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M3 by Amb  2007

 

After having finished two tube amplifiers I became curious to build a good solid state headphone amp, mainly to be able to compare the sonic properties of solid state versus tube. Back then the most popular (and thought out) schematics floating around the net were Tangent's  PPA and Amb's M3 that both had the same group of people devellopping the basic schematic.

I had visited the site of Ti Kan before and really liked the full documentation on every individual project. Around Christmas 2007 I received the boards and ordered all the needed parts. Since this was quite a straightforward build where I just had to populate readymade boards I won't tell a long story here about schematics etc... this can all be found on the excellent homepage of Amb Laboratories.

 

 

                                                                                                                                          [courtesy of Amb Laboratories]

 

My build was using Amb's Sigma11 regulated psu and high quality parts throughout like non-magnetic Vishay resistors, Wima caps, OPA627 operational amplifiers and a TKD pot. To case it up I choose a longish format with massive wooden side panels and perspex front and rear panels. The amplifier also sports the white volume knob turned from Delrin that has become sort of a trademark of my amplifiers.  

 

And how did it fare soundwise...?

 

Quite well I have to say, neutral like a swiss judge and with enough power to drive pretty much any headphone there is. With the AD8610 dual OP amplifiers it tended to sound a bit harsh so I exchanged those to OPA627. Yet the amplifier lacked a certain "something" that grabs you, draws you into the music. While it was playing on a very high sonic level it also was a tiny bit sterile and flat, lacking the ultimate detail and atmosphere that creates a truly authentic and realistic soundstage. Maybe it is also a matter of personal preference... I eventually sold it and the M3 now has a very happy new owner residing in the Netherlands who uses it to drive his AKG K1000's!

 

 

 

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