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Diamond Buffers

Discussion in 'Sound Science' started by jonesy512, Sep 8, 2012.
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  1. Steve Eddy
    Chicken! Bok bok bok! [​IMG]
  2. jcx
    when a amp circuit using the TPA6120 chip doesn't come within 20 dB of the manufacturer's plots I have to assume implementation problems - common impedance grounding errors, poor power supply, inadequate pwr pad heatsinking could all contribute
    the series L doesn't have to be a tiny 0805 chip ferrite  - the required inductance is low enough to use "perfectly linear" air core inductor
    even lossy ferrites can give "unmeasurable" audio frequency distortion if upsized large enough to avoid saturation - I used a 5 A rated part
    I still maintain the TPA6120 beats the performance of previous unity gain buffer chips
    if you look for measurements of Harris, BUF634 ect their "open loop" distortion is much worse at low Ohm loads - the LME buffer datasheet only shows the distortion with the buffer chip inside a multiloop's added feedback loop
    I don't expect even by itself the TPA6120 has audible errors, but I prefer the multiloop feedback topology with a "good", "audio" op amp input, global feedback around the TPA, in which case you could in principle move your plot's distortion traces down 40-60 dB more with good implementation
    I believe that with advanced multiloop composite circuit, "good", "audio" op amp input, global feedback around the TPA, that active device distortions are not visible without long averaging to see below the noise floor - layout, passive device performance become bigger limits to the amp's distortion performance 
  3. wakibaki
    What is this? A TPA6120 love/hatefest?
    Even @ 20dB above the TI plots we're still talking angels/pinheads territory. That's 0.0014% @ 80mW into 600 ohms. That's one of the truly amazing things about it. It can fail to meet it's spec by a factor of 10 and its noise + distortion will still be below a level almost universally considered to be inaudible, by a factor of 10.
    This kind of argument only encourages the view that distortion at these levels is significant. It's not. You guys are supposed to know this, and probably do, but you let the fact get subsumed in arguments which are really intended to demonstrate your superiority, your greater discrimination, your greater knowledge of the subject, but only end up being used as ammunition by people who are groping for justifications for their prejudices.
    How 'bout your greater self-control?
  4. Chris J
    I have to agree with jcx.
    As someone pointed out a few posts ago, spec. sheets provided by the manufacturer's legally cannot mislead the consumer of those products.
    Obviously the manufacturer has optimized the test layout to show best performance.
    However, a good designer should be able to replicate that design.
    I'll guess that whoever implemented those designs posted with the poor performance did not spend enough time and effort to optimize the PC layout, including power supply implementation, power supply decoupling, etc.
    Perhaps they created a design under constraint of time, budget, measurement equipment and released something "good enough".
    The spec sheet states the IC must be heatsunk, I've never seen an STX, is the TPA properly bonded to a heatsink? Did the STX designers do the headphone amp as an afterthought?
  5. jcx
    obviously some will still use discrete buffers, "diamond" or not - others insist on all discrete - despite massive advances in monolithic technology
    imaginations may be captured by "classic" hybrid or monolithic buffer chips from the popular diy projects
    I just claim the TPA6120 is technically worthy of consideration - betters many other implementation's specs within its I,V, power limits, allows an extra degree of freedom in design by being able to deliver V gain with local feedback, inside a multiloop
    the datasheet specs are qualified for gain, load conditions - all of the data should have been taken from/reproducible on the demo board - which is fully documented with pcb artwork, BOM - TI wants customers to be able to achieve the datasheet numbers
  6. Chris J
    If the manufacturers can make them look as good as possible, then the consumers should be able to duplicate those results, TI isn't out to delude anyone.
    But who said it was supposed to be easy?
    It's easy to screw up with poor PCB layout, poor power supply implementation, ignoring half the spec sheet..
    TI gives you lots of suggestions, makes me wonder if the designers bothered to apply them.
    Anyone notice that TI typically uses +/-12 or +/- 15 Volt rails for quoted specs and graphs? I suspect this is to make the TPA looks it's best.
    Does the STX have +/- 12 V rails?
  7. Maverickmonk
    arguments of buffers aside, that looks like a very interesting amplifier design to my very untrained eyes. Especially intriguing is the idea of sinking multiple transistors to the same small heat-sink to minimize temperature variation, although I wonder if any sacrifices were made in layout efficiency to facilitate that. Regardless, it might be an amp I have to try someday!
  8. Chris J
    Yep, the picture of the PCB does not tell much. Neither does the schematic.
    Labels, what do the lines on the graphs represent? Is it calibrated?
    Are you measuring the whole signal chain or just the TPA6120?
    I really don't know why TI publishes one spec but STX gets different results.
    Just a guess here, the STX was designed by a team of digital designers and one of them was saddled with the task of designing the headphone amp, and since he is not an analog guy, he doesn't know how to finesse the circuit. They use cheap test equipment so can't see what they are doing, it sounds good enough so they don't care, who knows? The circuit does a lousy job of rejecting noise from the rest of the circuit.........um, um.....I'm tapped out. Others can invent other theories. Unless someone has a Deepthroat at STX?
    Wakibaki will be happy to see this discussion seems to have ran it's course...................[​IMG]
    We will now go back to our regular programming.
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