Small-ish Amps- Quality vs Quantity? 8-25 watts?

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WC

Re: Small-ish Amps- Quality vs Quantity? 8-25 watts?
« Reply #20 on: 18 Jun 2018, 03:32 am »
Well I am in the midst of building a whole bunch of amp in this wattage range. I have boards for an First Watt M2, 2-Mod-86, and 2 Folsom amps. I am still collecting parts for the amps. I will see how they compare with my 5W Pass ACA monoblocks. The ACA's work OK for my 90db Boston Acoustics HD-9 speakers in my room at my listening levels. I am planning to change to Jordon Eikonia 2 MLTL speakers which will be less efficient, so we will see how well it works together.

ohenry

Re: Small-ish Amps- Quality vs Quantity? 8-25 watts?
« Reply #21 on: 18 Jun 2018, 04:10 am »
It's funny, the Pass ACA works better for me than the F5 with Hornshoppe Horns.  I use a Hornshoppe Truth preamp with them and they are impressive little guys.  I preordered the new single chassis ACA just to see if there are any improvements.  The ACA is a great little wonder IMO and has that great class a sound.

Small class d and chip amps scare me as historically they've hurt my ears and the two dimensional sound stage is a turn off.  I haven't heard the little Folsom amp, so it must be something special.  All the enthusiasm can't be misplaced.

It's all about synergy as usual...

Folsom

Re: Small-ish Amps- Quality vs Quantity? 8-25 watts?
« Reply #22 on: 18 Jun 2018, 04:16 am »
My amp doesn't do well with the Horn Shoppe Horns.

They do best with low feedback it seems.

JLM

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Re: Small-ish Amps- Quality vs Quantity? 8-25 watts?
« Reply #23 on: 18 Jun 2018, 12:17 pm »
Numbers don't tell the whole story.  I had surprising success with a 7 wpc Tripath on 90 dB/w/m floor-standers (rated 30-20,000 Hz, 8 ohms, single driver), but bumping up to 40 watt mono-blocks turned them from polite dinner guests into NFL linebackers in tuxedos.  regardless the amp needs to provide a commanding grip on the speakers to improve resolution and develop the full potential out of the speakers. 

THROWBACK

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Re: Small-ish Amps- Quality vs Quantity? 8-25 watts?
« Reply #24 on: 18 Jun 2018, 01:08 pm »
I’m with Angaria (Reply #5): “Try an OTL.”

I have Danny’s open-baffle LS-9s (with a 3-stack of 12” servo subs per side) powered by Atma-Sphere monoblocks and the great sound I’m getting from my vinyl-based system now has ruined my hobby. I no longer sleep in a tent next to my mailbox waiting for the latest issues of Stereophile and Absolute sound. I no longer have a “hot-line” for tweaks. I haven’t seen my analyst for months (even though I still hear the “voices”). My wife even agreed to let me have the audiophilia-nervosa detector/transmitter she insisted on surgically removed. Now - - are you sitting down? - - I JUST LISTEN TO MUSIC.

Gasp! Where did I go wrong? I have abandoned a hobby that has been a major sustaining life force for over sixty years. “Oh, he’ll be back,” my friends say smugly. I don’t think so. I believe I have arrived at a point where I am source-limited. I cannot even imagine how my system could be improved. “What if I . . . ?” NO! “But just a little more . . . “ UH-UH! “Maybe I should try to . . .” FORGET IT!

There is a problem, though. One of these days - - probably in the next 5 years or so - - my wife and I will have to move into a graduated care facility. Just no way to beat the actuarial tables.  So I’m looking to assemble a smaller system (no headphones yet, please) based on solid-state amplification, digital downloads, and streaming. But that’s the ONLY reason I’m still looking. So you’ll still see me at the Rocky Mountain Audiofest (I live in Colorado) and I’ll still do system hops with audio buddies. And I'll still be checking in at Audio Circle.

But, you know what? Just listening to music ain’t so bad. You guys should try it sometime.

OzarkTom

Re: Small-ish Amps- Quality vs Quantity? 8-25 watts?
« Reply #25 on: 19 Jun 2018, 12:35 am »
How about a new little 40 watter? That is only 2db more than a 25 watter. My buddy Rex called me yesterday about a new Burson Bang amp for $600 where you can roll op amps instead of tubes to get the flavor you want. From now till the end of this month you can get 20% off sale if you use the code opasale. It sounds very interesting. Includes a 30 day money back guarantee. :thumb:

Also, you can add op amps for the 20% off sale.

https://www.bursonaudio.com/products/bang/

Folsom

Re: Small-ish Amps- Quality vs Quantity? 8-25 watts?
« Reply #26 on: 19 Jun 2018, 12:56 am »
It might be a class A B but the thing about it is you're still using a switch mode power supply. It probably is decent.
« Last Edit: 19 Jun 2018, 02:36 am by Folsom »

FullRangeMan

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Re: Small-ish Amps- Quality vs Quantity? 8-25 watts?
« Reply #27 on: 19 Jun 2018, 01:01 am »
Yes specs say its Class AB, it need a preamp too, resistors are 1% :thumb:

HT cOz

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Re: Small-ish Amps- Quality vs Quantity? 8-25 watts?
« Reply #28 on: 19 Jun 2018, 05:27 am »
Over in Cheap and Cheerful they are talking about TPA3251/55 based amps which have more power.  Have any of you all sampled these designs?  I'm always inclined to go for more power if possible. 

OzarkTom

Re: Small-ish Amps- Quality vs Quantity? 8-25 watts?
« Reply #29 on: 19 Jun 2018, 01:08 pm »
Yes specs say its Class AB, it need a preamp too, resistors are 1% :thumb:

You can also add their Play to the Bang for $999 total for both pieces less 20% till the end of June. The Play is a 2 watt Class A headphone amp-pre-DAC with remote control.

https://www.bursonaudio.com/products/play/

For the Bang+Fun-$849 less 20%. Fun is a Play without the DAC and remote.

https://www.bursonaudio.com/products/fun/

Free shipping and 30 day guarantee is included.

Danny Richie

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Re: Small-ish Amps- Quality vs Quantity? 8-25 watts?
« Reply #30 on: 19 Jun 2018, 03:00 pm »
I'd like to provide a little additional information on the Folsom amp. I think there can be a lot of variation in the performance from build to build. For instance, I started testing these chips early on thanks to Scott Clark. I started out listening to one of these cheap assemblies using a Chinese copy of the chip:

https://www.ebay.com/itm/Mini-Digital-Amplifier-Stereo-Audio-12V-Amp-Board-15W-15W-Dual-Channel-Speak-Car/183256353617?hash=item2aaaee0b51:g:738AAOSw0lVbDYw~

I think you can find versions for under $4.00 still.

It sounded okay, and I could tell there was a lot of potential. But it wasn't anything super incredible. After I stripped everything off of it and used high quality wire and connectors it was completely different.

These chips are super transparent and sound like whatever you feed them. They really lack their own signature. It's everything else that gives them a specific character or sound.

So back to the Folosm amp. The boards, chips, and implementation are excellent. If building more of them I'd go with his kits over the cheap Chinese amps that you can buy on E-bay that use the same chip number. But again not all builds will be the same. Choice of input coupling caps, wire, connectors, and everything that goes into the build will have an effect. So not all builds will in any way be equal. Like most amps I get much different results with different power cables, Uber Buss in the system, balanced power supplies, etc.  Everything matters.

I did feel like the top end on this one that I built out was a little softer than the mono-blocks I made using the amps from E-bay. But I think it was because of one of two things. 1) It could be because I used an input coupling cap with the Folsom amp and with my amps there was no coupling cap used. My pre-amp has 3.3uF Jupiter caps in the output and a .047uF Sonicap (for high pass filtering) on one output. So with the Folsom amp there are two coupling caps in the path. I'd like to try by-passing the coupling cap and hear what happens. Mine aren't stable with the 3.3uF output coupling caps of my pre-amp, but are fine with the smaller .047uF caps. The Folsom amp might be fine on the 3.3uF Coupling caps. I don't know. 2) Or it could be that the Folsom amp will continue to open up on the top end when the Sonicap Platinum caps have burned in longer.

I didn't find it at all forward or in my face. It was very smooth and had a nice sound stage. It is fast though and has very sharp detail though. But if I plugged it straight into the wall with a cheap power cable then that might all change.

With my Super-7 speakers I may actually prefer the sound of my small tube amps with some music as the Super-7's are also super fast and have very sharp detail. There is a lot to be said for system matching. My recommendation is to borrow or try all that you can and decide what works best for your system. And I highly recommend giving the Folsom amp a try. As cheap as it is to build, build one for the fun of it, and keep it around as point of reference. It might even stay in your system.

FullRangeMan

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Re: Small-ish Amps- Quality vs Quantity? 8-25 watts?
« Reply #31 on: 19 Jun 2018, 03:07 pm »
You can also add their Play to the Bang for $999 total for both pieces less 20% till the end of June. The Play is a 2 watt Class A headphone amp-pre-DAC with remote control.

https://www.bursonaudio.com/products/play/

For the Bang+Fun-$849 less 20%. Fun is a Play without the DAC and remote.

https://www.bursonaudio.com/products/fun/

Free shipping and 30 day guarantee is included.
Considering price/value ratio the Odyssey Cyclops is the great winner at just 1K usd.

rodge827

Re: Small-ish Amps- Quality vs Quantity? 8-25 watts?
« Reply #32 on: 19 Jun 2018, 04:41 pm »
When you say “smallish amps” are you referring to physical size as well as wattage output?

OzarkTom

Re: Small-ish Amps- Quality vs Quantity? 8-25 watts?
« Reply #33 on: 19 Jun 2018, 05:54 pm »
That Odyssey amp is quite big. The Burson is a fairly new design, some here might like to try a new breed. Does the Cyclops include a DAC? Price is now $1095. Any 30 day return policy?

The Odyssey is 110 WPC, not small in power either.

http://www.odysseyaudio.com/products-cyclops.html

And no remote or headphone amp? Free shipping?

FullRangeMan

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Re: Small-ish Amps- Quality vs Quantity? 8-25 watts?
« Reply #34 on: 19 Jun 2018, 08:53 pm »
Too good the Cyclops dont include a DAC,
but 110W is too much power to my 94dB FR.

Tyson

Re: Small-ish Amps- Quality vs Quantity? 8-25 watts?
« Reply #35 on: 19 Jun 2018, 10:00 pm »
I've had such a good experience w/the 2 watt SET amp I have with the Super 7's, that I just bought a 20 watt SET amp.  Which is funny because I don't actually feel like I ever ran out of power with the 2 watter.  But I can't let go of the idea that I "might" run out of power out of my head, and being the compulsive audiophile that I am, decided that a 20 watt amp SET is going to let me chillax a bit during loud/heavy parts of the music   :banana piano: :rock:

S Clark

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Re: Small-ish Amps- Quality vs Quantity? 8-25 watts?
« Reply #36 on: 19 Jun 2018, 10:27 pm »
When you say “smallish amps” are you referring to physical size as well as wattage output?
What I had in mind was the group of small wattage amps, just bigger than the flea watt crowd.  The little SET three or four watt amps get a lot of discussion, but the next group up seems to be overlooked.  I was kinda wondering why.  My Dodd 14 watt 6qb5 amps do a lot of things right, but they are in a power range that doesn't get much discussion.  Simply asking what others experience is. 

FullRangeMan

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Re: Small-ish Amps- Quality vs Quantity? 8-25 watts?
« Reply #37 on: 19 Jun 2018, 10:31 pm »
I also have a mania for wanting things big, so I decided a 6C33 SE was perfect to my needs :scratch:

Tyson

Re: Small-ish Amps- Quality vs Quantity? 8-25 watts?
« Reply #38 on: 19 Jun 2018, 10:50 pm »
I also have a mania for wanting things big, so I decided a 6C33 SE was perfect to my needs :scratch:

Hey, me too!!  I bought the Almarra 318B that uses this exact tube. 

Tyson

Re: Small-ish Amps- Quality vs Quantity? 8-25 watts?
« Reply #39 on: 19 Jun 2018, 10:53 pm »
What I had in mind was the group of small wattage amps, just bigger than the flea watt crowd.  The little SET three or four watt amps get a lot of discussion, but the next group up seems to be overlooked.  I was kinda wondering why.  My Dodd 14 watt 6qb5 amps do a lot of things right, but they are in a power range that doesn't get much discussion.  Simply asking what others experience is. 

I’ve had really great experience with the 30 watt First Watt designs.  I’ve always felt the Decware amps would be a good match, too.  Or the SEP Fire Bottle designs tha Dennis Had has been kicking out lately.