When using fixed-bias you don’t want to take any risks and damage your output transformer. What happens if your output valve (e.g. a transmitting power valve) makes false contact at the grid or the bias supply fails to start for whatever reason. Well, your valve will conduct fully and probably melting the anode and if not damaging the primary winding of your OT. Both things are catastrophic and you don’t want to try it…too expensive!
You may think there is a simple solution: a fuse. We all know fuses are inaccurate and can be dangerous if they don’t blow properly. Also HT fuses are expensive and they don’t come up with a wide range of values.
We’re constantly obsessed to get the most out of our lives. Not a product of the capitalist world we live in, but a fact of our human nature. Its evolution.
When it comes to sonic power, unfortunately we are not too distance from this thought. We want more Watts. Yes, pure power. My generation back in the 80s got misled by the audio product marketing and their unrealistic metrics (e.g. PMPO) to fudge the real power of a solid state amplifier.
Finished the second channel and tested the filament supply. The filament array which is formed by two paralleled pairs of 20W 10Ω wirewound resistors gets hot as expected. The array temperature is about 110-126°C at an ambient temperature of 24°C. The anode of the 46 gets to 49°C after 20 min of use and the heatsink stays at 42°C whereas the regulator TO-220 transistors are about 45°C. There is about 30W dissipated on each array. Yes I know, a lot of power but the filament bias is hard to beat in terms of sound in my view.
Continuing with this series of blog posts around the 6C4C push-pull design. As suggested my 45 in my previous blog entry, here is the 4P1L-4P1L version:
The first 4P1L driver stage remains unchanged, as does the output stage. The addition of the 4P1L differential pair with CCS tail and LL1660/pp IT is the main change of this design. The LL1660 is configured in ALT M or 2.25+2.25:2+2. I guess that a different IT could be used instead to get a lower output impedance on the diff pair and improve the performance in A2. The amp has more gain that I need in this configuration as it delivers its maximum power (circa 8W) when input is 1.2V peak.
So how does it performs?
Very low distortion indeed. About 0.06% up to 8W. Mainly odd harmonics dominating the sound of this amp.
In the quest of refining the 6C4C push-pull design I started not long ago, it was suggested by 45 to try a different driver. The famous E180F russian equivalent with gold grid: 6J9P-E. So I went back at my design and replaced the 4P1L driver with the 6J9P-E. Instead of filament bias, the bias was provided by a pair of red LEDs. The low dynamic impedance of these avoid the use of a bypass capacitor. Setting the operating point with the existing supply is a bit tricky but I found that Va=210V / Ia=14mA provides good swing and minimum distortion. Biasing the valve at around -3.7V keeps the valve away from grid current which will increase the distortion unnecessarily. So here is the circuit: