This is a gem and I could confidently say: a reference amplifier. I’ve built it to compare with my PSE 4P1L and the results are amazing. If one has the appropriate speakers for SE tube amps and low power ( the 1st watt is all that matters), than this amp is a must to experience. I’ve spent many hours to experiment with different driver tubes. My goal was to make a 2 stage amplifier where the driver has minimum distortions with a dominant 2nd harmonic. This way the amplifier as a whole will get a predominant 2nd harmonic and will reveal the gorgeous sound of the 45. I also desired to make it less complex in comparison with my PSE 4P1L.
The result of this brainstorming was an amp with lower input sensitivity. I used type 76 triode to drive the 45. The 45 has a Miller capacitance of about 40 pF ( including some stray) and it is easy to drive in class A by using a low current driver such as the 76 at 5 mA, without introducing slewing distortions.
The power supply was built in a separate enclosure for a hum free DHT amp. It uses all Hammond transformers and chokes. Hammond 272Hx is used to provide the high voltage using a 5V4G rectifier and a CLCLC filter with 4.7uF-8H-47uF-8H(Hammond 193D)-47uf. The last capacitor is Clarity TC600, 4 pin Kelvin terminations for decoupling high frequency power supply noise from the signal path. A gorgeous Simpson 600V panel meter is showing the high voltage. The same transformer is used to provide 6.3DC to the 76 filaments, using a DC power supply based on LT1085 regulator. There are 2 Hammond 167Q6 used to provide raw DC supply to the Coleman filament regulators for the 45s. The high voltage comes delayed 25-30 seconds to allow the 45 filament to reach a quasi-steady state and extend their life. The delay timer is based on the 555 IC. The power supply has a 12 pin connector where the umbilical cord is plugged in. The umbilical cord is permanently attached to the main amp case and carries only DC. Here are some pictures of the power supply:
The main amplifier case is built out of American cherry solid hardwood stained with light oil urethane, 4 coats. The top plate is gold anodized aluminum made by Front Panel Express. The main amplifier is provided with Neutrik RCAs and Cardas binding posts. A nice Shurite 3V panel meter can be switched to measure each of the 45 filament and allow precise adjustment to 2.5V. There are separate 10 turns 2W pots top panel accessible for this adjustment. The output transformers are James 6115HS. I’ve provided a switch to choose between 5K and 7K load. On the 7K load the sound is more pleasant as the distortions are reduced. Here is the schematics and some pictures:
I’ve always measured my amps and in majority of cases the measurements tell the truth about the sound of the device. In this case, as you can see from the distribution of the harmonics, there is a 2nd harmonic dominant SE amp that sound better than it measures. ( as always with early DHTs ).
1 Vrms for 0.25W output, 2.2 Vrms for 1W output, 3 Vrms for 1.75W output max
Frequency response: 20Hz-30kHz @ -1dB
THD 5K load : 1.66% @ 0.5W, 2.5% @ 1W, 3.47% @ 1.5W and 4.9% @ 1.75W
THD 7K load: 1.24% @ 0.5W, 1.77% @ 1W, 2.8% @ 1.5W and 4.08% @ 1.75W
I’ve needed a bit of gain to drive this amp to max power. I found that my 18dB 01A preamp is a great fit. I’ve also tried 26 pre and 10Y pre and they all sound excellent combined with this SE 45.