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Old 2nd February 2002, 04:39 PM   #11
paulb is offline paulb  Canada
diyAudio Member
Join Date: Jun 2001
Location: Calgary
I can see both sides of this but honestly, if it's not DIY let's not discuss it here. PTL60's inquiry about headphone amps was (I thought) directed towards whether the circuitry inside some of the more expensive ones was worth reverse-engineering. The folks at Headwize have found that you can build a much better amp, for much less money, than the Grado. That's DIY.
Is the Triphazer worth reverse-engineering? Nobody's willing to pony up the cash to find out, so we'll have to leave that one alone for now.
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Old 2nd February 2002, 05:57 PM   #12
PTL60 is offline PTL60
diyAudio Member
Join Date: Feb 2002
I did mention in a previous post that people who buy headphone amps and are not DIYers mostly buy the amps that cost between $200-$300, which in my opinion is very reasonable if you cannot build your own.

I guess my point is; the average person with an average income cannot afford a $1000-$2000 headphone amp, but if a person has that kind of money to spend and wants to get the $2000 amp, that's OK too, as long as you are happy and do not feel you were ripped off.

It all comes down to what appeals to you and what you can actually afford. The person that only has $300 to spend just wants to feel he/she can purchase and enjoy their component as much as the person that spends $3000.
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Old 2nd February 2002, 08:28 PM   #13
dice45 is offline dice45  Germany
diyAudio Member
Join Date: Jan 2002
Location: Munich, Bavaria
Default Re: Apologies to all

Hello Griff,

I am not upset about one lil'thread, I just wanted to avoid becoming upset. I have seen flames starting exactly like that; if participants get excited and the blood begins to boil slowly, other flamy minds get attracted to it like bugs and moths to a flame in the dark. It starts with "innocent" questions with (biased) answers already buried in the question itself.

I find this a wonderful place as such nuisances seem either not to happen or getting quickly extinguished by the Elders from the very beginning. I like the positive, enthusiastic spirit here

Originally posted by seangoesbonk

sorry about this whole flaming deal...

I didn't start this thread to bash products or complain about being screwed. I can thankfully say ....

... So anyway, I didn't mean to upset anyone. I just re-read my post and I'll admit that It was not at all what I wanted to say. It was written in haste and was quite misleading. Geoff and dice45, I see why you called me on that. Apologies to all.

Hello seangoesbonk,

glad to see that I have been mistaken and that your intentions obviously were not as they appeared. I am glad it was a case of lacking web-communincation experinece. Apology graciously taken


I just wanted to stimulate discussion about audio fact vs. fiction(or grey areas), about how certain products work. Because I build all my amps, etc. I am interested in how things work.

For example, if the whole "triphazer" thing actually worked, I would sure want integrate them into my designs. Also, if the mains cable had such a dramatic effect on the sound, I would design my power supplies with that in mind.

I guess I (stupidly) picked two obviously baloney examples which are consumer products. I suppose I am really more interested in components(and designs).

Ok, that is great! then please ask open questions like "Does anyone know the cap XYZ? please tell experiences" and then dont argue or challenge the answers but decide for yourself whether you give it a try or it is nothing worth to be spent time and money on.

Try it out for yourself you must do. In any case.

Are semiconductors living up to their specs? Do the more expensive, "high quality" capacitors work better? Can a well-designed class B amp be audibley distinguished from most class A amps? Regulated or non-regulated supplies? Should I build my pre-amp with a pot or a stepped attenuator?

All I can tell here is that a well-designed structure can be told from a badly-designed structure, beyond that I would not dare to give general answers (I have experineced a well-designed PP tube amp playing an badly-designed SE tube amp into pieces, but most designers seem to prefer SE sonically). I would dare to give specific answers in specific questions and I would tell from my own experiences which work for me.

Hint: get the circuitry working excellent and THEN play with components.

Caps: the are considerable differences between different capacitor models or brands. The differences happen on the well audible, the hifi-audio level and they happen on a subtle, spiritual level.

There are worldclass coupling caps out there but not necessarily the expensive famous ones, my favourite cap is from Siemens/Epcos, the series are called MKV and if I use caps at all, I use MKVs.

I weeded well-known world-class caps like Hovland out from my choice list as the bored me, splattered my focus, let me think too much about the last day and design tasks and the last soccer game and whether I should use the fine wheather to go in the beer garden instead of focusing me on the music. I weeded fancy hermeticTeflon-Mil caps and VitaminQ and Sprague Orange Drops and Shizuki ands Taitsu out because they all made me feel having my body attacked and my solarplexus cramped together and my body was simply saying NO!

But this is my experience, you can take my hints to shorten the seek, nothing more, seek you have to do yourself.

Consider that a cap's sonic footprint can mate well with what your amp needs to your ears but can sound like crap in another application.

Another thing: have as much voltage across the cap as possible.

Funny coincidence: those caps winning my personal test were measuring best concerning Q-factor, dielectric absorption and tangens_delta and all had superior internal lead-to-element contacting.

And they were totally non-magnetic. This could become a general rule, a common consensus if other DIYers can second my results.

Pots / Volume controls:

If I would have to love with a high-Z pot, I would use a Panasonic for me. If I can, I use a stepped attenuator, no question. If the circuit allows it, I use a 600-Ohm stepped attenuator. they sound best to my ears and body .

Power supplies:

they are "in the signal path" and anything happening there will be audible. BTW, you always can draw an amps schematic in a way that shows ANYTHING of the PS also is "in the signal path". A good passive power supply can beat a bad regulated one sonically.

My friend Manfred has developped a simple method to trap misbehaving power supplies or PS/amp combinations:

He built a little high-voltage differential amp with variable gain and low THD to feed a speaker or headphone. He connnects the two inputs to interesting nodes of the PS, e.g. ground and B+ of a tube amplifier and then listens to the music on the B+ rail. If the testamp's gain is high enough, there always is music. His prediction (often tried out by him): if the B+ sounds distorted, the PS faces a complex load or has a complex response to the load and the amp in question will sound awful.

If no distortion is on the B+ i.e. the PS faces a resistive load, the amp will sound atleast very good.

I am vexed with this test, I have to try out it myself !!

As far as voltage regulators are concerned, I am with AllenWright and Manfred Huber: I prefer shunt regulators for a simple reason: a shunt reg does not care whether it is kicked by the line or the load, it shortens the kick to ground. No matter how nasty/complex it is. Of course, your power plant will charge you extra for that

I just spent 3.5 months researching for the construction of a headphone amp which cost me $100can($65usd) to build. I'm a Electrical Engineering student and I really don't have much extra cash. I've put almost all my free cash into this project because I really love this stuff. I wish I could try a whole bunch of different designs, but I can't afford to. So, lots of talk and not much walk.

The point being that I really have to weigh the Performance vs. All-mighty dollar. I don't want to waste money on something which doesn't really benefit my project.

You have a wonderful chance to design an amp suiting excactly your wet audio dreams if you stop to stupidly follow what others say, if you stop to minimize your failure and if you start to state clear to yourself what you are wanting to achieve and start to develop your own ideas & concepts & shaping will and start to maximize your success .

Then a magic thing happens: you are the creator, the designer of this structure and it will have the designer's handwriting, sound to the designer's preferences, just better and more so than expected.

It is not that you will be lying into your own pocket, it will really met your personal needs and preferences. The magic really happens and your friends knowing you best will recognize your preferences in your design's sonics.

Of course there will intermediate stages you are not satisfied with and you'll weed them out without showing to anyone. But finally ....
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