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Author Topic: An $11 Stereo Amplifier - New!  (Read 6821 times)

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Offline Moke

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An $11 Stereo Amplifier - New!
« on: August 13, 2015, 05:03:21 PM »
Yeah, right.

No, really!

check it out

I also bought an inexpensive 12vdc regulated power supply from eBay, for $25.  I'll have to get some hookup wire, and, speaker/rca jacks.  In total, under a hundred dollars.
Right now, I'm listening to it in skeletal form, with an old pair of ADS L10 bookshelf speakers, and, it can drive them to too loud. And its sounding quite good in its skeletal form.
I'm going to mount it in a cigar box.
I might even gush about it a bit later.
There are also $50 tube preamps available as a front end. Little Bear Tube Pre

We're into a new era of amplification, it seems.  I'm having fun with it.
« Last Edit: August 13, 2015, 05:07:03 PM by m0k3 »
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Offline Gutbucket

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Re: An $11 Stereo Amplifier - New!
« Reply #1 on: August 13, 2015, 05:21:56 PM »
Nice TI class D amp chip.

Small and efficient. Heavy iron is so outdated.
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Offline Moke

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Re: An $11 Stereo Amplifier - New!
« Reply #2 on: August 13, 2015, 05:34:09 PM »
Its suggested rating of 100w, might be possible, with something like a 105dB efficient k-horn_type speaker, or hyper efficient single driver system.
With a lower efficiency rig, like the ADS, it is just barely reaching too loud; truly at the bottom of the too loud threshold; some people  might desire more.
It would make a nice desktop office system with less efficient speakers, and near field listening.
Bottomline, disregard their statement of 100w. It is truly speaker dependent. I first tried a pair of Realistic Minims-7's bookshelves, which are rather inefficient. I was not impressed.
« Last Edit: August 13, 2015, 05:35:41 PM by m0k3 »
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Offline Moke

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Re: An $11 Stereo Amplifier - New!
« Reply #3 on: August 13, 2015, 05:42:37 PM »
I did try a 24vdc 10amp linear supply on it (industrial, butt-ugly beast). Not that grand of a diff.
The linked Pyramid supply outputs at 14vdc

thanks, Jon!
« Last Edit: August 13, 2015, 05:54:05 PM by m0k3 »
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Offline Moke

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Re: An $11 Stereo Amplifier - New!
« Reply #4 on: August 13, 2015, 05:45:41 PM »
This is my 24v beast (see below)

thats a Lenco turntable motor, for scale (originally posted at a Lenco TT forum; they'd understand the scale)
« Last Edit: November 06, 2017, 10:27:01 AM by Moke »
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Offline Gutbucket

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Re: An $11 Stereo Amplifier - New!
« Reply #5 on: August 13, 2015, 06:04:08 PM »
Can just use a couple car/boat batteries in series to power the thing and lay claim to being a super clean-power supply audio nut.

For max power, feed in the max supply voltage, and dissipate waste heat with sufficient sinking. Same deal small as scaled up, Just ask Scottie-
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Offline Hypnocracy

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Re: An $11 Stereo Amplifier - New!
« Reply #6 on: August 14, 2015, 10:25:40 AM »
heh....I scored a Yamaha 100watt on all 6.1 channels for $40 off CraigsList...the seller said it doesn't have HDMI...and I just upgraded.

But it has three Optical and one Coaxial digital inputs...If I need sound from HDMI it comes from my smart TV's optical out...

It drives my old re-foamed Advent 6003's louder than I want to listen to it...

I need to get my old NYAL Moscode 300 up and running...but since my first Yamaha Natural Sound amp...the Moscode doesn't sound so unique anymore...and it will cost more than $40 to fix...
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Offline Moke

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Re: An $11 Stereo Amplifier - New!
« Reply #7 on: August 15, 2015, 12:07:58 AM »
@Hypnocracy
FWIW,.. i went to a local swap meet last weekend, and, found an old silver face Sansui recvr; a G3500. It is the low wattage version of the G series. 
Everything works fine with it, with exception to a slight imbalance, that can be made better by a slight offset of the balance pot.  It did have a DC offset issue, which I found some documents on how to measure and correct.. I did so, and brought both channels to balance, at least to within specs. But the slight imbalance remained. I did remove a slight whoosh on startup by adjusting the output bias.
Its a nice sounding unit, and I've hooked it up to an old pair of Bozak b302a Urban speakers from the late 50's (refreshed with the latest drivers and crossover, by the factory, in the late 70's, before the company went under).
« Last Edit: August 15, 2015, 12:15:06 AM by m0k3 »
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Offline Moke

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Re: An $11 Stereo Amplifier - New!
« Reply #8 on: August 16, 2015, 07:17:24 PM »
The Cigar Box TPA Class-D amp
« Last Edit: November 06, 2017, 10:12:19 AM by Moke »
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Offline Life In Rewind

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Re: An $11 Stereo Amplifier - New!
« Reply #9 on: August 16, 2015, 07:31:55 PM »
Smokin'! :P

Nice touch with the volume knob!
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Offline Moke

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Re: An $11 Stereo Amplifier - New!
« Reply #10 on: August 16, 2015, 07:37:34 PM »
Thanks!
I've got to finish that out a bit.  I was thinking either a wood dowel inserted and rounded over, or, solid brass tubing build up.

I'm running this into a pair of 4-ohm speakers (the only ones that I have at that rating), and its really lights them up.
The speakers are from this AVR unit:


I'm using the head unit(s) from this Philips rig in my living room/tv area, paired with a set of Realistic Minimus-7 bookshelf speakers, as a soundbar for the TV. So, these speakers are temporarily orphaned.  The Philips rig, if I'm not mistaken is early Class-D. SO I thought that I'd try them with this new little amp, and they're a really nice pairing.
The speakers are quite nice; ribbon tweeter, and single driver bass; ported cabinets; real rosewood veneer.
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Offline it-goes-to-eleven

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Re: An $11 Stereo Amplifier - New!
« Reply #11 on: August 16, 2015, 09:06:16 PM »
I've got to finish that out a bit.  I was thinking either a wood dowel inserted and rounded over, or, solid brass tubing build up.

Did you save any squirrel paws?

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Offline Moke

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Re: An $11 Stereo Amplifier - New!
« Reply #12 on: August 16, 2015, 09:35:23 PM »
Well, I'd have to go dig the last one out of its burrow; too many flies buzzing in and around it now though. Its kind of stinky out there.
I do have the RatsPaw though; my DIY tonearm.
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Offline Moke

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Re: An $11 Stereo Amplifier - New!
« Reply #13 on: August 17, 2015, 01:21:27 PM »
OK,... this amp is really impressive sounding.
I'm listening to a quasi-deccatree recording with two Earthworks QTC1 omnis, and a Royer ribbon center mic. This is an acoustic chamber music concert, in a fabulous hall.  I'm truly impressed with what I'm hearing here.
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Offline raymonda

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Re: An $11 Stereo Amplifier - New!
« Reply #14 on: August 26, 2015, 09:01:03 AM »
Nice TI class D amp chip.

Small and efficient. Heavy iron is so outdated.

Heavy iron is what is needed for good tube sound. What's old, is new again!

Offline raymonda

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Re: An $11 Stereo Amplifier - New!
« Reply #15 on: August 26, 2015, 09:05:53 AM »
Smokin'! :P

Nice touch with the volume knob!

I would be seriously concerned with how you have your AC wired. That is not UL compliant and certainly has potential for shorts and fires. Either add a IEC jack or just hard wire it.

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Re: An $11 Stereo Amplifier - New!
« Reply #16 on: August 26, 2015, 09:08:20 AM »
Well, I'd have to go dig the last one out of its burrow; too many flies buzzing in and around it now though. Its kind of stinky out there.
I do have the RatsPaw though; my DIY tonearm.


Nice job on the table. I would be interested in seeing some closer and better shots of you arm.

Offline Moke

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Re: An $11 Stereo Amplifier - New!
« Reply #17 on: August 26, 2015, 09:27:27 AM »
Smokin'! :P

Nice touch with the volume knob!

I would be seriously concerned with how you have your AC wired. That is not UL compliant and certainly has potential for shorts and fires. Either add a IEC jack or just hard wire it.

Its DC, not AC.
The input jacks are rated at far greater amperage than the output of the PSU.  18ga. hookup wire is suggested; i went with 16ga. The power supply is fused at the output.
I have the highest level of contempt for IEC; won't use it; but cannot avoid them.  I was considering Neutrik Speakon, which I've used on the TT above (due to my strong dislike of IEC).
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Re: An $11 Stereo Amplifier - New!
« Reply #18 on: August 26, 2015, 09:42:36 AM »
Overview:


The deck has a modern DC motor, with speed controller card, and hall sensors; dead locked to speed for a solid month of continual rotation. I also completely redesigned the driveline, to that of a single idler wheel (it had three to begin with).  This is a hot-rod of a deck.
There is a build thread overview, here, at audiohaven.org.  If you decide to join up over there, tell them that mfrench sent you (please and thanks. there is a new membership signup contest underway).

This is the c.weight end:


The c.weights pivot on an axle that is perpindicular to the arm wand.  They freely pivot. When they encounter a warp, they drop straight down, rather than having the weight firmly attached, and being made to carry that load thru an arc.  I spoke with Frank Schroeder about my concept, and he agreed. He suggested that the fixed counterweight makes the arm plow thru the warp, causing wear in the groove, whereas, the rotating c.weights tend to unload at the hop of the warp, then reload on the downslope, rather than to have to carry the load the the arc; comparing it to a steamer/high seas cutter plowing thru waves, without wavering (which is not necessarily good for record wear).
They also act as stabilizing outriggers.
The bead chain is to damp out the side-to-side rocking action that unipivots have.  You can see them quickly and quietly bring the arm back to still and stable. Its akin to a phase cancellation.
The wires are lashed to the arm wand with waxed dental floss.
The arm cost -$1.50, and is made from free garage junk,, fishing weights, copper plumbing pipe, and precision brass hobby tubing.

Unipivot cup:


Unipivot stanchion, and the RatTrap arm holder:

It allows for VTA adjustment:


Brass and soapstone articulating mount:


Head-mount:

Lots of room for adjustments.
« Last Edit: August 26, 2015, 10:14:56 AM by m0k3 »
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Offline raymonda

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Re: An $11 Stereo Amplifier - New!
« Reply #19 on: August 26, 2015, 11:13:20 AM »
Nicely done!

Offline Moke

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Re: An $11 Stereo Amplifier - New!
« Reply #20 on: August 26, 2015, 03:03:43 PM »
Thanks, Raymonda.
That has been a really nice arm; functions flawlessly, and tracks superbly.  I don't need anything like an arm lift, so that a non-starter.  I use that rock by the tonearm to steady my hand, to put the needle down. It picks up really easily with the little loop behind the cart.
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Offline Ben Turnbull

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Re: An $11 Stereo Amplifier - New!
« Reply #21 on: August 30, 2015, 03:24:46 AM »
Wow, I didn't know  they offered the Brilliant Pebbles in Texas Size!  ;D  Always like seeing what's coming out of your shop. 

Question, that little amp put out much heat?  If so, you must run with the hood up?
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Offline Moke

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Re: An $11 Stereo Amplifier - New!
« Reply #22 on: August 30, 2015, 11:18:46 AM »
I've not noticed any heat, at all, and thats been crucial this past week, as we've been cooking here in the Friendly Village of Fallbrook.
My Plinius AB SS amp runs warm, on average. So, this is proving to be the opposite, which is a giant bonus.

Hood up?....   
I did at first, but have not felt it necessary now that we're settling in with it, and becoming comfortable. Its not near anything flammable, and i have it on a piece of granite to isolate it from the carpet (in case of the worst case scenario). 
I have it running my big guns right now, and its a shockingly good little amp.
I think that my Plinius is a bit better at the bass register, at least thru my Soliloquy speakers (which have remarkable bass response).  But, that suggestion was when I had the little amp cranked to 10, and with a live recording, which might have had a bit of bass bloat to begin with.
Back to heat,....
I can put my fingers on the little heat sink, and not feel any heat. The power supply runs totally cool as well.  So this might become my summer amp.
Sarge wants me to build her a girls shed; she calls it a tearoom. I was thinking that this could be a neat amp for that sort of thing, as there is no power where she wants it to be built. So, a couple of marine batteries, and a solar panel, and this little thing,... you've got a system that can work in remote locations.

Magic Beans rocks,....
Nahh,.... its just a rock from the garden, that was flat on the top and bottom. Nothing as fancy as magic beans.
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Offline Moke

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Re: An $11 Stereo Amplifier - New!
« Reply #23 on: August 30, 2015, 01:35:26 PM »
thanks, Jon.
Is it that little heat sink that I should be feeling for heat?  In my know not much about this mind, I thought thats where I should bee feeling, but, really don't know.
Should it be to a point of feeling warm? If I felt it as being warm, I'd be concerned; if it felt hot, then I might not be using it.
I've run it for a fairly extended test last monday. Sarge goes to town for groceries on mondays, and I get to crank it up during those times.  I had some really hard rocking blues on last monday, and I didn't feel anything that I thought felt warm, over ambient room temp.
Beyond that, I listen at a low-moderate level;  at a level where a headbanger would want louder, and a chamber musician might not like it so loud.
There is also a heat sink on the power supply, that has a transistor mounted to it; nothing overt to report there either.

In all of my listening so far, it has played very nicely with my Bozak b302a Urbans.  They seem to be a fine match together.
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Offline kindms

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Re: An $11 Stereo Amplifier - New!
« Reply #24 on: December 10, 2015, 12:04:03 PM »
I picked up that Little Bear tube Pre-Amp off ebay today. I just happened to take a look to see what was around and they had an auction for one. It was only at $4.72 when i noticed it. I picked it up for $11.27 + shipping which was $16

looks like they have a few similar auctions if anyone is interested
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Offline Moke

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Re: An $11 Stereo Amplifier - New!
« Reply #25 on: December 11, 2015, 10:21:45 AM »
congrats! please let us know what you think.

To the $11 stereo amp,....
Still blowing me away.  I'm running it into a pair of Bozak B302a Urban speakers (wonderful late 50's hifi speakers that were refreshed with new Bozak drivers and x-over works, done by the factory, in '77/'78, per the original owner, who I bought them from).  They are not entirely efficient speakers; they prefer an amp with some backbone; I'd guess on the order of 88dB efficient.  This little inexpensive amp drives them wonderfully, and they make a wonderful pairing. They easily go louder than I'm comfortable with, with a lot of reserve power left to go if you like to head-bang. Bass?  Really deep bass, and everything else is there as well, very well balanced.
The B302a speakers and TPA cigar box amp are the stereo rig to the right, with the low-boy speakers:
« Last Edit: November 06, 2017, 10:39:14 AM by Moke »
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Offline Colin Liston

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Re: An $11 Stereo Amplifier - New!
« Reply #26 on: December 21, 2015, 01:22:52 AM »
Could this little amp be powered by a 12v sla?  I  am thinking thjs would make a great somewhat portable "boombox"
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Offline Gutbucket

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Re: An $11 Stereo Amplifier - New!
« Reply #27 on: December 21, 2015, 08:39:18 AM »
Sure.  Years ago a buddy and I used one of these for a portable "car stereo" (R09 > amp > two small box speakers) powered via a cig-lighter power adapter in our stripped down autocross car.  Listen to the most interesting recent live pull on the drive to the airfield, then unplug the stereo and throw it into a box in the trailer = nothing in the car.  Easy peasy.

And if you were to use two 12V SLAs in series in your boom-blaster you'd achieve full power, Scotty.
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Offline Colin Liston

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Re: An $11 Stereo Amplifier - New!
« Reply #28 on: December 21, 2015, 11:52:30 AM »
Sure.  Years ago a buddy and I used one of these for a portable "car stereo" (R09 > amp > two small box speakers) powered via a cig-lighter power adapter in our stripped down autocross car.  Listen to the most interesting recent live pull on the drive to the airfield, then unplug the stereo and throw it into a box in the trailer = nothing in the car.  Easy peasy.

And if you were to use two 12V SLAs in series in your boom-blaster you'd achieve full power, Scotty.

That would finally be loud enough on the beach and piss off everyone around me. 
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Offline Gutbucket

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Re: An $11 Stereo Amplifier - New!
« Reply #29 on: December 21, 2015, 02:04:22 PM »
Except you don't really need help doing that, do you?

C'mon, do it right with three of these and six speakers on a hexagonal pop-up canopy!!
Piss off the entire county.
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Offline Colin Liston

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Re: An $11 Stereo Amplifier - New!
« Reply #30 on: December 21, 2015, 06:39:54 PM »
Except you don't really need help doing that, do you?

C'mon, do it right with three of these and six speakers on a hexagonal pop-up canopy!!
Piss off the entire county.

Not really no.  That's too much to take to the beach,  plus no one would appreciate it. 
Maybe the aliens would like that setup during the new moon when it's dark enough so no one notices them. 
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Offline kindms

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Re: An $11 Stereo Amplifier - New!
« Reply #31 on: December 30, 2015, 10:41:31 AM »
the Little Bear just arrived. its tiny. I hope to assemble it this evening and will post some pics.
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Offline Moke

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Re: An $11 Stereo Amplifier - New!
« Reply #32 on: December 31, 2015, 05:33:04 PM »
congrats.
I'd really like to hear your thoughts on it, after some listening time.
What is involved in assembly?
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Offline kindms

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Re: An $11 Stereo Amplifier - New!
« Reply #33 on: January 19, 2016, 09:49:00 AM »
congrats.
I'd really like to hear your thoughts on it, after some listening time.
What is involved in assembly?

RE: Assembly

I finally got around to putting it together the other day. I don't have my amps yet but hopefully they should be here in the next week or so. I took some pics to give you an idea. There are no instructions but it was fairly straight forward. a few spots of trial and error but really no big deal and a good deal of fun















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Offline Moke

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Re: An $11 Stereo Amplifier - New!
« Reply #34 on: January 19, 2016, 02:01:44 PM »
thanks!
I was a bit worried that it would be more than that,... like a soldering job.  Glad to see that it was just what it was.
I'm really looking forward to hearing your thoughts.
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Re: An $11 Stereo Amplifier - New!
« Reply #35 on: January 21, 2016, 01:58:48 PM »
thanks!
I was a bit worried that it would be more than that,... like a soldering job.  Glad to see that it was just what it was.
I'm really looking forward to hearing your thoughts.

My mono blocks came today so hopefully will get to play with everything later today

Squeezebox Touch > Little Bear > Outlaw Audio 2200 > Von Schweikert VR-2s

I'm pretty pumped the VR2s have been idle for far too long.

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Re: An $11 Stereo Amplifier - New!
« Reply #36 on: March 24, 2016, 11:53:49 AM »
So I figured I would update the thread

I am currently running Squeezebox Touch > RCA (GAKables) > Little Bear > RCA (GAKables) > Outlaw Audio 2200M (mono blocks) > Von Schweikert VR 2

So I don't have a lot of experience with tubes so not a whole lot to compare it to and I essentially changed everything about my playback all at once so tough to draw conclusions about previous setup. BUT I can say this setup kicks serious ass. To my ears the soundstage is nice and wide. There is some attack but it seems smooth. I can seriously get the house rocking with all the power. I have only pushed it a little but but it gets thumping quick

Very happy so far with this setup.

Pic below. The little bear is kind of hard to see. Its next to the white statue on the same self as the squeebox,
« Last Edit: March 24, 2016, 11:55:25 AM by kindms »
AKG414 XLS/ST> TCM-Mod Tascam HDP2
Musichall Mambo > VR-2's

Offline rocksuitcase

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Re: An $11 Stereo Amplifier - New!
« Reply #37 on: March 24, 2016, 12:27:24 PM »
I can testify this system is great. I got to hear it last week and really feel the "accuracy" and soundstage are right on.     8) :laugh:
music IS love

When you get confused, listen to the music play!

Mics:         AKG460|CK61|CK1|CK3|CK8|Beyer M 201E
Recorders:Marantz PMD661 OADE Concert mod; Tascam DR680 MKI

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Re: An $11 Stereo Amplifier - New!
« Reply #38 on: March 24, 2016, 12:46:17 PM »
Too funny. I was just looking for this thread an hour ago or so, so that I could add another redundant comment about how much I like this little $11 amp.

I'm really glad to hear that you're liking the combo!  This chip amp stuff is really impressive sounding, IMO. congrats again!
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Offline kindms

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Re: An $11 Stereo Amplifier - New!
« Reply #39 on: March 24, 2016, 02:20:58 PM »
Too funny. I was just looking for this thread an hour ago or so, so that I could add another redundant comment about how much I like this little $11 amp.

I'm really glad to hear that you're liking the combo!  This chip amp stuff is really impressive sounding, IMO. congrats again!

Ya I really dig it and other than the speakers its pretty low key on the wife / GF approval metric. I do feel a little bad as I now have a class A amp sitting on my office desk longing to be fixed up. I think i might give it another go. Does anyone know how to remove ribbon connectors safely from a circuit board ? If i can remove the ribbon i can get the DAC section out and work on the chassis and replace the speaker posts.
AKG414 XLS/ST> TCM-Mod Tascam HDP2
Musichall Mambo > VR-2's

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Re: An $11 Stereo Amplifier - New!
« Reply #40 on: May 27, 2016, 04:31:37 PM »
Still loving this little amp.
I thought I'd give an update after enough time had passed, so that I wasn't still on the look what I built high.  Its been quite a while now, and, this little thing gets played far more often than my Plinius/Soliloquy rig, which I never would have thought would happen.
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Re: An $11 Stereo Amplifier - New!
« Reply #41 on: November 06, 2017, 10:18:35 AM »
Hey, its early november 2017, and my $3500 Plinius amp has had most of the year off.
In that time, I've run all of my speakers with this little amp, and am still just as happy as can be. And, the prices of these things is plummeting. You can now get one fully built, in an enclosure, w/ bluetooth versions for well under $100, and even under $50.
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Re: An $11 Stereo Amplifier - New!
« Reply #42 on: November 07, 2017, 05:15:44 AM »
https://www.ebay.com/itm/400930718344

Picked up one for the office a while ago, but the satellite finder function is a bit wonky.
Last pass was off by 0.00627 deg. az

Any ideas?
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