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How to turn your AudioSource AMP 100 into a real amp. (Paying it forward)

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  • tyger23
    replied
    Re: How to turn your AudioSource AMP 100 into a real amp. (Paying it forward)

    Originally posted by JRT View Post
    I saw an earlier comment of yours bringing up use of LDRs in another thread. Would it be worth the added complication to remove the pots from the signal path and instead use the pots to control diode protected NPNs to control cap bypassed LEDs optically close coupled to LDRs to attenuate input? Bad idea?
    Not a bad idea, just not worth it in this particular implementation. The work you'll go through to hand-match the LDRs and so on wouldn't be worth it on this class of amplifier. Now, if you wanted to take aim at replacing them with an Alps Blue Velvet or something like that, then I'd say go for it. The distortion introduced by the pots is far below the distortion introduced by the chip amps in this product.

    My issue with the Alps Blue Velvet (why I didn't do it) had to do with the available knobs. Changing to a blue velvet means having to buy new knobs because the factory ones are not compatible. The factory ones are knurled as versus flat. Also, the Blue Velvet's are huge, and I'm not 100% sure they'd fit without cutting away some of the PCB.

    My mods above basically turn an $80 amp into something that competes in the $300-$500 weight class. Personally, I'd reserve the LDR's for an amp that's starting off in the $300-500 weight class.

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  • tyger23
    replied
    Re: How to turn your AudioSource AMP 100 into a real amp. (Paying it forward)

    OK - so I've done some listening comparisons to my NAD amp (C 315BEE) on my Continuums, and it's not too shabby. The NAD still wins on clarity. It seems to have just a touch more treble and just a tad more punch in the low end. However, this AudioSource costs less than half (brand new + modifications).

    The Audiosource comes across as "warmer". Almost like it's a tube amp or a class-A in comparison to the NAD. This likely has to do with the overall distortion. While the AudioSource is not bad ~0.04% THD+N across the board, it's not up to the distortion levels of the NAD (less than 0.01%).

    I don't want to really say one is a winner over the other, as some people like warmth and some like clarity. Where the NAD is punchy and crystal clear, the AudioSource is mellow with an ever-so-slightly more pronounced mid-range. The NAD can actually come across as harsh with poorly recorded music, whereas the AudioSource doesn't.

    Sadly, I don't have a factory AudioSource to compare it to, but I can definitely say that I'm more than pleased with these changes and highly recommend them! Enjoy!

    Leave a comment:


  • JRT
    replied
    Re: How to turn your AudioSource AMP 100 into a real amp. (Paying it forward)

    Originally posted by tyger23 View Post
    ... Replace POTs with better quality. The stock pots on my unit had horrible channel matching. These may not be significantly better, but they make a big difference in volume levels.
    a.) Volume pot is replaced with Bourns PDB182-K430K-104A. Note that this shaft is too long and you must cut down the shaft. Had to order longer length because that’s all Mouser carried.
    b.) Balance pot is replaced with Bourns PDB182-K220K-104B

    .

    Looks like a good project. I was thinking about putting together a system for one of my nieces. She seems to be gaining an interest in better sounding playback.

    I saw an earlier comment of yours bringing up use of LDRs in another thread. Would it be worth the added complication to remove the pots from the signal path and instead use the pots to control diode protected NPNs to control cap bypassed LEDs optically close coupled to LDRs to attenuate input? Bad idea?



    .

    Leave a comment:


  • bkeane1259
    replied
    Re: How to turn your AudioSource AMP 100 into a real amp. (Paying it forward)

    +5

    Many thanks for the well thought out posts. Perfect!! This is a wonderful contribution.

    Leave a comment:


  • kevinr
    replied
    Re: How to turn your AudioSource AMP 100 into a real amp. (Paying it forward)

    +4
    Thanks for sharing and identifying these issues . Lots of these amps around ..... like one at my house .
    Maybe this explains why it sounds underwhelming .
    I was just going to replace mine with a Topping but maybe not now .

    Leave a comment:


  • PWR RYD
    replied
    Re: How to turn your AudioSource AMP 100 into a real amp. (Paying it forward)

    +3

    Leave a comment:


  • Steve Henry
    replied
    Re: How to turn your AudioSource AMP 100 into a real amp. (Paying it forward)

    Originally posted by DanP View Post
    Nice job Tyger.

    Dan
    +2

    Leave a comment:


  • DanP
    replied
    Re: How to turn your AudioSource AMP 100 into a real amp. (Paying it forward)

    Nice job Tyger.

    Dan

    Leave a comment:


  • johnastockman
    replied
    Re: How to turn your AudioSource AMP 100 into a real amp. (Paying it forward)

    Nice work and great write-up! Even with my limited skills, it looks like I could even do that. I see these show up occasionally in thrift stores and pawn shops...might be a fun project to tackle and improve/test my electronic repair skills. Thanks!


    John A.

    Leave a comment:


  • marscoast
    replied
    Re: How to turn your AudioSource AMP 100 into a real amp. (Paying it forward)

    What a cool project - and a great write-up! Kinda makes me want to send you my broken AMP-200! One channel died a few years back and it's been sitting on the shelf waiting for me to learn a thing or two (or fifty) about circuit troubleshooting.

    Leave a comment:


  • tyger23
    replied
    Re: How to turn your AudioSource AMP 100 into a real amp. (Paying it forward)

    Originally posted by MSaturn View Post
    What kind of FETs are they using?
    No fets - just chip amps (TDA7294).

    Originally posted by MSaturn View Post
    Why not upgrade the power supply to 10,000uF a channel?
    A few reasons:
    1. The 10,000uF would have been even harder to fit in physically.
    2. The 10,000uF would have been more expensive.
    3. I don't personally believe that 10,000uF would have bought you anything in this design. I actually considered dropping back to 4,700uF instead of the stock value of 6,800uF. Ended up sticking with the stock value, though.
    4. The larger caps put additional charge and discharge stress on the rectifier circuit that I didn't want to account for.

    You'll note that I didn't make any changes to the rectifier circuit, mostly because I don't think it would net any real performance increase. The current design uses 6A4 rectifiers. Changing to FREDs or something similar just isn't necessary on a linear power supply.

    Originally posted by MSaturn View Post
    Also, I wish you could +1 users around here. This is a fantastic write-up.
    Thanks!

    Leave a comment:


  • MSaturn
    replied
    Re: How to turn your AudioSource AMP 100 into a real amp. (Paying it forward)

    What kind of FETs are they using? Why not upgrade the power supply to 10,000uF a channel?

    Also, I wish you could +1 users around here. This is a fantastic write-up.

    Leave a comment:


  • tyger23
    replied
    Re: How to turn your AudioSource AMP 100 into a real amp. (Paying it forward)

    Edit 5/1/2015 - Cart updated to reflect the new requirement for 5x 27K resistors (change RL1 as mentioned in Post #2).

    All told, these reworks come in at $35.27 in parts with today's pricing. That's a small price to pay for the large increase in performance I see.

    With these changes, I now have much better matching between channels <0.3dB for most of the volume control, much better gain through the system (which helps when using low-level audio output devices like an iPhone or iPod), significantly better behaved harmonic distortion, and a much better frequency response.

    The changes enable the amp to have 0.01dB droop at 20Hz and 0.025dB droop at 20KHz. Even at 100Khz, the amp is only dropping 0.45dB now, where as before it was almost completely gone by 100Khz.

    Listening to the amp, it's much crisper now with significantly better highs and mids, less muddy bass, and better rapid transitions. I haven't compared this to my NAD just yet in a head-to-head battle, but I'll get to it shortly and post back.

    Overall, this is $35 well worth spending on this amp. Given that you can buy the AMP 100 for about $80 in many places around the web, this means that you can have a true hi-fi quality amp for only about $120. I hope you all enjoy this, and let me know if you have any questions.

    Thanks!
    Ty

    (oh, and assuming nobody makes any changes to it, here's the pre-built cart for the Mouser shopping basket: https://www.mouser.com/ProjectManage...sID=9566F60591)
    Last edited by tyger23; 05-01-2015, 06:13 PM.

    Leave a comment:


  • johnnyrichards
    replied
    Re: How to turn your AudioSource AMP 100 into a real amp. (Paying it forward)

    I now wish I had not sold mine. This looks like a fun project, and a great intro to modifying.

    Leave a comment:


  • tyger23
    replied
    Re: How to turn your AudioSource AMP 100 into a real amp. (Paying it forward)

    EDIT 5/1/15 - I added the resistor "RL1" to the reworks in step C of optimizing the amps. This is required for bridging mode. RL1 is located next to the grey bridging wire in the top right corner of the main board.

    Main Board Reworks:
    1. Replace POTs with better quality. The stock pots on my unit had horrible channel matching. These may not be significantly better, but they make a big difference in volume levels.
      a.) Volume pot is replaced with Bourns PDB182-K430K-104A. Note that this shaft is too long and you must cut down the shaft. Had to order longer length because that’s all Mouser carried.
      b.) Balance pot is replaced with Bourns PDB182-K220K-104B
    2. Replace series capacitors with audio quality or remove them all-together.
      a.) Remove C101, C102, C201, C202. Short across on bottom of board where C101 and C201 were removed. Series caps are not needed in this location because there are already blocking caps on the rear panel.
      b.) C104, C204 = Replace with 100uF, 16V Nichicon KA. KA used for temperature (close to heat sink). [Mouser PN UKA1C101MDD1TD]
    3. Change out the op-amp with better quality
      a.) Use an LM4562 for audio path (IC1) [Mouser PN LM4562NA/NOPB]. You could possibly use OPA2134 if preferred, but bandwidth is not as high.
    4. Remove the RF immunity trap to help with high-frequency phase by removing C100 and C200. Note that this will make the amp more susceptible to RF noise. If RF noise experienced, replace caps with 220pF ceramic multi-layer caps. [Mouser PN FK28C0G1H221J]
    5. Increase the gain level and fix the frequency response though the filter.
      a.) Change negative input impedance to 3.9K, 1% (R104, R204). Lowering impedance helps with thermal noise. [Mouser PN 271-3.9K-RC]
      b.) Change feedback resistors to 34K, 1% (R103, R203) [Mouser PN 271-34K-RC]
      c.) Remove the feedback capacitors (C103, C203)
    6. Optimize the Amps:
      a.) Change Negative FB Capacitors (C107 and C207) from 100uF to 470uF, 16V Nichicon KA. KA used for temperature (close to heat sink). [Mouser PN UKA1C471MPD1TD]
      b.) Change Bootstrap capacitors C106 and C206 to Nichicon 100uF, 50V. I recommend using KA due to proximity to heat sink. [Mouser PN UKA1H101MPD1TD]
      c.) Change the FB resistors and input shunts to 27K (R106, R206, R107, R207, RL1). This will bump up the gain a little bit and put the amp in a “happier place”. [Mouser PN 271-27K-RC]
      d.) Remove the RF filter trap capacitors (C105, C205).
      e.) Change the FB shunt resistors to 732 ohms (R108, R208). [Mouser PN 271-732-RC]
      NOTE: Removing and replacing R107, R108, and R208 can be a bear due to the heat sink. I recommend NOT disconnecting the heat sink to avoid the hassle of cleaning of and replacing the factory thermal grease. You CAN remove these resistors without disconnecting the heat sink. You MAY be able to replace them. I was able to replace all but R207 on the top side. I replaced R207 by placing the resistor in the exact spot, but on the bottom side of the board. You can use a similar trick on any of these resistors for ease of installation. If you disconnect the heat sink, you should wipe off and replace the factory thermal grease with high-quality grease like Arctic Silver 5. Also, be sure to note the mica insulator between the amp and the metal. It must isolate the amp from the heat sink when you re-install it.
    7. Optimize power supply
      a.) Change the Bulk Caps to Nichicon KW 6800uF, 50v. [Mouser PN UKW1H682MRD] (C901, C902). Note that these caps are too tall for the amp and have to sit at an angle tilted towards the heat sink. DO NOT cut the leads too short!!!
      b.) Op-amp supply caps to Nichicon KW, 470uF, 25V. [Mouser PN UKW1E471MPD] (C905, C906)
      c.) Diode bypass caps to X7R, 0.1uF, 50V. [Mouser PN FK28X7R1H104K] (C907, C908)


    Here's the bottom of the main board after the reworks:
    Click image for larger version

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    Here's the top of the main board, near the pots, after the reworks:
    Click image for larger version

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    And here's the main board near the amp section:
    Click image for larger version

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    Last edited by tyger23; 05-01-2015, 06:04 PM.

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