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Old 3rd June 2002, 01:45 AM   #1
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Default power amp comparison

Hey all, I'm new to DIY audio, and I've been looking for a good comparison of popular DIY power amp designs, for instance the Zen, Leach, and Aleph amps and variations. Also, I've seen some stuff on 8ohm 400W and 550W MOSFET amps, but no info on what class they are. I'm interested in distortion, efficiency, max power, and cost figures, too.

Can anyone help me out?

Will
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Old 3rd June 2002, 03:29 AM   #2
paulb is offline paulb  Canada
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You can see info on Zen and Aleph amps at www.passdiy.com.
400W and 550 W amps are class AB or B; a class A of this size would probably need liquid nitrogen or something for cooling.
You'll find that most of the members here feel that distortion is not the primary means of determining amplifier performance, and that efficiency is near the bottom of the list. You have to listen, which of course is difficult because you have to build the darn thing first.
So what you do is build two each of all the different topologies and listen. The first one is just a practice prototype for the real one.
Cost? Bwahahahaha!
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Old 3rd June 2002, 05:28 AM   #3
JoeBob is offline JoeBob  Canada
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Well, there are some that care about efficiency...

400W into 8ohm is either Class-AB or some fancy new Class-D or Class-T or what not.

Common paulb, cost matters to some people (me )... But if you want to know the cost of the project, good luck. We don't know at what prices you can get a casing or the metal to build one, or heatsinks for that matter. As for the electronic parts, you can use expensive parts, cheap parts, or really expensive parts, it's up to you.
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Old 3rd June 2002, 06:02 AM   #4
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Paul:
Actually, cost and efficiency are important. For instance, as you said, class A is so bad in that area, I'd need insane cooling. This is a bad idea. Since I'm new to this, I don't know what is a good idea and what is a bad idea. Cost means a lot too-- with no cost limit, nothing matters. I could make a 10kW class A and spend ten million dollars making it not fry. But that's ridiculous and hardly worth while... And I don't have tons of resources.

JoeBob:
Some designs require more costly components, no?

I checked out the Nelson Pass's amps, but I'd like to get info about other types... I'm really looking for a quick comparison so I can figure out what sort of amps I'd like to screw around with. Too bad there isn't a nice article around.

Will
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Old 3rd June 2002, 06:08 AM   #5
JohnR is offline JohnR  Australia
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Perhaps if you said how much you wanted to spend, folks would be able to suggest some designs that could be done around your budget - ?
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Old 3rd June 2002, 06:26 AM   #6
JoeBob is offline JoeBob  Canada
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Altaic: what I meant about cost was that you could use teflon caps, tantalum resistors, silver wire, custom built shielded torroidal transformers and a whole load of fancy expensive parts, or you could use bargain bin eletrolytic caps, with run of the mill carbon film resistors and an EI core transformer you ripped out of a piece of scrap, (or maybe something in between). But any design can be made expensive...
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Old 3rd June 2002, 06:42 AM   #7
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JoeBob:
Sorry, I didn't mean to sound like I didn't agree. I'd like to spend a few hundred dollars max. I'm not concerned about pushing a design to it's max by using expensive components. For instance, one of my friends told me it's better to design an amp to be switching if it's to be scaleable to high powers.
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Old 3rd June 2002, 06:54 AM   #8
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John:
Sorry for not stating my budget before. I'd like to spend a few hundred dollars max. Hopefully that'll give me a little flexibility, and some headroom to screw around.

Will
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Old 3rd June 2002, 10:42 AM   #9
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Altaic, the cost is containing of three main things:

Power supply: Transformer, smoothing caps and rectifier

Case, can be expensive or virtually for free (if you make if of junk metal)

Power semiconductors: Can be expensive

The rest: PCB, res, caps, etc are usually cheap.

The three top items stands for 90% of the cost.

It's often a breakpoint if the amp shall work with voltages above +- 63V. Everything gets harder to get.
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Old 3rd June 2002, 02:09 PM   #10
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Altaic,

You refer to 400watt and 550watt (into 8 ohm) designs. Would you please make mention of which designs these are and if possible post the schematic for everyone's benefit.

Thanks,
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