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Best sounding op-amp? (1 Viewer)

Dave Milne

Supporting Actor
Jul 2, 2001
I've been using National LM833, and then later Analog Devices AD797, for a number of years with good results. Is there anything better? Also, the AD ap notes on the AD797 suggest using AD811s as a line drivers for the final stage --to drive long cables. Are these required? I hate to add active stages that aren't absolutely necessary.

I'm thinking about building some 4th order LR subwoofer XOs so that I can have bass management when my MC-12 is in analog bypass mode (to listen to SACDs). Any thoughts?


Ken Shiring

Jan 6, 2002
Dave, HTF doesn't get questions like yours very often. I think there is a forum that is better suited to answer your question. Please check out DIYaudio. They have a lot of expertise in audio electronics, and indeed you will find some spirited discussions about the sound of op-amps.

Jon Hancock

Stunt Coordinator
Mar 18, 1999
Hi David,

Some would say the best sounding OpAmp is no OpAmp, but that's perhaps a bit harsh. There's a lot of opinions floating around about what is best, and let's not forget that implementation is important, too.

I like the AD825; I suspect that the very fast settling time has something to do with that opinion. I've used a lot of OPA627's in the past, to good effect, and even paired them with the AD815 as a line driver. The 825 is only available as a single in SOIC, but there are adapters to fit DIP8 in singles and duals; for retrofitting older gear, that's a good way to go.

But while you're at it, do something about the caps; I've taken a real liking to OSCON capacitors for bypass. Very low impedance over a wide frequency range.

That said, all my current from scratch built gear is NLFB, class A discrete, using various combinations of FETs and bipolars; relatively high voltage supplies (25-30V), and at 2V RMS out, the circuits are just at the sweet spot of the noise floor and THD/IM curve without any feedback. But that's not practical for retrofitting existing gear.

Best regards, and happy opamp hunting...


Robert P. Jones

Second Unit
Jun 18, 1999
The one I used to use when I was into sound was the Signetics 5532 and 34, stereo and mono.

They had no problem sending me half a dozen at a time, to experiment with. Since I only needed one at a time, I built up quite a collection.

I used them to sub for the TL 072 and 074, in a lot of preamp applications, such as the Alphasonic car power amps and active crossovers, etc. It rendered a noticeable, highly audible difference and improvement, over the TL series.

This is what was always used in the Rockford Fosgate preamps and crossovers.

Mr Bob

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