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What amplifier to put in loft space?

brissleboy

Standard Member
Hi everyone

I need some help and am not sure where to turn... I have just had my bathroom done including having speakers installed in the ceiling. I want to find an amplifier that I can connect to the speakers in the loft space and then attach a Squeezebox Duet receiver to this amp so that I can play everything stored on the NAS or internet radio.

My problem is that this amp will need to be left on:

a) Is this safe?
b) What are my options?

I am no electrician so any help would be much appreciated

Thanks
 

Big_Si_Owen

Active Member
Not really sure on the Squeezebox range. Do they do an all in one box with built in amp?

I've get the same set up as you with the bathroom ceiling speakers but am using an Sonos ZP100 to access my NAS and power the speakers. It's up there happily running all day.
 

brissleboy

Standard Member
Hi Big Si, thanks for the reply!

Unfortunatey, they don't yet make an all-in-one box with built-in amp (maybe one day...) so that's why I'm struggling. I could just go and buy a decent budget amp from, say Richer Sounds, plug it in and away we go but I don't want it overheating up there and that's where my knowledge of such things ends?

Any more ideas?

Thanks
 

Nobber22

Well-known Member
Hi Big Si, thanks for the reply!

Unfortunatey, they don't yet make an all-in-one box with built-in amp (maybe one day...) so that's why I'm struggling. I could just go and buy a decent budget amp from, say Richer Sounds, plug it in and away we go but I don't want it overheating up there and that's where my knowledge of such things ends?

Any more ideas?

Thanks

Unless you live in a volcano or your attic has a glass roof that faces south, then I doubt the roof space will get any hotter than any other room. Just keep the amp well away from your pink insulation and it'll be fine in the attic.
 

delback

Active Member
Since you're going to stick this amp in the loft, it doesn't need to even have a case. Look for "T-class" amps based on the Tripath chipsets; they typically consume less than 1W when idle, so leaving them on 24/7 is not a problem.

I have a Tripath-based amp in the loft that I built myself. It's fed from a Duet receiver and drives ceiling speakers in the bedroom - works a treat.

If you don't feel up to building your own, you can buy complete amp boards based on the Tripath chipsets for very little money (usually from Hong Kong or China). Here's one example: Tripath TA2020 PCB 25Watt Class-T Audio Amplifier Board on eBay (end time 16-Jun-10 20:52:03 BST), and there are plenty of other similar ones on eBay - just do a search for "Tripath" in comsumer electronics.
 

brissleboy

Standard Member
Thank you for all your replies, much appreciated!

Autopilot - the speakers are already in situ so a no-goer on that one; the Connected Acoustic amp looks ace (isn't that what Logitech should be making themselves?!) but a bit expensive for the bathroom but will bear in mind for future expansion

trailer - building/tiling works already complete I'm afraid but a good solution nonetheless, wish I'd have known about that a few weeks ago :-(

delback - gonna follow your lead and try this route first as it's inexpensive and if it fails, nothing really lost (I'd already done some reading on T amps but didn't really understand the concept of them to be honest as I'm not into electronics at all). Just ordered the one from your link, I'm guessing they're much of a muchness really? Will it be powerful enough for a bathroom?

Thanks again!
 

delback

Active Member
delback - gonna follow your lead and try this route first as it's inexpensive and if it fails, nothing really lost (I'd already done some reading on T amps but didn't really understand the concept of them to be honest as I'm not into electronics at all).
"Class T" is just Tripath's name for the way they implement class D. A class D amp operates by switching a fixed output voltage on & off at high speed, the number of ons and offs being determined by the input signal. It generates an ultrasonic squarewave which is then loss-pass filtered to recover a nice smooth waveform in the audible range. Sounds alarming, but actually works pretty well, and is amazingly power efficient.

Just ordered the one from your link, I'm guessing they're much of a muchness really? Will it be powerful enough for a bathroom?
I wasn't especially recommending that particular one - it was just the first link I came across.

For non-critical installations such as a bathroom, I think they probably are much of a muchness. They are certainly powerful enough for a bathroom (unless you want to listen to headbanging metal while taking a power-shower).

The one issue you will probably need to be careful about is the power supply. The obvious type to use is a cheap wall-wart style one, but my experience has been that cheap switching supplies tend to dump a lot of high-frequency noise into the device they are powering, and in my case that noise broke through to the output. You may well end up having to spend twice as much on the supply as you did for the amp itself! Probably a sensible starting point for your experiments would be to use batteries and see how it goes before you invest in a PSU.
 
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brissleboy

Standard Member
delback, thanks for this, a lot of the technical bits are lost on me (numbers are my game!) but I'm pleased to know that such an inexpensive unit should do the job nicely - to be honest, it will probably be the radio more than anything else in the bathroom!

With regards to power supplies, can you please give me some links as to the sort of thing I need? Also, as lofts are usually pretty dusty places, will the amp uncovered be okay or should it be covered with something?

Finally, something more computer orientated... setting my Squeezebox up last night, it can see iTunes on my computer but not the NAS, although the NAS is showing in iTunes on the computer - does that make sense?

Also, when I add more music to iTunes on the computer, it isn't automically transferring it to the NAS as I thought it would - any ideas? I want them to mirror eachother until I am happy the same is on both, then dump all the songs from iTunes to free up space of the hard disk.

Thanks in advance

Neil
 

delback

Active Member
With regards to power supplies, can you please give me some links as to the sort of thing I need?
Well, I started out trying a cheap switcher from Maplins, but got the noise problem I mentioned. I had an adjustable linear supply kicking around (one of these: ACDC MultiVoltage 1200mA Regulated Power Supply Power Maplin) and it worked fine.

But if you use a linear PSU, you then have the issue of increased power consumption. I solved that by modifying my Duet Receiver to deliver a trigger signal that turns the power supply on when the Receiver is switched on. You probably won't be interested in the gory details.

So I can't really advise on a suitable efficient switched mode PSU. My guess is that you might need to spend around 30 quid or so to get a quiet one. If you are in the UK, then my advice is to go to Maplins and explain that you're after a switched mode supply with low noise and get them to agree that you can keep returning them and trying different types until you find one that's OK.

But before you go looking for a suitable PSU, try running the T-amp from batteries to check that you like it. Most Tripath amps will run happily from 12V, so a car battery would be ideal.

Also, as lofts are usually pretty dusty places, will the amp uncovered be okay or should it be covered with something?
My T-amp circuit board has been in the loft uncovered for a few years and seems fine. Dust isn't really a problem for electronics. (Ever opened up a TV set or a PC?).

Re. your iTunes issues... sorry, I don't use iTunes and have no idea. As far as I am aware, Squeezebox Server has an iTunes integration configuration, but I don't know how it works. The best place to ask might be on the Squeezebox forums (Squeezebox : Community : Forums)
 

deaf cat

Active Member
Just a thought, as it's a quite low power amp, could it be run off the lighting circuit?
So, either a pull cord for its self. or,
actually off the bathroom light it's self - light on, amp on, light off, amp off?

:)
 

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