Looking for amp project similar to Aleph3 but more power

I haven't DIY for 3 years since I totally recap my Aleph3. It is still working great with my Hifiman HE-6 headphone. But recently I got to try some speakers: Sierra-1 and a coming pair of New Philharmonitor. These speaker needs at least 40W @ 8 ohm and I didn't want to push Aleph 3 too hard on those speakers.

I like their sound pushed by Aleph 3 at low volume. The Aleph is directly connected to Audio-GD DAC-19 and I use Foobar2k to adjust volume. With 24-bit depth, I can use about -20dB without losing dynamic range.

I am thinking several routes to get higher quality watt with a budget ~$1k:
* get some Threshold amp and recap/update it
* build some mono Aleph 3 or 5 or Aleph-X (seems to be too ambitious) with too source on pcb and support here.

I really like to get some good quality watt (80~100W/Ch) but the 400W consumption/ch is really scary to me (and my pocket for AC). Is there some amp project that may deliver some nice initial 40W or so in class A and then transit to AB smoothly without losing the magic of Aleph 3?

Thanks a lot for the suggestion and ideas.


2009-10-04 12:10 pm
for Aleph-like sound I guess you are looking at a bigger Aleph running at higher rail voltages with maybe matched 2SJ313s at the front (as the newest "update" by Papa).

Alternatively you can consider bridged F4s running off of a balanced preamp of your choice (pumpkin, BA-3 FE, tube-based Impasse, Juma's LSK); these would be made as monoblocks. this is all classA and we are talking large heat dissipation.

F5 amp and its higher power derivatives can transition into high bias AB but this amp stands for detailed and not for Aleph-like sound so it can only be paired with suitable speakers which are a bit recessed by nature and not forward sounding or with a sparkly top end.

if size/heat/$$s are a concern, for your application actually a chip amp, an LM3886 based GC may be the best answer. or you can go straight after an AB amp like P3A or AX-11 and such. many choices...
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Thanks for lots of suggestion. I am pretty rusty on all the amp derivatives that you mention. I read some about bridged Aleph 3 which has 60W @ 8ohm. I guess the bridged F4 will be the same.

My Audio-GD Phoenix is fully balanced preamp/headphone amp and the Ref-7 DAC is a fully balanced DAC. So monoblocks of DIY Aleph 3 or Aleph X may make sense for me. Does any of these projects have better documentation and support (PCB, etc) here?

F5 sounds interesting. Unfortunately, for these 2ch monitor, the recess of mid-range of these monitors is my biggest enemy. Is it a good fit?

As for chip amp, I am afraid my indulged ears may not agree with them. :p If is quite hard for me to get a pair of agreeable speakers after listening to well tuned HD800 or HE-6 systems (at least to me.)... ;)
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Thanks a lot for the suggestion and ideas.

My suggestion are :

more power = less natural sound [ too much transistors inside ]

the same power amplifier with more efficient speakers = much louder
and transparent sound [ only few transistors ]
speaker big magnets push the sound for free non additional electricity costs.

Was from CAS 2015 Mr Pass write article about amp watt / speaker dB / room space.
Thanks Papa :yinyang:


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Hay, thanks a lot for the table. Unfortunately, my speaker is 85dB and for some louder music session (Movie soundtrack or symphony) enjoyment 100W is right in the ball park. :) Or maybe I will cut down my enjoyment to 1/2 when I realize how big and expensive those heat sink costs. :eek: :p

I like high efficiency idea, but that is probably going to derail this thread. :) I'll research more on that later.
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Unfortunately, my speaker is 85dB

...I'll research more on that later.

Any chance to test your Aleph 3 with 95 dB / 98 dB speakers in local Audiophile Room Shop ?
Some times we don't know well treasure amp we have ;)


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Any chance to test your Aleph 3 with 95 dB / 98 dB speakers in local Audiophile Room Shop ?
Some times we don't know well treasure amp we have ;)

Oh yes, I am using Aleph 3 almost everyday with my Hifiman HE-6 headphone with sensitivity of 76dB @ 50ohm. ;) It works wonderfully. That was the main purpose for me to get Aleph 3 in the first place. Speaker setup is the second though. :D
That was the main purpose for me to get Aleph 3 in the first place. Speaker setup is the second though. :D

Hi Dukja

100 watt in class A dissipante lot's energy and this cost high $$$ on electricity fees.
Efficient speakers are pricer but you have the same level spectacular sound who
shake nicely your big room with 20 ~ 50 watts RMS.
After 10 years of every day use efficient speakers are ecological you find more money in the pocket( less for electricity company ) ,
have resonable heat from high bias class A amp and sound better as well, amp weight are not too heavy...:tons:
Don't belive me try it :D meets local audiophile folks and experiment with speakers and Aleph3 match options that my friendly council.
Have fun :cheers:


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I also read a little about F5Turbo and wonder what is the main difference between it and BJ? From a noob point of view, I can get board and transistor kit from the store here, and there seemed to be more help and posts here. Not even sure I can get a board and enough info about BJ (yet :eek:).

After some SPL measurement, I realized that 40~50W should be good enough for me.

Dennis Hui

Paid Member
2002-08-27 7:19 pm
Toronto, Canada

The babelfish j boards can be obtained through the Mighty Zen Mod:


In its current incarnation, it uses a cascoded jfet front end, allowing the use
of higher rail voltages (and higher power) compared to a straight jfet front end
(a la Aleph J). 2picoDumbs' description is bang on and I would consider this
a fully matured project.

Thanks a lot for helping. BJ must be a wonderful project, but I am not a mature builder.:eek: So considering the help that I need, it seems F5 with more people involved there may be easier to get help, so I may be less afraid of being stuck. Here are some more questions and I appreciate helps
* parts availability: I guess transistors for both projects can be acquired easily (from the Store here), right? And none of parts are difficult to get?
* Help availability: I may be use all the build guide and posts on Aleph J to help me build BJ, correct?
* The sonic difference is pretty much the difference between Aleph J and F5, right?

Thanks again for the help!
if you read either old or new Babelfish J threads , you'll figure that amp is basically Aleph J or same one on steroids

whichever Papamp you choose to make , there is plenty of (fun) info , same as number of Greedy Boyz always willing to help

nota bene - this nice creature isn't Babblefish

it is Babelfish , completely different animal


"The Babel fish," said The Hitch Hiker's Guide to the Galaxy quietly,
"is small, yellow and leech-like, and probably the oddest thing in the
Universe. It feeds on brainwave energy not from its carrier but from those
around it. It absorbs all unconscious mental frequencies from this
brainwave energy to nourish itself with. It then excretes into the mind of
its carrier a telepathic matrix formed by combining the conscious thought
frequencies with nerve signals picked up from the speech centres of the
brain which has supplied them. The practical upshot of all this is that if
you stick a Babel fish in your ear you can instantly understand anything
said to you in any form of language. The speech patterns you actually hear
decode the brainwave matrix which has been fed into your mind by your
Babel fish.
"Now it is such a bizarrely improbable coincidence that anything so
mindboggingly useful could have evolved purely by chance that some
thinkers have chosen to see it as the final and clinching proof of the
non-existence of God.
"The argument goes something like this: `I refuse to prove that I
exist,' says God, `for proof denies faith, and without faith I am
"`But,' says Man, `The Babel fish is a dead giveaway, isn't it? It
could not have evolved by chance. It proves you exist, and so therefore,
by your own arguments, you don't. QED.'
"`Oh dear,' says God, `I hadn't thought of that,' and promptly
vanished in a puff of logic.
"`Oh, that was easy,' says Man, and for an encore goes on to prove
that black is white and gets himself killed on the next zebra crossing.
"Most leading theologians claim that this argument is a load of
dingo's kidneys, but that didn't stop Oolon Colluphid making a small
fortune when he used it as the central theme of his bestselling book Well
That About Wraps It Up For God.
"Meanwhile, the poor Babel fish, by effectively removing all barriers
to communication between different races and cultures, has caused more and
bloddier wars than anything else in the history of creation."


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ZM: thanks for the post. I PM you a few days ago and you probably missed it. BJ (sorry for the wrong spelling due to bad internet influence. :eek:) is certainly my goal, but I am quite lost on how to start. So more reading for now unless I can get some help. :eek:

I'll PM you to buy the package (is it still available?) My plan now is to get somewhere around ~50W/ch for 8 ohm load without empty my pocket. Is it more reasonable to make it in a one-box stereo or monoblock config? I would appreciate some help to figure out the needed rail voltage, pairs of FETs, and needed tranny and heat sink. (or I am slowly figuring them out. :D)