Saurav and other amp experts...

Mark Austin

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Could you read page three, and page eight, and let me know what you think of what is being said there? I have owned this amp for 5 months now, and love the sound, as it sounds so much different than most SS amps. Does any of what they are saying make any sense, or is it mumbo jumbo? And have you heard of a floating toroidial transformer before?
Thanks in advance.

http://www.electrocompaniet.com/support/aw120.pdf
 

Saurav

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LOL!!! I'm no amp expert! In fact, one of the real experts got banned recently

I have owned this amp for 5 months now, and love the sound, as it sounds so much different than most SS amps.
Well, AFAIK, Electrocompaniet makes pretty good equipment. From everything I've read, the state-of-the-art SS and tube amps sound more alike than different, the days of lush 'tube sound' and harsh 'transistor sound' are pretty much behind us. So, if you like the way your amp sounds, that's great, don't worry about anything else
 

Mark Austin

Supporting Actor
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You did build your own amp didn't you? You're an expert, as far as I'm concerned. Thanks for your reply.
 

Saurav

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Only modified my amps, thinking of building some soon. Built a preamp, but from a kit, so someone else designed it. Built a phono stage and a crossover and some speakers, but they were all someone else's designs. I'm hardly an expert
Glad to be of help though.
 

Brad_Harper

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What is said on page three is nothing new. Any good solid state amplifier design needs negative feedback in all three of the major amplifier stages as well as global feedback. It is the only way to truly compensate for differnces in transistor construction. Look at the schematics of a Bryston or a Pioneer and you will see feedback in all three amplifier stages.
 

Larry B

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Brad:
Any good solid state amplifier design needs negative feedback in all three of the major amplifier stages as well as global feedback.
As I understand it, Charlie Hansen (of Ayre), one of the most highly respected designers, uses no negative feedback:
http://www.ayre.com/
A friend of mine, who is very knowledgeable about high-end audio, mentioned that negative feedback has, in essence, defined a new category (tubes and SS being the other two).
Larry
 

Saurav

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Here's how I understand it:

If a designer can get by without using local or global negative feedback, that's great.

Global negative feedback shouldn't be used to accomplish what should have been done using local negative feedback.

Just like any other blanket statement, saying "Using negative feedback is bad" is fairly naive. In other words, bending over backwards and compromising other factors just to eliminate feedback isn't going to produce good-sounding equipment. All it'll do is allow a "No negative feedback" line in the marketing literature.

Which isn't a comment directed at Ayre. It's just like any other commonly held misconception in this hobby - many people have a subconscious feeling that anything without NFB must be better than anything with NFB. That is simply not true.
 

Larry B

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Saurav:

Which isn't a comment directed at Ayre. It's just like any other commonly held misconception in this hobby - many people have a subconscious feeling that anything
without NFB must be better than anything with NFB. That is simply not true.
Point well taken. I of course don't really understand what neagtive feedback is in amps (I am quite familiar with it in neural systems), but I do know from first hand exeprience that Ayre components are excellent-sounding.

LB
 

ling_w

Second Unit
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Sep 3, 2001
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So how does Ayre get a decently flat open loop gain w/o feedback of any kind? Create a highly capacitive output impedence so as to act as a frequency modifier for the next stage?

In any case, does this not cause phase shift across the audio bandwidth. All for lower TIM?
 

Kevin C Brown

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Very stupid question:

I remember reading sometime back (mid 90's), that the reason why a certain-part-of-the-world's amps sounded so bad was because they used negative feedback. But, by using negative feedback, you got really good measurements.

Maybe supports what Saurav is saying...

The comment was in reference to Threshold and their Stasis design. (No or very little negative feedback used in that case.)

And, I'm curious too. I have taken some (entry level) EE and transistor (CMOS and bipolar) classes, but no mention of negative feedback. Maybe amplifier circuit design? (Didn't get that far, just the solid state physics of it all...)
 

Larry B

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Ling:
All for lower TIM?
I have a friend named Tim; maybe I should ask him this question.

All kidding aside, you have to hear Charlie Hanson's products to appreciate what he's accomplished.
Larry
P.S. It goes without saying that Charlie's preamp is nowhere as good as the one in the new Outlaw. Sarcasm button off.
 

Saurav

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I have taken some (entry level) EE and transistor (CMOS and bipolar) classes, but no mention of negative feedback. Maybe amplifier circuit design?
Yup. Feedback comes into the picture when you try to use the transistor to do something (basically, amplification), not when you're actually building the transistor. At least as far as I remember, which isn't very far at all.
 

Brad_Harper

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In the world of amplification Negative feedback is "good". Amplifiers work by comparing the signal that is at the output to what is coming into the amplifier and amplifies the difference. The only way for this to happen is to have feedback from the output to the input. All amplifiers I have designed or seen designs for have operated this way. Another important application of negative feedback is the "Beta" matching of internal transistors. Not all transistor of the same brand or make are exactly the same each has a different "Beta" value. Inside solid state amplifiers it is important that the differential amplifier stage has transistors that are matched so the input and output can be compared accurately. Since exactly matching transistors is next to impossible negative feedback is used to negate the effects of not having matched transistors. Plus on the output stage negative feedback is used to keep the transistors from oscillating and destroying your speakers.
I really have no idea how Ayre creates an amplifier without using some sort of feedback. I would be very interested to see their schematics.
 

Saurav

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Maybe they do it with no global negative feedback, but use NFB within amplifier stages? I don't know, I'm just guessing here. I doubt the schematics are freely available, but like I said before, anyone interested can quite easily post a question to the designer on the AA forum.
 

Brad_Harper

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I just read the features of the Vx-1 amplifier on the Ayre website. From the sounds of things it is using a two stage amplifier system instead of the more common three stage. By using a two stage they could get away without using global feedback, but the components would have to be chosen very carefully to ensure very closely matched "beta" values. The two stage amplifier still uses a differential input stage so some feedback is still required in the first stage of the amplifier. From the looks of things more engineering went into that huge power supply then into the amplifier. The profit on that amp must be huge.
 

Kevin C Brown

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Well, "beta" is a parameter only valid for bipolar transistors. (Sort of the "gain" or efficiency of the device.) I also know that where I work, "transistor matching" is very important...
(Chips not for audio, but for telecom.)
 

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