As a DIY, I think it’s important to have a dedicated power supply module. I have tried several design, but finally got tired if I have to finalized the build into something complete. Not to mention that space might be a problem.
One option that finally I decide to take is by building a generic or universal tube power supply unit. This will be a stand alone unit which can be connected to power the main unit – which most likely to be a tube pre-amp module.
The power supply unit will be using the best parts available (not necessarily to be the most expensive parts) from my experience testing lot of components. Click below picture to enlarge the image. One problem that I suddenly realize is the size of this module which might be a bit gigantic…
I will write down each of the component used in this project. I will not discuss the main power transformer by J&K Audio Design which has been separately discussed here.
VCap TFTF Teflon based capacitor is still the king in power supply. You might say I’m crazy, but nothing could beat the VCap TFTF in this position. For cheaper solution, you can use Russian FT-2 or FT-3 Teflon capacitor. Well, those Russian will not be able to beat VCap TFTF for sure, but at fraction of price, you simply can’t go wrong!
The classic BlackGate WKz is also still a another King in power supply.You might say that Film capacitor is better in power supply, but to be honest, that’s not completely true. Yes, Film capacitor might be better in terms of the durability, but sonically speaking, not all better in spec is also better in sound. Feel free to prove this yourself.
But as this one is getting rare and more expensive, so not many people can afford to have this in their power supply. Even you have the money, not all want to sell this to you.
Another important element on this power supply module is the Jimmy Auw Reference 4-Pole Paper Tube. Previously known as “No Name Capacitor”, now I think it’s safe to say this as my reference capacitor. Still limited in production due to the price and available only for my personal use.
This capacitor can bring more filtering due to the higher capacitance and 4-Pole design, but still maintaining the speed, dynamic, and musicality. Something like combining electrolytic and film capacitor in one pack.
My classic favorite, ASC X386S. One of the cheapest recipe to bring tubey sound into your system. This oil filled capacitor has 40 uF and 440 VAC rating. Should be enough for most of the pre-amp application.
The choke option is limited to Tamura and Hashimoto – two Japan brand that I love the most.
Tamura doesn’t have many option for choke. The first one is A-4004 which is a standard choke.
And the other one is A-4006 which is amorphous based choke. You can easily recognize by the color. The standard version will be using gold/yellow color, while the amorphous will be using silver color. This A-4006 also has a matched set of amorphous output transformer (F-5000 series).
Below is vintage Tamura choke which doesnt have TamRadio logo like previous two choke. It’s a bit classic choke with a bit of vintage sound. Adding this unit into the power supply module will bring extra touch of vintage sound – which is something that I expect.
As Input Choke, we have a bit limited option. And I decide to go with Hashimoto. This C-Core Orient High B is specifically designed to be positioned as Choke Input. Not many choke designed for this purpose (I can recall that Tango also has similar version).
On some cases, it’s safe to use standard choke in input position. But if you are really serious with Choke Input application, better to have a specific choke which specifically designed for that purpose.
I will be using several type of tube rectifier. Well, as we have agreed before, this universal power supply could power different pre-amp which might requires different tube rectifier. Therefore, I have prepared at least 3 tube socket from Yamamoto which can accommodate most common of tube rectifier: Octal, B-4/5, UX-4, and P-Socket. What else do you need? 😉
Will see when the final design is finished. All I need is the top plate (which bigger chance will come with 10 mm aluminum) and wood chassis. Estimate weight around 30Kg – only for this universal power supply module.