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Good inexpensive measuring amp?
Good inexpensive measuring amp?
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Old 2nd October 2017, 01:32 PM   #1
kcducttaper is offline kcducttaper  United States
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Default Good inexpensive measuring amp?

I'm looking to step up my game a little bit in speaker building and I'm finding myself in desire of an inexpensive little amp to do some measuring with. It doesn't need to be anything fancy and 15w should be more than plenty, I would imagine. I'm mostly looking for as low a distortion and as flat a response as I can get from 20Hz-20kHz on a budget (hopefully under, or near $100). Does anyone have any good recommendations?
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Old 2nd October 2017, 04:32 PM   #2
fatmarley is offline fatmarley  England
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Years ago I tried one of those cheap class d amps but It didn't work very well (can't remember why though). I now use a budget Cambridge audio AM1 and I'm perfectly happy with It (not sure If you can get them In the USA though).
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Old 2nd October 2017, 04:40 PM   #3
kcducttaper is offline kcducttaper  United States
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I can't say I've heard of them, but I'll check it out.

I was just poking around on the PartsExpress site and found this Dayton Audio DA30. I'm not super knowledgeable on what makes an amp good, but it's got a low THD at 0.015%, 92% efficiency, bridgeable for a 30w load if I need a little boost, and extension from my 20-20k range with stellar reviews. Has anyone had some good, or bad, experience from this one by chance?
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Old 2nd October 2017, 05:24 PM   #4
Bare is offline Bare  Canada
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Cheap A** Chi fi amp with a reputable shops' Logo on it.
Unlikely to be Great. Despite reviews
But at least there will be possible recourse if it proves to be junk.
G'luck.
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Old 2nd October 2017, 05:35 PM   #5
kcducttaper is offline kcducttaper  United States
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I don't have any personal experience with Dayton electronics (just their drivers), but everything Dayton I've bought is really good stuff - way better than the equivalent priced big name brands. As far as I know they make everything in-house rather than re-branding as well. I mean, if it sucks, then it sucks and I don't want to buy it. But I'd like to know why it sucks rather than just basing the decision on the price tag. I don't want to skimp out with a crappy amp, but I don't want to just throw money at the equation and expect it to fix itself either.
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Old 2nd October 2017, 06:40 PM   #6
Lojzek is offline Lojzek  Croatia
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The problem is good quality and inexpensive may only be doable if you'd use a high quality schematic and build the boards and wire everything yourself. I have given an example in SS forum already. I'd stay away from class D amps.
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Old 2nd October 2017, 07:25 PM   #7
boswald is offline boswald  United States
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Good inexpensive measuring amp?
At 15 watts, many good 100 watt amps will be really, really good. Look at the specs of some used good amps, should get you a bunch of zeros.
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Old 2nd October 2017, 07:28 PM   #8
chrisb is offline chrisb
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I'd not blanket condemn class D amps, but ya the cheapies aren't great. I recently put together a Sure 4-channel assembled board and Meanwell SMPS supply for just over $100- along with a buffered PLLXO it powers a bi-amped system - very nicely indeed. Another nice piece was a YJ3116 kit, complete with chassis and all the fixings for $95 USD .

I'm sure than there's something out there that'd be just fine for the application, without being as bulky as an old school class AB. I'd also surmise that any anomalies in the FR of the amp would be swamped by that of most lower cost measuring mics - their calibration EQ notwithstanding.

As for Dayton's house branded amps - I've also been quite happy with two quite different models - APA150 "sub" amp, and a multi-channel piece for background music system in a restaurant. The later has been running flawlessly for 8hrs / 7 days a week for 4yrs now. Some very thoughtful features on both, and construction on a par with some of the mainstream name brands I've owned - for which "domestic design and offshore production" has been common for at least 30yrs. I doubt they actually build in house, but for me that's far less important than the engineering in the design, and the production QC.
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Old 2nd October 2017, 07:57 PM   #9
kcducttaper is offline kcducttaper  United States
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I'm not against building my own amp as I'm quite handy with a soldering gun. I just don't really know much about amp building at this point, so I don't really know what all I'd need for that.

I've got a Dayton UMM-6 calibration mic, but I suspect it's not measuring correctly. I've measured a couple speakers and tuned them as flat as I could on paper. Once that was done, I'd sit back and play a track through it. Every time, they always sounded hollow and....not flat. Fortunately, I scored a pair of powered monitors on the super cheap from my local thrift store with a published response curve that I can use to mod the calibration file and (hopefully) tweak my calibration file to actually measure things correctly.

Is there a generally favored 'entry level' audiophile amp that gets recommended a lot? I'm definitely a n00b on the amp side of things, but it seems there are a lot of custom builds here (obviously, being a DIY forum), but not a whole lot about what defines an amp to be 'good' apart from low THD and individuals critiquing by ear.

Last edited by kcducttaper; 2nd October 2017 at 08:05 PM.
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Old 2nd October 2017, 08:22 PM   #10
kcducttaper is offline kcducttaper  United States
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As I'm letting this idea develop a bit, I'm realizing I might also want to use this amp for some demoing purposes. Therefore, I probably ought to boost my power a little bit if I'm building speakers in triple digit rms territory. The Dayton APA 150 looks like it has some good numbers and reviews. It may not be a perfect match for all of the speakers, but it should be sufficient for measuring and demoing, I would think.

I've also spotted this Lepai LP7498E. It's got good numbers, and reviews, but something about Lepai just makes me nervous. I've got their little $25 Lepai LP-2020 in my woodworking area. The 2020 is a cheap amp and definitely not anywhere near what I would consider a 'good' amp for speaker measuring - maybe I've just gotten a brand impression based off of that? I dunno...

Last edited by kcducttaper; 2nd October 2017 at 08:29 PM.
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