Sound of chip amps / gainclones?

Has anyone tried chip amps like those from or These are similar to the 47 labs gaincard amps and use an LM3875 chip. How do they sound compared to other types of amps? I am concerned about dynamic range, and brightness/HF ringing.
I am looking to build one for my 4" dia, 8 ohm single driver speakers and need about 6 watts.
Cdc..I've been breaking mine in as I type this.
I can tell you there are no worries my friend. The dynamic range is simply amazing! I've had the Scott Nixon 40 wpc monos here for audition over a two week period. Terrific little monos..especially with a tubed preamp!

There is no HF ringing or brightness when mated to the proper speaker load. At the present time I'm breaking in the Audio Sector integrated and NON OS Dac. This is jaw dropping good stuff man. Compared to T amps, the sound is more alive and palpable. No brightness to speak off..though if your front end is bright you'll have bright sound.

This little amplifier is the most transparent and musically vibrant amplifier I've ever owned or played with at home period! This includes the Music Reference RM9 MK2 tubed amp(helluva tube amp by the way),McIntosh 7106,Monarchy Audio ,several Adcoms , Carver ZR T amp , ClariT battery powered amplifier, Van Alstine modified Dynaco,Musical Fidelity 300, modified Forte 4 there's some more.. can't remember them all LOL!

Make sure you go with the Blackgate N caps for the amplifier section instead of the Panasonics. The panasonics have a hint of stridents in the upper range. Not offensively bad though. The BG Ns sound much more fluid and refined IMHO.Also make sure your preamp is up to the challenge. A noisy preamp will stick out like a sore thumb on the chip amps.

A well designed chip amp will make certain amplifiers sound like you had blankets tossed over the speakers. Not in a unnatural hyper detail sort of way. More of a clearer view of the soundstage..without pyrotechnics.Not clear on your front end but I would consider a NON OS Dac also. It's a great match with the amps. All the grain and piercing highs associated with cds are an after thought.Tubes aren't needed to smooth the music over either.

Your in for some good fun..that's for sure!
Srajan Ebaen of 6moons was right on the money with his review of the Audio Sector gear.

My reference amps right now are Scott Nixon monos, modded by Parts Connexion. They put out effortless sound, extremely revealing and how many have mentioned before, are very well paired with a tubed preamp, mine being a First Sound Paramount Hot Rod MKII. With other amps I have tried....Blue Circle BC-2 Monos, Sonic Frontiers Power 2 tubed, Nakamichi PA-7 SS amp, as well as Musical Fidelity Class A integrated...and inumerable others, the Op Chip amplifiers, especially when they are matched with a synergistic tubed preamp and most importantly a complementary speaker, can outperform other SS and for that matter tubed design sonically, as well as being down right affordable in comparison.

What sort of 4" driver and speaker design are you going to attempt? I have heard BR Fostex' of a renown manufacturer and I was not impressed at all with a tilted presentation towards the midrange and treble.
I own the Channel Islands VMB-1s which are 40 watt/channel "Chip Amps" built by a well respected designer/builder. They are excellent at their price point. There are no high frequency anomolies and the bass is excellent. It is very easy to follow bass lines with these amps that were obscured by other amps I own. Also, the midrange is truely excellent.


What is a chip amp??
Here's a small preview of chip amps. Chip amps. "They are excellent at their price point". Reubuent you are too nice!LOL

You know as well as the the rest of us .Price points are pretty much meaningless, when the chips amps are matched with the proper components.:-)

Good listening
Gmood1, good to hear from you. You got the patek from Peter Daniel's? From what I've read the LM3875 chips like a tube pre while a good T amp does better with a passive. I'm also looking at the Charlize amp. Which supposedly does not have the HF brightness that was mentioned in Stereophiles 47 Labs Gaincard review.

TIC I would agree with you and think that 40 wpc chip amp would be better sounding than the "D" amp - as long as you don't need 100-200 wpc. I was surprised to read in the C-I thread here at A-gon that people preferred the "D" amp.
Bemoptil23, I've got my Tang-Band W4-1320SA half way completed. They have a F-R designed for near-wall or O-B (open baffle). I also considered the FR-125 but has a 5dB boost to the bass and a correspondingly low SPL of 85 dB. Why loose efficiency for bass I don't want? People at diyaudio have complained about the bass being too boomy so I'm glad I didn't get them.
I agree as the Fostex sounded bright to me and also a lot of people who have them. Alway with the phrase "but I think I can tweak out the brightness". Good luck, ain't gonna happen IMHO.
Hi CdC,
well I've tried the Chip / T amp both ways. There is no HF ringing. Maybe it's the way Peter Daniels implements the design. It also may have something to do with the caps. The Gain card did use Panansonic caps..not sure if they are used now or not. My amplifier uses the Blackgate N electrolytic caps.Definitely not bright at all. The T amps I've tried were very good. They don't have the 3D soundstage or the organic image density of the Chips .

Also my Dac uses the same caps.The 1875 chips are brighter sounding but still very good. I believe the SN monos (not the newest version)I tried out had these but not sure. The tubed preamp did great with them.

With or without tube preamp will depend on you speakers,front end and taste. My speakers also use a BSC.Which is designed to control the rising impedance and HF associated with most single drivers...So YMMV. You can see this in the response graph of the speakers your building as well.As the frequency rises so does the impedance.

No doubt about it.This type of amplifier is designed for efficient or fairly efficient speakers. Put them on the wrong speakers any other amp and your going to have problems.

Cheers and good luck with the project!
Here is more info:
DIY LM3875 chip amp
and another:
webring gainclone
Do you think I could put a current version of Peter Daniels Patek amps (in the 100WPC SE mono configuration--as written about in 6Moons) behind my VR4JR's and a long run (20 ft.) of speaker wire? I have a Modwright preamp.

Do you think I could put a current version of Peter Daniels Patek amps (in the 100WPC SE mono configuration--as written about in 6Moons) behind my VR4JR's and a long run (20 ft.) of speaker wire? I have a Modwright preamp.
Why not? I have 30 foot speaker cable runs connected to 4 ohm speaker taps on my 110 wpc tube amp, and the sound is incredibly good. I use VR4 GenIII HSE speakers with a nominal 6 ohm load.
Hi Pardales,

The only problem I see is the 4 ohms 20 Hz-150 Hz rating for your speakers.You may need to move up to the 4875 chips run in parallel to be safe.I use 15 ft speaker cables without problems. You could contact Peter and let him know what your using. He builds everything custom anyway.If it is possible to use the chip amps, he will know how to design the amplifier to meet your speaker's needs. My speakers are also 89db efficient but stay above 9 ohms through most of the frequency range. The great part is you have nothing to lose but shipping. Peter will refund your money if you aren't 100 percent satisfied with the custom build.

Thanks, Tvad and Gmood1. I have written to Peter and asked for his thoughts. We'll see what he says. I am currently using a pretty nice amp (Pass 250.5) -- any thoughts on what will be gained or lost if Peter makes me up a set that will work with my speakers and set-up? Thank you,
I recently had some people over for a listening session and had the opportunity to hear Peter Daniel's Patek in my system. The preamp I was using was a Joule Electra LA-100 MkIII. In comparison to my custom TRL D-225 amp the Patek held its own. While it wasn't as transparent and lacked some of the detail, it drove my 88db efficient Spendor 1/2e speakers nicely. Considering the cost, this is a nice amplifier. I have dealt with Peter in the past concerning his DAC and found him to be extremely helpful and a very good designer.
Honestly I wouldn't have a clue my friend. As far as I can tell you have a great system as is. I haven't spent enough time with the Pass amplifiers or any time with the VR4 to make a judgement. Since VS doesn't publish response graphs it's tough to know how the Pateks will fair.No doubt the Pass amplifier is a brute designed to drive a tough load when called to do so.
Two very different designed amplifiers for two different types of speakers.

Something tells me you're considering or will end up with a more efficient speaker in the future.;-) The Patek is a very low parts count design which could have its advantages when used with the right speakers. Same would go for the Pass on traditional designed speakers with crossovers that have lower impedances and crazy electrical phase angles.

If you plan to go crossover-less, then the Patek or some other low parts,medium to low wattage design like the Pass FW3 would be my choice. In the end, I think what ever speakers you decide to use will make the decision for you.
For low volume listening the HE crossover-less speakers will be hard to beat.

The Patek sounds like what ever you put infront of it. It will cover up nothing. The smallest change can be heard. So tube preamps are a lot fun as you can swap the tubes and hear the differences immediately without any guessing... even with a preamp that you aren't familiar with. It is extremely fast and transparent..there is no blurring of strings..etc.

For example, I had a very good internet audiophile buddy to mail me a demo cd from Sass microphones. This demo cd has all types of sounds from crashing waves to jet planes taking off to live acoustic music with drums..etc. There's one track where there's a person playing a drum kit...pretty hard at that.During the track I kept hearing a rattling as I played this over and over. At first I thought something was loose on the speaker. After further investigation I determined I was hearing the rattling of the metal ring around the base of the drum where you tighten down the skin with the wing type nuts. I was shocked that ...Not only could I hear the skin rattle on the drum set but I could hear the rattling of the entire drum. I've never heard this before except when watching a good friend play his drums 3 feet from me.Like I said the amplifier covers up nothing!LOL

Good listening
Hi should hear the Patek on a speaker with no crossovers and a fair impedance. Believe me ..the amplifer is extremely transparent when not bogged down by crossovers and wild impedance swings. I would expect the D-225 to come out on top where more power and heavy load capabilities are needed. I'm confident the results would have been the opposite on the proper speaker matching. This would be like me comparing a SET 10 wpc to a 500 wpc Pass amplifier on 88dB speakers that are 4 ohms..the winner is obvious. LOL

Gymane, you are more knowledgable on the Patek than I am so I trust your opinion. Your example with the flea powered SET versus the high powered sold state makes sense as this is why I went solid state just recently. I wasn't about to give up my Spendor's and while my 50 watt triode push/pull did a nice job, it wasn't getting the most out of the speakers. SET amps, while recommended by Spendor (they really like the Audio Note amps with their speakers), didn't cut it for me either.

The person who owns the amp uses Audio Physic speakers with a 90db effiency rating and 4ohms impedance. Perhaps that is a better match, altough from what I have been told the Spendor's I have are pretty flat along 8ohms. I suppose this is a good example of how important system matching is.
Thank you for the thoughtful responses.