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View Poll Results: Which amp to build ?
Don't bother as it'll never look as good 2 3.85%
Nelson Pass F3 8 15.38%
SKA amp 3 5.77%
JLH 96 Class A 25W 6 11.54%
Moskido (Aikido frontend, MOSFET hybrid) 5 9.62%
DX AMP 6 11.54%
PLH (NP's JLH) 2 3.85%
Nelson Pass F5 17 32.69%
Graham Maynard's GEM 1 1.92%
Other 16 30.77%
Multiple Choice Poll. Voters: 52. You may not vote on this poll

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Old 13th August 2010, 03:23 PM   #1
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Default Got huge heatsinks - which amp to build ?

I'm looking for a decent amp to build. I use a Marantz PM17, source is a Squeezebox 3, speakers Tannoy 611. Room is 3.5 x 5m (10 x 15 feet app). My metalwork skills are basic. My electronic skills are moderate. Little HV experience. But my expectations are high ;-)

The amplifier that has impressed me most in the last few years are a WAD KT88 pp, 300B pp, Mr Liang 845 SE, EL84 pp, Simaudio Moon i5. They all had something to offer, over and above my previous amps. Nad 3030, Mission Cyrus 2, Naim NAP110, Avondale 260z, Marantz PM68 and currently a PM17. I bought and sold amps for because of my budgetary status and because, well because I could. The 260z was built as a partial kit, most of the hard work was done, like the holes in the chasis and heatsinks.

What don't I like about the PM17 ?
Sounds poor at low volume. Piano doesn't sound enough like a piano, I can't hear the notes decay, there no enough air or ambience. The soundstage is not well defined,seems to move. Not as good as the I5 or any of the valve amps I've listed above.

What do I like about the PM17 ?
Its well built. No hum. Looks good. Has a remote. Sounds better than the Naim kit I had. Sounds better than all the midfi stuff I've listened to before. Wife likes it.

So what do you think ? Nelson Pass F3, F5 ? JLH 1996 edition ? NP version of the JLH, the PLH ? The DX amp ? Graham Maynard's GEM ? Moskido ? SKA amp?

Want soul, body, want something that'll impart the music, not just the soundstage, not just the bass slam or the spittle flying past the microphone.

I'd like to try my hand at something that is relatively simple to build, that can stay in the living room and sounds at least as good as the I5. If I had the money and time, I wouldn't mind trying all of them, at the same time. I know each persons opinions are different, but I'd like to draw from the collective experience - the hive mind if you will.

Sorry for the title, I needed something that'll standout, my previous post was hindered by a dry title ... So I thought I try something more dynamic.

Estimating heatsink thermal resistance
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Old 13th August 2010, 06:34 PM   #2
sekhar is offline sekhar  India
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u can try dr boras amp they r real good easy 2 build and they sound just lovely . Check out the thread on dr bora by me u can find a lot of information
regards
sekhar
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Old 14th August 2010, 02:09 AM   #3
Jay is offline Jay  Indonesia
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With your "high" expectation I only can suggest the Moskido. But it has to be built carefully. No feedback there. But as far as I know, almost all experienced builders gave up HOT amplifiers sooner or later. The Moskido 60W was my last hot amplifier. I grouped suggested amps based on wattage. For 10W there are too many class-A options, tube and SS, I don't keep any. For 30W, Aleph efficient class-A if speaker is sensitive enough, was my favorite but not keeping one, may be later. For less than 90dB speaker I'll go for minimum of 60W class-AB. For 60W I keep the Mooly amplifier (and will build many variants I guess). For 120W I keep the Stochino (for possible modification if any). Just for fun I'm sorting the best AB amp with opamp input (Quad 405 variants, LYNX 3.0, etc). If can live with high wattage class-A, I'll keep the Krell KSA 50W.

Also for fun, I'm building various amps with 5-Ampere IRL510 (not IRF) output mosfets, class-A (JLH topology) and class-AB quasies.

Before amp building become your hobby, please select a very good one even if it has to be expensive, and stay away from building too many amps. It doesn't worth it (in achieving the best sound system) except for a satisfying hobby.
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Old 14th August 2010, 02:32 AM   #4
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You can build a nice class A hybrid amp.

Here is an example:

Wavebourn Tower-III High-end hybrid amp
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Old 14th August 2010, 03:01 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by firestorm View Post
What don't I like about the PM17 ?
Sounds poor at low volume. Piano doesn't sound enough like a piano, I can't hear the notes decay, there no enough air or ambience. The soundstage is not well defined,seems to move. Not as good as the I5 or any of the valve amps I've listed above.
Funny thing is that the amplifier shouldn't be to blame for poor sound at low volume, it doesn't change. From a theoretical stand point the lower the volume the better it should sound - this of course ignoring your ears and the S/N ratio of your environment.

Sound stage definition is almost always related to the loudspeakers and their design, not the amplifier. It will be possible to finely tailor the sound, especially when considering valve amplifier matching to the loudspeakers. But a loudspeaker that's good at imaging will image well regardless of what it is driven by.

Quote:
Originally Posted by firestorm View Post
What do I like about the PM17 ?
Its well built. No hum. Looks good. Has a remote. Sounds better than the Naim kit I had. Sounds better than all the midfi stuff I've listened to before. Wife likes it.
No hum is a product of good design.

I've built 6 channels of

Slones 11.4 'Blameless'

They are silent in operation, run very cool and sound great. With my loudspeakers they have an absolutely rock solid central image and providing the music contains it, great depth and width. This of course I attest to the design of the loudspeakers and not the amplifier, but that's my personal take on it.

My only concern would be that you appear to have a preference for valves and the ethos the blameless were created under is somewhat opposed to why people like valves - for the way they distort. Stereophile has also reviewed the Sim audio amplifier and it has a somewhat interesting distortion spectrum and I can't help but think that could have been partially responsible for the reason you liked it.

One thing with DIY though is that you often get a lot for your money. In other words, the expensive parts that go into an amplifier are the case, heat-sinks, smoothing caps, transformer and to a lesser degree the output transistors. All of these, provided the secondary voltage on the transformer is chosen with care, can be reused in a good number of different designs. So if you built something and didn't like it, you can always try something else.
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Old 14th August 2010, 03:14 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by firestorm View Post
I'm looking for a decent amp to build. I use a Marantz PM17, source is a Squeezebox 3, speakers Tannoy 611. Room is 3.5 x 5m (10 x 15 feet app). My metalwork skills are basic. My electronic skills are moderate. Little HV experience. But my expectations are high ;-)

The amplifier that has impressed me most in the last few years are a WAD KT88 pp, 300B pp, Mr Liang 845 SE, EL84 pp, Simaudio Moon i5. They all had something to offer, over and above my previous amps. Nad 3030, Mission Cyrus 2, Naim NAP110, Avondale 260z, Marantz PM68 and currently a PM17. I bought and sold amps for because of my budgetary status and because, well because I could. The 260z was built as a partial kit, most of the hard work was done, like the holes in the chasis and heatsinks.

What don't I like about the PM17 ?
Sounds poor at low volume. Piano doesn't sound enough like a piano, I can't hear the notes decay, there no enough air or ambience. The soundstage is not well defined,seems to move. Not as good as the I5 or any of the valve amps I've listed above.


Want soul, body, want something that'll impart the music, not just the soundstage, not just the bass slam or the spittle flying past the microphone.

I'd like to try my hand at something that is relatively simple to build, that can stay in the living room and sounds at least as good as the I5. If I had the money and time, I wouldn't mind trying all of them, at the same time. I know each persons opinions are different, but I'd like to draw from the collective experience - the hive mind if you will.



Estimating heatsink thermal resistance
I see you want to try them all . I have , but after giving away or throwing out the last one. This becomes expensive and tiresome. My NEW idea is to go MODULAR. Separate power board and a whole slew of classic AB voltage stages to mate with. I wish I thought of this before as I would have a lot of un-wasted resources to choose from now.

Completed :
AX1.1VB - Doug self "blameless" - pure , lab like amp .. simple.

BX1.1VB - Classic bootstrapped amp- (I own 2 of these - 18 months) , like DX , aksa55 ..etc.

CX1.1VB - balanced VAS- good bass , crystal clear vocals (I have 2 of these- 13 months old)

GX1.1VB - APT1 clone - built it but gave it away. Sounds like CX , but better bass (cascoded - needs 70V supplies.)

Power boards -
PB60 - 1 pair any modern output device or driver , C-R-C filtering for voltage board , built in Vbe. (35-50V unit)

PB250 - 4 pair OP devices , SUPER fat rail busses ,ESP project 15 Cap multipliers to power voltage boards , Vbe , and 6800uF X 2 onboard filtering.
(55 - 80V supplies)

ALL voltage boards can run either power board, never get bored. Don't like the amp swap out 7$ to 20$ voltage boards.
ALL are available below on my link (mongrel folder).
5th element is right ... the Blameless is the "cats meow"

example below:
OS
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File Type: gif mongrel_overview.gif (138.5 KB, 655 views)
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Old 14th August 2010, 04:04 AM   #7
Bigun is offline Bigun  Canada
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Are you sure there is one amp that will satisfy you ? If you find differences between all these amps you will likely hear them between any other amps you build - each one having it's own personality probably means that you'll not find one design that will satisfy you on all music types for all time.

OS has the idea - make it easy to own more than one amp with something modular. I remember at least one person had built the F5 and F3 into the same chasis with a switch to choose between them depending on the 'mood'
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Old 14th August 2010, 03:48 PM   #8
ervinl is offline ervinl  Indonesia
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bigun View Post
Are you sure there is one amp that will satisfy you ? If you find differences between all these amps you will likely hear them between any other amps you build - each one having it's own personality probably means that you'll not find one design that will satisfy you on all music types for all time.

OS has the idea - make it easy to own more than one amp with something modular. I remember at least one person had built the F5 and F3 into the same chasis with a switch to choose between them depending on the 'mood'
Push pull can also be swicthed to SE, just by changing other MOSFET, other than get input signal from VAS, connect it directly to VR (V+ and V-) to get fixed voltage bias :-)

Ervin L
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Old 14th August 2010, 11:28 PM   #9
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Thanks for the feedback guys, much appreciated. Theres plenty to digest and mull over.

I consider diy audio to be analogous to cooking and eating. I enjoy both very much. The quality of the ingredients, the preparation, presentation and the eating are equally important. Sometimes I want just the fundamental taste to be centre stage, with little embellishment.


If I had the time and money, I'd like to try them all. A class A, a well designed class AB, a hybrid a la Wavebourn or Moskido at the minimum. A Blameless and unashamedly blameful-rose-tinted variety will be on the cards too, I think D.Self published the design of one in E&WW a few years ago. Something similar to that is being sold commercially by Cambridge Audio, the 840A. Mr. Nelson Pass's F3 will be a good candidate for the tinted version according to what I have read.

OS how would you accomodate the diffferent voltage requirements ? Multi tapped transformers ?

5th Element
I have struggled to find the right speakers for a long time, I fell in to the trap of buying kit that sounded great on demos, but rubbish at home. My last pair of speakers were Dynaudio Audience 52, totally unsuited to the room I have now, they just boomed and chuffed. At the moment I have a pair of Tannoy 611, Rogers JR149 and bits for an open baffle speakers that are on hold at the moment.

I do like valve amplifiers, but the running costs and practicalities put me off. I could consider a valve pre and ss power or perhaps a hybrid, valves doing the VA bit and mosfet/bjt/jfet doing the IA bit.

I think you guys are right, there probably isn't the one amplifier (or speaker) that'll fit the bill 100% of the time. The modular or switchable amplifier deserves more consideration. The major costs of an (diy) amplifier seems to be the power supply, the chassis and heatsinking. The driver and output stage's percentage cost doesn't seem too high.

Now, do I start off with toro with a little soy and wasabi, steamed sea bass or a nice piece of haddock in a light batter ?
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Old 14th August 2010, 11:38 PM   #10
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F5. There's a reason the F5 thread has nearly 1.1 million views ...

Edit:

All of the Pass First Watt designs share a common power supply so you can change from one design to another very easily.

Last edited by Brian Kingsbury; 14th August 2010 at 11:41 PM.
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