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T-amp (Off Topic)

by Bert @, Thursday, October 05, 2006, 20:33 (4124 days ago)

Hi All,

Since short time I have a T-amp (Super T). I have to say that I am not as enthousiastic as other people writing about it. It makes me nervous to listen to it for more than a few tracks...

It sounds great at the first notes but after a while things do not seem to be "real" with lack of "drive" and fuzzy imaging.

It is still the standard one with Switching Power adapter which is not good I guess but still, this is what other people also hear and talk only positive about it?

Am I grazy or do I have different standards?

Anyway, the reason why I bought it was to hear it myself and to find out why notch filters seem to work differently on this amp (impedance issues?).

Any users who can give me some good tips to improve this thing? I know about using a good battery supply, I will do that but what else will make this amp sound less 'nervous' to me?

ciao,

Bert

--
BD-Design - Only the Best!

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by Ivo, Friday, October 06, 2006, 04:20 (4124 days ago) @ Bert

Hi Bert,

Any users who can give me some good tips to improve this thing?

I'm not a user, but I have read that people have the same experience as you do. Then they change the power supply to battery power, they change the connectors, internal cabling, they change a capacitor to get lower bass, they replace the plastic housing with something heavier...

I think there comes a point when their T-amps stop being T-amps and stop being cheap. But of course, people are using them, so it's good that you try them out with your stuff to know what's going on.

Ivo

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by James D, Friday, October 06, 2006, 07:53 (4123 days ago) @ Bert

Hello Bert,

I have the same experience with the T-amp. Upgrades are as Ivo has outline and they help but it is still a long way from a good valve SE amp...

I also have built two of the 41KHz module 5s and they are better than the upgraded T-amp but still behind my valve amps...

Most people (all) who have good valve amps and BD-Design speakers have a rather different standard than the typical person choosing a T-amp. After all we are listening every day through very revealing and toneful speakers :grin:

James

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by giulio @, Friday, October 06, 2006, 12:34 (4123 days ago) @ Bert

Hi,

I have had a modded T-AMP (new case, battery supply and MKP 2.2u input caps).

Compared to a gainclone with standard components it sounded, after some break-in, significantly better to me on my supravox 215rtf64 open baffle speakers with Aurum Cantus ESG-1 ribbon tweeters.

The T-amp was sweeter and had a very black background. Imaging was very precise. I gave the T-amp to my mum as a present. I now listen to a Charlize from diyparadise. It has a different chip - 2020 rather than 2024. It has less detail, less precise imaging and I think it is slightly noisier than the T-amp. Its tonal balance is less tipped up though.

I think you may not like the tonal balance of a T-amp compared to a valve amp, but its imaging and prat abilities are quite good in my experience.

Best
Giulio

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by soundcheck @, Germany, Friday, October 06, 2006, 12:46 (4123 days ago) @ Bert

Hi Bert and other folks.

Great that you bring it up. :grin:

I am running a T-AMP as main-amp, since roughly 4 months now.

To make a long story short. I havn't heard a better AMP in my chain yet!
(Though it needs some tweaks!)

I was running ICE-Power before. These are driving my subwoofers now.

The way I went:

I bought the Charlize version, which is far better than the standard T-amp
and some other modules which are available.
80$ is a real fair price for the delivered quality and quality parts on the board I'd say. And it is more or less plug and play. I like the combination of smd and standard parts a lot - makes tweaking at the right spots much easier.

Still, not very much survived on the original board:

I replaced all caps with Blackgate NonPolars. And very important changed the input caps to Mundorf Silver/Gold.

Charlize is using Air-Coils in the output. Which is OK.
I replaced it with Mundorf AirCoils which is better. Lower level detail
increases a lot. The Mundorf coils are getting the vibrations down to an absolute minimum. (Explanations can be found on the Mundorf homepage)

Power is again a Nortstar NSB 90 Battery buffered with BlackGates NP. Dynamics and transients are just great. Smaller batteries (and most probably other brands) will always be a compromise and no option for a non-compromise system.

All cabling/wiring is Vooddoo silver solid core.

And one of the key issues: I glued a Shakti-Online to the back of the Tripath chip. Noise is gone! Lower level details again improved a lot.

This amp plays just great.

I had a Tube-"Maniac" at home the other day.

He was nothing less than shocked!
I got him my spare-amp for testing. :grin:

I love this little amp. With all the mods I applied and the battery
you are ending up at roughly 400-500€ (200€ for the Battery only!) in parts for the stereo setup.

The amp is quite load sensitive and with 5-6W on 8R not very powerful. On 8R or higher you really should have a very sensitive system above 98db to play at a decent volume. Distortion increases quickly on higher volumes.
Here a tube shows nicer/smoother sound if you run it into its limits.
Consider that you also need to have a different filter for different loads in the output. Standard is usually the 4R setup. You have to lower some caps here. That'll change/adapt the roll-off in the upper range.

My summary. This amp is a great amp. If tweaked a bit it does everything right.
On my wishlist would be a differential input and 5 more Watts to get some headroom on live volume levels - to name the small disadvantages I see.


Klaus

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by ffd @, Friday, October 06, 2006, 13:06 (4123 days ago) @ soundcheck

Hi
I too am an owner of a modded T and I am waiting for another Air core Charlize to arrive
I am going to try a two quasi monoblocks approach. Greatly appiciate all the sharing of tweaks on this thread. I look fwd to trying them all. One question, If I may; Internal wiring for Charlize? I used some left over 47labs for the T amp.
Off Topic
Is Peter’s GC available?
Thx
ffd

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GC - HighEnd?

by Bert @, Friday, October 06, 2006, 13:37 (4123 days ago) @ ffd

Hi ffd,

Is Peter’s GC available?

Not for a while I guess. I have it playing here (through a FireFace400) and it beats Foobar at all fronts. It is a "lousy" program to work with though, sometimes it stops (for no reason), sometimes it can't connect to a needed driver, there is always a pause between tracks, the looks are not that good, etc...

But hey, it sounds great! Even if I have to restart it several times within the hour, I can live with that for a while.... :smile:

Ciao,

Bert

--
BD-Design - Only the Best!

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GC - HighEnd?

by PeterSt. ⌂ @, Netherlands, Friday, October 06, 2006, 23:19 (4123 days ago) @ Bert

Hey Bert,

Is Peter’s GC available?


Not for a while I guess. I have it playing here (through a FireFace400)
and it beats Foobar at all fronts. It is a "lousy" program to work with
though, sometimes it stops (for no reason), sometimes it can't connect to
a needed driver, there is always a pause between tracks, the looks are not
that good, etc...

But hey, it sounds great! Even if I have to restart it several times
within the hour, I can live with that for a while.... :smile:

Ha ! thanks for devistating words ! :heat:
But luckily I promised ...
Also, you might recall that "overhere" it can last for an hour easily, if only the CD lasts that long ... :evil:
But when you are low on memory, there's not much to recall !

Just joking.
At this moment it's really to show off music quality only. I will work on it as soon as Vista is out. Promise !

Peter

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by Bert @, Friday, October 06, 2006, 23:39 (4123 days ago) @ PeterSt.

Hi Peter,

Ha ! thanks for devistating words ! :heat:

Sorry for that but at least now people know that the player isn't ready yet... :blush:

But luckily I promised ...

I know, only trying to motivate you to speed things up... :wink:

But when you are low on memory, there's not much to recall !

I will get some extra memory in the laptop now for sure!

At this moment it's really to show off music quality only. I will work on it as soon as Vista is out. Promise !

Almost can't wait for a stable version. Is the pre-release of Vista not suitable to do things ahead?

Bert

--
BD-Design - Only the Best!

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by PeterSt. ⌂ @, Netherlands, Saturday, October 07, 2006, 09:59 (4122 days ago) @ Bert

Hi Bert,

Almost can't wait for a stable version. Is the pre-release of Vista not
suitable to do things ahead?

Yes and no;
Vista RC-1 itself will be okay, but the "official" drivers for that are not. The least I will need are official drivers for my own Fiterface800, otherwise I won't know what I'm testing. Remember, this all begins with bit perfect playback, and as things look now it might even be harder to do that with the first Vista version. However, it looks like there's a chance that in SP1 it will just become easy for all of us to have bit perfect playback.

All is about differences like :
- In XP M$ doesn't even admit or understand that there's no bit perfect playback possible without KS/ASIO.
- In Vista KS won't be possible (but I have to wait see really), and apart from ASIO now ON PURPOSE it's not bit perfect.

The latter is about converting to 24 bits by standard, adding dither by standard, and going back to 16 bits towards the DAC etc. (and then applying dither again).
There's a possibility that in SP1 this whole path is avoided by choice, and then there's no problem in the bit perfect area.

Note : dither means randomizing the least significant bit, because you know in advance the last bit can be wrong due to roundings after (DSP) calculations.

What I need to do for sure, is attaching the sound device exclusively (which is possibly as of RC-1) in order the "kmixer" problems are avoided, but which need the sound card drivers for Vista.

All 'n all I will wait for the official Visa release, but in the mean time I will work on other stuff around GC.

I will get some extra memory in the laptop now for sure!

I am not sure yet, but I assume that I will achieve the best results anyway with an amount of memory where a complete CD fits in. That will be 1GB including the OS stuff.

Peter

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by PeterSt. ⌂ @, Netherlands, Saturday, October 07, 2006, 10:12 (4122 days ago) @ Bert

sometimes it stops (for no reason), sometimes it can't connect to
a needed driver,

To help you a bit for now :

- Be about sure that at the first startup of the day (I think at spinup of the disk), something will go wrong. If not in the first song (song plays exactly double -> clipping), then in the second (double but shifted -> echo).

- With too few memory a first song which doesn't fit will be okay, but a second will stop. Most often that is. If you have 512MB of memory, near 600 seconds of music will fit. Watch the disk lamp.

- When the load time is too slow, the song will be cut near the end, but that implying problems for the next song again. Note that the latter ("problems") only occur with too few memory again.

- When a selected number of songs have played, always stop and restart. If you don't do that you might end up in unexpected problems again.

Good luck !
Peter

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by werner @, Saturday, October 07, 2006, 11:00 (4122 days ago) @ PeterSt.

Hello Peter,

Where can I download this program?
I would like to try (with all it's limitations)

Regards
Werner

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by PeterSt. ⌂ @, Netherlands, Saturday, October 07, 2006, 12:08 (4122 days ago) @ werner

Where can I download this program?
I would like to try (with all it's limitations)

I appreciate it Werner, but no, not at this moment.
:confused:

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by soundcheck @, Germany, Friday, October 06, 2006, 14:55 (4123 days ago) @ ffd

@ffd:

I am going to try a two quasi monoblocks approach.

What's your goal by doing that?

47labs for the T amp.

As I said, my whole system is Voodoo Silver Solid core. It does a great job,
and it's rather inexpensive. There are some reviews about it on TNT.

I took the decision once not to run after every single cable any longer.

As my T-AMP is integrated, sitting in one box, with the DAC and my S&B TX102,
times of discussing interconnects and connectors are finally over. :grin:

@Bert

The load interacts with the outputfilter. Here is the spec:

http://www.tripath.com/downloads/TA2020.pdf

Klaus

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by ffd @, Sunday, October 08, 2006, 15:22 (4121 days ago) @ soundcheck

Sorry for the delayed response. My four legged companion fell ill.
I hope to reap some benfit from a short signal path and I'll have to see what elese once I have finished.I ask about the wires because I was unable to find bulk supplies of solid silver wire (except for Homegrown Audio -- Anyone work with them before?) thx so much for the info
cheers
ffd

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by Bert @, Friday, October 06, 2006, 13:29 (4123 days ago) @ soundcheck

Hi Klaus,

The amp is quite load sensitive and with 5-6W on 8R not very powerful.

What do you mean with load sensitive? Impedance variations or more related to the available output power for a certain resistance? Is the T-amp reacting to the impedance variations?

I can measure that when I have some more time though but if so, then the perceived tonal balance highly denpends on the impedance (and variations) that is connected to the output. I have never have seen a speaker with a constant load from 20hz up to 20kHz....

Ciao,

Bert

--
BD-Design - Only the Best!

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by giulio @, Friday, October 06, 2006, 19:54 (4123 days ago) @ Bert

Hi Bert,

there are two caps in parallel with the output forming a high pass filter at ultrasonic frequencies.
The frequency cutoff is affected by the speaker load (I think the filter is set for a load in the 8ohm range).

Best
Giulio

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by giulio @, Friday, October 06, 2006, 19:55 (4123 days ago) @ giulio

Hi Bert,

there are two caps in parallel with the output

I mean one cap per channel...:blush:

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by Phil Townsend @, Sunday, October 08, 2006, 23:55 (4121 days ago) @ soundcheck

Klaus,

What vales Mundorfs did you use at the inputs and what values for the inductors...

Thanks
Phil
Santa Fe
nnew Mexico

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by soundcheck @, Germany, Monday, October 09, 2006, 10:15 (4120 days ago) @ Phil Townsend

Hi Phil.


What vales Mundorfs did you use at the inputs and what values for the
inductors...

2,7uF for the caps. (Charlize original: 10uF electolytic)
11uH for the foil coils. (these one are custom made and can't be ordered off the shelve - you need to get in contact with Mundorf if you want them. They cost around 8€/10$ each. It takes a week for them to prepare the coils
There are a couple of people by now who ordered them for the same purpose,
Mundorf knows what you're asking for.)

\Klaus

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by PeterSt. ⌂ @, Netherlands, Friday, October 06, 2006, 23:08 (4123 days ago) @ Bert

Disclaimer : All what I say in the below may be the truth, the half truth or just complete lies after all.
:wacko: :wacko: :wacko:

Well, it seems that more of us tried the T-Amp. Possibly that is because we ran out of money because we *had* to buy a couple of BD speakers ... :pleasantry:

I used the unmodded Super-T, you know, the one with metal case, gold plated speaker terminals, with a weight of a few 100 gramms, including the PSU.
The only amp which blows itself out of place, once connected to a pair of 112dB speakers ...
:clapping:

The T-Amp was connected to the mid/high part of the Swings, AKA the Orphean.
By means of the way Bert applies the filters, it also was used as a pre-amp for the bass part of the Swings, those in the end fed by my 110W RMS SS amps.
My reference : the same SS amps, their other halve used for the mid/high (two stereo pairs).

The player ? GC.

The differences :dancing:

First of all, and this is important to the story, I am trying to get back the imaging which in my old house could be even many meters behind me. I already determined that the most important "phenomenon" to achieve this is not the speakers, although it will be phase related. It's also not exactly the room (though that will help I think), and in the end it will be the complete setup. (Length of) Cables, I'm not sure yet. But as I said to myself the other day ... it's coming ...

The night the T-Amp was connected the first time, coincidentally all came together for some song, and a particular lower note guitar riff played at about 30 degrees at the right behind the listening position, at a few meters distance. In such a situation you just can point to it ... and it's playing at a few square decimeters ...
Reflections, right ?
I can tell you, 4.5 meters behind the listening position I could point out the exact same position where the riff was playing. Btw, nothing new for me (old house), but coincidentally this evening it was the first time that there was sound right behind the listening position in my new house. Note that this position was in front of the 4.5m distance position.

Of possible importance could be that it was me at the 4.5m distance, and it was another person at the listening position, turning around and shouting about the sound behind him, me myself shouting the same thing because the phenomenon happening. So we both pointed to the same place in space.
Btw, of complete unimportance is the fact that the person at the listening position has the initials B.D., really.
:drinks:

Oh, not to forget, the above story was with my non-T amps playing ...

Right. So what's the use of the above ? :dntknw:
Well, for me, everything;

Because we had a kind of formal session to workout results with the Swings, filters, placement and all, I prepared this stream of example songs for B.D.
And, because we for fun connected the feather weight T-Amp, we played part of the same stream to compare ...

With the T-Amp the riff playing behind the listening position, did not change 1 cm for position. Same for the 4.5m distance from the listening position. But, where before we heard a riff, now we heard a *far* more complete and bodied instrument. Wow ! :thankyou:

More positives

Nice title, but no.
And this is exactly why I personally can't understand this thingy.
Remember, it was the unmodded far to few weighing amp.
At the third song we just had to switch it off.
Oh, I forgot ... at the first 10 seconds of it playing I already wanted to switch it off (witnesses present), and only because it was stupid to do so we encountered the far better imaging. But the rest ?

I tried to play with it for two more days before I said "the hell with it", and then I shut it off.

The vibes of the bass just weren't there.
The highs were smeared enormeously.
No emotion whatsoever. Complete "Grey" sound.
To me it appeared that there was no way this thing could be modded into something with decent sound.

But still there was this strange better imaging. In the beginning.
I'd even dare to say that the more it had breaked in, the worse it became.
Really really strange, and in the end I felt my judgements were worthless. I have heard something which wasn't true or so.


Later, I found that -indeed- the T-Amp Super-T will have distortion of no less than 20% or so, when it's driven over 6 Watts.
But also I found that other chip versions could do 100 Watts (4 channels, per channel) and can be bridged. This chips cost nothing, and a pair of 4 channel chips really would remain under the huge distortion level (by heart : 0.01 %).
About all around the chip can be improved, and who knows what it can bring.

One last thing to confuse the story once more :
Because the T-Amp is as it is and I didn't have two of them, it had to be positioned in the middle between the speakers. This meant different speaker cables from what I was used to. Later, when I shut it off, I kept on using the same cables with my own amps with more or less similar results now opposed to the T-Amp.
Because I had changed cables anyway, I tried more cable setups, all with the minimum length possible (which is about 20cm). Nothing satisfied me.
I ended up with the original cables of about 1,50m long. Cables ? better call them wires, because the plus and minus each consisted of one twisted pair of CAT5 Ethernet, as originally advised by B.D. ... (remember, this is to the mid/high).


You can do NOTHING with this "information". But I think the T-Amp chips have a potential which really should be tried out. I'd use the 4x100W chips (50W RMS I think), bridged to 400W (200W RMS) per channel to remain under the distortion level for sure (which would be 30% of total RMS level).
And you know, because it's a chip thing, the whole design is layed out in a data sheet, and you'd know what to tweak.

Give it a chance !

Peter

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by PeterSt. ⌂ @, Netherlands, Tuesday, January 09, 2007, 12:15 (4028 days ago) @ PeterSt.

Btw, this (hearing bass chords) did not happen with the T-Amp.

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