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Old 18th August 2010, 01:24 AM   #1
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Default Mods for Helder's TA2020 MKIII Amp Module

My Helder TA2020 MKIII Amp Module should arrive in a few days and I can't wait to fire it up and take it for a spin. Because I never can leave anything well enough alone, I probably will attempt to make small modifications at some point.
I know this is the third iteration of his TA2020, but I am sure on a component by component basis, more improvements can be made to increase performance.

Any ideas on what specific mods would be appropriate to make in a logical order? I would like to make one mod at a time and evaluate the improvement incrementally.
Thanks in advance, and yes...I did use the search feature! If I missed a similar thread, please be kind.
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Old 18th August 2010, 03:55 PM   #2
Davet is offline Davet  United States
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Default MkIII Mods

I like the sound of the module right out of the box. I have found changing out the input caps is the most immediately discernible difference. There are a number of threads regarding input caps. The Tripath Input Coupling Caps is one such thread. Imbeded in this thread are links to other capacitor reviews.

I have read, recently, that the power supply has an audible impact on the sound, as well. The tube input buffer that Arjen offers is a great compliment.

I strongly suggest that you listen to the MKIII for a few weeks before making any mods. Overall I think you will find there is very little that needs to be done to enhance this T-Amp. Others may offer other recommendations, but this should get you started.
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Old 19th August 2010, 02:24 AM   #3
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DaveT,
Great advice and link. Thanks.
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Old 19th August 2010, 04:58 PM   #4
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I think Arjen already upgrades the input caps, those are the big red cylinders you see dominate the board.

For one, I would like to try to upgrade the 6,800 uF power filtering cap to at least twice that.

I recently built a massive power supply for my Muse M15 with 24,000 uF power capacitance and after hearing it for a while, the difference between it and the stock supply that came with the M15 is very apparent. The bass goes depeer, the mids seem to clean up, the highs become more extended. The soundstage also becomes deeper. All from the same 12 volts but from a hefty power supply. You don't believe is possible till you hear it yourself.

I am waiting arrival of my KMIII kit too.

BTW, thanks DaveT for the Home Depot suggestion on the box for my power supply, they do have an 8x8x4 plastic box that should work just great.
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Last edited by whaleman; 19th August 2010 at 05:01 PM.
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Old 19th August 2010, 05:37 PM   #5
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You changed out the filter caps on the amp, right? I will be using a Meanwell 5amp supply, and may switch to a battery, since I have plenty of those, to see if there is a difference.
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Old 19th August 2010, 05:47 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kickngas View Post
You changed out the filter caps on the amp, right? I will be using a Meanwell 5amp supply, and may switch to a battery, since I have plenty of those, to see if there is a difference.
Not yet, but once I get the kit, I will see if I can do it. The bigger caps I used were on an external power supply for the Muse M15.
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Old 3rd October 2010, 08:41 PM   #7
Garytr is offline Garytr  Canada
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Default Resistor

Hi,
I am wondering if anyone can tell me which resistors are in the signal path? Arjen told me they are 20Kohm but forgot to give me the location. I believe thet are R01 / R02, the two vertical hole mount resistors in front of the inductors? It seems he is very busy and not responding
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Old 4th July 2011, 02:10 AM   #8
rhing is offline rhing  United States
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With the warm weather finally coming into the Bay Area, I decided that my tube power amp will have to take a vacation and I dug out my Helder TA-2020 MkIII amp. I now have an Audio Research LS7 linestage for preamp duty, so I wired up my Helder amp as a power amp. I also bypassed the stock Audiophiler MKP caps with a pair of 0.1uF/200V Sonicap Gen 2 MKP caps and this really did wonders for smoothing out the sound without much coloration. These caps fit nicely underneath the board where there are additional thru-hole pads in parallel with the stock input caps. This morning, I installed two 680uF/16V Panasonic FM caps (8mm dia.) to replace the two 470uF/25V power supply decoupling caps. This really added more bass and midrange body to the sound to the point where it almost sounds as good as my EL84 tube amp in terms of tonality and timbral detail. I used a grounded 15W soldering iron to do this because I didn't want to risk heat or static discharge damage to the Tripath amp chip.

Together with my tube linestage, I am pleased with this combination which does not heat up my listening room. I did have the Helder 12AU7 tube buffer before, but the ARC LS7 is more refined, albeit more expensive, and it doesn't make that nasty turn on/turn off pop as the tube buffer did. The whole system is significantly quieter in idle too. I am also building an Aikido linestage with four 6SN7's and I'm looking forward to trying that with the tweaked Helder amp.
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Last edited by rhing; 4th July 2011 at 02:37 AM.
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