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Old 29th December 2005, 05:09 AM   #1
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Default Freebird + Gainclone = "integrated" gainclone?

Being a broke 19-year-old university student, my options for great sound are pretty limited. These days i use old school 70's and 80's recievers - not a bad thing because some of them sound really good, look retro-cool and have everything under the hood...tape, phono, aux, headphone out etc.

this spring i'm going to build myself a nice pair of speakers. while my present reciever('76 Marantz/Superscope R-1270) isn't bad, i thought it'd be nice if i upgraded to a nicer and higher-powered reciever sometime within the next year. something like a Sansui 7070 or Technics SA-5670. i like the old school, warm and punchy sound of a good reciever.

then i came across this forum last night while i was perusing the loudspeaker forum and decided to find out what this "gainclone" business was all about and it turns out the gainclone is a very cool concept - no wonder everyone is talking about them here. not only that, i might just be able to build one myself without stabbing myself with my soldering iron, and without breaking my bank balance.

i'm thinking i should have two "aux" inputs and a phono(which means i will have to find a cheap/easy phono preamp to build in as well). maybe a tape input too(what is involved in this?). also, out of curiosity, is it possible/worthwhile/too much effort to build in some minor tone controls(bass and treble mostly, though mid would be cool)? my sources are my laptop for digital audio, maybe a CD player and my turntable.

also, which gainclone will offer the most power? i would like to achieve at least 50 watts per channel. i read the build guide for some of the amps on http://www.chipamp.com and bridge-paralleling 2 amps per side was described as being, and appears to be the "ultimate" solution.

has anyone done this sort of thing before?
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Old 29th December 2005, 05:40 AM   #2
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Here's some stuff you are looking for...

Rod Elliott's site

One of the most informative on the web...


But tone controls? Pulleeeze!
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Old 29th December 2005, 06:02 AM   #3
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The "freebird" is nothing other that a opamp on a board, it has litle to no real use exept throwing money in the toilet and soldering practice.
just another link to add distortion.

an intigrated GC? put a pot before the chip, and make it a non inverting design.
I'v made quite a few of theese, and they certainly are worth the cost in time and money. but a tip, make shure you build the chassi first, or else you might find it fairly hard not to just let the amp lie in a big pile on top of your CD player or something, it's not like it sounds any worse outside of a chassi, and the cooling is certainly better without one! (yes, those were the winning arguments i came up with to convince myself NOT to bother with the chassis )

-Marius
Buildt my first at 17, so anyone can do it
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Old 29th December 2005, 06:12 AM   #4
lgreen is offline lgreen  United States
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Bikehorn,

I like the way you think! You are taking the simple Gainclone concept, adding inputs, adding phono, adding tone controls, all contibuting to something pretty complex from the simple original. Hey add an EQ while you are at it.

You have the '80's receivers, listen to some Ratt, Van Halen and Scorpions! ....ooops sidetracked. Skid Row??

ok, so you should think about either the LM3886 or the dual version, I think its the LM4780, which is two LM3886's in the same package, so easy to bridge or parallel them.

Anyway, you stumbeled on to the correct forum, these are cheap and easy to build, and there are pcb's available. Check chipamp.com, for example. A parallel set of LM3886's will get you over 50W into 8 ohms and 100 W into 4 ohms. Bridge parallel will be more.
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Old 29th December 2005, 07:37 AM   #5
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thanks everyone. looks like i've got some reading to do.

PS, Van Halen rocked up until about 1991, although not quite as much much starting in '85...
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Old 29th December 2005, 11:31 AM   #6
guzzler is offline guzzler  Scotland
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For my GC, I like a mostly simple approach. Iíve got a relay board controlled by a 4017 to switch between 4 inputs (no need for anymore), and a simple discrete buffer following it after the pot. The sound produced is much better than simply following the pot with your chip of choice. The buffer is the one at Decibel Dungeon, and although it introduces a capacitor into the signal path, is a good upgrade (and extremely cheap...)
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Old 29th December 2005, 08:10 PM   #7
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guzzler, you may find that removing the buffer will yeald some interesting resoults, i would think the sound is not much different at all?
I used to belive the hype around the chipamp forum here, with the snubber, minimalism and so forth, but when i asked my self WHY those thingss would matter, i couldn't come up with a answer that was supported by the rules of nature, so i listned witout buffers and so forth, no difference at all, stocked up on cpasistans without snubbers, just good bypassing, and the amps started behaving better in the low end, it didnt kill the high end at all!

be sceptical, you to bikehorn.
there's a lot of BS around here, and you can be shure that if it's not explainable by the laws of electronics or acustics, then it is by the laws of psychology

-Marius
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Old 29th December 2005, 09:08 PM   #8
Arius is offline Arius  United States
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Heeey, what's wrong with tone controls?

One of my GC's is an integrated design. It is meant for my computer gaming speakers (real wood bookshelf type - equalization is much appreciated here). A lot of folks look down on the LM1036 but for computer gaming, I'll accept the 0.03% THD (plus I can bypass it anytime).

It has tone, buffer, dual LM3886 properly implemented (RF filter, Zobel, output inductor, ample local decoupling, film caps, low ESR electros). Regulated supplies for the tone & buffer. PSU has schottky diodes with snubbering. All in a nice little package that doesn't clutter my PC desk.

There are many ways to play around with GC's. Depending on your goals, you don't necessarily have to follow cookie-cutter designs or as you said, being a student, have to sink gobs into stuff like Black Gate caps.

Best of luck with your GC. Here's my integrated GC.
[IMG]Click the image to open in full size.[/IMG]
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Old 29th December 2005, 10:01 PM   #9
kmj is offline kmj  Sweden
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Why should adding a freebird be a bad thing? Aren't there atleast as many people recommending the use of a pre-amp with the GC as those using a Pot?
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Old 5th January 2006, 04:07 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally posted by kmj
Why should adding a freebird be a bad thing? Aren't there atleast as many people recommending the use of a pre-amp with the GC as those using a Pot?

as i said, it's in reality just another link to add distortion.
and it costs money, i know a lot of tubeamp boys pay god money for their distortion, but thats just not me.

whats wrong with adding it then? thats for you to deside on your own based on your view on things.
from a objectiv view point, it adds nothing though, soundwise.

-Marius
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