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Old 12th November 2012, 09:31 PM   #1
Haze13 is offline Haze13  Israel
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Default The questions about Hi-fi audio for home use.

Hi every one. It's been a long time since I started to read this forum, but it's my first time that I am posting some thing. May be it's that I don't want to ask stupid questions or may be it's some thing else.
I play guitar and modifying guitar effects. I can read schematics, some things I understand and some I don't. Just started to learn electronic engineering in Institute, but It's more than two years now that I'm trying to learn audio stuff trough internet.
Last month I finished my first big project wich is a Guitar tube amp. Marshall JCM 800 50 watt. 2x12ax7 for gain stages, 1x12ax7 for PI, and class AB power section with 2xEL34. Turret Board, USA made transformers, SOZO Polyester Film and Foil caps (Polypropelyne Film and Foil are not good for this kind of an amp).
I have been working on some modulation effect, and during my work I understood how can simple passive or active devises effect the tone. Rules for Hi-fi audio works the same in Guitar world, but big companies do not care about that.

Now I want to build an audio amp for a home use, but I don't know what kind of scheme to use. I have experience with tubes and I know that they cost mutch less then output transformers. I know that jfet 2sk170 sounds better for me than 2sc2240, bc549 and mutch better than 2n3904 in SE mode like Jfet BOZ schematic. I made a version of this circuit because of different Idss of my jfets. Actualy with this circuit I also was comparing different types of caps and FKP type I liked the most. (there were wima MKP, FKP2, Panasonics, Phillips, Orange drops 716)

Can some one say where is the line between Valve and Solid State disigns? I know that poorly made tube amp with cheap trannies and cheap caps can and will sound bad. But how bad?
Lets say it's a low wattage amp like Le mosntre by Jean Hiraga or some low wattage amp from Nelson Pass and some tube kits like OddWatt, Elekit, or other types of tube amps with decent trannies (edcor, hammond). All Class A of course.
Or some thing more powerfull like Aleph 3 and Dynaco ST70.
In order to sound the best, tubes must be pushed hard and that is very loud, but not the Solid State amps. Well not like tubes I mean.
If I want to spend like 300$-500$ on audio amp, what kind is better for a home use?
If there is no such a big differnce will it be wise just to use a Le Monstre scheme and may be some better sounding transistors?
Thanks in advance for your help.
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Old 12th November 2012, 10:00 PM   #2
sreten is offline sreten  United Kingdom
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Hi,

HiFi amplifiers and guitar amplifiers are not the same thing, what works great
in a guitar amplifier will generally sound dismal used for overall reproduction.

However given your propensities I'd suggest building the DoZ :
Death of Zen - A new Class-A power amp
with Capacitance Multiplier Power Supply Filter
and Minimalist Discrete Hi-Fi Preamp
Though for CD the preamp can be fully passive.

rgds, sreten.
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Last edited by sreten; 12th November 2012 at 10:30 PM.
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Old 12th November 2012, 11:31 PM   #3
lineup is offline lineup  Sweden
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You get more for your money, if you buy transistor amplifiers. More than tubes can give you.
Now you have already gotten some links to some projects that will give you even more than if you buy.
But you have to do the work.
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Old 13th November 2012, 12:01 AM   #4
AC439 is offline AC439  United States
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I play guitar as well but mostly acoustic. I'm not too much into electric guitar. I have also built home HiFi stereo and have separate acoustic guitar amp (that I mod for more HiFi sound). I have also blended my acoustic guitar / condersor mic setup with home stereo. It can be done. The thing with home HiFi for live sound use is the dynamic range IMHO. The speakers for live sound use can handle more power and sudden surge in power. I believe they have larger XMAX. If I'm in a low/med volume, the home HiFi is perfectly fine with live sound use.

But in general, I separate my home stereo use from live sound use.

If you are into class A, I recommend JLH dual rails design. I built it, I like it and I'm using it now. It is not a tube amp, but the sound is warm, especially female vocals show the tube like warm sound. There is a thread here of couple of hundred pages of discussion on this design.

Hope this helps.
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Old 13th November 2012, 01:21 AM   #5
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Whatever you do, I would recommend purchasing a premade pcb with a corresponding BoM and schematic (and hopefully support from the designer lol). I went this route when I built my brother Ian Thompson-Bell's improved headphone amplifier. Once you get the BoM, schematic, and pcb, and the design is good, you will be well on your way towards constructing a nice, reliable amp.

If just purchasing an amplifier, I would always go with a "professional" model. Most include balanced inputs (a life saver) and are generally more reliable than HiFi stuff. Another plus is that many are far cheaper than their HiFi cousins for the same power output.
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Old 13th November 2012, 05:33 PM   #6
Haze13 is offline Haze13  Israel
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Thanks for the replies guys.

Abut Hi-fi audio and Guitar audio:
I know that "THD" it's not what people are talking about in guitar amps forums, but those two worlds not so different. Designs of the amps are not the same, but the aproach is. Same endless topics about sound of caps and resistors in different places, must be output transformer made with paper between the layers of copper coils ore not. I've seen people using Hovland caps in their builds, there are even Class A amps that people love, SE amps... Just because some amps made for distortion it does not mean that rules are completely different. Good sound is always expencive.

Death of Zen:
I know that site and I saw that schematic too, but I have matched 2sk170/sk74 gr 8 pairs, and 2sk170/sk74 BL 2 pairs and I wanted to use those too. That's the reason why I was looking to Le Monstre by Hiraga schematic and not the JLH (I was thinking about this one too but...). If there is a good pre with those transistors, it will be even better... I hear that Mosfets in power section sound better then BJT. Some say that Fets good for a subwoofer and BJT better for the Amp.

I have 3 way 8 ohm speakers with passive crossover, that I want to revive, so that what I will use.

I have planty of copper clad boards from kinsten and enough of ferric chloride, so I think that a can etch the PCB.

Now I am reading a Le Mosntre topic... He is a long one...
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Old 13th November 2012, 06:26 PM   #7
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For a stereo power amp you could consider a design by John Linsley Hood who designed many audio amps etc. The one I liked was his Mosfet design from many years ago. Other people on here may have more information and there may well be some discussions in this forum too.

I built his Hart 1400 preamp many years ago to replace a Quad 33 and this is still working fine.


You could buy an old Quad 405/606 power amp and refurb it as an option to complete new build.

Happy soldering.
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Old 13th November 2012, 06:38 PM   #8
Haze13 is offline Haze13  Israel
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B1 Buffer Preamp... Looks good, and good comments about this one...
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Old 13th November 2012, 06:53 PM   #9
Haze13 is offline Haze13  Israel
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I mean 2sk170 and 2sj74...
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Old 13th November 2012, 08:20 PM   #10
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I do not know which speakers will be used, though, if those are easy to drive, a chip amp could be a good start. They are cheap, fast to build, sound really good and you'll be surprised how hard to beat they are, later when building discrete to compare to them.
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