T-Amp versus Gainclone - diyAudio
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Old 29th September 2005, 11:14 AM   #1
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Default T-Amp versus Gainclone

Hi,

I am trying to decide between buying an LM3875 kit from :

http://www.madaboutsound.com/prod_det.asp?product_id=1

versus modding a T-amp or buying a kit from http://www.41hz.com/ or the 2020 based kit from : http://www.autocostruire.com/catalog...roducts_id=257

Does anyone have direct experience of the strengths/weaknesses of these alternatives or is the consensus that T-amps are better than LM3875 chipamps or vice versa ?

Thanks Jack
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Old 29th September 2005, 11:24 AM   #2
jez is offline jez  United Kingdom
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I have compared the T amp and gainclone just a few days ago...
The T amp is moddified and re cased and was used with a good power supply, it is considerably better than an of the shelf one.
The gainclone uses lm3886 and is built point to point using v.good quality parts.
Verdict? gainclone wins!, but by only a surprisingly small margin....
The gainclone also has MUCH more power and that really swings it for the gainclone.
It must be said that the T amp really is amazing for what it is though!, all the rumours are true.
I dont' know how some of the bigger/better Tripath IC's would perform relative to the gainclone....I've yet to hear them.
Jez.
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Old 29th September 2005, 11:52 AM   #3
Bgt is offline Bgt  Netherlands
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Why not compare it with an 41HZ AMP1B, they have a lot more power than the AMP3 which is on 14V. Ofcourse the GC wins from this one. If you mod. the AMP1B a bit it sounds great,
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Old 29th September 2005, 01:14 PM   #4
rabbitz is offline rabbitz  Australia
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The Gainclone (LM3875) is a much nicer listen than the T-Amp IMO. The T-Amp is an amzing device for what it does and it's price.
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Old 29th September 2005, 01:37 PM   #5
jez is offline jez  United Kingdom
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Hmm..different Newcastles' 12000 miles apart, hello from one to the other.
I don't know about "much better" than T amp...I am using 3886 rather than 3875 and I don't know how they compare, I do have some LM3875 also, but I have been so impressed with the 3886 I have had no reason to try them.
I point out to the previous post-er that I am using 4Ohm speakers that are quite efficient, the T amp delivers about 11W into my speakers and I was careful not to let the T amp get to near to clipping when comparing to the gainclone.
Overall, it was quite unusual to hear two such different amplifiers sound so similar! But, yes, the gainclone beats it. The main (slight!) criticism of the T amp, to my ears, is that it can sound a bit coloured at times, mainly in the midrange and on fairly powerful sustained sounds...a bit "blowsy", and over warm. Strangely this is only apparent, as I said above, on certain sounds/material and not all the time as with some lesser quality valve amps and, to be fair, this is an Nth degree criticism.
They both seem to do things "more right" than most amps...at any price!
Jez.
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Old 29th September 2005, 04:09 PM   #6
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That's all great feedback.

The kit from http://www.autocostruire.com/catalog...roducts_id=257

is based on a higher power Tripath chip and 'audiophile' design. It would be great if someone had a comparison with that.
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Old 29th September 2005, 05:02 PM   #7
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There is an identical thread in the GC section called Sound of Gaincard vs. T-amp. Everyone there seems to like the GCs better too, which reminds me to not listen to people on these boards about what sounds best. I think the Amp1-B (with upgraded input caps, and better rail caps) sounds better. Thus I think the real answer is that you should build them both as they are both cheap, both sound decent for the money, but do indeed sound different.
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Old 29th September 2005, 05:11 PM   #8
cowanrg is offline cowanrg  United States
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i still have yet to hear a gainclone that doesnt sound like mediocre low-fi. ive built several in all different configurations and am throroughly unimpressed with their sound quality.

im going to buy a t-amp just for grins to power a small pair of bookshelf speakers in a secondary system. ill be curiuos how it holds up with the "sound" of a gainclone.
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Old 29th September 2005, 06:46 PM   #9
Bgt is offline Bgt  Netherlands
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Quote:
Originally posted by dsavitsk
There is an identical thread in the GC section called Sound of Gaincard vs. T-amp. Everyone there seems to like the GCs better too, which reminds me to not listen to people on these boards about what sounds best. I think the Amp1-B (with upgraded input caps, and better rail caps) sounds better. Thus I think the real answer is that you should build them both as they are both cheap, both sound decent for the money, but do indeed sound different.
Yes, you have to mod them to get away with the hiss. On the AMP1B PCB Change the line caps. from 330uF to 680uf/35V(hiss), the bypass cap. from 100uf/35V to 1000/1500/16V (whistle), put a 10uf/100V (remaining hiss)polyester on the + to 0V on the main plug on the PCB, change input caps to a better 1(I use 22uF/16v Caps) et voila..............a very clear sounding amp. Worth every cent.
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Old 29th September 2005, 07:00 PM   #10
Nuuk is offline Nuuk  United Kingdom
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I fear this is another 'swamp' into which it is all too easy to get sucked in!

Long before Gainclones, or class-T amps, a sensible audiophile knew that some amps worked better with some speakers and not with others. It's a case of synergy! So to ask 'does the T-AMP sound better than the GC?' is a bit like asking how long is a piece of string!

I have been lucky enough to listen to four class-T amps and many versions of the GC, in my own system (actually in two different systems). In both systems, my speakers are a very easy load for the amps and both GC and class-T amps work very well with very good results.

At present I am keeping one of the 2020 amps in my main system with no desire to put back my 'flagship' GC although I will do soon, just to see if I have changed my mind about which I prefer.

I don't think anybody can give a definitive answer to the question and the best advice so far is to try both and decide for yourself. I do like the fact that I can run the class-T amps from a single small SMPS though!
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