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Old 7th February 2002, 01:44 PM   #1
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Default simple guitar amp ?

Hi !
I want to build a class A, 10w ss guitar amp, is a Zen type ok for this or is there anything more suitable ? I want to keep it really simple....
Thanks, Philippe.
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Old 7th February 2002, 08:10 PM   #2
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Location: Silicon Valley, CA, USA
Ahh, at last a topic I can contribute to!

A Zen amp should do fine - for the power amp stage. You will want to provide additional amplification for the guitar signal to bring it up to a level that can drive a Zen.

Typical guitar amps have a sensitivity on the order of 50 mV for full output. Line level is around 1 V, so you need to provide a voltage gain of roughly 20. For a simple design, try a JFET common-source stage followed by a JFET or MOSFET source-follower as a buffer. You can't get much simpler!
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Old 8th February 2002, 06:26 PM   #3
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Chucko,
can i power the preamp with the Zen's power-supply (maybe through a voltage regulator ) ?
Will the Zen distort nicely when overdriven ?
Can i use a cpu heatsink with cooling fan to cool down the transistors ?

Quote:
Originally posted by Chucko
Ahh, at last a topic I can contribute to!
Typical guitar amps have a sensitivity on the order of 50 mV for full output. Line level is around 1 V, so you need to provide a voltage gain of roughly 20. For a simple design, try a JFET common-source stage followed by a JFET or MOSFET source-follower as a buffer. You can't get much simpler!
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Old 8th February 2002, 07:01 PM   #4
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I haven't built the Zen, so I can't comment on how it sounds. My best guess is that it would sound a bit like a tube Class A amp, e.g. a Fender Princeton or comparable.

You could certainly power the preamp stage from the Zen's power supply. Most commonly available JFETs will only handle about 30 volts. A simple 3-terminal regulator or even a Zener diode can do the job, the current involved is not very large, maybe a few mA.

I personally would not want a fan anywhere near my guitar amp, especially if I wanted to record the output! Use a big honkin' heat sink from your local electronics surplus store.

If you intend this amp to work at "bedroom" volumes, you really only need a watt or two. Driven into power amp distortion, 10 watts with most guitar speakers can get very loud! Start small and scale up if you need more volume.
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