# Do bigger transformers sound better?

#### MikeA

Joined Jan 20, 2013
254

Could someone please explain the actual science behind the claims? I don't get it.

What does the impedance of transformer windings have to do with the quality of sound of a pre-amp circuit?

#### Ylli

Joined Nov 13, 2015
1,051
BS meter is pegged. ...and increasing the size of the wire in the transformer will not change its inductance.

#### schmitt trigger

Joined Jul 12, 2010
438
At the risk of being skinned alive by the cognoscenti, here is my interpretation:
The transformer’s impedance causes the bus voltage to sag during heavy current draw, such as deep bass or percussive sounds.

How much influence this really has over the actual perceived sound, is a topic which can be discussed until eternity.
Just watch how far this thread will go.

#### Ylli

Joined Nov 13, 2015
1,051
Then it needs bigger caps, not bigger transformer.

#### MrChips

Joined Oct 2, 2009
23,503
Yes.

#### MikeA

Joined Jan 20, 2013
254
The transformer’s impedance causes the bus voltage to sag during heavy current draw, such as deep bass or percussive sounds.
Is this really a factor in the context of a phono pre-amp?

#### wayneh

Joined Sep 9, 2010
17,152
I believe him, sort of. Output impedance is ideally zero. That ideal is never attained, leaving room for improvement. But on a pre-amp, as opposed to a power amp?

I think what his story tells is that the standard transformer they were using was inadequate. Perhaps a mere doubling in size would have captured most of the difference they heard, and would not have been noticeably different than the huge transformer.

Or maybe he’s confused about the story, which involved a power amp instead.

#### MrChips

Joined Oct 2, 2009
23,503
Yes.

#### MikeA

Joined Jan 20, 2013
254
BS meter is pegged. ...and increasing the size of the wire in the transformer will not change its inductance.
How about increasing the price of the wire? Does that change inductance?

They do sell a pair of 10 foot speaker wires for $59,800. #### wayneh Joined Sep 9, 2010 17,152 BS meter is pegged. ...and increasing the size of the wire in the transformer will not change its inductance. It does when it changes the length of wire and the number of turns. Thickness per se doesn’t matter. #### Ylli Joined Nov 13, 2015 1,051 It does when it changes the length of wire and the number of turns. Without rewatching it, I'm pretty sure he said same core, same number of turns. Just larger wire. #### Just Another Sparky Joined Dec 8, 2019 210 I can confirm, bigger transformers absolutely sound better. #### MrSalts Joined Apr 2, 2020 273 How about increasing the price of the wire? Does that change inductance? They do sell a pair of 10 foot speaker wires for$59,800.
Not necessarily, unless you bought some. Offering it for sale is different than selling it. Also, many crazy offers on eBay or Amazon Marketplace are money laundering schemes or tax scams. The people who post that crap are selling to themselves or their brother or dead uncle.

#### MikeA

Joined Jan 20, 2013
254
I believe him, sort of. Output impedance is ideally zero.
Output impedance of zero = hypothetical perfect power supply?

Could they be talking about a tube phono preamp since it sounds like this was in the 1970's that had much higher (?) power requirements than anything solid state?

#### MrChips

Joined Oct 2, 2009
23,503
Do bigger transformers sound better?
My answer is YES!

The question is, what is the meaning of better?
If by better you mean, high fidelity, low distortion, minimum saturation and clipping, wide frequency response, then the answer is YES.

Any transformer, whether in the preamp stage, output stage, or power supply, will have an effect on signal fidelity.
If the poor performance of a smaller transformer is going to impact on any of the above, then yes, a larger transformer would be better, to a limit. You cannot extrapolate this to infinity. Bigger is not always better. Eventually, you reach a point where bigger does not make it better. Instead, some other important parameter dominates and diminishes the benefits of going bigger.

#### LowQCab

Joined Nov 6, 2012
502
It all depends on what-kind, and how-much, DISTORTION that YOU PREFER.
The question is ...........
Is it possible for Transformers to introduce Distortion into an Audio Amplifier.
The answer is .......... Of course it is, ( in a poorly designed Amplifier ).

If the Transformer is substantially over-sized for the expected load,
and then its output is run through a properly Filtered Voltage Regulator,
absolutely none of the various Specifications of the Transformer will make
the slightest difference in performance in ANY WAY, regarding ANY aspect of Amplifier operation.

But then again, when you're talking to someone who insists that "Tubes Sound Better",
you're not likely to be having any kind of rational discussion,
but rather, a discussion filled with
flowery, un-definable, Double-Adjectives, which ONLY THEY can Detect and Feel.

Some people think that Tube-Distortion is a "Magical" thing.
These same people are listening through "High-End",
( translation- Extremely Expensive Art-Work / Fine-Furniture-Grade ),
Speakers that have ""!!!!-ONLY-!!!!"" a mere 8.2% THD Distortion,
( and absolutely Criminal Low-Frequency Transient-Distortion ),
in a bare Room just loaded with Standing-Waves, Reflections, and various and assorted Resonances.
.
To each his own ........
.
.
.

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#### Ian0

Joined Aug 7, 2020
2,162
How does he keep the same core but wind thicker wire round it? I've never seen a transformer with enough space on the bobbin to do that!
Interesting that Jorgen's valve preamp is powered from a plug-in adaptor, which probably means that the 200V or so HT supply is stepped up inside the preamp.

If we are talking about power amplifiers, then lowering the leakage inductance increases the current into the smoothing caps, so the current spikes get larger but shorter, so that the capacitors (not the transformer) are supplying the load for a greater part of the time.
Larger, shorter current spikes radiate more magnetic field from the wires between transformer and pcb. Capacitor peak ripple current increases, capacitor life reduces.

#### wayneh

Joined Sep 9, 2010
17,152
How does he keep the same core but wind thicker wire round it? I've never seen a transformer with enough space on the bobbin to do that!
I presumed he wound a shorter length of thicker wire, with less turns.

I got into this topic while thinking about wind power generators. If you're building your own, you have a choice about which wire gauge to choose. Thin wire will give you more turns and EMF, but comes at the expense of lower current capacity and higher inductance. Thick wire improves those but at the expense of voltage. You literally need to choose the wire in coordination with predictions of wind speed and the ultimate load. In other words it's a complex system that needs to be optimized from one end to the other.

#### Ian0

Joined Aug 7, 2020
2,162
I presumed he wound a shorter length of thicker wire, with less turns.
But fewer turns would make it saturate

#### Ian0

Joined Aug 7, 2020
2,162
I got into this topic while thinking about wind power generators. If you're building your own, you have a choice about which wire gauge to choose. Thin wire will give you more turns and EMF, but comes at the expense of lower current capacity and higher inductance. Thick wire improves those but at the expense of voltage. You literally need to choose the wire in coordination with predictions of wind speed and the ultimate load. In other words it's a complex system that needs to be optimized from one end to the other.
I would have expected some sort of MPPT system which would adjust the load with using a buck regulator. If that were the case, then using the maximum number of turns would give the highest voltage and lowest current allowing it to be connected up with the thinnest cables.
The commercial ones seem to be sized for charging lead-acid batteries so they are either 24V or 48V. The turbine spins unloaded until the output voltage gets to the battery voltage, then the output voltage is pretty much fixed by the battery - so does an increase in wind speed above that amount give more power, as the speed can't increase as it is proportional to voltage?