The 2006 page about my 300W amps requires revision at 2014 due to slight

schematic changes. All the following gives more detail about 300Watt amp

output power character.

To try to understand the working operation with a 300W amp with

12 x 6550, it is important to get an idea what happens with 2 x 6550.

This means load line analysis.

Graph 1.

Graph 1 shows the approximate Ra curve where Eg1 = 0V for a single

6550 in a pair working in class AB. Both 6550 have the same idle and

load conditions as I use for 6550 in 6 parallel pairs in my 300W amps.

The load line graph confuses most people, because they cannot think

what a "load line" could ever be.

The resistance ohm value, R = V / I, which is Ohm's Law.

Between 0V and +100V the Ia change = 350mA, and the line is about straight,

so Ra = 100V / 0.35A = 285r for that portion of the curve.

But when Ea rises above 100V, the Ia current change for each volt of Ea change

reduces and Ra slopes over to right side and may be 10k or more. The region

of curve where rapid increase in Ra occurs at 420mA and 150V is called

the knee of the Ra curve. The Ra curve for only one value of grid bias is shown

to keep the drawing less cluttered. The Ra curves for any tube may be plotted

by setting bias at even values of Eg1 bias, say -35, -30, -25 up to 0V, having

a regulated Eg2 applied, then raising Ea while measuring Ia increase.

Plotting Ra curves is a very difficult task for DIYers or low volume amp manufacturers

because of time, complexity, cost, and training needed to get a meaningful set

of "Ea vs Ia tube characteristics."

curve, but it may be determined by drawing a straight line tangent through point

X and calculating R from I change for a chosen V change for the straight line.

This is most useful with triode output tubes because Ra lines tend to be gradual

curves and the approximate value of Ra can easily be read from graph to get

a damping factor value before GNFB is used. For 6550 in tetrode mode the Ra

can be 32k for Ia at 50mA, and 15k at Ia at 120mA. The Ra is usually much

higher ohms than any load connected and the design may simply be governed

by the Ra curve for where Eg1 bias = 0V. Trying to read off old data graphs

from 1950s to get Eg1 or Ek values for a wanted Iadc is not reliable, and

anyone building an amp must be prepared to experiment with Rk values and

also grid bias values to obtain the idle currents wanted for a given Ea at idle.

If a tube is set up with Ea = +488V, ie, Vdc between anode and cathode

= +488V, and the anode is connected to an end of OPT winding with low Rw of

say 50r, then there is negligible Vdc across the winding which has a connection

at CT to B+.

The OPT primary has high inductance and has high inductive reactance XL.

The amount of current change in the inductance and loading effect is negligible

above 50Hz. The anode primary winding acts as though there is a resistance

load strapped across it, being the transformed secondary load. The load line

analysis can tell us just what load ohms exists at different Ea and Ia working

points.

Graph 1 shows load lines for 2 x 6550 with load across whole primary, RLa-a,

= 8,132r.

Ra for one tube is shown and in class AB, the class B RL = 0.25 x 8,132r

= 2,033r. To draw a line of this load, point A is plotted vertically below idle Ea

Q point is plotted on Ea axis at +488V. Then Ia change for 2,033r for

488Vdc applied across it = 488/2,033 = 236mA. Point B is plotted on Ia axis

at 236mA, and line AB represents anode class B load.

Now when a 6550 is turned on by a positive going grid voltage , the anode

voltage moves from +488V down to point C where 2,033r line intersects the

Ra curve. The anode current cannot be be increased by increasing +Eg1.

The Ra curve for Eg1 = 0V limits the extent of Ea change.

From just one load we can see what Ea minimum is, at +57V, so peak Vac

change at anode = 488V = 57V = 431V. While one 6550 pulls one end

of primary negative, the other end is "pushed" positive from

+488V to +919V, because both halves of primary are magnetically coupled.

During each sine wave voltage cycle in class AB, one 6550 pulls hard

on one end of primary while other 6550 is completely cut off by high -Eg1.

Each 6550 takes turns to provide current to OPT for 1/2 wave of a sine

wave. This is very different to an SE amp with parallel 6550 where all 6550

have the same Ia rise and fall at the same points along a sine wave.

requires point Q to be on the Ea axis, where idle Ia = 0.0mAdc. If this was

done, the crossover distortion would be intolerable. So each 6550 has enough

Ia to minimize the distortion so we see the Q point at is Ia = 40mAdc.

While there is idle current, when Eg1 change of opposite phase is applied,

the Ia in one is increased, while Ia in other is decreased, and each tube

contributes Ea and Ia change to the load of both halves of OPT primary.

This operation is Class A, but it is limited to where the peak Ia increase and

decrease does not exceed the idle current. The class A load which each

6550 experiences = RLa-a / 2 = 4,066r.

Point D is plotted on line AB where Ia = 2 x idle Iadc, at 80mA.

The line DQE is drawn which is the class A load line.

and the other then produces all the power to OPT with load = 2,033r, until the

same is done by other 6550 for next half sine wave cycle. The transition from

class A load to class B load is fairly gradual and curved, not a kinked line CDQ.

But the two load line values are the wanted guide for predicting performance.

Fig 1. Ea and Ia waves in 6550 in Class AB PP.

The waves are just what you would see on an oscilloscope.

While the 6550 works in class A, all waves are fairly linear.

But as class A ceases and transitions to class AB up to full clipping level the

distortion in Ia waves increases from a few % to very high % in class AB.

When both tubes work in AB they similarly on each 1/2 sine wave cycle, each 6550

anode contributes the same current to each 1/2 sine wave but to alternatively to each

end of OPT primary, so that the resulting voltage wave between both anodes is fairly

linear even though tube current is very non linear.

The Va-a and secondary Vac across has quite low THD and with 20% CFB it will

be < 2% at clipping onset. While the tubes work in pure class A the THD < 0.5%.

I hope Fig 1 gives everyone an idea about current flow in AB amps. I show the

applied grid Vac which gives the above Ia waves. The Vac waveforms for anodes

will have opposite phase to grid Vac, and appear to have negligible THD without

clipping because 2% THD is such a small amount of THD.

Consider one 6550 of a pair with "anode to anode" primary load of OPT = 8,132r.

For the first 6.5Watts of audio power, each tube has a class A load of 4,066r,

and each provide 3.25Watts of anode power to each 1/2 OPT primary winding.

For most people, the 6.5Watts in class A is enough to provide all sound level

they need, and the operation is with low THD and IMD. But music has peaks

which rise well above average, just as it has troughs in level for quiet passages.

The high peaks are brief, and class AB operation is used for them.

But the distortion currents are applied at each end of OPT primary in such a way

that there is no difference of applied 2H current across OPT primary, so there is

no 2H voltage generated in primary or secondary windings. There will be 3H and

other H currents produced by both 6550 and which have opposite phases so they

do generate 3H and 5H distortion voltage which may reach 2% at clipping.

tube with a number of loads, so that the optimal speaker load can be chosen

with optimal turn ratio.

Graph 2.

Graph 2 shows effect of using 8 different load values.

Each 6550 can produce Ia well above the limit of about 2 x idle Iadc for pure class A.

With RLa-a = 2,280r, and B RLa = 570r, when output load is 1r5, Ia max can rise

to 430mA pk. The reduction of Ia can only ever be from 40mA at idle to 0.0mA when

6550 is cut off by high -Vac grid Vac.

Graph 2 can cause mental illness but it shows the typical range of loads which

should be plotted against the anode Ra curve for Eg1 = 0V for a single 6550.

Graph 2 has the same example for a 6 ohm load is used as for Graph 1, but 7 other

loads are shown.

When I designed the OPT for 12 x 6550, ie, 6 parallel pairs in PP, I decided on an

approximate class AB loading for 2 x 6550 with RLa-a at about 8k0 with Ea = 480V,

then divided the load by 6 for six pairs of 6550.

To have low winding losses of same % as for 2 x 6550, the OPT for 6 pairs 6550

needed to have core Afe increased from say 1,600 sq.mm to 5,610sq.mm,

Primary turns halved to 1,060t, and wire size 0.6mm dia instead of 0.4mm,

more interleaved 72t sec windings of 0.9mm Cu dia, all to comply to my pages on

OPT design.

So OPT has TR = 1,060tP : 72tS = TR = 14.72, and ZR = 216.66 : 1.

Primary Rw is about 27r and the transformed secondary Rw is also about 29r

giving total RwP+S = 56r when "looking into" the whole primary.

Your efforts manufacturing an OPT may be different, but by giving basic loading

and Rw loss % for 2 x 6550, the loads and Rw for any number of pairs of 6550

can be worked out.

From what is shown, the maximum class AB1 output power at clipping with music

signals can be calculated for any number of pairs of 6550, and for any speaker load

between 1r5 and 16r. The amount of initial pure class A can be calculated for

each load.

Graph 1&2 are valid for where :-

1. Tube is a single 6550EH, KT88EH, one of a pair in PP class AB.

2. Load lines are theoretical class B load including winding resistance

calculated for each of the 6 x 6550 used on each side of PP circuit in 300W amp.

See below about interpretation.

3. Quiescent or idle Ea = +480Vdc, Iadc = 40mA.

4. Idle Eg2 = +364Vdc, Ig2 = 4.0mAdc.

5. I found the Eg1 = -42Vdc for the idle Ea and Ia.

6. The Eg2 B+ supply is fixed Vdc.

7. 20% of primary windings are devoted to local cathode feedback.

8. The Ra curve for what is "the diode line" for Eg1 = 0V has lower knee

than for pure beam tetrode, UL, or triode operation with same Ea and Eg2.

The Ra curve is about the same for where Eg2 = +350V with Ea at idle

between +400V and +500V, and pure beam tetrode operation.

9. The operation of ONE 6550 is in graph, and load lines have 6 times the ohm

value for what is used when 6 x 6550 are in parallel on each side of PP circuit.

10. The anode and screen B+ supplies remain regulated during class AB operation.

11. The test signals are single frequency sine waves of 400Hz to 1kHz.

12. Calculated RLa loads are labeled "2,033r - 6r0" because you need to know

what each of many B RLa lines tell you without being confused.

The 300W amp was tested with a continuous 500Hz sine wave to verify the

predicted outcomes in Graph 1&2. For loads below 6r0, clipping power

with a continuous sine wave causes B+ anode voltage supply to sag.

With RL 3r0, anode B+ current increase from 0.5Adc to 1.2Adc and B+ Vdc

to sag from +512Vdc to +480Vdc, giving Ea change from+489V to +456Vdc.

Eg2 will also drop and Eg1 will slightly increase.

The PSU output resistance is approximately 50 ohms, being the sum of PT Rw,

choke Rw, series R with diodes to limit cap charge currents, and ripple voltage

at caps.

The measured Po with loads above 7r0 was slightly higher than theory suggests

so the Ra diode line value of 285r may in fact be less, and be more curved

towards the Ia axis. But for design purposes, the shape for Ra at 0V for this

application and tube Ea and Ia conditions, it is accurate enough.

Pink noise signals with poles f1 and f2 at 20Hz to 20kHz are quite good for

testing amps because the noise resembles music, where the maximum average

level of music power might only be 1/4 of the clipping Po with a sine wave.

The noise or music signal will have voltage peaks rising well above average

voltage peaks and these will cause amp to clip, and when that happens all other

frequencies or lower level signals are obliterated. So it doesn't take much clipping

of peaks to ruin music, and of course the universal remedy to allow more of everything

to be heard more loudly while reducing the peak levels is to apply compression

to the signal. So music from an FM station playing rock and roll is extremely loud

with heavy compression while FM stations focused on classical music remain almost

silent most of the time except for crescendos which occupy full headroom, but all

without clipping.

If peak maximum voltage levels for onset of clipping with pink noise can be measured

by comparison with a known Vac and on oscilloscope, then the theoretical performance

in all graphs will be verified most easily because the average power with music or

pink noise is low and very high AB Po occurs for short times, seldom long enough to

seriously change the Vdc at OPT CT, Eg2, Eg1.

How were load lines for Graph 1 & 2 calculated and drawn?

Above, I said the 300W amp for 6 parallel pairs 6550 has OPT with

TR = Primary 1,060t : Secondary 72t = 14.722 : 1, ZR = TR squared = 216.7

2. Rw total at primary = 56r.

If we wish to draw a graph for Po vs RL for 300W amps with 12 tubes we may

be confused, so I think it better to draw load lines for an amp with only 2 x 6550

working with identical loadings to each of 6 parallel pairs in 300W amp.

Then the Po performance of 6 pairs of 6550 becomes 6 x Po for 1 pair 6550.

Most books and present worldwide interest in PP amps will have ONE pair

of output tubes and easy comparisons may be made between my solutions

to tube loading and other solutions. But many manufacturers are extremely shy

about revealing the real working conditions in their amps and that was why

my bench had so many brand name amps needing "re-engineering".

OPT ZR for 2 x 6550 = ( 6 x 216.7 ) : 1 = 1,300 : 1, TR = 36.05 :1.

Assume winding loss % is the same for OPT for 2 x 6550, so RwP+S

= 56 x 6 = 336r.

Calculate RLa-a including RwP+S :-

RLa-a = OPT primary load = ( ZR x RL ) + RwP+S .

Example, if Sec RL = 6r0, RLa-a = (1,300 x 6 ) + 336r = 8,136r.

Class A RLa load for each 6550 = 4,068r for initial class A Po,

and class B RLa load for each 6550 in class AB = 2,034r.

Table 1.......

Sec RL for 2 x 6550 |
P:S OPT ZR = 1,300 :1 ZR x sec RL |
RLa-a = ZR x RL + RwP+S +336r. |
Total Rw Loss% |
Class AB B RLa for 1 x 6550 = 0.25 x RLa-a |
load line B RLa Intersect diode line = Ea min |
Ea pk swing = Ea - Ea min = Va pk |
Va-a across primary Vrms |
Anode Po RLa-a for 2 x 6550 |
Sec AB1 Po less Rw % loss |
Sec pure class A Po | Sec AB1 Po 12 x 6550 |

1r5 |
1,950r |
2,286r | 14.6% |
571r |
235V |
245Vpk |
346V |
52.4W |
44.7W |
1.6W | 268W |

2r0 |
433r |
2,934r | 11.4% |
733r |
175V |
305V |
431V |
63.3W |
51.9W |
2.1W | 311W |

3r0 |
650r |
4,236r | 7.9% |
1,059r |
100V |
380V |
537V |
68.1W |
62.7W |
13.2W | 376W |

4r0 |
866r |
5,532r | 6.1% |
1,389r |
80V |
400V |
565V |
57.7W |
54.2W |
4.2W | 325W |

6r0 |
1,300r |
8,136r | 4.1% |
2034r |
57V |
423V |
598V |
43.9W |
42.1W |
6.5W | 263W |

8r0 |
1,733r |
10,734r | 3.1% |
2,683r |
45V |
435V |
615V |
35.2W |
34.1W |
8.3W | 205W |

12r0 |
2,600r |
15,602r | 2.1% |
3,900r |
30V |
450V |
636V |
25.9W |
25.4W |
12.5W | 155W |

16r0 |
3,467r |
21,138r | 1.6% |
5285r |
13V |
467V |
660V |
20.6W | 20.2W |
16.6W | 121W |

Graph 3. Po vs RL

Graph 3 Curve A is the theoretical maximum clipping levels for Po providing

the Ea, Eg2, and Eg1 all stay unchanged between idle condition and

highest maximum power drawn from PSU.

Curve B was the the result of careful measurements of the finished amp

using a 470Hz sine wave. With RL more than 7r0, RLa-a 1k7, there is little

difference between measured Po and theoretical Po based on Graph 1

curve for Ra with Eg1 = 0V.

Below RL 7r0 and RLa-a = 1k7, the measured Po at clipping becomes

lower than theoretical because Ea and Eg2 have sagged under high

Idc draw, and Eg1 has risen. At clipping with RL 2r0 the sag in Ea is

from 483Vdc at idle to 435V. Eg2 sags from +364V to +335V, and

Eg1 increases from -42V to -46Vdc. The rise in Ek is not all prevented

the DBS circuit.

Graph 3 has each vertical graticule spaced at 1/2 ohm steps with

sec RL values under graph. Below this there is a scale for RLa-a anode

load for 12 x 6550. The OPT secondary is strapped for 6 parallel 72t

turn windings.

The RLa-a loads for just 2 x 6550 are shown along bottom of graph.

For example, look at theoretical Po max for 3r0. It is 376Watts.

Continuous sine wave gives 329Watts.

Below 3r0 load on sec RL scale, for 12 x 6550 the RLa-a = 0k7,

ie, 700r.

The RLa-a for 2 x 6550 = 4k2.

You can see that the load for 2 x 6550 is exactly 6 times the load for

12 x 6550. Each pair of 6550 can make 1/6 of the output for 6 pairs of

6550, based on the same loading and winding loss % which is included

in all load values shown on the graphs.

Most text books ignore the winding losses, I don't. So if you have

2 x 6550, with same Ea and Ia conditions, you can get an absolute

maximum of 62Watts with THD < 2%.

The ideal nominal load value for OPT sec set for 72t = 5.5 ohms.

With 12 x 6550, expect the first 34Watts in pure class A, and peak AB Po

= 270W, with RLa-a for each pair 6550 = 6k7.

It means that all "8 ohm" speakers can be used where their Z

is between 5r0 and 50r.

For 34Watts in class A from 12 x 6550, expect THD < 0.05%.

2 x 6550 could make 5.7Watts in class A, also with 0.05%.

But the same 2 x 6550 amp making 34Watts in class AB may have 0.5% THD

with the same amount of GNFB.

The OPT has 12 secondary windings, 6 x 24t and 6 x 48t.

These can be re-arranged for other loads :-

Table 2.

Primary turns 1,060t RLa-a Ohms |
Sec RL Ohms 9 // 48t |
Sec RL Ohms 6 // 72t |
Sec RL Ohms 4 // 96t |
Sec RL Ohms 3 // 144t |
Sec RL Ohms 2 // 216t |
Sec RL Ohms 1 x 432t |
Class A max Watts |
Class AB max Watts |

800r |
1.64 |
3.69 |
6.56 |
14.76 |
33.22 |
132.87 |
21 |
322 |

1k2 |
2.46 |
5.53 |
9.84 |
22.12 |
49.74 |
199.08 |
32 |
270 |

1k6 |
3.28 |
7.38 |
13.12 |
29.52 |
66.43 |
265.75 |
45 |
226 |

2k4 |
4.92 |
11.07 |
19.68 |
44.28 |
99.48 |
398.62 |
68 |
160 |

3k2 |
6.56 |
14.76 |
26.24 |
59.04 |
132.86 |
531.50 |
91 |
135 |

4k8 |
9.88 |
22.14 |
39.36 | 88.56 |
198.96 |
797.24 |
92 |
92 |

6k4 |
13.12 |
29.52 |
52.48 |
118.08 |
265.72 |
1,063.00 |
68 |
68 |

let alone non technical audiophiles.

To make it easier to choose the secondary winding strapping.....

Table 3.

Watts per channel |
Speaker Z 4r0 Nominal |
Vrms |
Speaker Z 6r0 Nominal |
Vrms |
Speaker Z 8r0 Nominal |
Vrms |
Speaker Z 12r0+ | Vrms |
|||

50W home |
9 // 48t |
14.1 |
9 // 48t | 17.3 |
6 // 72t |
20.0 |
6 // 72t | 24.5 |
|||

100W home |
9 // 48t |
20.0 |
9 // 48t |
24.5 |
6 // 72t |
28.3 |
6 // 72t | 34.6 |
|||

150W home - pro |
9 // 48t |
24.4 |
6 // 72t |
30.0 |
6 // 72t |
34.6 |
6 // 72 | 42.4 |
|||

300W pro |
9 // 72t |
34.6 |
6 // 96t |
42.4 |
4 // 96t |
49.0 |
3 // 120t | 60.0 |

Professional use of a 300W amp may involve say 4 speakers each rated

for 75Watts continuous. These may be in series / parallel to make a

total load between 3 and 12 ohms.

Very careful calculations are needed for a system which may vary the number

of speakers required, but where a system in a theatre remains fixed there is less

chance of change and smoke. The secondaries set for 2 // 216t can give 106Vrms

for 300W into 37.5r or all sec in series gives 212Vrms for 150r. Such higher voltage

signals can be sent via 5A rated cables over long distances with line transformers

to reduce voltage and increase current to speakers.

But why would anyone waste such amplifiers on Public Address, ie, PA sound?

I have known of some high power and elaborate tube amps supplied to movie

theatres around Australia in 1960s and 70s, some of them lasting until after 2000,

but despite fabulous stereo sound for one theatre, most were dumped when many

theatres closed to be replaced by "complexes" with 6 smaller theatres instead of

one, and with surround sound, all with central control so only one man was needed

to show 6 movies and without worrying about replacing 400 tubes.

The 300Watt amps have a range of HT Vac available at PT1 mains transformer.

For anyone wanting more class A and less class AB, Ea might be lowered

but Idle Ia kept constant, so the input power is say 500mA x 400V so that

total Pda is reduced from 256W to 200W thus saving electricity costs,

while extending tube life. Strapping of OPT sec will allow other load matches to

increase class A with low Z speakers.

There is no hard law requiring everyone to use 12 x 6550 set up produce high

Po which many people would think excessive.

Many would find 12 x 6550 give extraordinarily relaxed listening and fabulous

untiring fidelity. In winter, their warmth is a blessing in a cold room, and winter

use will mean other room heating will use less power, and the cost of winter

music is a small and affordable difference in heating efficiency.

It must always be remembered that pure class A power is expensive because

The wanted class A audio power is always about 40% of total idle power and

not including the filament heaters.

There is no law against using 12 x 6L6GC in the 300W amp with each idling at

15.0Watts with Ea = 350V and Ia in each = 40mA. Total Pda = 180Watts

and total filament power = 72Watts, with another 15Watts for input tubes, so

so 267 Watts total. This can yield 80 Watts of pure class A and 170Watts of

class AB. 6L6GC are widely available and quite cheap, and sound well.

KT66 and EL34 also can be used with slightly more filament power.

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