“Shiny Eyes” 4P1L Gain Stage 19dB on PCB

Here is another 4P1L design. All started when I tried to figure out a gain stage for a First Watt F4. The F4 is a unity gain 25W class A power amp that needs about 14Vrms input in order to deliver max power.

4P1L offers a x9 gain. Therefore, using a 4P1L gain stage is appropriate and the input sensitivity of the hybrid amp will be about 1.55Vrms.

I built my first F4 in a 4U standard ModuShop Dissipante. seen at http://www.modushop.biz/site/index.php?route=product/category&path=66_97_107.

I had to built the 4P1L gain stage so it fits inside this case. The max dimensions were 12″x12″. I built the first one on a garolite FR4 board and attach all components and small PCB to it (see previous built https://simplepleasuretubeamps.files.wordpress.com/2014/12/photo-1-1.jpg). It was a hassle to position and attach each board to the main FR4. This led to the design of a single PCB board. I also wanted to integrate the Coleman regulators and use standard heat sinks such as the Wakefield 657-20ABP. Rod helped me figure out the size of the heatsink.

The schematic  is simple: The power supply uses 3 transformers ( one of the 187D20 for each filament, and one Antek 50VA 160V for the HT.). Ht supply is filtered by a CLC (470uF-15H-470uF). The raw supply for the filaments uses 1N5822 and CRC 10mF-0.47R-10mF. The Coleman regulators need to be preassembled except the power transistors who are mounted on 2″ Wakefield heatsinks. The 4P1L is biased at about 115V Uak, 35mA and 560mA starved filament. Th headroom in this case is about 7dB. The load for the 4P1L is a cascoded DN2540 CCS. The PCB measures 266mmx274mm. It was much cheaper to order it on 1.6mm thickness and I provided many holes for support. One can use Aluminum stand-offs to make sure that the board stays rigid.

The only concern is how the 4P1L’s socket is attached to the board. I would use neoprene damper sandwich mount, rubber rings and even a dead weight ( in the pictures I just soldered the sockets to the board but I have to remove them and use the dampers..there is a hard to notice noise that comes from the very small vibration of the power transformer and the 4P1L is very sensitive to it).

Distortion levels are very low in the 0.0x % with a predominant 2nd harmonic. The frequency response is as flat as possible in the audio band.

For anyone who wants less gain there are few options. One can use  a step down direct feed line output transformer, such as LL1671/30mA. Another choice would be to use a parafeed line output transformer , such as Jensen JT-10k61-1M.

The sound is very rewarding. The DHT is complementing the solid state push-pull, and the resulting music experience is balanced, with great dynamics and nice sounding harmonics.

overall top overall front viw delay timer top view rear top view coleman regs closeup front closeup

A possible BOM is listed below:

“Shiny Eyes” 4P1L Gain Stage (preamp) 18-19dB
Part name Mouser part# How many Price each Cost total
Toroidal AS-05T160 N/A   Antek transformers part, shipping included 1  $          40.00  $           40.00
Hammond 187D20 546-187D20 2  $          12.82  $           25.64
Thermistor CL-60 527-CL60 3  $            1.78  $             5.34
0.033uF 275V X2 80-PHE840MK5330MK03 1  $            0.36  $             0.36
1N5822 511-1N5822 4  $            0.43  $             1.72
SiC diodes 941-C4D02120A 4  $            2.26  $             9.04
IN4001 512-1N4001 1  $            0.18  $             0.18
IC555 595-NE555P 1  $            0.49  $             0.49
2N3906 610-2N3906 1  $            0.41  $             0.41
IC7805 511-L7805CV 1  $            0.48  $             0.48
DN2540N5 689-DN2540N5-G 4  $            1.42  $             5.68
5V relay 655-RTD14005 1  $            2.04  $             2.04
Trimmer multiturn 200R 72-T93YA-J-200 2  $            1.98  $             3.96
Heatsink Wakefield 2″ 657-20ABPE 4  $            1.83  $             7.32
Heatsink Wakefield 1.5″ 657-15ABPE 2  $            1.16  $             2.32
10mF 16V 598-SLPX103M016A3P3 4  $            1.82  $             7.28
470uF 400V 598-SLPX471M400H7P3 2  $            5.63  $           11.26
0.47 ohms 5W wirewound 588-TWW5JR47E 4  $            0.80  $             3.20
1000uF 16V 647-UVK1C102MPD 2  $            0.26  $             0.52
220uF 16V 598-227CKE016M 1  $            0.10  $             0.10
15 ohms 1/4W 71-RN60D-F-15 2  $            0.11  $             0.22
47 ohms 1/4W 71-RN55D47R0F 4  $            0.17  $             0.68
56 ohms 1/4W 71-RN55D-F-56 2  $            0.16  $             0.32
1ohm 1% CMF551R0000FKEB 2  $            0.88  $             1.76
1kohms 1/4W RN55D1001FRE6 1  $            0.10  $             0.10
1Kohms carbon  composite 588-OD102JE 4  $            0.70  $             2.80
100koms 1/4W RN55D1003FB14 3  $            0.10  $             0.30
1 Mohms 1/4W 71-RN55D-F-1.0M 2  $            0.10  $             0.20
220 ohms 1W 71-CPF1220R00FKE36 2  $            0.45  $             0.90
220 kohms 3W 66-GS3T0220KJ 1  $            1.01  $             1.01
10nF 100V 505-MKP2D021001BJC00 1  $            0.23  $             0.23
0.1uF 100V 505-MKS2.1/100/10 4  $            0.24  $             0.96
1uF 600V min Supreme N/A, from Parts Connection, Sonicraft etc. 2  $          20.00  $           40.00
8 ohms 20W non-inductive Radio shack 2  $            3.00  $             6.00
Loctal Russian sockets  eBay , type    PL3-5-14(or 16) 2  $            6.50  $           13.00
Hammond  158L choke 546-158L 1 23.93 23.93
Bridge rect timer 625-B250C1500G-E4 1  $            0.68  $             0.68
4P1L eBay 2  $          10.00  $           20.00
Total parts on PCB  $         240.43
Total estimated shipping costs  $           25.00
PCB cost ( depending on number ordered and supplier)..cheapest  $           30.00
Other parts ( RCA jacks, IEC main connector, Fuse socket, Mains switch, volume control(s) )…estimated  $           55.00
Enclosure needs to measure at least 12″x12″x4″…rough estimation  $         100.00
Total  $ 445.43

“Shiny Eyes” Tube active crossover, my implementation of Pete Millett’s design

“Shiny Eyes” Tube active crossover

My implementation of Pete Millett’s design

Back to work on a different type of project. I needed a 4 pole that rolls at 24dB/octave. I also needed 2 frequency crossover options: first around 100Hz and second around 700Hz. I like Pete Millett’s design at http://www.pmillett.com/tube_active_crossover.htm. He also had some boards left which was awesome. I want to thank Pete for all his support.

The PSU is a little different that Pete’s. For the high voltage, I use a quasi choke input and two sets of chokes. the last capacitors are low ESR Vishay MKP at 100uF. The PSUD2 results show a low output ripple of about 0.6mVrms.


The low voltage supply uses two LT1084 set at 6.3V output and feed each channel’s vacuum tube’s filaments. The layout of this crossover is very simple: left side, and far away from the PCB is the PSU: right side is the PCB with switches and RCA jacks. The enclosure is made of high quality Brazilian cherry top coated with light oil and urethane. The inside of the wooden enclosure is screened using a high purity 5 mil. copper sheet. I also used a screened FR4 board inside the box, between the PSU and the PCB.

top inside psu

The hard part was to figure out the switches at a decent cost. I found a guitar store that had 6 positions 4 pole rotary switches. I used four of the them, one for each 2 pole filter ( two 2 pole filters per channel). I used RN55 1% Vishay for all filters, and not only.

PCB inside

Tubes are E88CC/6922 Jan Phillips low noise from thetubestore.com.

The sound is transparent and there is no noticeable hum or noise.

Measurements, all tubes are biased at 8mA. B+/B- at 95V.

HF outputs:

HF-THD HF-600Hz cutoff HF 90Hz cutoff HF Harm H2 H3

LF outputs:

LF Thd LF FR at 90Hz cutoff LF FR 600Hz cutoff LF THD H2 H3 cutoff 600Hz

And last but not least some pictures:

top overview overview top right top left 00 top right case and plate