref sounded far better on them then my simple gainclone, too heavy load for them. On a pair of Audionote SE it was exactly the other way around. My simple conclusion, it totally depends on your loudspeakers. Conclusion two might be that the simple gainclone with small psu caps has an output power capability nowhere near the stated 50W/channel and is therefore not suited for power hungry loudspeakers
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Old 7th February 2012, 11:41 PM   #7
GloBug is offline GloBug  Canada
Join Date: Jun 2011
Interesting, I'm going down the path of adding capacitance to see if I like it. I appreciate your thoughts on this.

I currently have some old~6500uf caps per rail at the moment and will try more when new ones arrive.
I did not think I lost any quality, just gained more low end response, I suppose that masks things a little.

I also put some snubbers on the rectifiers, same thing here I can't really say if I noticed an improvement one way or the other.

I too, really enjoy the bread board amp I'm trialing at the moment.
I also have "tube" type speakers, 5 per channel.

It's a nice amplifier for the money/effort, I will say that. I pretty much have all the parts now to complete it.

It started out as a project to have a decent maintenance free second backup amp to use while tinkering on the tube amp or to use as a bench amp.
Now it looks like I will use it more for a daily driver, most of the time I'm just watching Seinfeld anyways, but it does do music too.
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File Type: jpg LM3875 Breadboard.JPG (334.2 KB, 376 views)
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Old 7th February 2012, 11:53 PM   #8
lanchile is offline lanchile  United States
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Long time ago when I started in this wonderful thing of diy...I build the LM3875 from Audiosector, Peter Daniel is a very nice guy! He helped me to build it from start to finish. The sound was wonderful, The only thing is just use at least 10.000uf per rail in the power supply.
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Old 8th February 2012, 12:14 AM   #9
GloBug is offline GloBug  Canada
Join Date: Jun 2011
Sounds like a plan! I purchased a box of 20 4700uf Rubycon USR from eBay, (actually I found out the seller was a member here and in the swap meet area too.)

I could use up to 4 of those per rail, I'm looking forward to trying it!
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Old 8th February 2012, 12:46 AM   #10
Ipanema is offline Ipanema  Malaysia
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The unique sound of gainclone is only obtained with low value low esr caps close to the chip. Try anything lower than 1000uF for those lively sound.
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