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qusp 15th February 2012 05:00 AM

THE WIRE conglomerate build thread, impressions and gallery
4 Attachment(s)
Right, the time has come to give this a proper venue, so that build queries, impressions and casework ideas can be shared and searched more adequately. The SNR in the OG thread has gotten out of control.

My amp is pretty non-standard, so not really something people will follow, but it might give some ideas.

So fire away guys, people should feel free to start posting pics, impressions and questions related to their own builds. I will try to help out here as time allows, but hopefully supporting this will be a community effort that isnt limited to opc and myself. I encourage you to all get involved, for an amp that has so many pcbs out there there doesnt seem to be all that many finished projects; whats up with that?

Anyway; On with the show! such a great little amp, looking forward to hearing some more impressions

so heres my BAL-BAL, optimized for low profile and low impedance for battery operation. the TX2352 Zfoils are just till the ASMP SMD zfoils arrive, i have omitted the input resistors and will bridge them to keep the input lowZ, as this is also the IV stage for my portable sabre

I had to improvise with the heatsinks, i wont need all that much for this build and the BOM sinks are too large, so these are made with Goertz 8awg copper foil speaker cable bent into shape; the PCB alone might have been enough at the lower voltage i'm using and unity gain, but given the rather low impedance headphones I Favor, I thought it best to add some backup, plus it looks pretty sweet.

The panasonic SP polymer caps are used for low profile, never mind they are the lowest impedance caps i know of, but after the issues a couple of people had with the soldermask shorting through, I thought it best to elevate them a little bit on some 18awg copper 'leads'; they are still shorter than any lowz can type PTH cap i know of, so worked out well

the 2 middle heatsinks are not as close as they appear

ok since its been asked again....

NO! there are no PCBs left!

hochopeper 15th February 2012 05:06 AM


Originally Posted by qusp (
Anyway; On with the show! such a great little amp, looking forward to hearing some more impressions

Great initiative to have a separate thread for building!

It might be handy to have some links early in the thread, especially to the build wiki - "The Wire" Headphone Amp Build Wiki - diyAudio

I am looking forward to having parts soon to start building my own, till then I'll keep peaking in here for photos :D

pinnocchio 15th February 2012 05:15 AM

Good idea Qusp!

Thanks for the new thread


qusp 15th February 2012 05:27 AM

like i said, coming back later to do the real post, this is just a placeholder, however generally the builders know where the GB thread and wiki is already :cheeky:

i'll add the wiki, but i dont know why you would link the development thread

opc 15th February 2012 03:01 PM

Very nice! I love the low profile. How thin did you manage when it's all said and done? I'm guessing 0.5" but you might be able to do even better than that.

It does look like you've got a cold solder joint on the left side of C45 however. Might need to get the iron back out to touch that one up :)

What rail voltage will you get off the batteries? Anything below 10V should make for very minimal disspation, so heat shouldn't be an issue.

The BAL-BAL is my main headamp right now, and I'm driving it off the output of an AD1955 reference board into my AH-D2000's. I really like this setup, and I love how the BAL-BAL performs with the Denons. I'm looking forward to listening impression when you get your batteries all wire up and ready to go!


qusp 15th February 2012 03:40 PM

1 Attachment(s)
hehe i thought you might say something about that, but its actually fine, theres just a bit of black scum from the cardas flux in the middle, but now youve said something i wont be able to help it =D. edit: actually I just looked at the real thing and its a convex spot in the shiny mirror like reflection causing a black spot in the photo =D see below for better angle

as for the profile, nothing extends higher than the buffer top or bottom (~10mm thick all up), cant get any smaller than that unless I start lapping away at the epoxy down to the die ;) the screw standoffs are just temporary while i work with it on the bench

the voltage is lower than that, about +/-6.8-7.2vdc but all the current it can eat as i'm feeding this direct from the batteries; which are capable of 70A constant and 120A burst and have an output impedance of about 25mOhms. I'm thinking of trying the front end off the dual mono bipolar LDOs and only feeding the buffers direct from 600uf per rail of SP caps about 40mm away in the case, but whether this will be an improvement is dubious, it would just mean that it would be shutdown automatically with low battery like the rest of the unit.

voltage is a bit low for the buffers, but to get decent runtime of about 7hrs with the rest of the dac and PSU eating about 325ma, i couldnt fit more M1A cells into a usable chassis. going from previous impressions if this is better than it was already, its like nothing available commercially portable thats for sure (even the ibasso DX100 does not perform at this level, theyve the analogue stage must be limiting performance to get the performance they are getting with 9018 IMO. I expect the runtime to reduce down to about 5hrs with the added buffers, i'm pretty excited myself!!

TiEx 16th February 2012 07:57 PM


Originally Posted by qusp (
as this is also the IV stage for my portable sabre

Do you have some info about this portable sabre project? I'm interested

neb001 16th February 2012 09:01 PM

I haven't finished anything because I'm trying to sort/plan out everything and I'm also trying to pick up arduino so I can configure a 7-segment lcd display for the relay attenuator that I'm planning to use. What's everyone using for a case?

qusp 17th February 2012 01:02 AM


Originally Posted by TiEx (
Do you have some info about this portable sabre project? I'm interested

nah its 100% DIY and i never planned for it to go on sale so its not documented and i dont plan to, also perhaps you would do a double take if you saw the cost to complete a unit. i'll have more pics of it in the next couple of days, just uses a modified buffalo II, a PSU/MCU of my design, but laid out by Nattonrice, transformer coupled spdif and the bal-bal wire. all parts are OTT and once the chassis is finished it will have cost around 1500-1750 minimum. its more transportable than portable, but comfortably fits in my manbag or coat

nattonrice 17th February 2012 01:09 AM


Originally Posted by qusp (
laid out by nattonrice

Yay go me :p

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