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Old 22nd January 2003, 08:35 PM   #1
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Default A Tripath TA3020 based amp


Just like to share some info on the switching I recently built. Unlike most others, this one is based on Tripath's bridged TA3020 reference board. We had someone manufactured the PCBs and assembled them ourselves. Internal wires will be trimmed when everything is finalized.

The sound so far is above my original expectations so more parts upgrade and circuit revisions will come.

Here are some facts:

Chip: Tripath TA3020
PCB design: Tripath bridged TA3020-2
Arrangement: Dual mono PCB but shared PS (limited room)
Main toro: Plitron 1500VA (30 lbs)
Main filter caps: 2 10,000uF/75V Mallory per rail
Power FET: 8 STW34N20 (34A N-FET) per channel
Power: >500W/ch
Idle power: 25W to >140W depends on setting
Net weight: 43 lbs

Hope to hear from people who have built Tripath amps. Other comments welcome too.


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Old 22nd January 2003, 09:09 PM   #2
DJG is offline DJG
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Location: Slovenia

I just want to congratulate you on this great looking amp. I especialy like the golden front plate. I have just ordered one for my Aleph 5. How much did it cost you(the front plate)?
How old is TA3020? I haven't heard for it yet. Majbe it's just me, but I would realy like to see the schematic. Can you help?

How much did the whole amp cost?

Mosfet rules! In any prospect!
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Old 22nd January 2003, 09:26 PM   #3
audioPT is offline audioPT  Portugal
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Tripath Components

Anyone can tell me where I can buy Tripath components? I live in Portugal, and here I can't buy them.

I know that those chips sound good.
But, sounds really good?


Pedro Martins
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Old 22nd January 2003, 09:33 PM   #4
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As far as I know you can get them directly from Tripath.

Cadaudio (www.cadaudio.dk) in Denmark have some.

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Old 22nd January 2003, 10:30 PM   #5
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To answer a few questions here:

1. Datasheets for TA3020 chip and the bridged (RB-TA3020) reference board can be found and downloaded at:

2. The total cost was about $700. Just the 1500VA toro cost me $150 and the chassis about $110. I saved a lot by buildling the boards myself. Otherwise each bridged TA3020 board from Tripath is $450 and two are needed.

3. The nice looking chassis was purchased from:
It's small for such an amp. But I got by with smaller Mallory caps (but high in quality) and boards attach to side panels/heatsinks.

4. I believe TA3020 chip is newer than TA0104 but may came out before TA0105. My friend and I have studied quite a bit and consulted with Tripath tech support before making the choice. It should sound no worse than TA0104/0105 and is easier to bridge and modify. Cheaper too ($12/ea). Now I see Bel Canto starts to use it in their 6-channel model. I'm betting to be eventually more popular and lives longer than current 0105.

5. The sound is very transparent and detailed. The main things I want to improve now is to regain the liquid mid and deeper soundstage I used to have with tubes. Otherwise I enjoy quite a bit with it. It does show superority of vinyls over CDs better than my C-J tube amp.


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Old 22nd January 2003, 10:46 PM   #6
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Actually, there is another thing I'm trying to improve- high freq noise/hiss from speakers. It's not bad as I can barely hear it from listening chair in quietest background and most CDs/LPs have louder background noise than it. But I'd like to hear it even lower so one day higher efficiency (now 91dB) speakers can be used.

Because the noise didn't reduce much with input directly shorted on PCBs, I'm speculating most of them from chip itself or the output switching (+/-92V differentially).

Any advises?

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Old 23rd January 2003, 04:38 AM   #7
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ehein, you may be already aware of this, but there is a thread over at Audio Asylum that discussed a hiss problem with DIY Tripath amps. You can follow the discussion here, it has to do wth grounding:

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Old 23rd January 2003, 05:17 AM   #8
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ehien, sorry! The thread starts here:

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Old 23rd January 2003, 05:48 AM   #9
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Hi Cherhit,

Thanks for the link. No, I was not aware of that particular thread on AA.

But I understood the issue on AGND, DGND, and +5V supply and had implemented it properly. The bridged TA3020 board was designed to tie AGND and DGND on board (not on chip) with a ferrite bead.

But one of the things I was thinking was reducing noises on +5V and AGND. Hmmm... maybe I should also check if the ferrite beads are damaged.

Anyway, thanks for the lead.

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Old 23rd January 2003, 07:00 AM   #10
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Location: Dortmund, Germany

One thing you should be aware of, that Tripath based amps cause a lot (and I mean REALLY a lot) of electromagnetical interferences. The would never really pass any industrial EMV (that's what those interferences are called in Germany) standards, which is why for example high-end DIY manufactuer THEL has dropped the development of a Tripath digital amp.

Maybe check it one time with a TV-set or radio receiver next to the amp...

But anyway, since it's DIY, who cares...


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