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Class D Switching Power Amplifiers and Power D/A conversion

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Old 9th July 2012, 01:13 PM   #1
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Question DIY AMP design help

I've typed this post 8 times already and deleted it again trying to figure out how to ask an annoying question - which DIY AMP do you recommend.

I am interested in product design come to think of it - the broad process, which might give you an idea of what I'm looking for.

I want to build an amp which I will couple with some car audio speakers until I do the DIY speaker build - local component availability research. After that I want to build a mixer using Arduino. I suppose the entire project which might take a year or two (everything completed) is a showcase of what can still be done DIY in our consumer society, throwing out everything in the house every year just so you can also boast of having the newest...not the best, just the newest. Me on the other-hand, I cannot afford to buy cheaply, however I also don't want to buy some expensive model setup from the shelf because I get great satisfaction from knowing that "I made this" when people look at it. I think it is also a little message to those buy-today-throw-out-tomorrow people, a little "maybe I can do this too." Hence the use of car speakers to start with.

I want to build a 2 channel 100W @ 4ohm amp (allows me enough power I think for a small to medium sized room) with toroidal transformers (I like the look - not sure if they are better or worse). I want to be able to adjust the volume on the amp. Switch on, adjust volume. I like Class D because as I understand they are quite efficient and you get a-lot for the little you pay. I thought about incorporating a tube pre-amp, but that might be way off into the future, because a tube amp's tubes needs to be showcased which involves case designs I do not have time for at this point - or money for that matter. I want to keep the costs low to medium, and the sound quality average for an audiophile - which translates into "wow" for the average person who don't hear all the little imperfections. A metaphor will be: I am a chef who wants to make a tasty plate of food for the bloke sitting at the restaurant table, not the chef in the kitchen.

I don't want to buy a kit per se. I like the idea of seeing the circuit, designing it in Eagle, printing the board, buying the best (best I can afford) components. Solder it. Build it into a designed enclosure. Hooking it all up and let others see and hear what can still be done - the blackmagic of product design isn't blackmagic secrets, it's just people in general who has become blinded by marketing and instant gratification.

This post might be a bit deep and philosophical, but your assistance will be greatly appreciated - I can't figure out another way of asking the basic "which amp" question. I don't know about THD (although I think I understand it increases with some amps which means the sound quality decreases) and I don't really want to learn all of that since I have enough interest, and honestly, you who are into the nitty and gritty have a passion for it - I don't. I am the builder, give me the building blocks and I'll build it, you can design it - another metaphor.

Thanks for at least entertaining my question.
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Old 15th July 2012, 02:04 PM   #2
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Join Date: Dec 2003
Location: Munich
The nitty gritty is the key for DIYing a class D amp, especially for layout.
In case you intend to go for your own layout, it might be good idea to focus on circuits that employ class D chips with integrated power stage, which reduces the number of pit falls. Or build a circuit with proven layout.
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Old 16th July 2012, 06:27 PM   #3
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@ ChocoHolic I think I'm actually starting to do that, I have almost decided on a basic amp design (suppose you call it that) where I'll use a pre-amp for volume and possibly bass and treble, then run each channel through a bridged Class D amp (or a "larger" class D unbridged). However at the moment I'm trying to figure out what is considered an audiophile or high-end audio THD...uhm.....figure. Thank you for the reply.
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Old 16th July 2012, 07:29 PM   #4
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Got my answer on the THD.
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