Building a new headphone amp. Any suggestions?

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Wolf Ear Audio

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Building a new headphone amp. Any suggestions?
« on: 18 Apr 2018, 05:07 pm »
I've always built my amps the way I wanted and the way I designed them and without asking very many people what kind of parts they wanted in it.
I was thinking of doing something a bit more interactive for my first venture into the very high end. My first amp is just to dip my toes in the water and see how it sounds, which is why I wanted it to be a headphone amp with low power output and using only 6N6P tubes for both voltage gain and output.
Now, I've already ordered some very nice silver output transformers and planned on using the same pwoer supply chokes I use in the Makoyi, but I wanted everyone's input on a few other key parts.
I)For coupling caps, do you prefer Teflon, Oil or plain film types? And which ones? We will only be using 0.1uf values here.
II) For rectification, do you prefer a SS rectifier with large electrolytic caps for filtering or a tube rectifier and film caps?
III) If you answered tube rectifier for the above, what kinds of power supply caps are your favorite?

I also encourage any other dialogue about this and will answer any questions you have :)

Tyson

Re: Building a new headphone amp. Any suggestions?
« Reply #1 on: 18 Apr 2018, 05:14 pm »
I've tried a bunch of coupling caps in my tube amp, tube headphone amp and preamp.  IME the Jupiter Copper Foil 600v is the best sounding cap out there.  Much better than the teflon caps, PIO, or other film types.  Dueland caps are slightly different sounding (a bit warmer), but not better sounding.  And of course Dueland is like 3x the cost of the Jupiters.

I like tube rectification - gives another option for tailoring the sound to my preference.


Wolf Ear Audio

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Re: Building a new headphone amp. Any suggestions?
« Reply #2 on: 18 Apr 2018, 05:18 pm »
I've tried a bunch of coupling caps in my tube amp, tube headphone amp and preamp.  IME the Jupiter Copper Foil 600v is the best sounding cap out there.  Much better than the teflon caps, PIO, or other film types.  Dueland caps are slightly different sounding (a bit warmer), but not better sounding.  And of course Dueland is like 3x the cost of the Jupiters.

I like tube rectification - gives another option for tailoring the sound to my preference.
Yeah? I've never tried Dueland because the price is so prohibitive, but I've used the original Jupiter caps and they were very nice.
Maybe the Copper foil is the way to go?
As for tube rectification, this circuit will only pull about 80mA or so total, so we have basically all the tube rectifiers available. I usually use the 5Y3 in this type of scenario because of easy availability and low NOS prices. What is your preference for rectifier tubes?

Tyson

Re: Building a new headphone amp. Any suggestions?
« Reply #3 on: 18 Apr 2018, 05:32 pm »
Yeah? I've never tried Dueland because the price is so prohibitive, but I've used the original Jupiter caps and they were very nice.
Maybe the Copper foil is the way to go?
As for tube rectification, this circuit will only pull about 80mA or so total, so we have basically all the tube rectifiers available. I usually use the 5Y3 in this type of scenario because of easy availability and low NOS prices. What is your preference for rectifier tubes?

Yep, copper Jupiters are a big step up over the originals.  Like I said, Dueland level (at least in my system).

Rectifier tubes - only have much experience with the 5ar4 and the 6X5.  If the 5Y3 sounds good and has low cost NOS options then that's better than the 5ar4, which is ridiculously expensive for NOS.

Wolf Ear Audio

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Re: Building a new headphone amp. Any suggestions?
« Reply #4 on: 18 Apr 2018, 05:50 pm »
Yep, copper Jupiters are a big step up over the originals.  Like I said, Dueland level (at least in my system).

Rectifier tubes - only have much experience with the 5ar4 and the 6X5.  If the 5Y3 sounds good and has low cost NOS options then that's better than the 5ar4, which is ridiculously expensive for NOS.
NOS 5Y3 tubes are amazing for their price (as low as 5 dollars, but usually 10-15). The problem is that their limitations make them only really good for preamps and headphone amps since they can't really handle high currents.

Wolf Ear Audio

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Re: Building a new headphone amp. Any suggestions?
« Reply #5 on: 24 Apr 2018, 06:08 pm »
Alright, so coupling caps are in now.
I'm either going to use some nice can oil caps from ASC for the power supply, or maybe some dry film in a can from SCR. I'm going to try both to see what I prefer :)



Tyson

Re: Building a new headphone amp. Any suggestions?
« Reply #6 on: 24 Apr 2018, 08:13 pm »
Re: the Jupiters - nice choice!!

They go through a fairly long break in.  At first they sound flat and hyper detailed.  For about 30 hours.  Then they sound dark and veiled for another 50 hours or so.  Then they should just "OK" but not great for the next 100 hours or so.  After that, they bloom and sound amazing.  Just be patient!!  :thumb:

mresseguie

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Re: Building a new headphone amp. Any suggestions?
« Reply #7 on: 25 Apr 2018, 01:40 am »
+1 for Jupiter Cu caps

If I can ever get my wife to let me listen to my cans for more than 5 minutes without an interruption (really), I may contact you about a headphone amp. My HD650s have been continuously boxed up for 3+ years   :(, so don't get overly excited.

Regards,

Michael

FullRangeMan

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Re: Building a new headphone amp. Any suggestions?
« Reply #8 on: 25 Apr 2018, 01:53 am »
II) For rectification, do you prefer a SS rectifier with large electrolytic caps for filtering or a tube rectifier and film caps?
III) If you answered tube rectifier for the above, what kinds of power supply caps are your favorite?
SS diodes for DC rectification made a lot of noise, as HPs are more detailed than speakers SS diodes are a drawnback, I dont know the sound of caps to say what is my favorite :duh:

Wolf Ear Audio

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Re: Building a new headphone amp. Any suggestions?
« Reply #9 on: 25 Apr 2018, 04:50 pm »
SS diodes for DC rectification made a lot of noise, as HPs are more detailed than speakers SS diodes are a drawnback, I dont know the sound of caps to say what is my favorite :duh:
That's true, but you do have the option to use much larger capacitors for filtering with SS, so that's a plus :)
I'm gonna go with tube rectification and probably canned oil caps from ASC, though.

FullRangeMan

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Re: Building a new headphone amp. Any suggestions?
« Reply #10 on: 25 Apr 2018, 09:16 pm »
That's true, but you do have the option to use much larger capacitors for filtering with SS, so that's a plus :)
I'm gonna go with tube rectification and probably canned oil caps from ASC, though.
That is nice. Do you have any indirect filamentary tube rect favorite?
(half or full wave).

Wolf Ear Audio

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Re: Building a new headphone amp. Any suggestions?
« Reply #11 on: 26 Apr 2018, 12:18 am »
There's at least the EZ80 and EZ81 tubes that I like for indirectly heated rectifiers :thumb:
EZ81's are good for small amps and EZ80's are good for preamps or possibly this headphone amp. I'm still deciding if I will use the EZ80 or 5Y3 for rectification.

FullRangeMan

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Re: Building a new headphone amp. Any suggestions?
« Reply #12 on: 26 Apr 2018, 01:02 am »
Looks good. Do you think half wave tubes as 6D22 are a drawback?
Since is need two of them.

Wolf Ear Audio

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Re: Building a new headphone amp. Any suggestions?
« Reply #13 on: 26 Apr 2018, 01:37 am »
Looks good. Do you think half wave tubes as 6D22 are a drawback?
Since is need two of them.
Yeah, I would probably never use any half wave rectifier tubes.

FullRangeMan

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Re: Building a new headphone amp. Any suggestions?
« Reply #14 on: 26 Apr 2018, 01:46 am »
Hm noted, thanks for help :thumb:

Wolf Ear Audio

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Re: Building a new headphone amp. Any suggestions?
« Reply #15 on: 4 May 2018, 07:38 pm »
It's starting to feel like Christmas here :)
I've received most of the parts I am using in this amp now. I decided to go with a different volume switch than my own this time, one that has many more steps while still being a ladder attenuator.
It's very nice feeling and has a very large range of attenuation (did I mention it's also HUGE  :lol: ).



FullRangeMan

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Re: Building a new headphone amp. Any suggestions?
« Reply #16 on: 4 May 2018, 09:55 pm »
This looks the Khozmo? I also use it, the 100k log.

Wolf Ear Audio

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Re: Building a new headphone amp. Any suggestions?
« Reply #17 on: 9 May 2018, 04:37 pm »
This looks the Khozmo? I also use it, the 100k log.
It is Khozmo. They make a solid attenuator for a good price and carry ladder types now, so it was an easy choice for me :)
On another good note, I got all my parts in now for this amp (yay!) and will be designing my chassis when I get a chance.
I'll probably be using a similar aesthetic to my Kitoki, with a top plate similar to that of the copper vein I used in my high end headphone amps (maybe silver vein/ ore this time)  :thumb:
What kind of wood would work well here? Maybe some Wenge?

FullRangeMan

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Re: Building a new headphone amp. Any suggestions?
« Reply #18 on: 9 May 2018, 09:39 pm »
Congratulations Wolf.
Poland is big source of quality hi-fi manufacturers.
Not need use copper amp table, its expensive and heat dissipations is near the same as aluminium, I could use 3 or 5mm alu, just a idea.

Real wood for base is good looking and absorb transformers vibrations, there is 3 flavors: soft woods, hard woods and both in the same frame.

Wolf Ear Audio

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Re: Building a new headphone amp. Any suggestions?
« Reply #19 on: 10 May 2018, 04:38 pm »
Congratulations Wolf.
Poland is big source of quality hi-fi manufacturers.
Not need use copper amp table, its expensive and heat dissipations is near the same as aluminium, I could use 3 or 5mm alu, just a idea.

Real wood for base is good looking and absorb transformers vibrations, there is 3 flavors: soft woods, hard woods and both in the same frame.
I should have been more clear. I was just asking what finish you thought would look nice, since the top plate is always aluminum w/ powdercoat (it's just easier this way since I've had no luck with anodizing companies).
I was more interested in what type of wood people like though. I usually use walnut for cost/ aesthetic reasons but my wood guy wanted to use something higher end, which is why I suggested Wenge, etc. My chassis have always been overbuilt/ heavy and vibrations have never been a worry.