Free Shipping on All Orders 1-866-764-1801

Vist our Online Store
+ Reply to Thread
Results 1 to 24 of 24
  1. #1

    Member Sales Rating: (1)

    Join Date
    Jun 2002
    Location
    Missouri
    Posts
    461

    Default Explain difference between OP-AMPS and discrete tube gain stage?

    I'm not even sure if I asked my question correctly in the subject of this thread. But it seems like I've heard notations comparing op-amps versus tube components that don't use op-amps.
    Could anyone give me a run down at a high-level the difference and/or advantages to one setup versus the other? Or if you have a link that would do so, that's fine also.
    I like what tubes bring to music and I'm just trying to learn more.

    Thanks in advance for any feedback.
    Living Room
    Lsi15's (LF/RF), LsiC (C)
    Outlaw 990 / Outlaw 7500
    Jolida JD 100 CDP
    Samsung BD-P3600
    --------------------------------------------
    2-channel (2nd room)
    NHT SB3's
    Dared SL-2000A
    Outlaw M200's
    Denon DP300F
    --------------------------------------------
    2-channel (3rd room wireless streaming)
    Lsi7's
    Crest Audio Vs650

  2. #2
    GV#27
    Guest

    Default

    Basically an opamp is gain stage that can be configured in many ways and can be made up of tubes or transistors.By far the most commonly used op-amps in audio electronics is in the form of the 8 pin integrated circuit like this. http://focus.ti.com/lit/ds/symlink/opa2604.pdf

  3. #3

    Member Sales Rating: (1)

    Join Date
    Jun 2002
    Location
    Missouri
    Posts
    461

    Default

    I'm curious why some manufacturers purposefully don't use opamps. For example, the Jolida (which I'm very anxious to receive in the mail) :) Note that their very first bullet states..."Unit does not utilize op-amps".
    Then that's what sparks my curiousity about the two different approaches and their differences.
    Living Room
    Lsi15's (LF/RF), LsiC (C)
    Outlaw 990 / Outlaw 7500
    Jolida JD 100 CDP
    Samsung BD-P3600
    --------------------------------------------
    2-channel (2nd room)
    NHT SB3's
    Dared SL-2000A
    Outlaw M200's
    Denon DP300F
    --------------------------------------------
    2-channel (3rd room wireless streaming)
    Lsi7's
    Crest Audio Vs650

  4. #4

    Member Sales Rating: (6)

    Join Date
    Feb 2002
    Location
    Rockledge, Florida
    Posts
    11,588

    Default

    Tubes give a warmer sound then Solid State (op-amp) can. It's not to say all SS amps sound bad it's more of the design of the amp and components then anything.

    Speakers
    Carver Amazing Fronts
    CS400i Center
    RT800i's Rears
    Sub Paradigm Servo 15

    Electronics
    Conrad Johnson PV-5 pre-amp
    Parasound Halo A23
    Pioneer 84TXSi AVR
    Pioneer 79Avi DVD
    Sony CX400 CD changer
    Panasonic 42-PX60U Plasma
    WMC Win7 32bit HD DVR



  5. #5

    Member Sales Rating: (1)

    Join Date
    Jun 2002
    Location
    Missouri
    Posts
    461

    Default

    Ah, I didn't realize op-amps were solid state. There we go.

    For some reason or another I had the impression tube components had op-amps. Maybe there are some components that are "tube" components, but also have op-amps in them (kind of a mixed setup).
    Living Room
    Lsi15's (LF/RF), LsiC (C)
    Outlaw 990 / Outlaw 7500
    Jolida JD 100 CDP
    Samsung BD-P3600
    --------------------------------------------
    2-channel (2nd room)
    NHT SB3's
    Dared SL-2000A
    Outlaw M200's
    Denon DP300F
    --------------------------------------------
    2-channel (3rd room wireless streaming)
    Lsi7's
    Crest Audio Vs650

  6. #6
    GV#27
    Guest

    Default

    Most inexpensive and even some expensive electronics including CD and DVD players are loaded with cheap noisy opamps in their gain stages.Manufacturers do this to keep the price of producing the product as low as possible without regards to sound quality.Their are some bad sounding opamps and thats why higher end companies don't use them.On the other hand their are some really hi performance (and more costly)opamps available that if used properly by a skilled designer can give excellent sounding results.For instance Mark Levinson uses the ones I linked to in post #2 in their mega buck preamps.

    btw.Congrats that Jolida looks like a honey of a cd player.

  7. #7

    Member Sales Rating: (11)

    Join Date
    Apr 2004
    Location
    Chicagoland
    Posts
    2,352

    Default

    Op-Amps do not technically need to be solid state. Op Amp just refers to a circuit configuration with a certain topology and properties. An op-amp could be made out of discrete transistors or tubes, but in practice doing so would not be economically attractive (at least with tubes). Op-amps are very easy to mass produce as solid state integrated circuits, so the term has come to be synonomous with this configuration.

  8. #8

    Member Sales Rating: (6)

    Join Date
    Feb 2002
    Location
    Rockledge, Florida
    Posts
    11,588

    Default

    Yes an Op-amp can be made from Transistors but when did a Transistor not be classified as Solid State?

    Speakers
    Carver Amazing Fronts
    CS400i Center
    RT800i's Rears
    Sub Paradigm Servo 15

    Electronics
    Conrad Johnson PV-5 pre-amp
    Parasound Halo A23
    Pioneer 84TXSi AVR
    Pioneer 79Avi DVD
    Sony CX400 CD changer
    Panasonic 42-PX60U Plasma
    WMC Win7 32bit HD DVR



  9. #9
    GV#27
    Guest

    Default

    An opamp can be made up of discrete transistors ,tubes or dozens of transistors in the form of IC.What makes it an opamp is it has a +input and a -input and an output.The pos and inverted inputs allow it to be used in different ways.

  10. #10

    Member Sales Rating: (6)

    Join Date
    Feb 2002
    Location
    Rockledge, Florida
    Posts
    11,588

    Default

    Ok we are talking about op-amp as a circuit design. And I was talking about op-amp as chip thing.

    Speakers
    Carver Amazing Fronts
    CS400i Center
    RT800i's Rears
    Sub Paradigm Servo 15

    Electronics
    Conrad Johnson PV-5 pre-amp
    Parasound Halo A23
    Pioneer 84TXSi AVR
    Pioneer 79Avi DVD
    Sony CX400 CD changer
    Panasonic 42-PX60U Plasma
    WMC Win7 32bit HD DVR



  11. #11

    Member Sales Rating: (16)

    Join Date
    May 2005
    Location
    Six 'Burgh (Pittsburgh), PA
    Posts
    6,800

    Default

    An opamp is a small chip that as others have stated take the place of a number of other electronic components such as resistors. The enable the manufacturer to save some money and circuit board space. Some are good, some are not so good. The Jolida is a very good CDP that doesn't use them. There are other very nice high end machines that do use opamps.

    Check out the DIYaudio forum. There are people over there rolling opamps like tubes in their CDPs. As you would expect, there is a lot of debate as to which ones are better in various applications. The BB OPA2604 is an old, but still widely used opamp, it costs about $2. Others are using the OPA2134, also cost about $2 and is very good. For the past couple of years a lot of folks have proclaimed the OPA627 as the best sounding. Others have claimed the 627 has an "acquired" taste. Meaning it sounds different, maybe not better. A lot of the mod companies like Underwood HiFi, Modright, Reference Audio Mods and others proclaim the high value added by changing out the 2604's or 2134's with 2 OPA627. The 627 cost about $27, so you need $54 for each dual opamp replaced.

    The talk of "opamp tweaktown" is now the National Semiconductor LM4562. These cost about $5 and people have going wild over these. No one has these in stock yet but there are many sample out there that have found use in the DIY community and everyone is a buzz talking about the dynamics, smooth detail blah, blah, blah!!!

    I've got mine on backorder;) :D
    Carl

  12. #12

    Member Sales Rating: (6)

    Join Date
    Feb 2002
    Location
    Rockledge, Florida
    Posts
    11,588

    Default

    With all this swapping going on I think they changed out to a socket for that chip swapping.

    Speakers
    Carver Amazing Fronts
    CS400i Center
    RT800i's Rears
    Sub Paradigm Servo 15

    Electronics
    Conrad Johnson PV-5 pre-amp
    Parasound Halo A23
    Pioneer 84TXSi AVR
    Pioneer 79Avi DVD
    Sony CX400 CD changer
    Panasonic 42-PX60U Plasma
    WMC Win7 32bit HD DVR



  13. #13

    Member Sales Rating: (16)

    Join Date
    May 2005
    Location
    Six 'Burgh (Pittsburgh), PA
    Posts
    6,800

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by disneyjoe7
    With all this swapping going on I think they changed out to a socket for that chip swapping.
    Yes! It's called a "brown dog" adaptor. Check it out HERE
    Carl

  14. #14
    GV#27
    Guest

    Default

    Don't forget the OPA2107 at $11 a piece. Because of the price/performance ratio I use OPA 2134's,2604's and PMI's OP275 in my projects.I would like to try the 627 some time.
    Last edited by GV#27; 12-18-2006 at 12:42 AM.

  15. #15

    Member Sales Rating: (1)

    Join Date
    Jun 2002
    Location
    Missouri
    Posts
    461

    Default

    I'm starting to catch the drift. Thanks for the info!
    Living Room
    Lsi15's (LF/RF), LsiC (C)
    Outlaw 990 / Outlaw 7500
    Jolida JD 100 CDP
    Samsung BD-P3600
    --------------------------------------------
    2-channel (2nd room)
    NHT SB3's
    Dared SL-2000A
    Outlaw M200's
    Denon DP300F
    --------------------------------------------
    2-channel (3rd room wireless streaming)
    Lsi7's
    Crest Audio Vs650

  16. #16

    Member Sales Rating: (0)

    Join Date
    Dec 2005
    Posts
    214

    Default Some more on the subject of opamps

    All you ever needed to know and more. Start with the second one.

    http://sound.westhost.com/articles.htm

    http://www.tangentsoft.net/audio/

  17. #17

    Member Sales Rating: (21)

    Join Date
    Sep 2002
    Location
    Deep Down the Rabbit Hole
    Posts
    9,610

    Default

    Let me be very clear about this, integrated circuits------PHOOEY. Yes I suppose 10 buck opamp trumps a 1.00 one but still not something I care much for anymore, but if it floats your boat, Rock On.

    RT1
    REEL TIME THEATRE
    Onkyo-TX-NR5007
    B&K 7270 amplifier
    Polk SWA-500 Subwoofer amplifier
    OppO BDP-83
    Pioneer Elite 50"
    Polk LCi-RTS-105;LCi-RTS-C;LCi-RTSFx;LCi80Fx
    Subs-Twin Polk CSW200
    HTS5000


    RABBIT HOLE RIG
    BAT VK-31SE
    VTL MB-450 Signature monoblock
    Wolcott Presence monoblock
    Musical Fidelity kW SACD
    Rega P25/RB600/Clearaudio Aurum Beta
    Acoustech Phono-Pre
    Sound Lab Millenium ELS
    BillyBags Rack
    MIT S1/3 cables
    Shunyata/PS Audio/Virtual Dynamics Power Cords


    Everthing Matters...Tubes Rule...and It's Over until it's Not Over

  18. #18

    Member Sales Rating: (16)

    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    In A Van Down By The River
    Posts
    21,190

    Default

    OP amps are integrated circuits (silicon). They have many parts (which would normally be discrete components) in one small chip-set (block of silicon). While minaturization might be desireable in many applications; it's not a good idea in audio electronics that are amplifing a signal. Yes, there are cheap op-amps and there are expensive op-amps, but none IMO are anywhere near as good as a well designed discrete circuits with top notch parts. Is it more expensive to go discrete? You bet your ass, but the advantages far outweigh the costs.

    Op-amps have there place in electronics but should never be used in the signal path!

    H9
    "Appreciation of audio is a completely subjective human experience. Measurements can provide a measure of insight, but are no substitute for human judgment. Why are we looking to reduce a subjective experience to objective criteria anyway? The subtleties of music and audio reproduction are for those who appreciate it. Differentiation by numbers is for those who do not".--Nelson Pass

    Pass Aleph 30; Eastern Electric Mini Max; Adcom GDA600; MIT S3/Z Pc; SDA 1C; Squeezebox; Tubes add soul!

  19. #19

    Member Sales Rating: (6)

    Join Date
    Feb 2002
    Location
    Rockledge, Florida
    Posts
    11,588

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by reeltrouble1
    Let me be very clear about this, integrated circuits------PHOOEY. Yes I suppose 10 buck opamp trumps a 1.00 one but still not something I care much for anymore, but if it floats your boat, Rock On.

    RT1
    Don't worry Ted I wasn't about to break out my Soldering iron.

    Speakers
    Carver Amazing Fronts
    CS400i Center
    RT800i's Rears
    Sub Paradigm Servo 15

    Electronics
    Conrad Johnson PV-5 pre-amp
    Parasound Halo A23
    Pioneer 84TXSi AVR
    Pioneer 79Avi DVD
    Sony CX400 CD changer
    Panasonic 42-PX60U Plasma
    WMC Win7 32bit HD DVR



  20. #20

    Member Sales Rating: (19)

    Join Date
    Sep 2003
    Posts
    8,170

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by heiney9
    Op-amps have there place in electronics but should never be used in the signal path!
    OK, but from a practical perspective, where can we find "affordable" (i.e., <$1K) CD players, DVD players, receivers, SS amps, etc., without op-amps?
    HT/2-channel Rig: Sony 50 LCD TV; Toshiba HD-A2 DVD player; Emotiva LMC-1 pre/pro; Rogue Audio M-120 monoblocks (modded); Placette RVC; Emotiva LPA-1 amp; Bada HD-22 tube CDP (modded); VMPS Tower II SE (fronts); DIY Clearwave Dynamic 4CC (center); Wharfedale Opus Tri-Surrounds (rear); and VMPS 215 sub

    "God grooves with tubes."

  21. #21

    Member Sales Rating: (1)

    Join Date
    Jun 2002
    Location
    Missouri
    Posts
    461

    Default

    Being novice to op-amps, I only know of one. The Jolida CDP (JD 100A) does not have op-amps and retails new under $1,000.
    Living Room
    Lsi15's (LF/RF), LsiC (C)
    Outlaw 990 / Outlaw 7500
    Jolida JD 100 CDP
    Samsung BD-P3600
    --------------------------------------------
    2-channel (2nd room)
    NHT SB3's
    Dared SL-2000A
    Outlaw M200's
    Denon DP300F
    --------------------------------------------
    2-channel (3rd room wireless streaming)
    Lsi7's
    Crest Audio Vs650

  22. #22

    Member Sales Rating: (16)

    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    In A Van Down By The River
    Posts
    21,190

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Early B.
    OK, but from a practical perspective, where can we find "affordable" (i.e., <$1K) CD players, DVD players, receivers, SS amps, etc., without op-amps?
    Seeing as my current cdp is 10 years old as well as my DAC I can't help you there. My amp and pre are 20 years old. None of this equipment to the best of my knowlegde employs op-amps in the signal path.

    Op-amps have become a necessary evil in audio for their cost effectiveness as well as space savings and next to no heat output comparatively to discrete circuits and in many instances just make plain good sense. It's a tough feat to try and purchase equipment that doesn't employ op-amps in the signal path. I'm sure I'll be asking myself the same ?'s when I need to replace my current equipment.........I'm not looking forward to it.

    You just have to look a the design of a certain piece of equipment and then understand what you are gaining and losing in that design and then decide if the compromise is worth it in the overall big picture.

    Again some will care that there are op-amps some won't give a rat's a$$.

    H9
    "Appreciation of audio is a completely subjective human experience. Measurements can provide a measure of insight, but are no substitute for human judgment. Why are we looking to reduce a subjective experience to objective criteria anyway? The subtleties of music and audio reproduction are for those who appreciate it. Differentiation by numbers is for those who do not".--Nelson Pass

    Pass Aleph 30; Eastern Electric Mini Max; Adcom GDA600; MIT S3/Z Pc; SDA 1C; Squeezebox; Tubes add soul!

  23. #23

    Member Sales Rating: (28)

    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Powder Springs, GA
    Posts
    5,223

    Default

    Sometimes opamps are in there, even when you think they are not.
    I recently picked up a B&K Pro10 preamp.
    The literature gives this description:

    "Thank you for selecting B&K Components, Ltd.’s PRO10 preamplifier. The PRO10 is designed for the discriminating audiophile. The PRO10 is a DC coupled preamplifier that has been designed using all discrete circuit topology with a switchable head amp on the phono stage. Gold-plated premium connectors have also been utilized to minimize degradation in the signal path. The PRO10 has an external power supply that should be connected to an unswitched AC source. In order to obtain maximum performance from this unit, Please read these instructions very carefully."

    I opened it up and had a look. Low and behold, I found 4 opamps on the board. Albiet, they were good ones, and they are mounted in sockets for easy replacement (haven't yet checked to see what upgrades are available if any).

    When I looked closer in the literature, there was a line that followed the above description:
    Also:
    Direct output capability
    All discrete predriver circuitry
    Premium gold-plated connectors
    Separate source and record selectors
    Balanced outputs standard
    So, it can be deceiving. The preamp sounds damn fine to me, regardless of the opamps. They have mostly gotten a bad rep from their overuse and cheap implementation.

    EDIT: I should have mentioned, by looking at the board, I believe that two of the opamps are used for the MC phono gain, and the other two are used in the linestage, only in active mode. So, I should be opamp free when in passive mode, with a MM cart.
    Last edited by billbillw; 12-19-2006 at 05:47 PM.

  24. #24
    GV#27
    Guest

    Default

    Big improvements have been made in IC Opamps the last few years in the areas such as lower noise and distortion ,faster slew rates ,wider bandwidths etc.The newer hi performance opamps are actually light years ahead of the ones produced in the 70's and 80's and in the hands of a skilled engineer can be made to sound as good as discrete circuits.For instance some of the DIY designs by noted Opamp guru Walt Jung sound marvelous.Even Mark Levinsons ultra expensive preamps use them in the signal path.So yes while the cheap Opamps littering the insides of inexpensive components made in the Far East can sound pretty nasty, the better ones implimented properly with good power supplies etc,can sound very good indeed.
    Last edited by GV#27; 12-20-2006 at 12:46 AM.

Thread Information

Users Browsing this Thread

There are currently 1 users browsing this thread. (0 members and 1 guests)

     

Similar Threads

  1. Replies: 15
    Last Post: 01-01-2006, 12:36 AM
  2. FS: Audio Experience Symphonies Tube Line Stage
    By RuSsMaN in forum Flea Market
    Replies: 15
    Last Post: 11-15-2005, 09:05 PM
  3. Golden Tube SEP-1 Line Stage
    By RuSsMaN in forum Flea Market
    Replies: 8
    Last Post: 02-16-2005, 01:26 AM
  4. New Toy: AE Music MK2 Tube Line Stage
    By RuSsMaN in forum 2 Channel Audio
    Replies: 23
    Last Post: 07-29-2004, 04:31 PM
  5. Tube Output stage - Please share your opinions..
    By polkatese in forum Electronics
    Replies: 10
    Last Post: 10-18-2003, 11:00 AM

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts