Impression of the real Gain Card - diyAudio
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Old 14th July 2004, 11:41 PM   #1
Sjef is offline Sjef  Netherlands
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Default Impression of the real Gain Card

I have visited the guy from Audio_cube.nl this week. He is the dutch distributor of the 47Labs equipment.

After reading so much here on the chip amp forum I got realy interested in their performance. I have borowed a gainclone from someone who lives here nearby and will do some more experiments with it this week. First impression was a bit dissapointing.

About the 47Labs GainCard, the one you are all trying to clone but no one seem to beat it. We compared it with a modfied Welborne Labs DRD 300B SET amp on a set of Von Sweikert speakers (not my cup of tea) and a set of JM Lab Offrande (better than the Von Sweikerts, but still not my cup of tea) To be very honest I find the Welborne quite a bit better than the GainCard, it just plays the music with more ease, more dynamics, more detail etc. The GainCard sounded a bit dry and veiled in comparison, not that it's a bad amp, oh no, but the Welborne simply performed better.

The bigger surprise of this afternoon was the 47Labs DAC. We have compared it with a Apogee miniDAC. It was for the first time in many years that I have heard such a huge difference in performance between two kinds of equipment. Switching to the 47Labs was a huge difference from the very first note that was played like there was a whole new stereo set playing.

I have heard a couple of non oversampling non filtering DAC's with the same chipset before but this is from a whole different leage. I really don't know how this man did it but he did something very right.
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Old 14th July 2004, 11:59 PM   #2
BC is offline BC  United States
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Hi Sjef,
For me the interest in the GainCard is it's simplicity in "design" with it's huge price tag. So far I have not heard any fellow DIYers say they have compared their LM3875,3876,3886, etc. with the GainCard. Therefore without electrical mearsurements and listening comparisons, who knows maybe one of the designs in this Forum excels over the GainCard. For me it is an enjoyable relatively inexpensive project. For many new DIYers it is an easy way to start building, learning and enjoying something they made without buying premade, highly advertised off the shelf products. Go ahead, have some fun and make a pseudo GainCard "clone'.
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Old 15th July 2004, 08:56 AM   #3
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Default Re: Impression of the real Gain Card

Quote:
Originally posted by Sjef
About the 47Labs GainCard, the one you are all trying to clone but no one seem to beat it.
Look around, we are not cloning anymore.
We are improving it.

Quote:
Originally posted by Sjef
The GainCard sounded a bit dry and veiled in comparison, not that it's a bad amp, oh no, but the Welborne simply performed better.
No big surprize.
That thing is very picky with cables and speakers.
It will work well with their cables, AND very sensitive speakers.
It will shine then.
I suppose that a distributor SHOULD know this, how to demo a thing like this.
I've seen the Gaincard on a distributor here, using their "special" cables and a big (full-range) horn speaker.
Sound was very good.
But that system is not for everyone, not for me.
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Old 15th July 2004, 12:24 PM   #4
Sjef is offline Sjef  Netherlands
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The GainCard was playing with the 47Labs cabling throughout the whole system, same cabling was used with the Welborne Labs. There was nothing wrong with the setup.

I can understand why this thing is cloned so much, specially price wise, but I was only interested in the absolute sound quality, not in the low price or simplicity or whatever. I really don't care if an amp is equipt with tubes, chips or transistors as long as it sounds good it's good to me.

When you make a statement that you have actually improved the GainCard I assume you have a GainCard at home to compare it with ?
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Old 15th July 2004, 01:03 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally posted by Sjef
When you make a statement that you have actually improved the GainCard I assume you have a GainCard at home to compare it with ?
I didn't say I improved.
I said we are improving it.
Different, no?
It's a continuous process.

The Gaincard can't drive difficult speakers (normal these days) properly, and that's why the distributor here had some big horn speakers to demo them.

At least my GC is not so picky with cables and speakers.
If it's better than the Gaincard or not, I really don't care, it's sure better with my speakers and probably with most speakers around today.
I don't have conditions to have big and very sensitive speakers in my room, so the Gaincard is not for me, thanks.
I wouldn't pay that outrageous price anyway.

You don't really think that it's very difficult to copy the Gaincard, do you?
What's so special and so different about it that we haven't already made here?
The box?
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Old 15th July 2004, 02:30 PM   #6
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Quote:
I don't have conditions to have big and very sensitive speakers in my room, so the Gaincard is not for me, thanks.
The suggestion that a regulated supply can cure the GC problems with difficult speakers seems really exaggerated. It probably brings substantial improvements in perceived bass quality but has little to do with better drive of difficult impedances. The only way to substantially improve on this is with paralleling or employing a separate current dumping stage.
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Old 15th July 2004, 02:50 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally posted by analog_sa

It probably brings substantial improvements in perceived bass quality but has little to do with better drive of difficult impedances.
It doesn't even bring this. I had to remove the caps from my regular GC amp, so I put Carlos' amp in my workshop system (AudioTechnology 5" driver in a small room) and was listening extensively yesterday, while building normal amps. While it seemed that the bass was a bit more, it was mostly boomy, without much control and definition. It's surely not my cup of tea.

You can read Audio Cube dealer comments here: http://www.diyaudio.com/forums/showt...ht=#post271272
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Old 15th July 2004, 03:24 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally posted by analog_sa
The suggestion that a regulated supply can cure the GC problems with difficult speakers seems really exaggerated. It probably brings substantial improvements in perceived bass quality but has little to do with better drive of difficult impedances. The only way to substantially improve on this is with paralleling or employing a separate current dumping stage.

No, that's not the case, I didn't say exactly that.
These chips work better with low capacitance (1000~1500uf) caps on the PSU and you have voltage dips that get worse and worse as the speakers (and the music) demand current.
The reg. PSU solves that, bass is not more, it's just tighter.
And BTW with the reg. PSU you can have 10,000uf caps before the regulators without mucking up the sound.

Peter, I'm still puzzled about your completely opposite oppinion to mine, and everyone that tried this.
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Old 15th July 2004, 11:09 PM   #9
Jamh is offline Jamh  United States
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Default Re: Impression of the real Gain Card

Quote:
Originally posted by Sjef

About the 47Labs GainCard, the one you are all trying to clone but no one seem to beat it. We compared it with a modfied Welborne Labs DRD 300B SET amp on a set of Von Sweikert speakers (not my cup of tea) and a set of JM Lab Offrande (better than the Von Sweikerts, but still not my cup of tea)
[/B]

I think those speakers are not the right ones for the gaincard/clone. It is very "very" picky, much more so than your average amps. It took a great amount of playing with the cables and speakers to make it sound as good as SETs for me. Up to you to decide if this is worth the trouble.

It could be that the simplified circuit is optimized for a single driver (full range). As soon as you have a crossover with more drivers it falls outside of its comfort zone. I made an experiment with a stereo gainclone driving two-way speakers and a quad gainclone each driving the separate drivers and the difference was huge. A veil was lifted and the soundstage expanded.

BTW, I have compared the sound of the my gainclones and the gaincard, and to be honest prefer mine. Better components and silver connectors do make a difference. Where the gaincard was better was in the noise and hum factor. In the gainclones I've built, I have noticed that going to a smaller TF and caps, you lower the hum and noise.

And finally, IMO, you absolutely need some kind of power conditioner for the gaincards/clones.
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Old 15th July 2004, 11:52 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally posted by Jamh
I think those speakers are not the right ones for the gaincard/clone. It is very "very" picky, much more so than your average amps.


Quote:
Originally posted by Jamh
BTW, I have compared the sound of the my gainclones and the gaincard, and to be honest prefer mine.


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