It was now the turn to the BJT to show what it can do in this circuit. Here is my quick breadboard with components I had at hand, so there is a slight variation from the simulation:
The Q1 is obviously an MPSA42. C3 was substituted with a 10uF/25V electrolytic (yes you read well). Rf is a 250k carbon pot and R2 is built of a series of 1K pair in parallel plus 100 ohms in parallel, four resistors are wire-wound 1W. C1 is actually a 30uF/450V ASC Oil cap.
I haven’t measured the collector current but it seems to be around 1.3-18mA. Variance is due to tolerance of RE and R3. I need to measure the actual resistance of Rf but is somewhere between 180 and 200K.
As Rod suggested, the circuit is very stable and easy to dial the right feedback with the potentiometer. The 4P1L is biased about -9V and is slightly under the max Pa in this case.
Distortion is as predicted in the simulation (e.g. 0.1% for 1W and about 0.2 – 0.25% for 2W). Just above 2.2W distortion creeps up rapidly given grid current, which is not modelled properly by the 4P1L pentode model:
Looking at distortion versus frequency, it’s interesting to compare the BJT performance against the depletion FET. With lower Cob compared to the Coss of the FET, the BJT should be able to drive better the 4P1L. In fact, the BJT is more linear when swinging many volts compared to the depletion FET, so the proof is in the pudding:
The BJT is indeed more linear but if we compare the THD vs frequency of both drivers when providing 2W output power, we can see that the BJT is suffering as much (and even more given poorer slew rate) than the FET at frequencies above 12kHz. Also FET’s THD versus frequency is more linear up to 10kHz, whereas the BJT has a peak around 6kHz and a dip closer to 10-11kHz. Either way, the BJT outperforms the FET in overall THD up to 11kHz.
I need to listen to this circuit now…