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Old 30th November 2012, 05:48 PM   #781
Marra is offline Marra  United Kingdom
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Well I've been listening to this amp on and off for a few days now and I have to say I like it a lot.For some reason I was expecting it to not be as good as my F5 clone but it has proven me wrong in fact in some respects it improves on it being extremely dynamic and detailed;I'm sure I am hearing certain things that aren't quite revealed with the class A amp.The only down side if it can be called that is that I only need 6 clicks on the volume control for things to go loud.I guess I could go back to using the TVC but my VTA valve pre just sounds so good.
A big thank you to Dario for this and the excellent pcb's and every one for their enthusiastic posts which inspired me to build this amp.I think the class A will be retired although if we have the cold winter there predicting I might have to fire it up again to aid with heating.Back to listening.
If you do another group buy Dario I'll take a pair of boards as I think my brother would like one of these.
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Old 30th November 2012, 06:49 PM   #782
bcmbob is offline bcmbob  United States
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Marra, you are messing me up and costing me money. I just ordered two class A kits just because I wanted to make the same comparisons you describe in your posts. For years I have heard people raving about the fine sound from F5 and other class A amps. I just told Dario in an email about my efforts so he didn't think I was a turn coat, and I mentioned I really thought the FEs would come out on top. Your comments are very encouraging and reflect the growing reports that the Fremen Edition has put many power amps up on the shelf to collect dust.

I'll still build the two kits, but suspect I will come to the same conclusion as you.

AmpCamp #1 Got the bare PBCs from the DiyAudio store yesterdey.

JFET-BJT Cascode Probably 4 -5 weeks to cross the pond.

Happy Listening.

P.S. Dario has already volunteered some suggestions to upgrade the JFET-BJT, what a guy !!!
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Last edited by bcmbob; 30th November 2012 at 06:53 PM.
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Old 30th November 2012, 07:54 PM   #783
Marra is offline Marra  United Kingdom
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Sorry about that Bob;this bug when it bites won't let go.The F5 is a lovely amp easy to build and does sound good.I built mine with over specced heatsinks as there is a set of Aleph J pcb's waiting in the wings and I've just taken delivery of Teabags F5 turbo boards but as the FE is resolving music in such a natural;dynamic and untiring way it could well be a good while before they get built.
By the way the problem board was sorted by replacing the LM318 and diodes D1/2 and 3.All smd components were removed checked and resoldered[not by me I hasten to add.I need to practice soldering these little critters.]All thats left to do is wire up the led's.
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Old 30th November 2012, 10:28 PM   #784
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Marra View Post
Well I've been listening to this amp on and off for a few days now and I have to say I like it a lot.For some reason I was expecting it to not be as good as my F5 clone but it has proven me wrong in fact in some respects it improves on it being extremely dynamic and detailed;I'm sure I am hearing certain things that aren't quite revealed with the class A amp.
Very interesting... thanks for the report.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Marra View Post
The only down side if it can be called that is that I only need 6 clicks on the volume control for things to go loud.
Yes, all My_Refs don't need a preamplifier with gain.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Marra View Post
A big thank you to Dario for this and the excellent pcb's and every one for their enthusiastic posts which inspired me to build this amp.
You're welcome.

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Originally Posted by Marra View Post
If you do another group buy Dario I'll take a pair of boards as I think my brother would like one of these.
Fine, it will be in the first quarter of 2013.

But stick more to the BOM next time...

Quote:
Originally Posted by Marra View Post
the FE is resolving music in such a natural;dynamic and untiring way it could well be a good while before they get built.
The nice thing is that you can improve further swapping some parts...
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Old 1st December 2012, 02:39 PM   #785
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a quick update from me and my wife

FE - very detailed, analytical, pleasant and soft sounding amp
Restek - considerably more dynamic and punchy, militant and unpleasant for my wife but kind of reference for me.

the difference was quite obvious and common for both of us (though it wasn't like comparing 192kbp mp3 and then flac), however none of us could say where and which drum or bass guitar was more articulated and better placed on the sounstage... It seems to me that swapping the caps (C9) would bring very trivial difference if compared to different amps, hence I'm kind of scared in case I found no difference at all as it would take time to get up from the sofa, turn off the FE, swap the caps, turn it on and sit again already in slightly different position...

Few more pics in chrome.
All in all, I very happy with both amps
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Old 1st December 2012, 02:55 PM   #786
bcmbob is offline bcmbob  United States
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I understand your skepticism. However, I started at the same place and was actually astounded how much component orientation changed the personality of the amps. If you followed Dario's labeling on the PBC you are probably very close to optimum.

If a builder is going to engage in the process it is recommended before placing the amp in a chassis. My RC build seems to continue the sweetening even after weeks from removing the sockets.

The chrome looks super!
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Old 1st December 2012, 04:13 PM   #787
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Originally Posted by dtses View Post
FE - very detailed, analytical, pleasant and soft sounding amp
Restek - considerably more dynamic and punchy, militant and unpleasant for my wife but kind of reference for me.
I still think you should replace R3 and particularly the current settings resistors R101/R201 with Caddocks.

They make a HUGE difference.

In general, IMHO, any variation to the BOM makes sense only if you compare the alternate part with BOM's one.

Otherwise how can you say the alternate parts is better/worse/different than the specced one?

Quote:
Originally Posted by dtses View Post
It seems to me that swapping the caps (C9) would bring very trivial difference if compared to different amps, hence I'm kind of scared in case I found no difference at all as it would take time to get up from the sofa, turn off the FE, swap the caps, turn it on and sit again already in slightly different position...
Don't do it then... simply use one of the recommended caps... PCX has last BG PKs...

Quote:
Originally Posted by bcmbob View Post
I understand your skepticism. However, I started at the same place and was actually astounded how much component orientation changed the personality of the amps.
Bob, DTSES was talking particularly about C9 which can't be reversed, since it's polarized...

Apart that I obviously agree
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Old 1st December 2012, 04:18 PM   #788
bcmbob is offline bcmbob  United States
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Understood
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Old 3rd December 2012, 07:54 AM   #789
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Dario
thanks for you advice! I would go for PKs and Caddocks as you suggest (I was about to order some stuff from PCX anyway)!

Another test was held on Sunday.
C9
Panasonic FC - slightly bright with more highs
Nichicon MUSE & Elna Tonerex - the last one is more natural with a wider soundstage than FC. I didn't like MUSE, though the difference was very negligible if compared to Elna, but the overall impression was that this cap shouldn't be placed here.

Indeed there are some differences in C9, though for me they are far less obvious and significant than comparing two different amps.

Next step would be adding copper shield, removing sockets and testing PKs.

P.S. I made it so narrow to match my DAC/Preamp but now I feel some slight disappointment and wish I chose another chassis. Perhaps it's just kind of paranoia and endless process of improving and tuning audio stuff I'm no sure! Moreover I'd rather prefer the look of naked components with their lids off then enjoying with finished products...
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Old 3rd December 2012, 08:07 AM   #790
Marra is offline Marra  United Kingdom
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Where did you get the front panels chromed?
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