Pro Discrete API Audio Op Amp
An op amp to rule them all.
The SS2590 Pro Discrete Audio Op Amp represents everything we ever wanted in an op amp, but were unable to achieve in the SS3601/SS3602's smaller package size. These devices are intended for use in professional recording studios, Mic Amplifiers, EQ's, and consoles. Many of the devices in this class were designed in the 1970's using 1970's technology. Our SS2590 makes a fantastic upgrade to these devices and utilizes the latest and greatest transistors and components. Our API to DIP adapters will also allow these devices to be used for replacing single op amps in a DIP 8 package.
These discrete audio op amps have been used at RCA studios in their Mic Preamps, and by other manufacturers such as Nord Acoustics and Apollon Audio in their Hypex based Class D Amplifiers.
Here are a few manufacturers that use Sparkos Labs devices in their award winning amplifiers, DACs, and HYPEX based amps.
The SS2590 : After the success of the SS3601 / SS3602 discrete op amp we turned our attention to the discrete API op amps that are found in studio gear and recording equipment such as the API2520 and Jensen 990 style devices. Numerous devices that are compatible with these exist on the market, and after buying and evaluating a hand full of them we decided that we could do better. Much better.
The first thing that we noticed upon evaluating some devices in this class was that most of them are manufactured with archaic, decades old through-hole components. This is not so bad in and by its self, (aside from component lead inductance) but the problem with them is that most of these through-hole components (especially the transistors) are old, slow, and pale in comparison to modern devices. The SS2590 discrete audio op amp makes use of the highest speed and highest gain transistors available. We use 300MHz rated output transistors while everyone else is using devices in the 20 to 50 MHz region.
Two Pole Compensation : We’re the only ones doing this. Two Pole Compensation is the ultimate compensation technique for maximizing open loop gain within the audio bandwidth. High open loop gain makes for a more precise amplifier, lower THD performance, and keeps the slew rates high, which makes for more natural attacks and transients.
We found the noise performance of the majority of the API op amps in this class that we evaluated to be abysmal; measuring in at several nv√Hz in most designs. Some of the better devices specified in the 1 to 1.5 nv√Hz range, but they all seemed to achieve this noise performance by putting shunt inductors across the RE resistors in the input stage which “shorts out” the RE resistors and eliminates their noise contribution. While this technique yields lower noise, it does so at the expense of input stage linearity since the linearizing affect of the RE resistors are lost by the shorting inductors. RE resistors in the input stage are a good thing, and will linearize the input stage by swamping the non-linear Rbb of the input stage transistors. On the SS2590 discrete audio op amp, we opted to keep the input stage RE resistors in order to reap their associated linearity benefit, and we reduced the noise back down by paralleling the input transistors. It’s the best of both worlds, with the only drawback being a slight increase in input stage complexity.
The DC precision of the devices that we evaluated in this class left something to be desired as well. We saw offsets in the double digit mV range with warm-up drifts of several mV more. The SS2590 has a built in POT to allow precise offset adjustment and it has a warm up drift of less than 1mV. Input bias current induced offsets are greatly reduced by using on-board current sources to supply the input bias current for the device. This keeps the SS2590 discrete audio op amp from pulling input bias current from the outside world and creating offsets against the resistances seen by the input pins.
To put it another way, we did every thing on the SS2590 that we wanted to do on the SS3601 / SS3602 but were not able to due to its small size and more limited PCB space.
- 165 dB Open Loop Gain to 100 Hz
- Two Pole Compensation
- 10MHz Unity Gain Bandwidth
- Class A Output Current Of +/- 32mA
- Maximum Output Current Of +/- 250mA
- 1.5nV√Hz noise in a 20KHz bandwidth
- Less than 1mV Offset
- On-Board Supply Decoupling Caps
- Able to drive 75 ohm loads at full power
- +/-9V to +/-24V supply voltage range
- All BJT design with input bias current cancellation
- Unity gain stable
- Fully Discrete Design
- API op amp package
- Automated Processes API2520, API2525
- Jensen and John Hardy 990 series
- Sound Skulptor SK series
- Purple Audio KDJ series
- Five Fish Studio Discrete series
- Avedis Audio 1122
- Seventh Circle Audio SC series
- Yamaha NE series
- Rogue 5 Series Discrete Op Amp
- Whistle Rock Audio series
- Warm Audio Discrete Series
- Can Replace Any API Op Amp
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