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Old 18th March 2010, 02:54 AM   #1171
dr_vega is offline dr_vega  United States
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dr_vega View Post
I did run a Sure with my friend"s Klipsch Heresys and LaScalas. He normally runs a boutique tube amp. Both the Sure and the tube amp sound fabulous, but the Sure had a bit more clarity and the tubes had a bit more richness and warmth (which is the nice way of saying the tube amp had more even order harmonic distortion). The richness of the tube amp tamed the (slight) coloration of the horns and ultimately was a better match. A case, IMHO, of the amp distortion offsetting the speaker distortion to produce a pleasant result. The Sure did not have enough distortion to offset the speakers and the speaker coloration was more audible.

Still, I could easily live with any combination of those amps and speakers. I just love the dynamics of horns!
I should have said the Sure amp had Dayton poly/foil input caps at the time. I think it would have been a better match to the Klipsches with the Vitamin Q caps I'm using now.

-dr_vega
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Old 18th March 2010, 04:10 AM   #1172
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Very interesting, because I'm using the Daytons that you recommended a while ago. I'll have to try the Vitamin Q's sometime in the near future.

I like the immediacy/clarity/dynamics of the Sure compared to the sumptuousness of tubes mated to the Heresy's. I can understand other folks digging the smoother "musicality" of tubes in that context. But I put quotes around "musicality" because I think there is a euphonic sweetening that sometimes bothers me after listening for a while. It's funny, because you often hear of people finding an amp unlistenable because it's strident. I find the opposite sin is also bothersome, though more subtle, and it takes longer to get on my nerves. I like a little bite in the strings and snap on the drums. The ST-70 sounded very good at times with certain kinds of music, especially small ensemble jazz and vocals, which is of course a favorite of many audiophiles. But the Sure is more reliably good-sounding to me. I was listening to some Tchaikovsky: Nutcracker/Serenade for Strings on a Mercury Living Presence CD tonight and I know that the thrilling impact of that music is better served by the Sure than by the Dynaco. It is for me, anyway, and I'll bet a lot of other people with open minds and ears would agree.

Very interesting point you make, good doctor, about compatible distortions/colorations and the negative impact of mismatched lack of distortion(s)! I've never considered that synergy before.

I'm sure there are wonderful tube amps I will never hear that will floor me, but for now the Sure does it for me in spades. It did not sound good until a) I got the Meanwell, b) replaced the input caps, c) replaced the output coils, and d) added more capacitance to the power rails.

Now to figure out my next move vis-a-vis preamp . . .
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Old 18th March 2010, 06:26 AM   #1173
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Default Update on fan and burn in

Today I have disconnected the fan and it now runs off a separate 12v battery and regulator. The effect of doing this is subtle but real. It has always been my feeling that the sound we finally hear is a combination of a myriad of small issues, some of which in isolation seem totally trivial.

In the past I have found low level noise seems to be attenuated during the actual music playback causing low level grain and sibilance especially on the attack phase of notes in the mid and upper regions.

So disconnecting the fan PS did not remove all of the residual noise, I can still hear some noise at very low levels though it is different in nature but I would guess it is about 9 db quieter at least. My test speakers resolve very well and impart very little of their own sound so these issue are quite clear to the ears.

The obvious difference was as I suspected less grain in the overall sound and sibilance, subtle but real and well worth the effort.

The fact that there is still some noise indicates that the boards do pick up a fair bit of hash from the environment, I can imagine that having a switchmode supply close to the amp would cause problems for sure.

I may try a small cap across the fan supply and see what that does as overall for reliability sake I do want to keep the fans.

ON a related matter I have made some air core inductors and have made some containers for them. I bought 4 copper plumbing pipe connectors which the coils fit neatly into with 3 matchsticks to space them out from the walls of the cylinder. One end of the tube is capped with a piece of copper clad circuit board through which the wires pass. The copper tubes will be earthed to the GND terminal once set up. I will post pics once the inductors are mounted to the amp board.

The amp is still burning in it now has approx 48 hrs, I am surprised that it keeps getting better, the 2024 boards seem to level out at about 25 hrs or so. Overall the amp is getting smoother with much less harshness on the leading edge of notes and it is quite noticeable with female vocals.

A bit of a lesson here perhaps, maybe best to avoid more esoteric mods until the amp is fully burned otherwise one might be chasing ones tail.

I will wait until it has 100 hrs up before adding the inductors and tubes
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Old 18th March 2010, 01:41 PM   #1174
dr_vega is offline dr_vega  United States
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Quote:
Originally Posted by soldersmoker View Post
Very interesting, because I'm using the Daytons that you recommended a while ago. I'll have to try the Vitamin Q's sometime in the near future.

I like the immediacy/clarity/dynamics of the Sure compared to the sumptuousness of tubes mated to the Heresy's. I can understand other folks digging the smoother "musicality" of tubes in that context. But I put quotes around "musicality" because I think there is a euphonic sweetening that sometimes bothers me after listening for a while. It's funny, because you often hear of people finding an amp unlistenable because it's strident. I find the opposite sin is also bothersome, though more subtle, and it takes longer to get on my nerves. I like a little bite in the strings and snap on the drums. The ST-70 sounded very good at times with certain kinds of music, especially small ensemble jazz and vocals, which is of course a favorite of many audiophiles. But the Sure is more reliably good-sounding to me. I was listening to some Tchaikovsky: Nutcracker/Serenade for Strings on a Mercury Living Presence CD tonight and I know that the thrilling impact of that music is better served by the Sure than by the Dynaco. It is for me, anyway, and I'll bet a lot of other people with open minds and ears would agree.

Very interesting point you make, good doctor, about compatible distortions/colorations and the negative impact of mismatched lack of distortion(s)! I've never considered that synergy before.

I'm sure there are wonderful tube amps I will never hear that will floor me, but for now the Sure does it for me in spades. It did not sound good until a) I got the Meanwell, b) replaced the input caps, c) replaced the output coils, and d) added more capacitance to the power rails.

Now to figure out my next move vis-a-vis preamp . . .
The Vitamin Qs might really do it for you. Their effect is subtle, kind of a third of the way from the Daytons to the tube amp. Most paper-in-oil caps will give the sound a richer, more liquid, feel, but many of them, like the Russians, sacrafice a lot of clarity to do it. The Vitamin Qs lose nothing.

If you like, I'll send you a couple of WestCap 2uF p-i-o caps for free. I've got a couple of dozen and I'm not using them. They're every bit as good as the Vitamin Qs. I don't know if I could tell the difference between the WestCaps and the Vitamin Qs in a blind test. I think I prefer the Qs only because of their fame - it's cool to be able to say you're running Vitamin Qs.

PM me your mailing address.

Thanks for the tip on the Mercury Living Presence recordings. I'll have to check them out.

Have you heard the RCA Living Stereo 2 and 3 channel re-releases on SACD? I have several and they are wonderful. Amazing how good the recording technology and skill was in the 1950s. Just great music.

-dr_vega
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Old 18th March 2010, 04:16 PM   #1175
v-bro is offline v-bro  Netherlands
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dr_vega View Post

I've said before that I think the input caps and output coils are the big "bang for buck" improvements. They are really all you need. You can do more and get real improvements, but the returns are diminishing. Still, the next thing I'd do, if I wanted to go beyond the caps and coils, is a bit of fast capacitance as close to the chip as I could get.

-dr_vega
Uh, try an STA517B first before making such a comment...Click the image to open in full size.

But it is quite a list of extra parts that need to be changed along with it to be able to connect it up to 50Vdc. But I can assure you it will blow your mind how much more dynamic it'll sound!
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Old 20th March 2010, 12:25 AM   #1176
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Originally Posted by v-bro View Post
It's a bit of a shame the Panasonic FM caps come in only such limited a variety of values. The FC caps are available in a wider range. Yet the actual quality of a single cap is not the most important value taken into account that the ESR of two 500uF normal ESR caps in parallel is generally better than the ESR of an expensive 1000uF ultra low ESR cap. So if you want to save some and want something good then parallel a bunch of smaller caps. The ESR will easily reach a top notch value even with normal caps. What is a good idea is to look at the life expectancy. Some caps are good for 1000hrs, some for 20000hrs. Generally thin tall caps live shorter than wide low profile caps of the same make, value and voltage rating....

About adding 1000uF to an SMPS, it is probably on the safe side, but you may want to have a look at what's inside on the output already. (do watch out for the high voltage caps in there though!!!!!!! Even when switched off these can keep their load for a LONG time, they are often carrying up to 400Vdc!!! That's a nice burn hole in your finger at least!!!!)
I managed to get a few photo's of my SMPS while I was trying to find out what switching frequency it operates at. I always try to be careful around mains voltages:
Click the image to open in full size.

As you can see in the photo, there is a 1000uF paralleled with a 100uF cap on the output rail (which is on the right).

Where would I start seeing problems when adding extra capacitance? If I was to replace all the existing 330uF caps for 1000uF caps, the sure amp would have 6000uF of capacitance in total, and I'm thinking this may be overkill and the extra capacitance may cause problems for my SMPS?

Would I be better off going to 470uF caps instead, then the sure board would have a total capacitance of 2820uF, and I'm only going to be using 1 amp board per SMPS.

I'm leaning towards the 470uF's anyway, as they're a little smaller so it would be less of a tight fit.
Quote:
Originally Posted by dr_vega View Post
Panasonics have been the tank cap of choice on the boards since the T-Amp days. Used to be Panasonic FCs, but then the FMs came out and they have better specs (lower ESR) and are cheaper(!). The FM aren't available in as many values as the FCs, however.

There are other good caps, but the Panasonics are as good or better than most and are cheap and readily available at Digikey and elsewhere.

-dr_vega
I've had a search and FM's easily obtained in the UK which is nice, and they're less expensive than I was expecting, and I imagine they will outperform whatever cap that comes with the sure board. I found a few similar looking caps to the '89' caps that come with the Sure board in the Farnell catalogue, but none of the ones I found had any detailed specs...
Quote:
Originally Posted by dr_vega View Post
Which is why the multiple tank caps on the stock Sure board work so well and why additional fast caps help only a little. You really can leave them stock with good results.

I've said before that I think the input caps and output coils are the big "bang for buck" improvements. They are really all you need. You can do more and get real improvements, but the returns are diminishing. Still, the next thing I'd do, if I wanted to go beyond the caps and coils, is a bit of fast capacitance as close to the chip as I could get.

-dr_vega
I hear what you are saying, there becomes a point there the price does not justify the performance. I've already upgraded input caps and coils, and it's like a totally different amp after these changes. 12 x 35v 470uF comes in at less than 5 (around $8) so this one isn't going to break the bank.

Last edited by MikeHunt79; 20th March 2010 at 12:27 AM.
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Old 20th March 2010, 08:17 AM   #1177
v-bro is offline v-bro  Netherlands
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Looks like it is running on a very high frequency, there's just 1000uF 35V inside now.

Looks like you can drill a few extra holes there in that PCB to swap it for a bunch of smaller caps...

EDIT: I see a 100uF 50V cap on the output as well....
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Old 20th March 2010, 11:15 AM   #1178
Porfido is offline Porfido  Italy
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HEY, here is a real bargain!

"WineClone" Battery Power Amplifier Class T-Amp Tripath - eBay (item 190341953864 end time Apr-12-10 21:05:20 PDT)

Pack two for me!
350 bucks for a Sure! Sure, sure....
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Old 20th March 2010, 06:30 PM   #1179
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Porfido View Post
HEY, here is a real bargain!

"WineClone" Battery Power Amplifier Class T-Amp Tripath - eBay (item 190341953864 end time Apr-12-10 21:05:20 PDT)

Pack two for me!
350 bucks for a Sure! Sure, sure....
Riiiight: "WineClone is all about bringing the best sound to people at the lowest price possible."
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Old 20th March 2010, 06:41 PM   #1180
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Default Bottlehead Quickie and Sure Tripath?

Looks like a cheap amp/preamp combo that might sound good: Tripath and tubes synergy. With the PJCCS circuit, I would think that a Meanwell of at least 27 VDC might supply enough power for the Quickie's circuit, which is nominally designed for 36 volts when using batteries. The PJCCS circuit compensates for the batteries running down over their lifetime.

Anybody tried this combo yet?
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