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Old 9th July 2004, 10:23 PM   #1
Sjef is offline Sjef  Netherlands
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Default Anyone near Amsterdam with a gainclone ?

Is there anyone who lives near Amsterdam or anywhere else in Holland for that matter who has build a good quality gainclone and want to compare it with my 300B SET amp with transformer coupled 5842 SET preamp.

I am not asking this to pick out a clear winner or loser, it's not about tubes v.s. solid state (I don't care what's in there as long as it sounds good) It's just that every story I read is that people compare it with their solid state AV receivers, PP tube gear etc in the 1000$ range or so. It's not that difficult to make something that beats everything costing a 1000$ in store, believe me. I'm only very interested in the sound of the gainclone and might want to build a six channel version of them if I like them.

So if you are also curious how these compare, give me a call.
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Old 10th July 2004, 07:43 AM   #2
Franz G is offline Franz G  Switzerland
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Default Not in A'dam

Sjef

It's quite some time, that I visited A'dam, specially Mila at the Pollinator Company...

I own a dyi 300BSET, driven by 6S45Pi (in Bern, a little bit to far from A'dam, isn't it?). This amp drives my gems, the coral beta 8 speakers.

Because they are just 15 Watt and very rare, I would never attach a chipamp to them (in my first chipamp steps, I burned out within 3 seconds two cheap visaton).

But I can compare my two (inverting) chipampversions with another boxes with the 300B.

The chipampversions are:

1. tube buffered, E88CC cathode follower, nearby suggestion from Joe Rasmussen
2. tube driven, voltage gain by E80CC, unity gain by LM3875. You can download the latest excel sheet to modify this amp in this posting.

Actually, I try to compare this amps.

The 300B is a complete different class of amp. It is soft, detailled, musically, dynamically. Bass is not as precise like the chip-amps, but beautiful. I prefer this amp for unplugged and classic sound. It has the most impressive sound of my amps.

The tube buffered chipamp is a very precisely amp. The sound reminds me on the crimson 600er series amp. Powerful, clear. But I dont like this amp for classical music. Often violins have a sound, I dont like.

The tube driven chipamp is somewhere in the middle. Very nice musically sound. Better response in the frequencies than the tube buffered.

Both chipamps have a absolutely great bassresponse.

Maybe, the tube buffered amp would win more with psu-regulating. I have the feeling, that the tube driven version is different, because voltage gain happens in class A over a separate anode power trafo.

I think, I must build a third version of chipams, a chip-buffered.

This is my question, here: I have remarked, that the OPA627 are very expensive chips, here in Switzerland about 40 sFr (27 Euro, 33US$).

For OPA2604 I pay 4 sFr.

Is it really worth to use the OPA627? Is the OPA2604 that worse? What are good and not to expensive alternatives?

Franz
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File Type: zip gainclone_total.zip (99.4 KB, 55 views)
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Old 10th July 2004, 08:17 AM   #3
Nuuk is offline Nuuk  United Kingdom
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Quote:
Is it really worth to use the OPA627? Is the OPA2604 that worse? What are good and not to expensive alternatives?
Franz, may I suggest that you try the Philips version of the NE5534 but driven in class A.

I know that this opamp is considered far inferior to opamps like the OPA627 but IMHO, it is not. In fact with some types of music, ie acoustic, classical, it may be better!

At least it won't cost so much for you to try!
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Old 10th July 2004, 07:00 PM   #4
Franz G is offline Franz G  Switzerland
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Nuuk

the OPA2604 (I have two of them): are they worth to try them?

I checked my dealers today: they dont have Philips NE5534.

Actually, I lend my two chipamps to a friend, and I am listening music with my 2x2W EL95 SE Amp.

Great!

I definitely prefere pure tube amps, but I will build a third chipamp, without tubes...

The EL95 Amp is available for sale (not commercial, sometimes I sell some of my dyi-amps, to build new ones), if someone want it! When you like something very audiophile and have some speakers with efficency about 90dB/W, then just send me a mail to ask about.

Look here:

http://www.audiodiskussion.de/foren/...sg.php?idx=495

More pictures here:

http://www.radiomuseum.org/dsp_marke...sement_id=2024

Franz
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Old 10th July 2004, 09:28 PM   #5
Nuuk is offline Nuuk  United Kingdom
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Quote:
the OPA2604 (I have two of them): are they worth to try them?
I prefer to work with single opamps in this type of circuit! Even if you can't get the Philips versions, do try the 5534 (we are only talking of a small cost here).

The OPA604 is a bit bloated from what I have heard; OK if you like a BIG sound but I think that you are more concerned with acoustic/classical music in which case the 5534 will probably sound more to your liking.

It really is a case of trying as many as you can get hold of and seeing which one pleases your ears the most!
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Old 11th July 2004, 08:28 AM   #6
Franz G is offline Franz G  Switzerland
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Default More questions

Thanks for your tips.

So, it must be better to use some sockets (disatvantages?) in the pcb, to plug in different types of opams.

I think, because i worked mostly with tubes, I choosed a dual opamp. With double triodes, there is no problem to use them for two channels, because the anode supply is independent.

Even when I switch my design to single opamps: what are the real disadvantages of dual-opams?

Second question: I bought some 7818 an 7918 and realize, that the 78s branded "ST Malaysia", the 79s "F Korea". Bad choice? Should they be from the same brand?

Franz

P.S.
I am actually designing a single pcb, 20x10 cm, including a complete regulated, delayed switch on, opamp buffered stereoamp.

P.P.S.
This is my actual, small PCB for my amps. Still with bridge rectifier. The next version will use MUR860 diodes.

Click the image to open in full size.
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Old 11th July 2004, 10:40 AM   #7
Nuuk is offline Nuuk  United Kingdom
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Quote:
So, it must be better to use some sockets (disatvantages?) in the pcb, to plug in different types of opams.
Obviously using sockets makes it easier to swap opamps while you are testing. On the negative side, it may be better to solder the opamps directly to the circuit board. In fact some opamps don't like sockets! So sockets first and when you have finalized your choice of opamp, remove the sockets and solder the opamps in.


Quote:
Even when I switch my design to single opamps: what are the real disadvantages of dual-opams?
There may be none! But it is considered better to keep the channels apart. In the case of the 5534, it does sound better than the 5532 which people use as the 'double' version.


Quote:
Second question: I bought some 7818 an 7918 and realize, that the 78s branded "ST Malaysia", the 79s "F Korea". Bad choice? Should they be from the same brand?
IMHO it won't make much (if any) difference. I prefer to use the LM317/337 combination myself though (with two stages of regulation) and am about to try my discrete voltage regulators with a discrete buffer.

Quote:
P.S.
I am actually designing a single pcb, 20x10 cm, including a complete regulated, delayed switch on, opamp buffered stereoamp.
Sounds good and I don't think that you will be disappointed.
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Old 11th July 2004, 01:30 PM   #8
Coolin is offline Coolin  Netherlands
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Default Sounds like fun Sjef

Ive modified mine quite a bit to get the sound ive got now.
Im also pretty interested to hear the differences.

Youre welcome here in Zwijndrecht, 20 km under Rotterdam.

Ive got plenty of time the next two weeks

So if youre still interested.....

Regards,

Coolin
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Old 12th July 2004, 08:52 PM   #9
Sjef is offline Sjef  Netherlands
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Hoi Coolin, thanks for your offer. Unfortunatly I don't have a car (nothing but trouble here in Amsterdam), maybe I can borrow one.

Today I visited the guy from www.audio-cube.nl the dutch distributer of 47 labs and heard the one and only real GainCard on a set of JM-lab loudspeakers. Well the speakers are not my cup of tea but the gaincard performed really well. We have compared the GainCard with a (modified) Welborne Labs 300B SET amplifier with TJ meshplate tubes, and if I might be very honest, the Welborne Labs performed at least a step better than the GainCard, a bit more fluent, better dynamics, wider soundstage, more microdetail etc. The GainCard sounded a bit to dry to my taste. Not that the Welborne Labs played the 47Labs totally away or that kind of nonsense, but it convinced me enough to stick to SE tubes.

But the real surprie of the afternoon was the tiny little 47Labs DA convertor, wow this is really really topclass. We compared it with a Apogee minidac, well honoured in the High-end society but the 47Labs plays in a totally different leage. It was since a very very long time that I have heared such a huge difference between two peaces of equipment, the difference was ten times bigger than the difference between the GainCard and the Welbourne Labs amplifiers. While the Apogee DAC does everything a typical High-end DAC should do, the 47 Labs simply plays music with such an ease and dynamics, you can hear the difference from the very first note that was played, no need to focus your self on the differences this was very very clear.
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