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Please recommend me a low power amp
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Old 24th February 2011, 01:51 AM   #1
serph1nia is offline serph1nia  Netherlands
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Default Please recommend me a low power amp

Hello everyone.

As you can see I'm looking for a recommendation for an amplifier to build.

My system is as follows:

Saba greencones open baffle speakers on my desk. ~95-97 db/w and ~ 4 ohm. Alnico drivers.
Very fast and real but 'light(=not dense)' sounding. Not very extended either way.

T-amp, ta2024. I'm amazed by its price and quality but it's just not 'good enough'. It doesn;t 'grip' my speakers. It throws the music in the air without giving it direction.
Therefore it sounds spacious but not realy accurate. It sounds lush but not 'forgiving'.

Usb-i2s-wm8740 dac. No output stage added.

This is my dormroom set-up. All is connected to my pc and will be 'turned on' almost 24/7. Therefore a tube poweramp is not an option.
Class A and its power consumption is not an issue however.

I will play all sorts of music on my system. Classical, small and big. Jazz, light and powerful. Heavy electronic music. Bad quality youtube movies. Movies. Games.

So what I think I'm looking for is this:

-Low power solid state amp
-To drive 96 db/w (4-ohm) speakers in a small room
-Clear involving sound at low levels
-Not to harsh to the bad quality youtube music
-500 euro's or less
-can buy pcb for amp or VERY simple desgin
-More of a Firstwatt F3 sound then a F5
-I'm willing to make a preamp if nessecary, even tubed (cheap 6n6p tubes are cheap enough)

JLH and firstwatt (F3, J2, maybe F5) amps have my attraction. They seem like they fit my goals.

What do you guys think?
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Old 24th February 2011, 02:09 AM   #2
Praudio is offline Praudio
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Hiraga 20w,but not sure if fit the bill . Built 2; long time ago and still remember sound !(was with 97db speaker.

Last edited by Praudio; 24th February 2011 at 02:12 AM.
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Old 24th February 2011, 05:54 PM   #3
serph1nia is offline serph1nia  Netherlands
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Originally Posted by Praudio View Post
Hiraga 20w,but not sure if fit the bill . Built 2; long time ago and still remember sound !(was with 97db speaker.
Thank you for your reaction but i don;t realy understand what you are saying.

Did you like your Hiraga? Why wouldn;t it fit the bill?

I think a lot of people are running the JLH amp with too low sensetivity speakers. Resulting in a 'uncontrolled and lush' sound. I think it would be a good match with my speakers sensetivity wise.

Does anyone know the output resistance of the JLH 1969 amp?
I'll do some searching of my own in the meantime.
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Old 24th February 2011, 06:10 PM   #4
EUVL is offline EUVL  Europe
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You should search the Solid State forum for threads on JLH Class A.
There are a lot of info there.

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Old 24th February 2011, 06:16 PM   #5
Zen Mod is offline Zen Mod  Serbia
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Please recommend me a low power amp
if you're searching for little tube flavor , you can also consider this one :

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Old 24th February 2011, 06:29 PM   #6
BobEllis is offline BobEllis  United States
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It sounds like you prefer the sound of single ended amps. Have you considered an Aleph-J or a mini version of it? Peter Daniel probably has boards available. I haven't heard mine yet, but there are lots of folks who love the AJ and AJ-X. In your application you probably want an AJ clone, to give you the current capability your 4 ohm speakers require.

Given your speakers, you might take a look at something like a First Watt F2 clone.
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Old 24th February 2011, 07:08 PM   #7
vdi_nenna is offline vdi_nenna  United States
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You should try the F5. Meets most of your requirements. Depending on the mosfets used, it can sound bright or more mellow without loosing the highs.

Hard to find something more simple and has short-circuit protection.
You can get boards in the USA or EU.

Heat sinks are fairly large. Mine are 2"x12"x18" (inches). See photos.
I wouldn't go smaller than that size.

I also think the Mini-A is a nice amp, but not as good as the F5.
I believe because of the speed and clarity of the F5, the stereo image is more etched in space. And if you do it right, it is so quite and with a very black background.

Having built two F5s with different parts and they both sound slightly different, but the clarity is always there.

Good luck and have fun!!

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Old 24th February 2011, 07:52 PM   #8
bobodioulasso is offline bobodioulasso  Europe
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The firstwatt amps use a common chassis / power supply.

With one chassis, you can try several flavours.
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Old 25th February 2011, 06:31 AM   #9
masag1 is offline masag1  Germany
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Hiraga 8Watt

This is the best low power amp, for little money, and can easily drive your speakers.

And it is very stable and reliable, easy to build. parts substitution no problem.

We have made a better improved layout . And you can trim the sound a little to your taste, by trying different manufacturers of the feedback resistors.


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Old 25th February 2011, 08:50 AM   #10
osscar is offline osscar  Latvia
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Here are some of my observations:

I also recommend Le monstre 8w - its power will be adequate for the given situation.I am just worried about 4 ohms impedance of your speakers.
It sounds a bit like tube amp on my 3 way speakers- because it has a low DF and the gain change at different F - it boosts the low end and fall around 2K.
I tried monster with FR VISATON B200 - there was only a slight increase in the low end - other F range was flat.

F5 sounds a bit sharper and it remains much hotter and its power is much higher and costs were also higher.
but both of these amplifiers are detailed and clear - both are very good and simple.
It should be noted that, so I can not get rid of the very very ittle hum when connect CD player to Monster and F5. without CD player - there is no hum. I think - there is some ground loops on my equipment.
Leach and Gainlone is completely quiet, with or without the CD attached.
So, the layout of PCB and grounding important for tehese amps.
I was able to listen to DIY F4 - it's sound seemed more like a monster than the F5 for my ears.

I prefer the monster for my setup. - because sounds so relaxing and not so hot like F5.But F5 will be better for 4ohm load in class A and of course unified PSU for firstwatt.
My DIY : http://www.tutribi.net
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