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View Poll Results: Which opamp do you prefer the sonics of ?
Apple 2 5.00%
Banana 7 17.50%
Damson 1 2.50%
Kiwi 1 2.50%
Orange 6 15.00%
Peach 6 15.00%
Pear 3 7.50%
Pomegranate 11 27.50%
Raison 2 5.00%
Satsuma 1 2.50%
Voters: 40. You may not vote on this poll

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Old 7th November 2013, 10:50 AM   #1
Mooly is offline Mooly  United Kingdom
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Default ULTIMATE OPAMP SHOOTOUT... Where you get to decide.

Polls. There is a poll attached to this thread where you can vote for the best sounding opamp.
There is also an additional poll CLICK HERE where you can vote for the worst sounding opamp.

Edit There is an additional new "quick fun test" at post #88 CLICK HERE

From the industry standard 741 to todays dedicated high performance opamps that are firmly aimed at the very top end of the audio market these common devices generate huge interest and polarise opinions. How far have we really come though in the last 40 odd years ? I thought it would be a really fun thread to take some common devices and put them to the test... or rather, for all you out there to put them to the test by actually listening. Could you identify a 741 compared to say an LM4562, or a TL072 versus an NE5532. Well now is your chance to find out

OK, so this is what I have in mind and of course I'm constrained by working with what I have available which is just a Dell and Acer laptop and Audacity. The source is a Marantz Pearl Lite SACD playing a test file I have prepared, the file consisting of four short music snippets. These are loaded onto a USB drive and plugged into the Marantz USB port. The basic opamp circuit consisting of two opamps per channel is shown here. It is a simple attenuate/amplify/attenuate/amplify scheme where the signal is brought back to approximately where it started amplitude wise. Its a tougher test than it looks though. Have you noticed the output loading on each opamp. 680 ohms plus driving the feedback networks.

Click the image to open in full size.

(Note, R9 and R10 are 680 ohm and not 620 ohm


So here is how the test works. We take the analogue output signal from the Marantz and pass it through each opamp test circuit, digitising the final opamp output using Audacity. From this a 320kbs MP3 and WAV file is generated. Its up to you which you use (the MP3 files are around 7.5mb and the WAV just over 30mb). We do that for each of the opamps under test. And all you have to do is listen and try and decide what is what. It would be great to hear any comments on how you feel each snippet sounds too. All you will have to work on for identification are the file names all of which are named after fruit. So if you think "Damson" is the best then mark it as 1st place and so on.


The opamps I had available are 741, 4558, 4560, 5532, LM4562, OPA134, TL072, TLE2072 and a "wild card" that if all goes to plan would only be revealed at the end of the test. Oh, and the original file of course played direct.


So what do you all think Interested ?
(I can use dropbox to post the files )

Here are the files,

Apple MP3 https://www.dropbox.com/s/4pxj0gkqqh...pple%20MP3.mp3
Banana MP3 https://www.dropbox.com/s/sqqawagzxo...nana%20MP3.mp3
Damson MP3 https://www.dropbox.com/s/1xcjrz2ec4...mson%20MP3.mp3
Kiwi MP3 https://www.dropbox.com/s/g5nu8s2omr...Kiwi%20MP3.mp3
Orange MP3 https://www.dropbox.com/s/7tsula4xkk...ange%20MP3.mp3
Peach MP3 https://www.dropbox.com/s/y0cqmn0a97...each%20MP3.mp3
Pear MP3 https://www.dropbox.com/s/v7hvtvravt...Pear%20MP3.mp3
Pomegranite MP3 https://www.dropbox.com/s/09geygvwi6...nite%20MP3.mp3
Raison MP3 https://www.dropbox.com/s/4pi10guur2...ison%20MP3.mp3
Satsuma MP3 https://www.dropbox.com/s/87mmvuza6q...suma%20MP3.mp3

Apple WAV https://www.dropbox.com/s/dfk0id2s7f...pple%20WAV.wav
Banana WAV https://www.dropbox.com/s/uxiftiqoh3...nana%20WAV.wav
Damson WAV https://www.dropbox.com/s/19w57e4cyv...mson%20WAV.wav
Kiwi WAV https://www.dropbox.com/s/xyfrfn5dua...Kiwi%20WAV.wav
Orange WAV https://www.dropbox.com/s/6tzpw9bere...ange%20WAV.wav
Peach WAV https://www.dropbox.com/s/m5h3ygpxx9...each%20WAV.wav
Pear WAV https://www.dropbox.com/s/9idk24bb1k...Pear%20WAV.wav
Pomegranite WAV https://www.dropbox.com/s/v5774o1dig...nite%20WAV.wav
Raison WAV https://www.dropbox.com/s/nvpayrm6l4...ison%20WAV.wav
Satsuma WAV https://www.dropbox.com/s/f1vavw94v9...suma%20WAV.wav
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Old 7th November 2013, 11:18 AM   #2
gannaji is offline gannaji  India
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Good! A double blind test! Welcome!
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Old 7th November 2013, 12:01 PM   #3
Mooly is offline Mooly  United Kingdom
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Files added to first post
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Old 7th November 2013, 12:03 PM   #4
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Very interested indeed......
a great idea, Mooly
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Old 7th November 2013, 12:13 PM   #5
Mooly is offline Mooly  United Kingdom
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I hope so, it should be fun.
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Old 7th November 2013, 01:56 PM   #6
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Well, not to parade on anyone's rain... happened across this thread, and was curious.

I'd like to know more about the performance of the circuit itself, and how the files were captured to digital. For example the 47ufd output cap? That alone has the potential for masking differences. The 620ohm load is a *heavy* load for many of the opamps listed. That will effect performance. The quality of the resistors, is the circuit open air? Shielded? What about RFI? Noise floor? Details, details... always a PIA.

Watch, the 741 will win!

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Old 7th November 2013, 02:02 PM   #7
Mooly is offline Mooly  United Kingdom
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A PIA It would never cross my mind

The 620 (Actually 680 ohm... forums having upload issues at the moment and I couldn't alter the diagram) is a tough load, outside of what many of those opamps can officially drive.

I would just say, listen to the files and make your own mind up You might think they all sound rubbish... or not...

The files had to be captured using just what I had available which is a Dell Vostro laptop and its Realtek sound do-dah. So the audio was fed straight into the laptop and Audacity used to record it.
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Old 7th November 2013, 02:11 PM   #8
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What about the ufd output cap??

If I get time and some headphones plugged into this lowly laptop I will also take some listens...

The TL072 ought to sound nice... probably like an old McIntosh preamp?
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Old 7th November 2013, 02:14 PM   #9
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Nice mooly.....
A Damson in distress hee hee
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Old 7th November 2013, 02:14 PM   #10
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Great idea, i recently built an ebay DAC with a 5532 and picked up a 4562 for it just to see if i can tell the difference between them, so this thread is perfectly timed. Cant wait to go home and give these a proper listen now, using cheapo ear buds on my work pc i cant tell any difference at all lol....
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