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Old 22nd September 2010, 04:28 PM   #1
Basill is offline Basill  Poland
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Default Problem with 12ax7 phono stage

Hi,
After building a simple ecc88 phono preamp i've decided that i need something with more gain. i've decidet to build pre from this link http://www.drtube.com/schematics/ai/ai500-ph.gif (it's from audio innovations 500 integrated amplifier), the problem is that i have 20mV of 50Hz sine, it wouldn't be nothing strange if the tubes were heated from AC, but i've build nice crc filter 2x4700uf-2ohm-2x4700uf. On the scope i don't get any anode distortions (the voltage is nice DC with only nV of some distortions). So what can it be? Before this i've made a lot of tube amps but i've never used ecc83/12ax7, so i'm not familiar with it . (i've made an otl on 6sn7+5670 for my headphones own design, el84 SE amp, some modifications to chinese amps and lots of pramps , so there is no ground loop or anything like this ). When the ecc83 is plugged as a normal preamp (without the riaa correction) i get about 2mV of distortion (and it's also strage for me ). The input is shortened to the ground for the measurments.
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Old 22nd September 2010, 04:40 PM   #2
kevinkr is offline kevinkr  United States
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Please post some pictures of your build, seems likely that this is a layout issue. Did you use grid-stopper resistors mounted right at the sockets?

I assume the 4700uF - 2 ohm - 4700uF is the filament supply pi filter and not the HV supply.

If it is 50Hz that means it is probably a grounding issue or proximity to the mains wiring that is causing the issue.

Have you shorted the pre-amp inputs and measured the hum at the output?

I wouldn't say either of these designs is stellar, some important finishing touches are missing in both designs, and the later one IMHO has an equalizer stage that presents a relatively difficult load to the preceding stage.
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Last edited by kevinkr; 22nd September 2010 at 04:44 PM.
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Old 22nd September 2010, 05:08 PM   #3
Basill is offline Basill  Poland
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I will add the photos tomorrow (i don't have a camera ), the 4700 2oh 4700 is for filament (in pi shape ), for the anode i have 220uf-33k-220uf-33k-220uf (in pi shape ). No hum from anode DC . I also think that its a layout problem, but 20mV is a bit too much for such an issue, but the pre i've made on ecc88 was identical in layout and there was no hum (very low far below 0,2mV). I've measured everything on shortened input.
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Old 22nd September 2010, 05:27 PM   #4
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You may need to put a grounded tube shield over the tube to reduce the pickup of stray hum.
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Old 23rd September 2010, 01:08 PM   #5
Basill is offline Basill  Poland
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Ok, I've solved the problem , but not by means of shielding the tube or the components, i added +40V DC to rise heater respect to cathode voltage, 50Hz compleatly disapeared . The thread is closed .
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Old 23rd September 2010, 01:47 PM   #6
piano3 is offline piano3  United Kingdom
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Glad you have solved the problem but where do you think the 50Hz hum was coming from and why would elevating the heater supply cure it?
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Old 23rd September 2010, 03:06 PM   #7
Merlinb is offline Merlinb  United Kingdom
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Quote:
Originally Posted by piano3 View Post
Glad you have solved the problem but where do you think the 50Hz hum was coming from and why would elevating the heater supply cure it?
DC elevation saturates the leakage current between heater and cathode, so the leakage becomes unvarying (0Hz) even though the heater voltage is varying.
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Old 23rd September 2010, 03:20 PM   #8
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Good on you. Biasing the heater to a positive voltage is mentioned in the old RCA books as well as many others, but for some reason people keep grounding the centertap if there is one, or create a centertap with two resistors and ground that node.
For indirectly heated tubes, biasing the heater positive in relation to cathode is the right thing to do. (Centertap to ground is for directly heated tubes).

Why do u use those large caps if the heater is AC? Or did I misunderstand and it's DC?
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Old 23rd September 2010, 03:24 PM   #9
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How do you like the sound of your new phonopre? To me the 6922 outperforms the 12AX7, but perhaps you like the latter more? Of course circuit matters, but still, it's great to blame tubes.
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Old 23rd September 2010, 05:25 PM   #10
kevinkr is offline kevinkr  United States
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SemperFi View Post
Good on you. Biasing the heater to a positive voltage is mentioned in the old RCA books as well as many others, but for some reason people keep grounding the centertap if there is one, or create a centertap with two resistors and ground that node.
For indirectly heated tubes, biasing the heater positive in relation to cathode is the right thing to do. (Centertap to ground is for directly heated tubes).

Why do u use those large caps if the heater is AC? Or did I misunderstand and it's DC?
The heaters are DC, however I am sure there is some residual ripple on the supply which given the low signal levels present in the input stage couple through the cathode/filament insulation and get amplified. I elevate the filaments even when I use regulated DC on my filament supplies.

I suspect what he was hearing was probably 100Hz buzz unless the OP was using a half-wave rectifier on the filament supply. Pure 50Hz hum is much less obtrusive than the harmonic rich 100Hz sawtooth waveform typical of fullwave ripple.
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