HTPC 6ch 5.1 DIY Amp -Which Tripath boards? [Newbie] - diyAudio
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Old 12th March 2010, 01:44 PM   #1
Galgo is offline Galgo  Israel
diyAudio Member
Join Date: Mar 2010
Location: Jerusalem
Default HTPC 6ch 5.1 DIY Amp -Which Tripath boards? [Newbie]

Greetings friends,
I've spend many hours in this forum within the past few weeks and I think you are GREAT

Thats my second thread related to the following project (the first one here related to the source option:
HTPC 6-channel 5.1 DIY Amp - Digital or Analog ? [Newbie])

Project description:
build a small, efficient and "budget challenged" 6-channel Amp (+DAC!?) for my HTPC based audio (.MP3, .FLC music + 5.1 AC3/DTS multichannel movie files).
I'm not a true Audiophile (sorry about that) but I'll want to build something better than commercially available computer 5.1 sets - more equivalent to mid level A/V receivers that will be more compact and efficient (and obviously be fun to build myself ).
I don't want to really go "over kill" but still want some room for future upgrades.

I'd prefer a minimalistic approach with minimal "part count" (will try to avoid additional devices, processors, PSU etc.) as well as minimal " $ count" (my first audio DIY try and 2nd hand A/V receivers are so cheap...)

My main question for this forum related to the what model or combination of the available Tripath boards would you recommend?
Any tips related to overall configuration, easy MODs, links to eBay auctions etc. will be appreciated.

(links to relevant forum threads on the following mater will also be nice - there are just too many and I'm a bit "lost").

Current setup:

Source: PC -ASUS motherboard integrated ADI 1986A soundMAX "HD audio" chip with 6 analog outputs (3X 2ch sockets) and S/PDIF coax/optical output as well (don't know if capable to 6ch or 2ch only - anyone?).
Speakers: I already have an entry level HT 5.1 speaker setup (5X small 6ohm satellites + 1X 8ohm passive SW rated at Max 70W).
These currently satisfy my needs - but would probably be upgraded in the future (quality wise - not necessary much more powerful).

Initial thoughts:any comments or other recommendations are welcome!

1) Base the amp. on 3X Arjen's TA2020MKII/MKIII boards (would TA2024 be enough for my humble setup? will I even notice any difference between MKII & MKII considering my source and speakers quality? any other good "price benefit" options? i.e. connexelectronic?)

2) Use Arjen's integrated 6ch 3X TA2020 + SMPS board (cheaper and already has PS - how inferior to previous option? if at all...)

3) Use a combination of SURE electronics 4X100 + 2X100 tc2000+tp2050 boards (more power - but do I need it? also - is it even possible to feed these from the ATX PSU or other efficient 12V-24V power brick? )

3) Use 3X cheap TA2024/TA2020 boards/items from eBay ( Lepai or others) and MOD them a little bit ?

4) Other solutions? maybe based on Chipamps or the TDA892* chips (connexelectronic seem to have a nice variety) I also noticed other multichannel Tripath chips (i.e. TAA4100A ) but couldn't find a decent budget board (anyone?)?

1) Ability to control volume from the Amp. itself - preferably independently for each channel pair + SW, however, not critical since I can control the levels from the source - but need at least one overall volume control in the amp.

2) Channels should be full range (filtered at the source) or I/O filtered according to 5X "small" speakers + 1X SW - please advice regarding suitable MODs.

2) be powered from the PC ATX PSU, or, an external efficient AC/DC brick. (better options for an efficient/ cheap PS ?)

3) use minimal to zero power when in "standby" or if no input - the PC is ON 24/7 and I'd like to see if I could activate the amp. only when needed w/o manually turn it on/off - any insight on this matter?

Thats all for now - I've many more questions of course - but lets start with that.
Thank you,
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Old 12th March 2010, 07:11 PM   #2
r0b is offline r0b  Germany
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Join Date: Sep 2009
I don't really know of any cheap available DAC that would also decode AC3 or DTS, so I would go in directly analog from the PC. There's the Teufel Decoderstation, but that runs about as much as a used AVR...

On the sureelectronics Boards you can set a gain, and then control the Rest via the Computer. 6 Channel volume control will probably be expensive.

I would probably get 2 of the 4 channel boards, an SMPS from their shop (24v, 13some amps, maybe a 27v, total of 350W). You would have 2 channels left, maybe Biamp the front speakers if possible, or add a second subwoofer.

Then you would only need to build a nice case and start modding the boards to get (the feeling to get) the most out of it. You would probably get more power than 3 ta2024 boards, but it would be more expensive too!

Lots of options out there ...

BTW: How do you currently drive the speakers?

Last edited by r0b; 12th March 2010 at 07:17 PM.
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Old 14th March 2010, 10:43 AM   #3
Galgo is offline Galgo  Israel
diyAudio Member
Join Date: Mar 2010
Location: Jerusalem
Thank you for the reply,

1) 2X 4CH 100W boards from SURE + dedicates SMPS is defiantly a good option - might stretch the budget for this system a little - not sure if I really need that kind of extra power and it may also be less efficient in idle/low power states (is it?).

2) as a cheap "DAC" i'm thinking of using creative X-Fi external USB 5.1 or maybe even EGO Sys/ESI Gigaport HD USB Audio Interface (if I'll find in a decent price) - anyhow its not critical and I can always start with the M/B analog outputs end upgrade for an external unit in the future...

3) The integrate faultDomain_0?hash=item3a58aea67e seem to be more and more attractive to me - it may not have the "audiophile" level of performance - but the low total price and size might be perfect for my humble requirements.
I'm just not sure yet if it has sufficient power for my current setup...

4) The speakers set is currently powered by a POS LG branded "All-In-One" Amp/DVD/divX/FM device I've got from a friend - it actually gives enough power for the speakers - the only problem is that it doesn't have 5.1 input so I just cant connect the PC through it

5) I start "collecting" suitable size cases etc... but 'till i'll decide what board combination I'll use - I can't really proceed with that... I do promise to UL images and SketchUp plans when I'll start working

Any further suggestion will be great !
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Old 16th March 2010, 05:37 PM   #4
r0b is offline r0b  Germany
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Join Date: Sep 2009
This seems to be what you're looking at:

6 Kanal T-Amp 3x TA 2020 - DIY-HIFI-Forum

(yeah, German, but its about the pix)
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Old 17th March 2010, 06:38 AM   #5
Galgo is offline Galgo  Israel
diyAudio Member
Join Date: Mar 2010
Location: Jerusalem
Originally Posted by r0b View Post
This seems to be what you're looking at:

6 Kanal T-Amp 3x TA 2020 - DIY-HIFI-Forum

(yeah, German, but its about the pix)
Thank you for this link (and thank you google translate )
Thats a really nice implamantation of the Arjen's 3 X TA2020 board and it's my current choice...

Can anyone comment regarding it's sound quality (after the suggested modifications?) ?

How about current draw at idle?

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