DIY Pass Aleph based headamp

Discussion in 'Headphone Amplifiers and Combo (DAC/Amp) Units' started by Scubadude, Jul 15, 2016.

  1. Scubadude

    Scubadude Almost "Made"

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    The recent positive reviews of the Pass Labs HPA-1 headamp made me think ... I have a Pass Aleph 5 DIY that my brother built for me almost 10 years ago. And it remains my reference for absolute musicality ... truly the most involving and emotionally gripping amp I have ever heard, bar none. Silky but revealing, dynamic but subtle. Those contradictory qualities that seemingly only the very best can balance. I've considered selling it several times but I will probably leave it to my kids who will donate to hospice.

    It would be incredible to have the Pass signature sound in a headphone amp. And while the $3500 HPA-1 is clearly an unattainable dream I was wondering if some of that Nelson Pass magic could be heard on cans for less money .... and then I stumbled across this!

    http://www.6moons.com/audioreviews/realitycheck1/aben.html

    It is an adaptation of an Aleph Mini for headphone service! The Aleph Mini itself is a down-sized of the Aleph 3. Explains Terry Aben:

    Quote

    "My headphone amp, which I have dubbed the Aleph H, is simply a scaled-down version of Nelson Pass' Aleph amplifier series. Nelson Pass has made the unbelievably generous donation to the DIY world of making public the service manuals to all of his designs once they are out of production - and he actively participates online on the Pass Labs Forum at DIY Audio helping hobbyists like myself with our creations. Nelson's single requirement is that we restrict the use of his intellectual property to the creation of products for our own personal use. If you want to contact me looking to buy an Aleph H, go ahead but be aware that I'll have to make some sort of licensing arrangement with Mr. Pass first, assuming of course that he's amenable to the idea.

    The Aleph H circuit topology is identical to a Pass Aleph 3 with the exception of substituting a pair of lower power IRF610 MOSFET transistors for the 4 larger IRF244s and adjusting several resistor values to set the proper operating parameters of voltage and bias within the circuit. The Aleph H swings a maximum output of 14V and 0.5A compared to the Aleph 3's stats of 23V and 8A.

    I must also point out that like most DIYers, I had some help along the way of creating this amplifier. First, Marcello Pellerano modified the Pass Zen amplifier to create a Zen headphone amp, which he documented at headwize.com and diyaudio.com. Also, 'Grey' Rollins from diyaudio.com created a scaled-down version of the Aleph amplifier, which he called the mini-A intended as a low-wattage speaker amplifier. Next, jwb from diyaudio.com modified the Aleph circuit to produce a headphone amplifier that substituted JFETs for the MOSFETs in the input stage. I studied these design extensively in preparing for my amplifier.




    Wow ... this may just be the ticket! The boards are sold on eBay for under $10 and the rest of the components should be easy to come by. I'm not very handy but my brother is. Before I coerce him into another Pass build project, has anyone had any experience with either the Zen or Aleph Mini headphone amps?
     
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  2. Scubadude

    Scubadude Almost "Made"

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    Some pics of the 60 watter my bro built me
     
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  3. Scubadude

    Scubadude Almost "Made"

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    [​IMG] [​IMG]
     
  4. dBel84

    dBel84 Friend

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    I recall the original PASS Zen headphone amp , this should be a fun project and pretty simple to put together.

    keep us updated on how you get along.

    ( and you have a pretty cool boet to build you an aleph in the first place ! )

    ..dB
     
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    Last edited: Jul 16, 2016
  5. Prydz

    Prydz Friend

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    My dream amp is a FirstWatt headphone amp!
     
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  6. Scubadude

    Scubadude Almost "Made"

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    You South African by chance? Boet is a very SA way to refer to your brother :)

    But yes my boet is very cool! I am handy in the sense that I can do most anything around the home or the engine bay of a car, but my electronics skills are not great. I can solder allright, but my impatience gets the better of me and most projects end up looking like a Jeremy Clarkson creation from dearly departed Top Gear UK. My brother on the other hand has an incredible talent for "micro construction" ... from tying the most incredible dry flies and building exquisite custom bamboo fly rods, from cooking up a gourmet feast to brewing some of the best craft beer I have tasted. Also he has an extremely acute sense of observation and a great "perceptive memory" -- he can recall in vivid detail exactly how each set-up he has ever heard sounded. Quite the walking audiophile encyclopedia he is :)

    The story of how he built the Aleph 5 along with a short description of component selection is outlined here https://www.passdiy.com/gallery/projects/67/user23. I am toying with the idea of buying a mint pair of AKG K-1000's - from what I have read finding the right amplifier to make them truly can be is somewhat of schlep. But I also read that Nelson Pass's designs bring out the in the K1K ... so maybe I already have what it takes to get the most from these most idiosyncratic of cans.

    I asked my brother if he would build me an Aleph Mini but he seems more interested in building a spin-off from a design of another of his idols ... the Krell KSA-5. Maybe he can do me both ...
     
  7. dBel84

    dBel84 Friend

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    He sounds quite the talented guy. and yes, I am born & bred but have not lived there for 15 years. In all honesty, there are so many great classic circuits out there that you are spoiled for choice. Both from a tube / hybrid / ss perspective, and most anything new are variations of the basic topologies that exist. I have heard the K1K on several amps that have made them sing. They do not need 10W of power but I am sure they would sound great off your Aleph. Building a simple switch box would be so much simpler.
    ..dB
     
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