Measuring Transconductance (Gm)

GM tester jig circuit

After a bit of work, got the transconductance jig working fine. Made an obvious omission which was not bypassing the CCS. The CCS present a very high impedance in AC to the circuit, therefore not developing the current variation on the measuring resistor. Bypassed by an electrolytic presents a path to ground.

Listening to the 45 Single Ended (SE) Amplifier

A perfect and warm sound

45 SE amplifier

Hard to describe in words what I felt when I played first time “Goodbye Pork Pie Hat” from Charles Mingus. Perhaps it was the due to the fact that I play saxophone, but inevitably for me this song is one of the best ones to test the response of any amplifier. Sax duets, solos, a great bass line and varied moods along the way can take the amplifier to their best of their abilities. Being a jazz fan, couldn’t help myself when listening this amplifier for the first time. I used to play an EL34 push-pull, and liked its sound and power – specially for rock. But when it comes to the first watt, this amplifier is breathless. Pure and a warm tone. Playing this song made me understand all the fuzz about single ended amps. But, far from opening the debate about that, I’m sure that a 45/46 in push-pull has its own merits and would probably will one of those amps I’d like to build in the future.

Having a FE167E full-range driver that have a relatively high efficiency (94dB/W), the 45 SE doesn’t sound low. It has its own personality. Brilliant for jazz, it may need a tad of power perhaps when playing some rock and classic stuff.

7193 valve

It took me some time to optimise the driver stage. Started with an SRPP, then a paralleled 6SL7 to an 6J5 loaded with a gyrator in mu-follower achieving less than 0.20% THD at 150 Vpp. A great driver in my opinion. Now need to replace the 6J5 for the lovely 7193.

It looks like a Frankenstein valve, but it’s a lovely thing to me. Many claim that it’s a superior valve compared to the 6SN7/6J5 or even CV1988.

Adding the 7193 will require opening my 45SE and not having music at home for some time so at the moment is not what I have in mind.

Perhaps when I get the 4-65A up and running? It will take some time for that…


DHT preamp evolution

My 01a DHT preamplifier has performed flawlessly over the last 4 months or so. I do enjoy its warm sound and clear tone. I do prefer it to my 26 OT preamp, despite everyone says the contrary. I personally feel that the thoriated tungsten filament gives some sonic unique mark to the sound here.


I want to do the following test and compare differences in sound:

1) Gyrator load
2) Antitriode load
3) Choke
4) OT

Have my LL1660s which can take out temporarily from the 26 preamp, and also got a couple of chokes to use as well, oil caps, etc?

What do you think?

Updated 6e5P SPICE model

6e5p under test

Having fixed the bias offset problem in my tester (actually my oscilloscope). I took again the curves this evening to get a better model….

If you want to read how did I manage to get here, please read this post


6e5p triode strapped curves (offset fixed so grid voltages are fine now!)

Measuring valve transconductance

Today I breadboarded the CCS I will use for the transconductance tester jig which is an addition to my curve tracer:


Bias circuit is a classic from fixed bias amplifiers. I had the 80V available from the curve tracer circuit. The meter is an external panel AC voltmeter which is a trueRMS meter that will measure accurately the 1kHz signal.

The MOSFET CCS is a simple cascoded which can help setting the valve current and operating point. I source it with my bench variable HT power supply, which also helps in setting out the operating point.

We know that we need to have a small AC signal in the grid to increase the accuracy of the Gm test as the transconductance is given by:

G_{m}=\frac{\Delta I_{a}}{\Delta V_{g}} _{\Delta V_{a}=0}

So can’t feed with 1Vrms, so will use 100mVrms. If a valve has a transconductance of 1mA/V, then the variance in the anode current will be of 100uA (rms). This represents a challenge to measure accurately using an anode resistor of 10 ohms for example since the developed AC voltage across the resistor will be 1mV (rms). Therefore we will use an anode resistor of 100 ohms which will help capturing small transconductance values as this one.



Found that the CCS bypass was omitted in my first circuit. Also the sensing resistor was reduced to 10 ohms to accommodate the AC true-rms meter I have. See updates on this post here

6e5p triode-strapped

6e5p valve

The 6e5p is high-frequency indirectly-heated tetrode from our friends in Russia. The specifications can be found here.  Anode can easily dissipate 8W and screen can take up to 2W and has a high transconductance of around 30 mA/V

Wired as triode this chap becomes very attractive. The anode resistance drops to around 900Ω – 1KΩ and effective mu is about 30-35. This turns this valve into a low anode, medium mu and high transconductance fellow which is highly regarded as a driver in SE amplifiers. Check out there in the jungle and you will find many good examples of how this valve is being used effectively.

When testing this valve on my curve tracer I found that it probes to be a challenging device. You need to leave this guy running on its own for a while (Lars recommended 30 min to 1 hour). I found that indeed after 20-30 min it stabilise.

First run on my tracer

Dmitry came up with a very good model. When I created a model based on my curves found a mismatch between my notes and simulation. Checking my notes I think I set up the tester to start plotting curves at 0V with a step of -0.5V, however looking at the model produced by Dmitry’s tool, I got this:

SPICE model to fit 6e5p in triode mode


It looks like the curves starts at -2V. Need to re-check and probably trace this valve again. Either way it does match very well and not far off from Dmitry’s model from above.

Here is my model.


I’m planning to use this valve in my OTL (cap-less) headphone amp. Stay tuned…

Continue reading “6e5p triode-strapped”

Tracer nearly finished

Tracer sync issues are coming to an end. Replaced clock transformer and got it working fine. Sync needs readjusting after 15-30min
Happy man seeing those 46 perfect linear curves 🙂

Tracing a 46 in triode mode
46 in triode mode (missing trace parts are due to camera refresh sync)