Improving the driver with a gyrator load
After the early experiments with the 4P1L driver in pentode mode, I decided to look at improving it somehow given advice given. The gyrator load is not a good match for a pentode unless the reflected impedance is low enough to control the gain of the stage. Gary Pimm recommends:“In the driver experiments the plate resistor was increased to a value larger than in traditional Pentode driver stages to get more gain.A CCS was placed in parallel with the plate resistor to add plate current to compensate for the high value plate resistor. This allows you to have independent controls of the gain and operating current. The resistor is chosen to set the gain and the CCS is used to set the Pentode operating current.
To maximize the circuit performance the resistance in the screen circuit is adjusted for minimum distortion. There are draw backs to this- The circuit has to be tweaked for each tube. As adjusting the screen voltage and resistance also effects the gain of the stage you have to compromise some to have the gain match between 2 channels. This is not a circuit where you can swap tubes around without “calibrating” the stage on the test bench. Another interesting way of applying the circuit is to place the plate resistor in parallel with the Pentode and have the CCS supply all the current needed by the stage. This allows the Pentode driver stage to have PSRR similar to CCS loaded triode stages. It also makes the signal current loop very small including only the Pentode, cathode, and plate resistors. The noise and capacitor colorations of the power supply are quite effectively removed.”
So I opted for adding a resistor in parallel (RL) to adjust gain, minimise distortion and improve PSRR:
The load resistor is 68K. I optimised the operating point to reduce distortion at maximum swing (i.e. 200V peak to peak). The input impedance of the soundcard interface which is 100K didn’t produce a significant impact on the distortion when measuring from the anode output or in the mu output:
Interesting to see that distortion is now nearly half of previous operating point and 0.27% for 200Vpp is very good.
The screen current is approximately 1.8mA at 81V bias.