One of the interesting properties of homebrew amplifier projects is that they are never really fnished…..somehow as each problem is resolved, the builders ear homes in on another annoying sonic issue and the soldering iron comes out again.
The main issue I have been wrestling with is what I believe to be crossover distortion at middling amplifier volumes, particularly at certain notes, around A on the 6′th string. Here’s what the amplifier ordinarily sounds like…..Push-Pull-Demo…..I’d like to say a good blues-rock sound. However the distortion creeps in on some notes and it sounds like this…..CrossOver Distortion.
Now in a Push-Pull amp at low volumes, both output tubes are amplifying the full wave, so they add together in the output transformer to form a nice symmetrical wave. But as you crank the volume, differences in the two tubes as they go into cutoff can cause this nasty distortion when the 2 halves of the wave don’t quite line up. As you crank the amp again and both tubes are in full cutoff these differences will be minimized and again the amp sounds good.
Lacking an oscilloscope, I made a special MP3 of pure sine waves to use as input to the amp. Then I recorded the output in Adobe Audition and looked at the resulting waveform. Here is the sine wave file….A440-220-110-55 As the name suggests its A440 and then successively down 3 octaves from there.
The waveform above from Adobe Audition shows me that the amp at moderate volumes is amplifying the sine wave with very little distortion.
And this wave form shows what the unwanted distortion looks like. So I think I can say that my ‘method’ to obtain a visual representation of the problem seems to work. Unfortunately it doesn’t tell me how to resolve the underlying issue ! But I suspect it’s connected with the paraphase splitter maybe being a little bit unbalanced, so I think I’m going to try a little experiment with a trimming pot to try and get a perfect splitter before I finally close up the amp.