Blog Forums DIY Amplifiers and Electronics DIY Amplifiers with Orchard Audio Live! What is Gan?

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    • #14666
      123toid
      Keymaster

      Alright guys, mark your calendars we will be talking with Orchard Audio on November 20th.  We plan to discuss the new GAN technology in his amplifiers and just general DIY amplifiers.  I think his kit you can save around $1000+ just by building it yourself.  Thoughts?

       


    • #14667
      tvor-ceasar
      Moderator

      Gallium Nitride. Promising…

      Gallium has been in and out of transistors and semiconductors for years, but the newer architecture and compounds are looking really good. 


    • #14674
      orchardaudio
      Participant
      Posted by: @123toid

      Alright guys, mark your calendars we will be talking with Orchard Audio on November 20th.  We plan to discuss the new GAN technology in his amplifiers and just general DIY amplifiers.  I think his kit you can save around $1000+ just by building it yourself.  Thoughts?

       

      Thank you for setting this up. I am looking forward to it.

    • #14677
      AJC
      Participant

      @tvor-ceasar – yeah, but this is where things are going on transistors as things shrink (sorry, did come from the PC side). GAN is part of III-V materials, just like gallium arsenic, which is metallic and can be used for conducting in semi-conductors. They are also trying to learn how to use Cobalt as a coating for wires to prevent electron bleed (or however you would like to say or describe loosing electrons from the conductor through electron tunneling effects). Because of those effects, there may come a time where copper is replaced, etc. But that is a longer discussion of emerging trends in manufacturing at tiny scale. Note- we are moving to Gate All Around (GAA) Field Effect Transistors (FETs) really soon. https://semiengineering.com/knowledge_centers/integrated-circuit/transistors/3d/gate-all-around-fet/

      https://www.notebookcheck.net/TSMC-to-implement-gate-all-around-GAAFET-transistors-on-the-2-nm-nodes-by-2023.494850.0.html

      https://www.tomshardware.com/news/intel-at-iedm-stacking-nanoribbon-transistors-and-other-bleeding-edge-research

      https://www.freepatentsonline.com/9064943.html

      These will involve either nanosheets or nanowires. It’s some pretty heady and pretty cool stuff.

       

      Edit: This post has nothing to do with the topic at hand, I just wrote on a tangent that popped into my head. Yay for random thoughts.

    • #14678
      tvor-ceasar
      Moderator

      Nothing wrong with random thoughts. That’s what brings inspiration and change.


    • #14680
      123toid
      Keymaster

      How Well did it Measure?

      I like the idea of GAN. I know in calls D amplifiers the GAN transistors are supposed to switch faster. I am not sure of all the benefits or of they are realized benefits. Having said that, I am really looking forward to hear from @orchardaudio on the 20th about it.

      Leo was also nice enough to send over some test data of the exact modules he sent me.

      2869-SN31210009.pdf
      2870-SN31210067A.pdf

      First of all, I think that is pretty cool to have data an my specific units. I always love when manufacturers state it, but it make you feel even better when you know this is not just a test sample data, but your specific manufactured amplifier. Here is the data if you guys want to take a look at it.


    • #14686
      AJC
      Participant

      @123toid – That’s some nice looking data with some very low noise. Which noise is a discussion that hasn’t, in my opinion, been had enough. Specifically, discussion of tests showing where the audible limit of noise is, where the audible noise becomes troublesome to listeners (where it sounds bad), buying with the rated 1% THD+N level above that of RMS on the drivers so that the driver’s RMS is lower than where the amplifier’s 1% rating is on Watts (for the examples here, it is around 100W that it starts its assent into higher distortion, even though 200W is fine; but the amplifier’s 1% THD rating is probably around 400W, etc.).

      Also, is the noise more audible when dealing with high sensitivity drivers built for pro audio (a reason for THX to limit the rating to where THD+N is at 0.1% distortion, or whatever that standard is for PAs)? Especially if they are playing at or above 120dB?

      In other words, it would be interesting to see their take on the necessity of their product with such a low amount of distortion and noise, which applications would best utilize their products, why they think home audio or professional audio would be a good fit for integration of their amplifier circuitry (and why it is not buying on extremely low distortion, which to their credit they have, but that is below the audible threshold so that lesser products can mostly accomplish the same thing without the additional cost). Now, even though these questions are pushing and challenging them, it should be noted their products are comparable in noise levels and outputs to other products on the market. So it is good to then see how they see themselves positioned in this market. That might include asking how they see themselves versus the Purifi 1ET400A or the Hypex Ncore. There are a couple other players with very low amplifier distortion, but these are all standouts. So asking how they see themselves in the current market relative to their competition is important.

      As I said, their products look good and the numbers in testing look awesome. But, I am a lawyer, so asking those pesky hard questions for an interview is what I do (like justify your products’ uses or your place in the market). I don’t mean to offend, I think it is just good to get on the record and to better understand the company and the people making the products. Especially if they go into the nerdy nuances and get excited when doing so or being given the opportunity to do so. It shows passion, something very important for companies at the bleeding edge in their industry. Or at least something I like to see.

      Hope that gives some ideas for things to ask. Especially that one on if the THD+N would be more audible with pro hardware cranked to high dB levels, something I’ve been more interested in with looking into building a PA (even though that project would not be built until next year, if being honest).

    • #14758
      123toid
      Keymaster

      @ajc9988 I really appreciate this! I’ll absolutely try to talk about some of these with Leo. Hopefully you’ll be there, just in case. It helps to have people ask the questions as we go live as well. It’s easy to get taken off track.

      I thought I would show you guys some of the pictures of the amplifiers and the power supply. That power supply is huge. I was actually really surprised.











    • #14760
      123toid
      Keymaster

      Whoops I forgot to mention, he recently added a power rail upgrade to the site, which is pretty awesome!


    • #14761
      orchardaudio
      Participant

      Here is what a built up unit looks like with the cap upgrade….

    • #14764
      tvor-ceasar
      Moderator

      If you see this in time, the video is live. C’mon over!


    • #14765
      orchardaudio
      Participant

      Here is the image of square wave at switch node that I discussed during the video. 

      Slew rate = 96.8V / 10nS (0.01uS) = 9680V/uS

    • #14767
      orchardaudio
      Participant

      Some high rest pics of the modules for those interested.


    • #14768
      tvor-ceasar
      Moderator

      @orchardaudio that’s a seriously fast and clean looking response there. Only a very tiny amount of overshoot that’s damped almost immediately. GaN is working superbly.


    • #14769
      orchardaudio
      Participant
      Posted by: @tvor-ceasar

      @orchardaudio that’s a seriously fast and clean looking response there. Only a very tiny amount of overshoot that’s damped almost immediately. GaN is working superbly.

      It took me a few board spins to get it right. At these slew rates the parasitics of everything need to be very tightly controlled.

    • #14770
      tvor-ceasar
      Moderator
      Posted by: @orchardaudio

      It took me a few board spins to get it right. At these slew rates the parasitics of everything need to be very tightly controlled.

      Looking at the board, it’s apparent why you had to go with SMD (some of those are TINY!!!). You’d never get that response with T-H parts. Bravo!


    • #14771
      AJC
      Participant

      @orchardaudio – With many of the power supplies for higher end amplifier boards only supporting two boards per power supply, do you have any plans for finding a suitable power supply that supports three boards or developing your own? Otherwise, if using your amps in a three-way configuration, two power supplies would be necessary to feed the amps, taking up more room in a limited chassis (if building into a plate amplifier). Or how would you recommend integration for a three-way speaker?

    • #14773
      orchardaudio
      Participant

      @ajc9988 You can use the Hypex power supply to feed more than 2 amp modules. The total power you get will bee 1000W.

      For example:

      With two amps driving 4 ohm loads you are limited to 1 power supply for two modules

      With four amps driving 8 ohm loads you can do 1 power supply for 4 modules

       

      If you need even less power than 250W you can use one power supply for more modules.

    • #14774
      AJC
      Participant

      @orchardaudio – when wiring for this, would you just split the cable on the hanger? I understand staying within what the power supply can handle, both on continuous and transient power loads. But, if being honest, I’m a bit weak on how it should be wired.

    • #14775
      orchardaudio
      Participant
      Posted by: @ajc9988

      @orchardaudio – when wiring for this, would you just split the cable on the hanger? I understand staying within what the power supply can handle, both on continuous and transient power loads. But, if being honest, I’m a bit weak on how it should be wired.

      I have wiring instructions at the links below, you can just continue to daisy chain modules:

      https://drive.google.com/file/d/15WSmoonjk5Gu6yQutwwNLtkNgqelcvpL/view?usp=sharing 

      If you are really concerned about longer cables you can split off at the power supply and wire to each amp module directly from there.

    • #14776
      AJC
      Participant

      @orchardaudio – Thank you for the response. I just wanted to make sure daisy chaining was an option. I do greatly appreciate the time you have spent to answer my questions.

    • #15042
      orchardaudio
      Participant

      My 150W modules / amps just won 2021 budget product of the year from TAS. See below.

      “I know that Starkrimson is supposed to be a pear, but to my mind it is a peach of an amplifier, sweet and dynamic, at a delicious price point. To my ears, it sounds like a high-definition Class A amplifier and surely offers a glimpse into the future of Class D amplification. An absolute must-audition.” and “The Starkrimson performed flawlessly with excellent bass impact, transient clarity, and purity of tone.”

      Full review here:

      Link to product page:

       
      Link to DIY Module:
    • #15149
      123toid
      Keymaster

      Sorry I haven’t updated this in a while.  I took some time off for Christmas to spend with my family.  I am working on the build.  Still waiting on a few parts to arrive. I am so excited to get his finished and out to you! 


    • #23002
      123toid
      Keymaster

      Thought I would give you guys a sneak peek of The amplifier build. The boards have the option of XLR or RCA. I used xlr, so you end up shorting out the RCA. I ended up using the leads that I cut off of the capacitors and just folded them over. It worked perfectly.


    • #23048
      123toid
      Keymaster

      Just need to double check wiring. But this looks really nice


    • #23091
      orchardaudio
      Participant

      Looking good!

    • #23465
      orchardaudio
      Participant

      For anybody that may be interested, I just wrote an article in Compound Semiconductor magazine about the benefits of GaN amplification.

      https://issuu.com/angelbusiness/docs/compound_semiconductor_issue_2_2022_lr/28

    • #23625
      123toid
      Keymaster
    • #23626
      orchardaudio
      Participant

      Thank you for all the time and effort you have put into this.

    • #23627
      123toid
      Keymaster

      It was my pleasure. Thank you for taking the time to answer my questions as I had along the way. I appreciate everything you are doing for the DIY and HiFi community.


    • #24379
      orchardaudio
      Participant

      Audio Express May 2022 Issue
      https://drive.google.com/file/d/1dLd9QUK2uSOtCFfTcrix76zSrSVNI9c6/view?usp=sharing

      “Both in use and on the bench, the Ultra was an exemplar of modern audio power amplifier technology, and could easily be an endgame for upgraders.”
      and
      “Lots of superbly distortion-free power in a tiny, cool, and customizable package or prepackaged in an unobtrusive stereo amp. How can you go wrong?”

    • #24774
      orchardaudio
      Participant

      Rev 3.0 of the Starkrimson Ultra modules are now available for purchase. See full details on the website:

      https://orchardaudio.com/product/starkrimson_ulra_500w_amp_module/

    • #25089
      orchardaudio
      Participant

      Images of Rev Starkrimson Rev 3.0 Modules.

      https://orchardaudio.com/product/starkrimson_ulra_500w_amp_module/

    • #26325
      orchardaudio
      Participant

      One of my customers did a 5ch build. Here is the pic.

      1663977076271.png

      • #26335
        AJC
        Participant

        If I wasn’t doing active crossovers, I would love a setup like this. But amping per driver, it makes something like your amps cost prohibitive. Then again, if you are doing only 2-way bookshelves and a single sub, this would rock! Low distortion on the highs, fast responsive bass, just tackling whatever you throw at it. If you add two more channels, you could do 3-ways with a sub. And then if you ever change your setup, that would still support 7 of a 7.1 channel setup.

        Either way, awesome working build!

        What is your opinion on driving with a SMPS instead? KISS Analog had a good video awhile back looking at linear vs smps and found a bit less noise with the SMPS, if designed correctly (also may require a couple tweaks if your smps is putting out too much from the switching frequency, but if you pick the right SMPS, should not have an issue).

      • #26339
        orchardaudio
        Participant

        There is no issue with using switching supplies. I use them in my amps there are a couple very good ones on the market.

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