Author Topic: What is the ultimite amplifier  (Read 9310 times)

Offline stevenvalve

  • Administrator
  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 1512
  • Liked: 269
What is the ultimite amplifier
« on: March 08, 2014, 08:47:32 PM »
I am going to build with Paul baker (Fallsaudio) what is is potentially the world best sounding amplifier. Is there such an amp.

It will be an all battery powered, single ended class a triode Amplifier. The weapons of choice will be genuine 1910 -20s Western Electric Tennis Ball 205Ds valves. I will run either 1 per side, about half a watt, or 2 per side in singe ended parallel configuration about 1 watt. As for driver tubes well that is up to debate, (an ideas). Running battery power means no mains transformer, rectifier valve, no chokes, almost no components except output transformers, resistors, and some capacitors etc. I will maybe use Lundahl output transformers (any ideas). I have heard a similar amp many years ago, and the sound was so pure, grainless, smooth, sophisticated, it was amazing. the valves in that amp where (Western Electric 417A) not nearly as good as what I will use. For those of you who don't know tubes, the Western Electric tennis ball 205D are the holey grail audio valves, and a legend worldwide, and ridiculously expensive, I have 4 (reading better than new), Western Electric tennis ball 205D, Up to $4000 a pair, and I also have the English STC tennis ball equivalents. We will need quite a few battery's, enough for around 250 volts.  I think a copper top is the way to go, wood is nice but soundwise its risky. This will be interesting.
« Last Edit: March 09, 2014, 06:02:22 PM by stevenvalve »

Offline ozmillsy

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 2167
  • Liked: 245
Re: What is the ultimite amplifier
« Reply #1 on: March 08, 2014, 09:28:00 PM »
Thats exciting.

Will 1/2 watt drive your Axioms?
It's all about the music,, not the equipment.

Offline Jehuty

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 1385
  • Liked: 110
Re: What is the ultimite amplifier
« Reply #2 on: March 08, 2014, 10:53:26 PM »
Put the Axiom 80s in front loaded horns  ;D
Not all that matters can be measured, not all that can be measured matters.

Offline Tuyen

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 554
  • Liked: 211
Re: What is the ultimite amplifier
« Reply #3 on: March 08, 2014, 11:05:03 PM »
wowzers Steven!   Look forward to reading about the progress.  Even though I haven't heard your system yet, from photos, your current amp already looks like the ultimate amp!

lundahl meant to be good?    how about local (ie. blackart?)      can't source any original WE output transformers?

Offline springcreek

  • Sr. Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 475
  • Liked: 74
Re: What is the ultimite amplifier
« Reply #4 on: March 09, 2014, 07:50:50 AM »
Nice but is battery power the way to go? I think many of the battery power supply advocates have moved back to well thought out conventional power supplies, suggesting they surpass batteries (especially in dynamics).

Offline vitavoxdude

  • Beauty is in the ear of the beholder
  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 1151
  • Liked: 63
  • Caring and sharing
Re: What is the ultimite amplifier
« Reply #5 on: March 09, 2014, 01:52:50 PM »
Thats exciting.

Will 1/2 watt drive your Axioms?

That is the continuous output rating so music is all about peaks which would be a factor above that so yes, I'd say at normal listening levels the amp would just drive the Goodmans speakers without terrorising the neighbours.  A large pair of horns like the 15a's would be something special.  OK watching this build Steveo.

The battery bank is going to be expensive too but once free of the mains the grunge drops away to leave a very natural hands off result from my experiance with no 'EDGE' just what you want to remove GLARE from digital replay.  Are you going to use the 2V Solar type cells or truck 24V cells?.
V
We all like different things so lets all agree to disagree and if any common ground is found then worship it.  Mine is the KD hence being present on this forum.

Offline stevenvalve

  • Administrator
  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 1512
  • Liked: 269
Re: What is the ultimite amplifier
« Reply #6 on: March 09, 2014, 02:26:52 PM »
That is the continuous output rating so music is all about peaks which would be a factor above that so yes, I'd say at normal listening levels the amp would just drive the Goodmans speakers without terrorising the neighbours.  A large pair of horns like the 15a's would be something special.  OK watching this build Steveo.

The battery bank is going to be expensive too but once free of the mains the grunge drops away to leave a very natural hands off result from my experiance with no 'EDGE' just what you want to remove GLARE from digital replay.  Are you going to use the 2V Solar type cells or truck 24V cells?.
V
The other similar amp had  lots of jaycar 12 volt battery's, about 2 inch wide, 6 inch long, 3 inch high. battery's brands and type do sound different, and at the price I will have to choose wisely. Any idea's regarding battery type's

Offline vitavoxdude

  • Beauty is in the ear of the beholder
  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 1151
  • Liked: 63
  • Caring and sharing
Re: What is the ultimite amplifier
« Reply #7 on: March 09, 2014, 02:52:04 PM »
Yes......................from a life cycle point of view the wet bath type used in telephone exchanges would be favorite followed by submarine batteries  :o and then into sane land, deep discharge 'leisure' type batteries.  I have 30 or so SLA 12v batteries which are a real pain to hook up and charge, they do have self noise and last around 3 to 5 years if looked after properly.  I got these from a couple of UPS devices which were decommissioned.  There are some brands that are recommended, Hitachi are supposed to be good, mine are Panasonic branded but with China making almost everything they could be anything for all I know, its all to easy to place sticky labels. :'(

Your dimensions describe a 7 amp hour type 12 volt battery.  What will the B+ rail be running at?

AGM - glass mat batteries are supposedly superior to conventional lead acid types but its really hard getting the inside line from battery manufactures.  The thickness and spacing of cells largely determines life expectancy.  As a marine Eng I used to maintain a large bank of cells and I'd use tablets in each cell to condition them (stop build up on the plates) and keep them trickle charged at all times, you could extend their lives a couple of extra years this way.  Generally marine type batteries are built stronger and better than normal ones but it comes at a hefty price hike.

I'd say make your own, you can get battery acid, lead etc.  Some research would be needed but the info is out there with the wonderful WWW.

There are a lot of people in third world countries who cut the top off car batteries and clean the plates, empty and replenish the acid, they then sell these on but the battery suppliers do not want you to know you can do this.  Recycling is in my wallet along with moths this time of year :-[

V
We all like different things so lets all agree to disagree and if any common ground is found then worship it.  Mine is the KD hence being present on this forum.

Offline stevenvalve

  • Administrator
  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 1512
  • Liked: 269
Re: What is the ultimite amplifier
« Reply #8 on: March 09, 2014, 02:59:58 PM »
Nice but is battery power the way to go? I think many of the battery power supply advocates have moved back to well thought out conventional power supplies, suggesting they surpass batteries (especially in dynamics).
Dynamics was a weakness with the other battery amp. I think that was because it did not run driver tubes, just the power tubes. I will run driver tubes. But what driver tube is up to the standed of the western electric tennis ball 205D, that is a problem. Mulland ECC32 brown base is an interesting choice. Is the best configured mains power better than good sounding battery's, well I have tried many configurations of mains with my transport clock and I still run battery, but it has to be the right battery, some sound better, This is my picture of my clock battery and it does sound great, I think it is some kind of jell. I used to use a bank of Eveready rechargeable energizer 1.5 volt, to make 12 volts, they sounded very good
« Last Edit: March 09, 2014, 03:02:56 PM by stevenvalve »

Offline gamve

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 731
  • Liked: 210
Re: What is the ultimite amplifier
« Reply #9 on: March 09, 2014, 03:05:14 PM »
Hi Steve,
as per V's post below
AGM - glass mat batteries are supposedly superior to conventional lead acid types but its really hard getting the inside line from battery manufactures.  The thickness and spacing of cells largely determines life expectancy.  As a marine Eng I used to maintain a large bank of cells and I'd use tablets in each cell to condition them (stop build up on the plates) and keep them trickle charged at all times, you could extend their lives a couple of extra years this way.  Generally marine type batteries are built stronger and better than normal ones but it comes at a hefty price hike.

I use AGM's for my field coil supply and they perform brilliantly. The load is 5amps constant and I often run them a good part of the day. They recharge at 7amps with the multistage AGM chargers I have. These charges fully charge then trickle and do test burt charging while in standby to ensure the batteries are fully charged at all times. You can also leave the chargers connected while using the batteries. I have not noticed a degradation in sound quality doing this but the charger fans are noisy buggers :)
The batteries I have are Optima Yellow tops D31A 75 Amp Hour 900 cold cranking Amps. Down side is they were about $ 450 each. I guess smaller batteries would be much cheaper but you will need a swag of them in series for your voltage and a wiring nightmare for charging.
« Last Edit: March 09, 2014, 03:06:50 PM by gamve »

Offline vitavoxdude

  • Beauty is in the ear of the beholder
  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 1151
  • Liked: 63
  • Caring and sharing
Re: What is the ultimite amplifier
« Reply #10 on: March 09, 2014, 03:31:03 PM »
Oh yes and as for keeping cells charged, manufactures when you dig, will quote keeping charge levels above 40% to preserve their life but the deep discharge types can recover approx 2 to 400 times ONLY which makes them B expensive so don't be discharging them too much.  Keeping them trickle fed is the go as self discharge is an issue.

Nice choice in battery Graham.  Solar panels for the battery bank is what I aspire to but the AC to DC convertors quality means you'd be wanting the feed from only the DC batteries not the noisy inverter.

Houses in the UK were DC power fed back in the early days and audio never sounded better apparently, now the thought of taking your radio battery down to be recharged is unthinkable.

V
We all like different things so lets all agree to disagree and if any common ground is found then worship it.  Mine is the KD hence being present on this forum.

Offline bhobba

  • Sr. Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 330
  • Liked: 9
Re: What is the ultimite amplifier
« Reply #11 on: March 09, 2014, 03:52:24 PM »
Steve mate you might just be onto something there.

A little birdy told me a battery powered valve amp won the best sound at RMAF this year:
http://www.stereophile.com/content/warmth-gr-research-dodd-audio
http://parttimeaudiophile.com/2013/11/08/rmaf-2013-gr-research-dodd-audio-triode-wire-labs-db-labs/

Thanks
Bill

Offline fallsaudio

  • Newbie
  • *
  • Posts: 36
  • Liked: 43
Re: What is the ultimite amplifier
« Reply #12 on: March 24, 2014, 12:20:59 PM »
 :o Hello to all. Even though we are all getting excited about a battery powered amp we have over looked that the voltage needed to power and output stage with reasonable output will required about 275 volts. At these voltages and the current batteries can deliver is LETHAL combination . Any voltage over 50 v and 15 ma and above can be deadly.
             I don't want to scare people but it need to be said. Yes there are battery powered amp out there but they are big brand with big insurance policies . How ever we can make these with battery powered filaments (this is were directly heated tube get the noise ) and a mains B+
          Any way I still doing exploring on these .

Offline gamve

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 731
  • Liked: 210
Re: What is the ultimite amplifier
« Reply #13 on: March 24, 2014, 06:40:18 PM »
:o Hello to all. Even though we are all getting excited about a battery powered amp we have over looked that the voltage needed to power and output stage with reasonable output will required about 275 volts. At these voltages and the current batteries can deliver is LETHAL combination . Any voltage over 50 v and 15 ma and above can be deadly.
             I don't want to scare people but it need to be said. Yes there are battery powered amp out there but they are big brand with big insurance policies . How ever we can make these with battery powered filaments (this is were directly heated tube get the noise ) and a mains B+
          Any way I still doing exploring on these .

Yes agree Paul. Safety using batteries at high voltages with the associated current capabilities is a huge concern.

Offline zenelectro

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 793
  • Liked: 151
Re: What is the ultimite amplifier
« Reply #14 on: March 24, 2014, 07:10:59 PM »
:o Hello to all. Even though we are all getting excited about a battery powered amp we have over looked that the voltage needed to power and output stage with reasonable output will required about 275 volts. At these voltages and the current batteries can deliver is LETHAL combination . Any voltage over 50 v and 15 ma and above can be deadly.
             I don't want to scare people but it need to be said. Yes there are battery powered amp out there but they are big brand with big insurance policies . How ever we can make these with battery powered filaments (this is were directly heated tube get the noise ) and a mains B+
          Any way I still doing exploring on these .

Paul,

I don't think a battery powered power amp at say 300V is any more dangerous to human life than an equivalent AC mains powered one
provided they are made properly and fused correctly.

They can be however very destructive, ie; a severe fire hazard if not fused correctly with massive energy storage and current capacity.
As an example I once vaporized the pins  of a solid pinned XLR connector used for battery connection - and it happened in an instant!

> 15mA (or so) can kill you and this is easily available from any number of mains powered valve amps.

Personally I get a little more nervous when poking around inside an amp with voltages well over 500V, for example high powered Bass guitar amps
can often run 700V or more B+ and can easily supply 1 Amp. The other obvious ones are large SET's with 1000V and greater on tap.

I've seen some bloody dangerous large SET amps with 1000V kicking around inside and poor electrical / mechanical construction.

But the question is always there - why do you want to run a valve amp on batteries - just learn how to design a very good power supply.
This also goes for heaters. I have in the past used a 6.4V Battery for heaters as a reference and eventually found a
transformer powered design that bettered it.  It took quite some doing though.

Z
« Last Edit: March 24, 2014, 07:13:53 PM by zenelectro »

Offline zenelectro

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 793
  • Liked: 151
Re: What is the ultimite amplifier
« Reply #15 on: March 24, 2014, 07:59:16 PM »

But the question is always there - why do you want to run a valve amp on batteries - just learn how to design a very good power supply.

This also goes for heaters. I have in the past used a 6.4V Battery for heaters as a reference and eventually found a
transformer powered design that bettered it.  It took quite some doing though.

Z

I'm prolly sounding like a bit of a know all DH here - it wasn't meant to come out that way! 

I'll expand on that last statement. If you series up 20 x 12V LA batteries it would be fair to say that the 'sound' of those batteries is amplified 20 x.

IME, batteries are not completely free of any sins and often can have a sound. They certainly do make noise and they are a chemical device as are electrolytic capacitors.

Maybe a combination of batteries -and- very good film caps is a good option.

Z

Offline hedalfa

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 1543
  • Liked: 327
Re: What is the ultimite amplifier
« Reply #16 on: March 24, 2014, 10:39:48 PM »
Paul,

I don't think a battery powered power amp at say 300V is any more dangerous to human life than an equivalent AC mains powered one
provided they are made properly and fused correctly.

They can be however very destructive, ie; a severe fire hazard if not fused correctly with massive energy storage and current capacity.
As an example I once vaporized the pins  of a solid pinned XLR connector used for battery connection - and it happened in an instant!

> 15mA (or so) can kill you and this is easily available from any number of mains powered valve amps.

Personally I get a little more nervous when poking around inside an amp with voltages well over 500V, for example high powered Bass guitar amps
can often run 700V or more B+ and can easily supply 1 Amp. The other obvious ones are large SET's with 1000V and greater on tap.

I've seen some bloody dangerous large SET amps with 1000V kicking around inside and poor electrical / mechanical construction.

But the question is always there - why do you want to run a valve amp on batteries - just learn how to design a very good power supply.
This also goes for heaters. I have in the past used a 6.4V Battery for heaters as a reference and eventually found a
transformer powered design that bettered it.  It took quite some doing though.

Z

Battery power for filament only, if you must have batteries.  There are other risks with batteries, I know someone who was hospitalized when a battery let go during recharging, it was a full on serious set up replacement for 240 volt. He was lucky to have his eyesight. It was touch and go....... >:( >:( >:( >:( >:( >:( >:( >:(

I would want the batteries in a tamper proof housing,  if I was going that way.........




Offline zenelectro

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 793
  • Liked: 151
Re: What is the ultimite amplifier
« Reply #17 on: March 24, 2014, 11:34:56 PM »
Battery power for filament only, if you must have batteries.  There are other risks with batteries, I know someone who was hospitalized when a battery let go during recharging, it was a full on serious set up replacement for 240 volt. He was lucky to have his eyesight. It was touch and go....... >:( >:( >:( >:( >:( >:( >:( >:(

I would want the batteries in a tamper proof housing,  if I was going that way.........

WRT batteries for filaments, we did a lot of listening tests years ago on battery filaments versus various other heater supplies.

The results were as follows:

The DC regulated with 317 sounded the worst of all. Clean but grainy and unmusical and less involving.
The plain vanilla AC heaters sounded the most musical and vivid good timbers etc but they were a bit dirty and 'loose' sounding.
The batteries were somewhere between, they were much cleaner than AC but not harsh and sterile like the 317 regulated heaters.
It took a bit of doing but I worked out a non battery circuit that sounded as good as the batteries, maybe better.

I was very surprised how important the heater supplies were.

Z

Offline Tuyen

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 554
  • Liked: 211
Re: What is the ultimite amplifier
« Reply #18 on: March 25, 2014, 12:25:04 AM »
http://www.bartola.co.uk/valves/dht-filament-regulator/

Rod Coleman dht filament regs. Who else has tried them?  I have some in a DHT preamp.

Offline Jehuty

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 1385
  • Liked: 110
Re: What is the ultimite amplifier
« Reply #19 on: March 25, 2014, 12:50:52 AM »
Here you go Tuyen: http://killerdac.com/forum/index.php/topic,2475.0.html

Best preamp I've ever heard. I'd put it up against any preamp at any price. I think it uses the filament regulator.
Not all that matters can be measured, not all that can be measured matters.