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Old 11th February 2007, 10:06 PM   #1
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Default chipamp sound character

Hi there,

I am wondering if there's anything to be said in general about the sound of a gainclone

I built a clone a few years ago, as per Thorsten Loesch's schematics.
Inverted type, with just the 1000 uF caps close to the LM3875, simple metallic film resistors. Been quite happy with the amp, sound was fine to me.

Recently I changed my setup, bought a very nice oldskool preamp, Threshold SL10, which turns out to be much better than my previous pre, and makes the difference between my power amps much more clear.
Suddenly the clone sounds nasty, especially compared to a Hiraga le Monstre amp thats also happens to be hanging around in my basement.

The Hiraga sounds rather dark, sweet, maybe tube like, but at least very "right" to my ears.
The gainclone on the other hand is much more detailled, has more air, a stronger bass, but sounds as if it wants to play faster than the music.
In the words of my wife, the Hiraga sounds like an amp on XTC, while the clone is more like an amp on speed.

I like the concept of the chipamps very much, but haven't got a clue about which type of chipamp sounds like what, and how to change the sound character of a clone.
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Old 11th February 2007, 10:15 PM   #2
BWRX is offline BWRX  United States
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Altering the character of some amps can be as simple as trying different input coupling caps or different types of resistors. I've never heard huge changes (especially from resistors) but I guess it all depends on your system, hearing abilities, and willingness to believe
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Old 11th February 2007, 11:10 PM   #3
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Default sound charecter

All amps have good points and bad, some all good some all bad.
I have built the Le Monstre and its a very layed back amplifier, tube like if you prefer, very easy to listen to.
Chip amps at least the LM overture series have alot of benifits via there internal construction, class A opperation up to the output, current mirror on the long tail pair, minimum components Quasi drive and output stage all on a monolithic chip with laser trimed resistors.
The overture series chip are fast with out proper construction technics you can have yourself an AM tranmitter, this makes them very up-front on high frequencies, maybe a little harsh to some.
Try a non-inverted circuit, use carbon film or comp resistors, use a high quality poly-metal input cap of at least 4.7uf, and use a feedback capacitor a 47uf silmic bypased with a 1uf poly, some people will disagree with this but it will help take some of the edge without loosing to much detail.
The speed and detail of the chip is also some of its drawbacks especially if your used to a slower class A amp like the Le Monstre.
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Old 13th February 2007, 03:00 AM   #4
Leolabs is offline Leolabs  Malaysia
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Quote:
how to change the sound character of a clone.
Start with caps:input coupling(if you have one) and power supply bypass.
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Old 13th February 2007, 09:20 AM   #5
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Default Re: sound charecter

Quote:
Originally posted by halo0925
Try a non-inverted circuit, use carbon film or comp resistors, use a high quality poly-metal input cap of at least 4.7uf, and use a feedback capacitor a 47uf silmic bypased with a 1uf poly, some people will disagree with this but it will help take some of the edge without loosing to much detail.


Great tips indeed. For even more drastic change in character you can also stick a tube buffer in front (there is a reason they are so popular with GCs) or a TVC. Both will improve the body and musicality.

Or you can simply build a proper amp
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Old 13th February 2007, 12:18 PM   #6
Nordic is offline Nordic  South Africa
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But, make it a nice tube buffer... the last one I tried, did exactly what A_SA said, but at the cost of clear highs... It didn't sound dull, but now that I have the j-fet buffer I can hear what I was missing...

Not giving up though, actualy bussy assembling a valve headphone amp, just came back with the last few components, and I allready have the next version lined up even before testing this one... its a 24V jobby, also saw some 12V and 9V circuits... so little time....

Noise and distortion appart, I don't think we will ever see silicon clipping as forgivingly as a tube does.
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Old 13th February 2007, 02:24 PM   #7
sasmit is offline sasmit  India
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Default Re: chipamp sound character

Quote:
Originally posted by BaronGijs
Hi there,

I am wondering if there's anything to be said in general about the sound of a gainclone

I built a clone a few years ago, as per Thorsten Loesch's schematics.
Inverted type, with just the 1000 uF caps close to the LM3875, simple metallic film resistors. Been quite happy with the amp, sound was fine to me.

Recently I changed my setup, bought a very nice oldskool preamp, Threshold SL10, which turns out to be much better than my previous pre, and makes the difference between my power amps much more clear.
Suddenly the clone sounds nasty, especially compared to a Hiraga le Monstre amp thats also happens to be hanging around in my basement.

The Hiraga sounds rather dark, sweet, maybe tube like, but at least very "right" to my ears.
The gainclone on the other hand is much more detailled, has more air, a stronger bass, but sounds as if it wants to play faster than the music.
In the words of my wife, the Hiraga sounds like an amp on XTC, while the clone is more like an amp on speed.

I like the concept of the chipamps very much, but haven't got a clue about which type of chipamp sounds like what, and how to change the sound character of a clone.

try TDA-1514A. (PHILPS)....obsolete now..but you can still get them...amazing mid's and highs..very smooth and open...moderate power ouput of 50W/channel..but good solution for biamped setups..
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Old 21st February 2007, 08:48 PM   #8
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There's no input cap on my amp, don't really see the need for it.
Building a tube buffer is a little bit too complicated for me, I'm afraid, but changing over to a non inverted design should be possible.

will adding big capacitor banks to the power supply change a lot in the sound character ?
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Old 21st February 2007, 11:08 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally posted by BaronGijs

will adding big capacitor banks to the power supply change a lot in the sound character ?


Yeah, but not necessarily for the better.

Once i replaced my Lowthers with 'normal' speakers, the GC with 1000uF was no longer a pleasant amp. Followed CarlosFM suggestion for a high-cap snubbed PS and for a while forced myself to listen to it but any hint of magic was gone.
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Old 26th February 2007, 02:05 AM   #10
jduffy is offline jduffy  United States
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Quote:
Originally posted by analog_sa

Yeah, but not necessarily for the better.

Followed CarlosFM suggestion for a high-cap snubbed PS and for a while forced myself to listen to it but any hint of magic was gone.
Wow, I had the same experience. The sense of immediacy that the music had before vanished. It was as if it was struggling to make its way out of the speakers. Very odd.

You pays your money, modify your Gainclone and takes your chances.
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