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Old 14th October 2010, 11:49 AM   #1
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Default Newbie's first amp - Where to start?

So I discovered the diyaudio forum a few days ago, and all I can say is - OVERWHELMED.

I've been an enthusiast of electronics, gadgets, and DIY in general, and have a few years experience installing audio professionally. My electronics background, however, is limited to playing around with a couple of radio shack electronics kits when I was a kid.

One thing I've discovered is that the learning curve for anything complex gets a lot easier the more interested you are in the subject. I have been self-taught in creating things from computer programs, to telescopes, to loudspeaker designs. Now, I've been bitten by the amplifier bug and I want to get one under my belt. I believe I can tackle this and come away happy.

So I'm looking for someone to point me in the right direction. Here are some things I'm looking for in my first project:

* Quality - I want the amplifier to "get out of the way" of the sound so that the liveliness of the music can shine through. I don't believe this requires large amounts of power, or necessarily really expensive components. I won't be needing loud volume levels or to create a lot of bass. For me, it's balance, neutrality, openness, airyness, and lack of fatigue during long listening. I want the sound to be a clear cut above the standard stuff you find in a major electronics store, and for it to be apparent that no important corners were cut in the design.

* Simplicity - I'm looking for a tried-and-true, simple, proven, and basic amplifier design without a lot of gotchas, tweaks, frills, unnecessary gadgets and doodads. Large fancy regulated power supplies, elaborate feedback schemes, debatable features, and silly hard-to-prove improvements are things I want to leave out. This will be my first build, so I want to start with the basics but I also want to get the basics right and not leave a lot of room for improvement for what it is, being simple.

* Price - I'm looking for the "sweet spot." I'm willing to lay down a few hundred bucks to do this right, even better if it's less, but do not find it worthwhile to spend a lot of time or cash pursuing hard to find or expensive parts. My guess is that for somewhere between 150 and 500 bucks I can end up with an amp that will really sing and make something of comparable price from an electronics store seem like junk.


So, there it is. If there's a kit out there that fits the bill, great. If all I can hope for is a schematic, and I have to hunt down all the parts, that's okay too. But I guess my biggest fear is not finding a project that fits my above three criteria. So, for you experienced ones out there, has the above description brought anything to mind?

I'd love to hear it.
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Old 14th October 2010, 12:19 PM   #2
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Pretty simple design LT1356 + OPA549 you can download schematics here on the right side across Tale 3U

3
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Old 14th October 2010, 12:21 PM   #3
imagios is offline imagios  Czech Republic
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Well it depens on what do you expect...
I can suggest the D class amps of 41Hz Audio - News I have build two of the AMP 6 by my self. Sounds nice but I dont know if 20W are suficient for you. You find some nice amps there with decent price and good quality and a lot of reference on the web.

For solid state there are a lot of AB class amps with 100W power out.
For exmaple Module Amplificateur - Module amplificateur stro SAP15 2x100W ClassAB
its a french site but I buy there and trust theyr product will be decent.
cheers
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Old 14th October 2010, 01:01 PM   #4
alexcp is offline alexcp  United States
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Another fine example is Power Amp Kits by AmpsLab - I had very good experience with their Lm60 kit.
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Old 14th October 2010, 01:14 PM   #5
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3886 gainclone seems to fit your project.
Many threads here about it.
Several kits available.
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Old 14th October 2010, 02:12 PM   #6
mikje is online now mikje  United States
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This site has awesome amps and a lot of support. Peter Daniel, the gentleman behind this equipment, is a big help on these, as well. I built the LM3875 and am really impressed. DIY Chip Amplifier Kits, PCB's, Components and Information.

Mike
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Old 14th October 2010, 02:34 PM   #7
AndrewT is offline AndrewT  Scotland
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Peter Daniel's implementation of the Power Amplifier is DC coupled and is designed to particularly to suit a high efficiency speaker.
These are not intended for Beginners or Newbies.
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Old 14th October 2010, 02:51 PM   #8
mikje is online now mikje  United States
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AndrewT View Post
Peter Daniel's implementation of the Power Amplifier is DC coupled and is designed to particularly to suit a high efficiency speaker.
These are not intended for Beginners or Newbies.
I highly respect your opinion/info Andrew but I'm not sure I'm following. As a newbie, I built the LM3875 with no problems. It only took a few hours and works well. I run a pair of Fostex FE127s and they sound great.
Mike
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Old 14th October 2010, 06:29 PM   #9
AndrewT is offline AndrewT  Scotland
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Hi Mikje,
are you blissfully unaware of the risks you are taking using a DC coupled amplifier?

If you are aware and have decided to accept those risks, or have taken steps to ameliorate those risks, then you are not a beginner.
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Old 14th October 2010, 06:38 PM   #10
mikje is online now mikje  United States
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AndrewT View Post
Hi Mikje,
are you blissfully unaware of the risks you are taking using a DC coupled amplifier?

If you are aware and have decided to accept those risks, or have taken steps to ameliorate those risks, then you are not a beginner.
Hi AndrewT,
Uh oh ... not aware of what is meant by DC coupled, nor do I know the dangers. Care to enlighten me? It would be much appreciated.
Thanks,
Mike
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