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Old 17th May 2014, 12:29 AM   #1
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Default Amps for PC Speakers

Difficult to categorize this thread, but since most of the topic will be related to chipamps used on computer speaker kits this one seems most appropriate. The following question was directed to fas42 (Frank) on the Blowtorch thread. Frank has been the leading member (as far as I know) on upgrading the electronics of PC speaker kits to an unprecedented level and we have decided to open a new thread to openly discuss this topic. – If someone likes to get some background on Frank’s views just search his posts on the Blowtorch thread.

The following was the question addressed to Frank on the BT thread…

Frank,
After hearing many times of your experience with PC speakers I decided to give my sennheiser cans a rest and brought out a set of Pleomax S2-300B PC speakers (Samsung) and after a week of warming them they still didn’t sound good so decided to look inside the “plate” amp. It looks generally well done with all cable connections welded and the only thing it occur to me was adding a good Pana FC 100uf to the main filter and after a couple of weeks it’s sounding quite decent, albeit not to the level you describe. In fact I’ve just played the Oosten "Organ Symphony No 6" Widor you mentioned and did a credible rendition at a moderate level but no window shattering of course… but quite pleased up to this point.

I’m wondering what to do next, maybe changing all other caps for better ones? Better decoupling for the audio chip? Which would be your suggestion?

Antonio
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Old 17th May 2014, 01:41 AM   #2
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Good on you for doing that, Antonio - thanks!

In the middle of something else at the moment, give me a moment, will answer at length later, . But in the meantime, could you elaborate on what the PC speakers are doing "wrong" compared to the headphones - where are they not up to scratch, being as specific as you can?
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Old 17th May 2014, 03:25 AM   #3
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after a couple of weeks it’s sounding quite decent
Do you consider that you just might be getting used to them?

Abs
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Old 17th May 2014, 03:28 AM   #4
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after a couple of weeks it’s sounding quite decent
Do you consider that you just might be getting used to them?

Abs
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Old 17th May 2014, 03:31 AM   #5
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I've had plenty of plays with cheap active speakers - take a look at some of the older posts on my blog (link over to the left). I started out by improving the grounding - rigorously imposing star earthing and separating out power grounds from signal ones.

Since then I've learned a bit about power supplies, so I'd move on to that, replace single reservoir caps with CLCLC (filtered) arrays of caps.
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Old 17th May 2014, 06:46 AM   #6
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Do you consider that you just might be getting used to them?

Abs
Yes, that hapens all the time, wait and see my comments.
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Old 17th May 2014, 07:09 AM   #7
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Originally Posted by abraxalito View Post
I've had plenty of plays with cheap active speakers - take a look at some of the older posts on my blog (link over to the left). I started out by improving the grounding - rigorously imposing star earthing and separating out power grounds from signal ones.

Since then I've learned a bit about power supplies, so I'd move on to that, replace single reservoir caps with CLCLC (filtered) arrays of caps.
Definitely all good points, I'll have a look to your blog, thanks for the input, will comment later.

Antonio
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Old 17th May 2014, 07:18 AM   #8
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Well, I did a comparison between Pleomax (PM) and the phones (PH) which seemed like comparing apples and watermelons over the same Widor piece (WP), and of course they don’t share the same PS. PH in the other hand reach much lower like an octave or more. Let me say also that I hadn’t used the PH for at least a couple of months.

PM
Before testing with the PH I heard several times the WP over the PM being the last time more critically and my general opinion was that it sounded nice and musical but lacking in the lower end (which was expected) even thou some mashing was heard at the end of the first movement and other portions of the WP and a shade of noise some places. Came to think that I liked the midrange and upper MR.

Second run.- found that I had neglected the Bass control that comes with the PM and started to play with it a bit, first full tilt and that gave and exaggerated feel of bass and was not pleasant (quite mushy too) so I backed a bit at a time until I got a more balanced overall sound, mo better, and came nearer to the PH, but sometimes (depending on frequencies of the music) the upper mid came to interfere with the musical event.



PH
A different animal, overall more balanced and deeper on the soundstage less grunge and almost not at all mashed over the heavier passages (not necesarly LF), also very few instances of perceived noise but who knows if it was on the recording or glitches on the DTA and amplification on the PC board. The balanced sound could be due to the fuller BW but not that much after the second run of PM. At no time did it show problems with the upper mids. Not much to say about HF since the recording seems to not have any except for overtones I guess.

Antonio
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Old 17th May 2014, 08:57 AM   #9
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Originally Posted by fas42 View Post
But in the meantime, could you elaborate on what the PC speakers are doing "wrong" compared to the headphones - where are they not up to scratch, being as specific as you can?
Frank, do you care about -

1) Flat and wide frequency response
2) Usable SPL
3) Low distortion at higher volume

In case you care about any of those 3 items, PC speakers are not for you. In case you do not care, please go ahead with PC speakers, but please do not convince the others who do care, that PC speakers are satisfactory for high quality sound reproduction.
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Old 17th May 2014, 10:46 AM   #10
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Pavel, this is an exercise in learning, and I would suggest that Antonio is coming from this angle - correct me if it is otherwise, Antonio! With regard to your points, number 3) is the key one, and in fact it ties in with 2), very strongly. Point 1) comes in last, if the concern is for convincing sound; I have never worried about such, because it has never got in the way of me getting the sound I'm after.
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