Project: "Taurus" hi-end audio amplifier (Revision A))

Discussion in 'The Completed Projects Collection' started by cumesoftware, Aug 9, 2011.

  1. cumesoftware

    Thread Starter Senior Member

    Apr 27, 2007
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    This is a major revision of this project here, and that is why I decided to open a new thread. Basically it is a similar amplifier, having essentially the same characteristics. However some measures were taken to prevent potential problems, making it more stable. The amplifier is now entirely AC coupled, and thus it cuts any DC bias on the input. The output uses boucherot cells and coils to stabilize the LM3875s against HF oscillations that might occur.

    List of components:
    C1/2/7/8 – 10mF electrolytic capacitor (50V);
    C3/5/9/11 – 100µF electrolytic capacitor (50V);
    C4/6/10/12/16/20 – 100nF polyester capacitor (63V);
    C13/17 – 1µF polyester capacitor (63V);
    C15/19 – 220pF ceramic capacitor (63V);
    C15/19 – 22µF non-polarized electrolytic capacitor (6,3V);
    D1-4 – 6A05 rectifier diode;
    F1 – 2A slow-blow fuse;
    F2/3 - 6,3A slow-blow fuse;
    HS1/2 – 1,2°C/W passive heatsink;
    IC1/2 – LM3875 audio power amplifier (LM3875TF);
    J1 – IEC C14 connector;
    J2/3 – RCA female connector;
    JW – 26AWG stranded wire;
    L1/2 - Air core coil, 16 turns with 6mm dia. of 22 AWG wire;
    LP – 230V~ resistored neon bulb;
    R1 – 10KR double gang potenciometer (10% tol., 1/8W);
    R2/9 – 4,7KR carbon resistor (5% tol., 1/8W);
    R3/10 – 47KR carbon resistor (5% tol., 1/8W);
    R4/6/11/13 – 1KR carbon resistor (5% tol., 1/8W);
    R5/12 – 33KR carbon resistor (5% tol., 1/8W);
    R7/14 – 2.7R carbon resistor (5% tol., 2W);
    R8/15 – 10R carbon resistor (5% tol., 1/2W);
    S – DPST switch;
    T – Toroidal transformer 230V~ pri. 2x18V~ sec. 225VA.

    Electrical parameters:
    - Va min = 207V RMS
    - Va max = 253V RMS
    - Ia (Va = 230V RMS, Z = 4Ohm) = 991.9mA RMS
    - Ia (Va = 230V RMS, Z = 8Ohm) = 686.7mA RMS
    - P (Va = 230V RMS, Z = 4Ohm) = 228.1W
    - P (Va = 230V RMS, Z = 8Ohm) = 157.9W

    Amplification characteristics (each channel):
    - Input impedance: 3,197-10KOhm
    - Input sensitivity: 500mV RMS
    - Gain: 30,63dB (34V/V)
    - Frequency response (-3dB): 7.234-120000Hz
    - Output power (Z = 4Ohm): 45W
    - Output power (Z = 8Ohm): 29W

    Thanks to the guys here in AAC and those from diyAudio for all the help and advise while doing this revision. It wouldn't be possible without them.
     
    Last edited: Dec 2, 2011
  2. cumesoftware

    Thread Starter Senior Member

    Apr 27, 2007
    1,330
    10
    I will translate the schematic diagram and post the translation, as soon as possible.
     
  3. cumesoftware

    Thread Starter Senior Member

    Apr 27, 2007
    1,330
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    The schematic diagram is now available in English. Sorry for the strange new font. I didn't have the old font available on the computer I was using.
     
  4. RRITESH KAKKAR

    Senior Member

    Jun 29, 2010
    2,831
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    I think you are expert of Amplifiers...
     
  5. cumesoftware

    Thread Starter Senior Member

    Apr 27, 2007
    1,330
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    I'm not an expert, but thanks.
     
  6. tom66

    Senior Member

    May 9, 2009
    2,613
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    Would it be a good idea to include an NTC inrush limiting device on the input? I imagine when you plug it in it will draw a large current and might be prone to blowing fuses.

    I have a DVD player with combined surround sound here. It has 4700u + 4700u 35V caps (single supply) and uses a 24V bus. It is rated to 65W. When power is disconnected from the amp it keeps playing for about 1 second. So it makes me think the 20000u capacitance is a bit excessive for a 45W amp. Does it noticeably improve audio quality, going with such large capacitance?
     
  7. sceadwian

    New Member

    Jun 1, 2009
    499
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    There's one important metric missing, total harmonic distortion.
     
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  8. cumesoftware

    Thread Starter Senior Member

    Apr 27, 2007
    1,330
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    Yes, some current limiting like that would be good, but fortunately, in this case is not necessary. Slow-blow fuses are required, but they will withstand the inrush current by a large margin. Indeed I used fast fuses on the primary and sometimes they didn't blow (surprisingly).

    Large caps do improve audio quality, especially for bass. If it plays for a second, don't worry. This one keeps playing for 4 to 5 seconds after being turned of (when the volume is sufficiently low). The diodes should be able to withstand the inrush current demanded by those capacitors, though. The 2 x 10000uF caps on each rail are the ideal considering the average current, so the ripple doesn't go beyond 10%. Tests revealed that those could be a bit bigger, but most of the problems come from the voltage drop on those rectifier diodes anyway. I'm considering using Schottky diodes in future versions.
     
  9. cumesoftware

    Thread Starter Senior Member

    Apr 27, 2007
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    Thanks, but unfortunately I can't measure THD, and I don't know how to estimate it. I would appreciate some help. Could you PM me?
     
  10. tom66

    Senior Member

    May 9, 2009
    2,613
    213
    You need a distortion analyser: http://www.barrytech.com/tektronix/tektm500/tekaa501.html

    However they are quite expensive.

    Consider using the method described on this page: http://www.dogstar.dantimax.dk/tubestuf/thdconv.htm

    You will need an oscilloscope and signal generator, and some way to cancel the input and output signals (can be done with A+B with B inverted on some dual trace scopes, or on many digitising scopes.)
     
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  11. cumesoftware

    Thread Starter Senior Member

    Apr 27, 2007
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    I actually have an o-scope, but it is a single channel one. I will try. Thanks!
     
  12. tom66

    Senior Member

    May 9, 2009
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    You could build a differential amplifier with a precision low distortion op-amp. Remember that its THD will affect the measurements, so get that as low as possible.

    You could also consider calculating FFTs. If you have a high sampling frequency (96 - 192 kHz) sound card (usually in a desktop PC), that would be ideal. There are many free software FFT programs for sound cards.
     
  13. BillO

    Well-Known Member

    Nov 24, 2008
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    136
    Watch out for any phase shift introduced by the amplifier. Even a small phase shift will make this method unreliable.
     
  14. BillO

    Well-Known Member

    Nov 24, 2008
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    The datasheet for the LM3875TF would indicate that at 29w into 8Ω, THD would be around 0.01% with a ± 35v supply. I imagine it will be somewhat higher at these voltages but very acceptable.

    In any case, I spent some time as a professional technologist in the sound side of the movie business. Not as glamorous as you might think, but educational. What I did learn was, despite their fanatical search for absolute minimal THD and IMD, most audiophiles could not tell the difference between 0.01% THD and 0.00001% THD if their lives depended on it.

    They waste a huge amount of money on these super-low distortion amplifiers and then play them back through speaker systems that have 10 to 100 times as much distortion. Not sane.

    Like the guy that buys the Ferrari F50 and never exceeds the speed limit. As dumb as a garden boulder.
     
  15. Audioguru

    New Member

    Dec 20, 2007
    9,411
    896
    The graph in the datasheet for the LM3875 shows that its "typical" distortion is only 0.003% at 1kHz when its supply is plus and minus 35V, its load is 8 ohms and its output power is 40W to 50W.
    It shows no maximum distortion which might be as high as 0.1%.

    This project has a much lower supply voltage (about plus and minus 24V) so its output power is much less and its distortion might be much more.
     
  16. cumesoftware

    Thread Starter Senior Member

    Apr 27, 2007
    1,330
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    Indeed! The best way to "fight" distortion is to invest in good speakers (with a good linear response from at least 20Hz up to 30000KHz).

    In this case the expected output power is 29W for 8 ohm loads. The distortion can be much more than 0.1% if the level of the input signal is above 500mV RMS and with the volume pot cranked up. Otherwise it will be much less than that.
     
  17. BillO

    Well-Known Member

    Nov 24, 2008
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    I was just being conservative. Yes, it could be much worse if driven to hard. I'd be tempted to rate it at more like 6 to 8 watts (at the appropriate input level) given the 24v supply. Just to have the headroom (≈6 db) and to satisfy the spec jockeys.

    But still, anything less than 0.01 % distortion would be very acceptable. At least to the ears, if not the spec sheet.
     
  18. Audioguru

    New Member

    Dec 20, 2007
    9,411
    896
    The supply is about plus and minus 23.5V which is 47V, not 24V.
    The output power at clipping is about 29W into 8 ohms, not 6W or 8W.
    Worry about headroom only if you use a slow VU meter instead of a peak detecting level meter.

    The datasheet shows that most ICs will have very low distortion at clipping but a few will have higher distortion.
     
  19. BillO

    Well-Known Member

    Nov 24, 2008
    985
    136
    See below...( all in good nature, of course...)


    Nomenclature, and beyond that you're splitting hairs. 23.5 vs, 24!?

    Well, yeah! I can read. I did said to leave 6db of headroom.

    Not so my educated friend! You cannot react to any kind of meter if you are flesh and blood. If you want live, or at least realistic dynamic range on your playback, you need to leave a little headroom. I'm not talking FM radio here, but the response required by modern motion pictures or the latest orchestral recordings (not that I can hear the range any more). 6db would be minimal

    You must mean just before clipping, right? Once clipping starts, THD WILL go off the charts, ... and that is exactly what you want to avoid.
     
  20. cumesoftware

    Thread Starter Senior Member

    Apr 27, 2007
    1,330
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    Not AT clipping. 29W is the actual RMS output power for 8 ohm loads considering a total harmonic distortion below 0.1% (as the chart says). When clipping, any amplifier will show a distortion well above 1%.

    24V is an approximated figure. It will depend on the voltage drop across the diodes, that can vary from 0,6V to 1,2V.

    Indeed, you want to avoid clipping distortion. The slightest clipping can be noticed.
     
    Last edited: Aug 20, 2011
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