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Old 21st November 2014, 10:54 PM   #1
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Default What should I build?

This forum is so good in so many ways.... but it does leave you a bit perplexed and spoilt for choice! I want to build some power amps. I'll be bi-amping and am looking for around 150-250 watts per amp, I'd guess.
I have a very decent selection of sources - oracle turntable, DPA cd player, etc. I have great speakers - Tannoy D700's - easy to drive, very revealing and a great frequency response. I listen to every type of music imaginable at all sorts of levels and love smooth, clear mids, a sweet top end and open, airy, powerful, extended bass. I have amassed a good selection of transformers so most normal voltages are available. I have a decent selection of heat sinks too. My build knowledge will allow me to tackle most things and I have built many amps etc in the past.
So, should it be something from the ESP stable, one of Apex's creations, a honey badger, an 'ultimate power amp', another featured design on here or should I opt for less power and go Class A?
I'd prefer something where the PCB's are available to buy. Sound quality is more important than cost.
All suggestions are greatly appreciated! Thanks in advance.
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Old 22nd November 2014, 10:40 PM   #2
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What a modest crowd! I guess a forum populated by the designers isn't the place to ask which sounds the best
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Old 22nd November 2014, 11:36 PM   #3
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Buy the amps off the shelf and put your effort into the active crossovers. Where do the Tannoys fit into your biamping scheme?
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Old 23rd November 2014, 11:33 AM   #4
AndrewT is offline AndrewT  Scotland
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esp sells PCBs for many of his projects.
Buying his PCB also buys you designer support and more details of the correct schematic.

The P3a seems to be well liked.
There are many clones and similar topology to the P3a on this Forum, but not many sell PCBs.

There are lots of complex topologies, some of which have PCBs available.

Built properly to a design that works, all amplifiers perform quite well.
Build a simple mono amplifier and listen to it. Hear if it meets your performance targets.

According to R.Cordell, It's when you overload them that you hear differences.
It's the way they misbehave that we hear.
Avoid misbehaviour by never overloading and never asking the amplifier to pass a signal that it is not capable of passing. i.e. ALWAYS use low pass and high pass filters at the input of your amplifier and select these such that the passband is defined by these passive filters.

I suggest you look at amplifier power that is around one hundred times the average level you listen at.

If your Tannoys work with 100mVac for your loudest music/audio then you NEED at least a voltage output capability of 1Vac (10times voltage equals 100times power).
If you work with 500mVac then you NEED at least 5Vac, similarly 1Vac for average and you are up to 10Vac max, 5Vac average and you are now up to 50Vac max.
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Last edited by AndrewT; 23rd November 2014 at 11:37 AM.
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Old 23rd November 2014, 05:30 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AndrewT View Post
According to R.Cordell, It's when you overload them that you hear differences.
It's the way they misbehave that we hear.
Avoid misbehaviour by never overloading and never asking the amplifier to pass a signal that it is not capable of passing.
I,ll sign this statement without any hesitation! Finally someone with common sense approach.
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Old 23rd November 2014, 11:52 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by AndrewT View Post
Avoid misbehaviour by never overloading and never asking the amplifier to pass a signal that it is not capable of passing. i.e. ALWAYS use low pass and high pass filters at the input of your amplifier and select these such that the passband is defined by these passive filters.
Interesting. So, Andrew, are you suggesting that I should Bi-amp and leave the passive crossovers to do their carefully designed job in the Tannoys, but use a low pass and high pass filter at the input of the power amps to remove any unnecessary frequencies? Presumably, these just need to filter everything that is well away from the frequency range of the relevant speaker drive unit.
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Old 24th November 2014, 01:00 AM   #7
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Originally Posted by mjmillar View Post
Interesting. So, Andrew, are you suggesting that I should Bi-amp and leave the passive crossovers to do their carefully designed job in the Tannoys, but use a low pass and high pass filter at the input of the power amps to remove any unnecessary frequencies? Presumably, these just need to filter everything that is well away from the frequency range of the relevant speaker drive unit.
How do you intend to combine the outputs?
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Old 24th November 2014, 03:55 AM   #8
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AndrewT has not made any reference to active or passive crossovers. He was referring to general power amplifier design and application recommendations, the various popular types discussed here and PCB sources. Crossovers are separate matters regardless of the amplifiers you want to use and how. In any case, they're a multi-way speaker forum topic, in case that isn't obvious. However, any design or construction factors bearing on the basic power amplifier choice, power etc. do have to be addressed somewhere early in the planning.
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Old 24th November 2014, 10:07 AM   #9
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Originally Posted by counter culture View Post
How do you intend to combine the outputs?
Power amp outputs? They wouldn't be combined. Each output would go to the relevant input to the speakers. The crossover in the speaker then does its job with regards to tailoring the input to the drive unit. There is no connection between the inputs in the actual speaker crossover.
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Old 24th November 2014, 10:34 AM   #10
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Originally Posted by Ian Finch View Post
AndrewT has not made any reference to active or passive crossovers. He was referring to general power amplifier design and application recommendations, the various popular types discussed here and PCB sources. Crossovers are separate matters regardless of the amplifiers you want to use and how. In any case, they're a multi-way speaker forum topic, in case that isn't obvious. However, any design or construction factors bearing on the basic power amplifier choice, power etc. do have to be addressed somewhere early in the planning.
My mistake. Looking back, I can see that the reference is with regards to extraneous signals that have nothing to do with the music. Presumably that's down in the 2-3hz area and above the, debatably, 100khz area. I know we don't theoretically hear much above 20-25khz but I know lots of people argue that its presence makes a difference.

I might experiment with high pass and low pass filters on the amps though, relating to audible frequencies - more pointedly high pass for the tweeters. It makes sense to filter out all the energy absorbing low frequencies and if the filter is set a safe distance away from operation range designed into the crossover, theoretically, it can only be advantageous to give the amp and crossover an easier life.
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