MiniTron Amplifier- A prize Winning Tube Amp Hybrid That Blends Technologies



This is an interesting project that won a Microchip sponsored contest recently in the Subcategory – Effective Use of SMPS Resources. 

Named the MiniTron, designed and built by George Anderson (of tubelab fame) this amplifier blends the old with the new in a manner that fans of the various technologies just might class as sacrilegious!

“The MiniTron is a high-end vacuum tube stereo amplifier with efficiency, distortion, and power output controlled by a dsPIC30F2023. The innovative system features three main subsystems: a vacuum tube amplifier, a DSP controller, and a high-voltage switching power supply. The fully functional amplifier successfully blends its unique circuitry and specialized processing software to precisely match the radically different worlds of high-voltage analogue and low-voltage microcontrollers.”

George has supplied a thorough project description available as a Zip file from the following page.  If you have a spare hour you may wish to have a look at it.  There are pictures, source code and schematics in the file so you can get into the real nitty gritty of this design.

In DIY builds we are seeing microcontrollers being used increasingly in hobby designs, thanks in part to the availability of free design tools and inexpensive programmer devices.  I have to say though that few if any control the circuitry as extensively as George’s project.  I am currently working on a replacement amplifier to my 4 way gainclone.  Most certainly an AVR controller will make it in there… I Doubt that mine will control much more than the Volume and power up sequences. (and perhaps not even that!)

Read more and download the Zip file here…

Microchip 16-bit Embedded Control Design Contest