More progress…

So, here is this week’s completed projects! (I honestly don’t think I’ve ever been able to write that before, but as promised earlier I got some new rear panels so I was able to keep up the pace 🙂 )

I’ve manage to case and complete both the NE headphone amp and the ACP+ prototype boards and again – the time elapsed between completing the PCBs and actually being able to close the lid on the completed build has to be a new record for me 🙂

For the ACP+ I have obviously made both headphone and preamp outputs despite choosing a fairly small case (and it only just fits). Now, I don’t think the wiring on this one is going to win me any prizes (nor, I expect, is the slightly OTT chrome-plated volume knob…) but that doesn’t really matter now because it works well and it is undoubtedly a cracking amp – whether used as a headamp or a preamp.

For the NE-amp I only had the headphone output to worry about, but I still ended up upsizing the case a little bit because it simply looked and worked much better. Power supply is one of my filtered IRMs and that seems to work well. Again, I am a bit surprised that this old design can turn into such a well-behaved amplifier. Pretty stupid of me to wait so long to start building it 😉

Completing the “set” we have a Whammy-amp, namely the official board I bought and showed here. This build was supposed to be one of the easiest because of the all-in-one board, but actually turned out to be one of the most annoying I have done for a while. I managed to measure up the front panel incorrectly not just once, but twice (!). First I couldn’t fit the headphone jack and having fixed that I then found I could not close the case because of the tall heat sinks. It seems complacency is indeed a dangerous enemy… Either way, it’s now done and working 🙂

Project files: The ACP+ clone…

Well, both my ACP+ clone boards are now fully populated with relays and working as expected so I guess it is appropriate to share the design files 🙂

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ACP+ clone progress…

Just a quick update because my ACP+ clone is now (very nearly) done. It took a bit longer than I had expected because of some delays getting boards and parts, and I do actually still miss one part that will hopefully turn up next week – fingers crossed.

As I did with the “Whammy” headamp I’ve taken the original “all-in-one” board layout of the ACP+ and turned it into a mono amplifier board and a separate PSU (and offboard volume control). Other changes include:

  • New heat sink profile (Fischer SK104 or equivalent).
  • Various footprint-changes for parts on the amplifier board.
  • Larger footprint for the initial filtering resistors in the PSU so it’s possible to use inductors instead.
  • Output switching (pre/headphone) directly on the board with a tiny Omron relay (these are the parts that I am still missing).

Until I get the relays I can’t do the last bit of testing but so far the PSU works and both amplifier channels bias correctly and play clean audio and that is always a good starting point 🙂

More information (and hopefully better pictures…) to follow when everything is done.

Reworking the ACP+…

Last weekend was this year’s “Burning Amp” festival in San Francisco. I wasn’t there (it’s a bit far from Denmark for a weekend trip…), but as usual there was a thread on diyaudio.

Burning Amp has frquently been a “launchpad” for new Nelson Pass designs and this year was no exception – the Amp Camp Pre (ACP+) was shown and the article is now on the FirstWatt website. As usual when Nelson releases a new design you sit up and take notice, but this one was just what I wanted to see (because there is only so many 25W class A amps you can use 😉 ). The ACP+ is a discrete preamp/headphone amp with the same basic architecture as a Pass J2 power amplifier. It’s discrete, doesn’t use a lot of components and runs from a single supply. The only fly in the proverbial ointment is that the amp uses P-channel JFETs for the input (either 2SJ74 or LSJ74), which are either impossible to get (2SJ) or just plain expensive (LSJ). However, I’m certainly not going to let that minor inconvenience stop me.

Nelson has of course done a board for the ACP+ already which will eventually find its way to the diyaudio store I’m sure. However, the original board breaks one of my rules because it has connectors on two edges. It also doesn’t look like the onboard RCAs are particularly good quality. As usual (I am tempted to say) I prefer a more modular approach, with the power supply, the amplifier, the volume pot etc. separated and so as I’ve done in the past I am going to have a go at redoing the ACP+ in modules instead. When I dig into the design I am sure i will be tempted to add a few changes, but let’s see. I expect I am going to build the original proposed linear supply, but an obvious candidate (in my mind) is a filtered IRM-module.

PCB order (hopefully) going out shortly, so with the usual shipping lead time this is going to be my X-mas present for myself this year 🙂

Picture of the prototype amp from the diyaudio-thread.