LM3886 Gain Clone Amplifier DIY

In 1999 a manufacturer called 47 labs released a 3000 USD amplifier called a gaincard. Although it got good reviews it caused a great deal of controversy because it was based around a pair of 5 USD LM series power amplifier IC's with a basic power supply. So a 3000 USD product had about 100 USD of parts inside. It is not unusual to find any audio equipment selling for at least 10x the parts cost today. Coming from an electronics background I regularly see equipment I would not pay the retail price for based on the grounds the build cost being so low in comparison. In that instance it it best to go the 2nd hand eBay route or build something similar.

Gainclone DIY
Tags:

Musical Fidelity M1 HPA Headphone Amplifier Review

I have had a bit of a love hate relationship with musical fidelity products in the past. They always seem to get good reviews in the Hi-Fi press but a few times after prolonged use I find that the immediate wow factor is eventually replaced with a feeling that the initial gloss is hiding a few problems. I found this particularly true with an A308 CD player I used for a while. This was advertised as being 95% equivalent to the Nuvista 3D CD Player at half the cost. When one came available second hand for a good price I took a chance. Again at first it had this immediate appeal with detail and extended bandwidth but after months of use I felt that it was shiny glossy Hi-Fi for the sake of it like many audio products. It lacked soul, timing and musicality when compared to other players.

Musical Fidelity M1HPA Headphone Amplifier

Sennheiser HD 800 Review (vs Grado and Stax)

The HD800 headphones are currently Sennheiser's top end set of headphones. They claim to have the largest transducers and the most advanced driver technology of any current headphone on the market at this time. These are reference class headphones and a benchmark to compare many other headphones against. Premium parts have gone into the build, the transducer being encased by precision machined stainless steel and the ear-pads are claimed to be hand crafted from a high-quality microfibre fabric.

Sennheiser HD800

Audio HiFi Mains Cable DIY

Nothing invokes more of a mixed response in Hi-Fi circles than the concept of 'audio-grade' Hi-Fi mains cables. The idea of spending up to £1000 for a mains cable for many, myself included, seems ludicrous. Audio grade mains cables are very much a Hi-Fi thing and not so much in the pro-audio world were the only time a slightly more expensive mains lead would be used is one that has screening to stop noise radiating out of the cable and inducing on other near-by more sensitive audio carrying cables. This does have some engineering sense behind it.

DIY Audio HiFi Mains Cable
Tags:

Yulong A100 Headphone Amplifier Review and Capacitor Upgrade

The Yulong A100 is a class A headphone amplifier from the far east. They are not a well known brand in the west but produce some higher end models along with this reasonably priced unit. I have used tube headphone amplifiers in the past and wanted to try a class A solid state. It is a compact well made unit with a brushed black metal chassis, thick aluminium front plate and nice vintage style VU meters. The knob is plastic however but it still looks very good and not particularly plastic looking. Phono sockets are again good quality gold plated but it does not have an audio pass through facility which is an opportunity missed I feel. An audio pass though would make it a little more system friendly since it could be daisy chained with the system main amplifier from the source.

Yulong A100 Headphone Amplifier

Teac VRDS Copland 288 Rubber Tray Repair

The Teac VRDS mechanism used in many high end players does not age well. The gears go soft and start to perish making the unit skip on playback or the tray fails to open and close. These gears are very hard to find now and expensive if you do manage to find some. Therefore unless you have a 3D printer and a good set of gears as a template then I would avoid paying too much for any Teac based cd player.

 

Removing The Tray Rubber

Copland 288
Tags:

Nelson Pass Labs B1 Buffer Pre-Amplifier Update DIY

Having sold the last B1 buffer I built I ended up building another. I had a spare pcb sitting around for a while and since it is such a good pre-amp, easy to build and the fact I had 90% of the parts already it was a situation of... might as well. It also meant I could use one of those nice aluminium cases from modshop in Italy to match my copland cd player and the lightspeed pre-amp case. Solid state builds such as this simple design do not have much to go wrong and testing is safe unlike tube gear. A big difference working on 18V here rather than 300V plus. The B1 is the ideal project for a beginner since it is safe and the parts are easy to fine along with 3rd party pcb's. Most parts can be found on eBay.

 

Matched Vs Unmatched

Nelson Pass Labs B1 Buffer
Tags:

Grado PS500 Headphone Review

For the past year I have been using a pair of stax lambda pro electrostatic headphones with my Copland 288 cd player in one of my setups. I sold my Martin Logan speakers and wanted something as good but more suited to a small room, able to be used any time of day or night and as loud as I wanted with minimal external noise. Quality headphones are very hard to better with similar priced loudspeakers. They also provide a highly involving listening experience. Their diaphragms are much lighter than typical dynamic speakers and so have timing and pace unmatched bar the very best speakers. Electrostatic speakers do try to overcome this problem by the use of lightweight film which only weigh a few mg.

Grado PS500 Headphones

Linn Turntable Valhalla Power Supply Repair

I recently helped a friend to repair a Linn Valhalla power supply pcb. It would seem that these are prone to particular failures and a common one is low motor torque in which the motor buzzes or vibrates since it is too weak to drive the platter. This turned out to be R32 (560k) on the board. R33 had also deteriorated with the ceramic body breaking up. I have uploaded the circuit as a png and pdf file which some may find useful.

If you are having motor problems I would first replace these 2 resistors R32 and R33. Failing that then the next step is to replace the small orange caps around the logic chips if the motor does not turn at all.

Linn Turntable Valhalla Power Supply
Tags:

Passive Lightspeed Attenuator Pre-Amplifier DIY

I have been working on building a light-speed attenuator pre-amp in a nice case matching to match the chassis used in the Nelson Pass F5 and F3 power amplifier builds. This is a scratch build rather than a kit. I needed to buy the case from Italy and 4 quad matched Silonex NSL-32SR2 from the states. Matched LDR's can be difficult to get hold of and to match these yourself requires buying a large quantity and constructing a matching circuit to test them all across the working range. Quite costly and time consuming.

Lightspeed Attenuator Pre-Amplifier
Tags:

Pages

Subscribe to Sound Kontrol (DASK) RSS