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Old 12th January 2007, 08:18 PM   #1
kendt is offline kendt  Canada
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Default Help my brain hurts

Ok after many hours of searching through the various designs, the only thing i know for sure is i am more confused

I would like to build one of these amps but there are so many I have no idea which one.
Please help

I listen mostly to classic rock. I like to turn it up but not to ear bleeding volumes

My current speakers are a wip pair of 87db mini floor standers using the css wrs125s drivers(two per side)

And a sub to be added.

Could someone please steer me in the direction of a suitable choice.

I have built tube amps so not a total bafoon but i need a source of full circuit diagrams and hopefully a couple of finished shots of the amp.

Mucho thanks
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Old 12th January 2007, 09:29 PM   #2
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Location: Columbia, SC
And 'one of these amps' refers to which amps?
Given enough time, a thread like this will generate several dozen suggestions, each touted as the best ever. In looking over those circuits, you will see some that you've already looked at and others that you've never heard of. This will not help your confusion.
I suspect that you're asking the wrong questions. Asking the right ones won't make an answer appear out of thin air, but it will help clear some of the fog.
--How much do you want to spend?
--How important is sound quality? Don't bother saying that you want the best. That's a cliche. The question is non-trivial, as it will point the way towards other questions that need answering. Are you willing to live with a class A amp? Hot. Heavy. Expensive. But, the sound quality is better than AB or B. If you want to pull back on money, heat, or weight, then you know to look for AB (warm to hot), or B (cool to warm). The reason money factors in is that the higher the bias, the bigger the power supply and the bigger the heatsinks. Those take bucks.
--The how loud question is important. If you clip an amp hard enough, you'll blow your tweeters. You have two options, either turn it down or build a bigger amp. Back when I was in retail, I would have steered you towards a 100W/ch amp, absolute minimum.
No one can make up your mind for you. You're going to have to formulate specific, concise questions. Then sit down with the answers and make your own decision. "Tell me what to build," no matter how it's phrased, is not likely to work very well.

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Old 12th January 2007, 09:30 PM   #3
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The amplifier you build first is unlikely to be your last, so pick
a simple one, any simple one, and just do it.

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Old 12th January 2007, 09:34 PM   #4
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A gain clone style amp might be a good first project. there are enough kits available and people that have built them to be able to offer some good advice. and they are relitivly inexpensive to build and give decent performance for the buck and not too complicated.

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Old 12th January 2007, 10:02 PM   #5
kendt is offline kendt  Canada
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Well by these amps i meant one of mr pass's designs. I figured that would be obvious on this forum

Sound quality is first and formost. I love single ended triodes but don't want to limit myself to only those as an option.

So yes i am used to class A, hot and heavy.

The cost is not a huge concern since I may well have many of the components and can scrounge others, What i have to buy i will buy. It's not an overnight project so i want to take the time to do it right.

I agree that I should start with a simple one but i would not like it to be so simple that it takes a giant step backward from a sound quality perspective.

As power goes well i would like to at least get comparable volume levels to a 300b se. At the minimum and perhaps a little more just for safety sake.
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Old 12th January 2007, 11:04 PM   #6
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Aleph or Aleph-X

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Old 13th January 2007, 01:44 PM   #7
JCM is offline JCM  United States
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It seems to me there are 4 main choices : The Zen type, the Aleph type, the Son of Zen type, and JFET type.

Then there is the choice of balanced or unbalanced. If you want balanced, I think you ought to exclude the Zen series and JFET series - the others are already set up for balanced operation, but to take an unbalanced amp and make it balanced - seems to me that would be a lot of work - and one could more easily build an Aleph.

I myself have chosen the Zen V4, seeing in it more options than the others, and as the best of the series, owing to the inclusion of the input buffer to swamp out the ill effects of the gigantic gate-source capacitance. It's pretty simple, and you know you ought to feel free to make mods. I am excluding the regulator, and probably going to replace the buffer load resistor with a ccs for better PSRR, lower distortion, and less noise. Note that Nelson said of it, "I would stack it up against an Aleph 3 without hesitation, and its sound is similar." Although ... he also said the JFET amp sounded way better than Zen amps. Perhaps he was nuts when he said it , although I fear he wasn't.

But the Aleph and JFet types seem to be considered the best.

Then there is the Zen V5, and personally I don't see the appeal of that one.

If you had to make a choice of one, and only one amp, I think that limits you to two : an Aleph or JFET. A SoZ amp undoubtedly has a sound closer to the se amps you're used to, and these 2 others wouldn't. If I had to give you the choice, I would say build an Aleph, because of the option of balanced operation, which is said to have an especially fine sound.

If you don't mind building more than one, the most advanced forms of all of those available are obvious choices. I see only two Zens, the first, and the last, V4. And all the Aleph, and Mini Aleph amps : whatever power level you want is the main decision.

If you have the resources, why not build the Zen V4, JFET, and one of the Alephs, not necessarily in that order ?
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Old 13th January 2007, 02:25 PM   #8
Blues is offline Blues  United States
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I built the Zen, Aleph and Jfet all in one design -It is the Zenv4 with a Cascoded Jfet input buffer. The Zv4 is by virtue an Aleph because of its Aleph type CCS, it is Single-ended and is also a 2-stage design. It has all the ingredients...

If I want it Balanced I can always bridge the 2 channels and pound out another set for the other channel.
Life simplified! Leap into the Warpspeed wormhole...
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Old 13th January 2007, 02:25 PM   #9
kendt is offline kendt  Canada
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Thanks for your thoughts.

I am waiting on a reply about the aleph 30 pcb's for starters. I may well build more than one but that will depend on how well the first one goes.

I assumed(and maybe incorrectly so) that the zen amplifiers were older and the more recent models would be better. If the zen's have more of a single ended sound than i would like to hear one.

My main issue is that i am not all that familiar with ss circuitry and don't want to have to really on my own ability to fill in holes. I need something that has been tried and tested and has all the info I need to complete the project. For example I don't want to have to design a power supply or anything of that nature.
Once it's built and I feel brave enough to experiment a bit I will.
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Old 13th January 2007, 05:30 PM   #10
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Originally posted by kendt
Well by these amps i meant one of mr pass's designs. I figured that would be obvious on this forum

Oh yeah...duh Should have checked which forum the thread was posted in. But, to recoup at least a little, Pass did do some Gain Clone work.

GC SuperSymmetry
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