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bluegrass 29th March 2011 04:26 PM

Which amp design sounds the best
I'm new to the forum and am inexperienced in terms of building amps, though I have revised my Quad 303 and 405-2 using upgrade kits.
I am a musician (violinist) with a small recording studio and have an idea of building my own amp but feel rather confused by the different types mentioned here such as the Gainclones some of which i have seen on Per-Anders Sjöström site, and the DXblameST-TMC to name a couple.
In terms of sound i would rather have a warm sound than a sterile over analytical one, but obviously a warm detailed one would be great. I know in a studio that the tone of an album can be determined by the turn of a nob. In other words the ones mixing the record don't always know what they are doing, so i need a very musical amp to be able to listen to even bad recordings, a really top all rounder!
I like my quad amps very much, but am intrigued to see if i can build a very high quality amp that is just as musical and non fatiguing to listen to, or hopefully much more so. I use Harbeth speakers. Thanks for any help.

artu 29th March 2011 06:21 PM

If you want a colourful warm sound the choice is a 'rather' distortive amp over a very linear low THD because these amps reproduces the recording as it is, which is commonly regarded as a 'dry sound'. I believe that a tube amp or 'tube sound' (even harmonic raised, brain loves this kind of distortion) is what you need.


weskoki 29th March 2011 06:39 PM

Well Gainclone would cost much less than say Pass and save you some electricity bill.They do need quality parts if you really want refined sound.Check this comparative review
6moons audio reviews: Audiosector Patek SE

bluegrass 29th March 2011 06:41 PM

Thanks, ok i understand what your saying, thats probably why i like the quads. In terms of a flat or 'dry sound' as you put it, whats the best way to achieve absolute quality? I'm intrigued after your post to try one. I don't think i ever heard one. I do like valves, but i leave them on too often, and, they are too hot for my studio.

GoranB 29th March 2011 06:42 PM

2 Attachment(s)
If You want warm and detailed sound build this preamp and amp

bluegrass 29th March 2011 06:44 PM

Hi Weskoki,
Im not so worried about the cost (within reason), its more which design gives the very high quality. Can i get that from Gainclone? Thanks

lineup 29th March 2011 07:12 PM

If you ask, they may say Nelson Pass amplifiers sound best.
HEXFET MOSFET makes a sweeter distortion sound

qusp 29th March 2011 07:19 PM

hmmm, well i really think you need to just keep reading to narrow this down a bit more, giving answers to such a subjective question is really not possible. I understand your purpose there and the want to make crap more listenable for long periods, but does this not show though as an overly dry end product? or do you have a reference (truthful) set of headphones or some monitor ones etc to get the final mix right?

i'm not sure you are in the right area though, perhaps the tube section :D gainclones and the blame dx are not going to play nice with crappy mixes imo. some class D has been described as tube like in sound by some

anyway i think it best you narrow your choices down further than what you have already, well to be honest you havent really narrowed it at all; preferably with some listening as well if you can arrange it, because we really cannot tell you what you will enjoy, especially given the request is for some form of coloration.

haha i wrote this earlier but forgot to hit send, we are hive mind, perhaps you will get something from my post anyway.

if tubes or hybrid are not an option, then discrete solid state is probably what you are after. check pass forums. natural, powerful, yet transparent. push pull discrete solid state, not really a build for the uninitiated though

qusp 29th March 2011 07:31 PM

actually, perhaps check out and look at the compact series. he sells partial kits and they are hybrid chip input stage, with power fet output stage. so the trickiness of balancing the input stage is not such a problem. they seem to be well documented and put together amps that both measure and sound well. for your sound prefs perhaps the mosfet version with toshiba or fairchild mosfets. can buy the kit and you need only supply transformers, power fets chassis etc.

bluegrass 29th March 2011 07:51 PM

Hi, thanks for the posts. Im feeling at this stage i was rather unclear with my origional post. Or lets say not really that clear in my own head! So i will try to be.
I read about the different types of amp on this forum and wonder how different they sound, and if each type can achieve top quality sound. Gainclone etc. At the same time i want to build something, but something really good!! Im very happy with my quads, so its not because i'm unhappy with the sound i have, its just to see what i can achieve. So maybe i need to build a Gainclone or something else, and some other things to compare. What i don't want to do is build something of fundamentally less than top sound. If i build a gainclone for example, i want it to be a really good example so i know what a gainclone can sound like at its best, because its sound i'm more interested in than electronics though i am interested in that too.( Also at this stage i dont want to go for valves as i tend to leave things on, and use them all day!!) I know sound is a subjective matter, but as an amateur in amplifiers, but i'm very interested in the responses. Any recommendations for top designed Gainclones etc would be great too. I know nothing!!! Many thanks

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