Gainclone chip amp

This post is geared toward owners or previous owners of this diy amp. I probably should have inqired with the diy site but wanted to hear what A-goners may have to say. This is my first chip amp and after seeing many auctions and ads here and on ebay I decided to take the plunge. On the technical side of things the layout looks very simple. No huge caps or numerous parts. I do know that this design is from the 47labs camp but not all that familiar with the product. As for sonics this an amazing piece of gear. My amp is supposed to be 60w into 4 ohms and I suspect there may be more power to boot. I can't figure out where all this sound is coming from with the small caps and all Must be in the chips. Like I said amazing. For the rest of my system I'm using a nad 304 as the pre, nad tuner, philips sacd player, and epos ELS3 spkrs. I plan on upgrading my pre(used sugden)and possibly selling the 304. Well just wanted to share my thoughts and look for any advise or info on possible tweeks for this jewel of a amp. Enjoy the music!
Glad to read you're enjoying the Gainclone! Yeah ..the little Gain clones are very musical IMHO. When paired with the proper can be heavenly. As far as the parts count go..that's the secret to the sound. Sorry I don't have any real tweaks I can tell you about...enjoy the music!

Good Listening
Thanks for the response Gmood1. My spkrs don't go very low but I can hear the difference in the bottom end. Can't wait to upgrade to a better pre. Stay tuned :)
No need to worry! My Gain clone isn't as powerful as yours,but I still get into the mid 20hz easily in my room.
Your hearing isn't playing tricks on you. ;-)

Have fun!
Did a search on the Brian Bell site just to see what others have done. My loss is I don't have the proper tools for constuction as far as a chassis is concerned. I would like to take a stab at building my own. Perhaps I could find one that has pre-drilled holes for jacks,iec,etc. Maybe another site would provide some answers.
I built a pair of the Thorsten inverted design, great for bass, livelier than tubes and not SS...It needs a preamp as gain is not so much I found. Good for bass a bit grainy on mids and highs...

South43 I read the main advantage of a gainclone its the short path, so I welded the resistors and caps directly to the chips legs, be very careful to weld fast enough as to avoid a lot of heat on the chip, I fried a couple before I got it right...good luck!
You can contact Peter Daniel about the prefab chassis. He sells them through his site. You can go here Audio Sector. It is also possible to contact him through the site ..he has several threads on it. He's very helpful..just ask him.

Good luck to you!
These chip amps have to be the best value in audio.
I have two of these.One is a paralled 4780[100 watts RMS]and the other is a 3876T[56 watts RMS].I actually prefer the sound of the Sonic Art 3876T-it is a bit more expressive and open.These use 44,000mF and 22,000mF resevoir caps per channel respectively so are not of the very low capacitance type.
I have been using them with a Supratek Cabernet 300B preamp am really amazed how fantastic they sound.These things comfortably better every transistor amp I have heard[better clarity,speed,dynamics,micro dynamics and really precise 3D imaging].When you first hear them you think that they sound a bit cold but with extended listening it becomes obvious that they are just neutral.
A good tube amp is arguably better-but it has to be a seriously good one and probably at least 10 times the price!
The digital type amps sound slow and flacid by comparison and lack the chip amps vibrancy and micro dynamics.
They are not perfect-they tend to sound a bit hard when driven really hard,but at normal listening levels they provide a level of clarity and naturalness that is missing in the vast majority of amps I have heard-regardless of cost.

Wow!! JT ...I couldn't have said it better myself!! You've described the Chip amps to a T. Where do you find the Sonic Art 3876T ? It sounds like a very interesting amplifier.

I actually bought the SonicArt on Ebay.They are an obscure Aussie company-

There is no mention of the 3876T chip amp on their site but you could email them for info.

Just last night I dropped off the 4780 amp at a friends.He has an M.E. 850 transistor amp which are monster things and very highly regarded in Australia,and found in many seriously expensive systems.The chip amp,at least to my ears,sounds vastly better.The soundstage went from being very box bound to having depth,layering and projection and the whole sound was just clearer,faster,more vibrant and more detailed.Like lifting several blankets off the speakers.

Thanks a bunch mate! It's funny you mentioned Australia. I was just thinking I need to look closer at the obscure companies down under. I've had some great success with the Burson group from Australia. I never realized how good valued the gear is produced down there. It's quite a bit cheaper than I realized and the sound quality is top notch.
I'll shoot them an email.
Wow looks like I started something here. Gmood1 thanks for the site info. I'll give him a look see. And a big thanks to all the other gain clone owners that responded. I really want to get one assembled soon so I'll be watching this post and diy for all the help and advice that may follow.
Gmood1, where did your "system" link go? Any changes or have you found sonic nirvana?
Hi Cdc..just adding a couple of new components. Not quite done yet. Everything else is the same with the addition of three pieces. One being a Monarchy 48/96 upsampler,Burson HDAM Buffer and a 70 wpc battery powered integrated amplifier.If I can swing it, I want to add one of these Australian built Chip amps to the arsenal. That will give me 3 to swap out when the mood fits. As far as the nirvana part..I get closer every day.;-)

I'm trying to see how many different countries I can build my system from. Lets see I have Sweden,Germany,China,United Kingdom ,Canada ,USA and Australia. I just love the world wide web...LOL.The crazy thing is nearly everything is hand built from very small, sometimes one man companies.
Gmood,I am also interested in the Burson mods.Can you tell us about your experience with them.They always have bits on Aussie eBay but I already have a very modded Pioneer -although the clock is still standard.
Also I have an Audio Artistry battery chip preamp[another obscure Aussie company]which might be of interest.It is not as good as my Supratek[nothing else I have heard even comes close],but it is still very good.The dead quiet background of this thing is amazing and the bass is as good as I have heard.
JT...I got the Burson HDAM buffer in the last Thursday. I bought it to use in conjunction with my Dac which has no Op amps and my passive volume controls. I've had it cooking for over 80 hours now.

I'm totally amazed at how good this unit is! It has a sweetness to it. Not like tubes..more like pure class A sweetness. The sound is very open and articulate. The unit is so quiet..I can put my ear against the driver and not hear a peep from it.

The 5 mates at Burson know good sound. I can tell just from the small time I've spent with this piece. These fellows put a lot of time into making this buffer. I've owned the Bv Audio Sound Refiner. Which is suppose to be something similar. These two units are NOTHING alike. The SR-10 cost $145.00 more ..there's no way I would have bought one if I'd known about Burson. Now that it's in the system ..I can't see removing it! Burson seems to be in it more for the fun than money. There's no way they're making a real profit off these units at what they sell for. In the U.S something like this would easily cost 2 to 3 times more.

I'm not sure what your mods are in the Pioneer. I would certainly give these guys a ring if you're not using this type of output.Some naysayers will bring up specs and talk about how much better an Op amp is suppose to be..this in one component you just have to hear for yourself. I've never heard anything like these discrete buffers with the power supply. I can only describe the sound as musical, EXTREMELY tranparent with finesse.

That battery powered preamp is another interesting unit. Do you have a website for them? Man with all these goodies you keep'll have me broke! LOL

Gmood,Thanks for the info on the Burson HDAM.I will have to get one.
Audio Artistry is no longer operating.
I did see one of these for sale at Simply Hi Fi[].It needed new batteries though.These were not kits-quite nicely finished things.No phono.
Hello all, Just wanted to update everyone on my amp. I should have took the plunge long before this. This amp really sings. I do however hear a faint buzzing coming from my tweeters but only if I'm close. Don't know if that's normal or maybe some grounding issuses. Gmood1 I did look at the site you gave me for the gainclone chassis. A little expensive for me and the chassis he specifies is for a intergrated unit. I emailed the builder of my amp to see if he could rig me a chassis so I could take a stab a building a kit myself. Lots of different chips from what I see and wondered what you would suggest in terms of 4ohm spkrs. Still waiting on my Sugden pre to arrive from Canada. Can't wait to see how this combo will sound. Stay tuned : )
Hey South43,

Here's a site that sells chassis Autoconstruire..the company is out of Italy. maybe these prices are a little closer to what you would like to spend.

As far as the chips go..Peter would be better at answering your question. I do know he prefers to use dual transformers for these loads. I remember seeing some high powered dual tranny Gain clones for sell on Audiogon. I don't remember who the builder was..but the units looked well made.

The Gainclones are very sensitive to noise from upstream components. This maybe the buzz you're hearing from the use of the NAD as a preamp.
That's a another key to success with the Gainclones. You need quiet upstream equipment. If not.. they will stick out like a sore thumb. I hear absolutely no noise fron my unit unless hooked to a noisy preamp. This is with my ear physically touching the driver.
My paralelled 4780 will drive low impedence speakers well.Even some 2.5 ohm Equinox speakers.It too has a slight buzz though which the maker put down to some earthing problem in the PCB.It does not really seem related to the preamps used.It can be reduced to barely perceptable by turning the gain controls down to about half.Plus installing gain controls means you can better match it to preamps or even use them as a passive preamp-which will sound better than a lot of active preamps.
The3876T amp is very silent.I installed Alps blue 100kohm pots in this without any apparent degradation of the sound.
JT has a good point. This type of amplifier is already high gain. No real need to add more. More than a few dB seems to add noise. I like passives on these units. That's the reason for the Burson HDAM gives me the drive of an active without the extra components and noise in the signal path.
Hi Gmood1,
Thanks for the info once again. I did email the builder of my amp and he has various chassis that may fit the bill. (He also has a amp for sale here) The buzzing I mentioned seems to have vanished. Ahh the magic of the chip. JT I'll look at the 3876 you mentioned.
Passive preamps do seem to work unusually well with these chip amps but the combination with a good tube preamp[like the Suprateks] really is pretty special.An adsurd mix of technologies and costs I know,but it is probably,on balance,as good as I have heard for anywhere near the combined cost.
Hello all, It's been awhile since I looked at the thread and wanted to know what differences there are between the gainclone chips. I have seen numbers like 3886,3875 etc. I thank you in advance and good listening.
The 3875 is lowest power - maybe 20-40 watts. Others are higher power 60-100 watts if memory serves me.
Thanks Cdc for the info :)
Here's a gainclone at a good price for anyone interested in trying one out Dual Mono Gainclone $250 shipped. Not affiliated with the seller. I just think it's a great deal.

Good listening!!