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Universal Buffer achieving -140 dBc (0.00001 %) THD
Universal Buffer achieving -140 dBc (0.00001 %) THD
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Old 21st December 2019, 12:17 AM   #1
tomchr is offline tomchr  Canada
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Arrow Universal Buffer achieving -140 dBc (0.00001 %) THD

Meet the Universal Buffer: A reference class analog preamp, made in Canada.

The Universal Buffer is an ultra high-end stereo analog subsystem. Each channel of the Universal Buffer features a differential input (which, by jumpers, can be configured as a single-ended input), and provides a buffered differential output and a buffered single-ended output. Its gain can be changed from the default 0 dB (unity) by adding a resistor. Furthermore, it can be configured for signal inversion.

The reference class performance of the Universal Buffer is exemplified by its 137 dB dynamic range, abysmally low distortion (including intermodulation distortion), ultra-low noise, 130+ dB channel separation, high common-mode rejection ratio, as well as its ability to drive significant cable capacitance cleanly. All measurements of the Universal Buffer support my claim that this buffer is sonically transparent, and that any contribution to the sound quality made by the Universal Buffer is orders of magnitude below the audible threshold.

The Universal Buffer was primarily conceived as one piece of a reference class preamp. For example, a volume pot followed by a Universal Buffer would form a simple one-input preamp with both differential/balanced and single-ended/unbalanced outputs. Add another Universal Buffer upstream of the volume pot to add a differential input.
Similarly, the Universal Buffer can be used to add a differential input or output to your existing source or load, thus, it completely replaces my previous THAT Driver and THAT Receiver circuits.

Except for the connectors, the Universal Buffer is all surface mounted components. Furthermore, two of the ICs have exposed pads under the IC package, thus, are challenging to solder. A good connection is needed for good performance. Due to this, I will only be offering the Universal Buffer as a fully assembled module.

The first batch of Universal Buffer boards is in production. I expect to have the boards in stock and ready to ship by January 20th, 2020. I have opened up for preorders. I will offer volume discounts for order quantities of 3+, 5+, and 10+.

For the full specifications and to preorder your Universal Buffer, please follow this link: Universal Buffer – Neurochrome

The image shows the final prototype. The production version will be identical, except it will be Neurochrome Blue like my other boards. The circuit design, PCB manufacturing, and PCB assembly were all done in Canada.

Tom
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Modulus-86, 186, 286, & 686: 40-240W (8Ω), <-120dB THD. HP-2 Headphone Amp: 660mW, <-130dB THD. Taming the LM3886.
Neurochrome : : Audio - www.neurochrome.com - Engineering : : Done : : Right
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Old 21st December 2019, 12:29 AM   #2
poseidonsvoice is offline poseidonsvoice  United States
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Universal Buffer achieving -140 dBc (0.00001 %) THD
Wow! The Multitone IMD says it all....Bravo!

Best,
Anand.
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Old 21st December 2019, 01:01 AM   #3
wcwc is offline wcwc  United States
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Cool. Looks very useful. What are the limits of the buffer? Could you use it for DAC IV duty or only use it after another Opamp does the IV duty?
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Old 21st December 2019, 01:02 AM   #4
wesayso is online now wesayso  Netherlands
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What gain options are available with those resistors?
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Old 21st December 2019, 01:51 AM   #5
tomchr is offline tomchr  Canada
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wcwc View Post
Cool. Looks very useful. What are the limits of the buffer? Could you use it for DAC IV duty or only use it after another Opamp does the IV duty?
I wouldn't configure it for I/V duty. That's not to say you can't do that, just that I'd optimize the circuit for I/V duty if that's what I needed.

Quote:
Originally Posted by wesayso View Post
What gain options are available with those resistors?
Whatever you'd like, basically. Only gains of unity or higher are supported, though.

Tom
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Modulus-86, 186, 286, & 686: 40-240W (8Ω), <-120dB THD. HP-2 Headphone Amp: 660mW, <-130dB THD. Taming the LM3886.
Neurochrome : : Audio - www.neurochrome.com - Engineering : : Done : : Right
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Old 21st December 2019, 02:07 AM   #6
Halauhula is offline Halauhula  United States
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Is there a Neurochrome power supply to power the Universal Buffer in the works?
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Old 21st December 2019, 02:55 AM   #7
tomchr is offline tomchr  Canada
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You could use the SMPS-86.

Tom
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Modulus-86, 186, 286, & 686: 40-240W (8Ω), <-120dB THD. HP-2 Headphone Amp: 660mW, <-130dB THD. Taming the LM3886.
Neurochrome : : Audio - www.neurochrome.com - Engineering : : Done : : Right
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Old 21st December 2019, 03:06 AM   #8
Halauhula is offline Halauhula  United States
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Aha! I had to dig into the specs to see that it can be configured for lower voltages. I hope I can handle the two SM inductors.

I have to admit that a switching power supply was not what I would ordinarily choose to power a preamplifier. Would I be able to achieve the Universal Buffer's rated specs using the SMPS? Would some additional output filtering be required?
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Old 21st December 2019, 04:46 AM   #9
pinnocchio is online now pinnocchio  Canada
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Very nice Tom!
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Old 21st December 2019, 06:32 AM   #10
dhsettim is offline dhsettim  New Zealand
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I have just finally finished my Neurochrome Diff 8x2 Preamp.
Surface mount soldering was more difficult than I had anticipated.
And as I built it into a wooden box I worried about Pin 1 and grounding.
Other projects also got in the way.
Anyway it sounds brilliant and if it is any guide then this new preamp will be impressive.
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