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3e Audio TPA3255 Amplifier Kit 480-1-29A Review

Rate this amplifier (kit):

  • 1. Poor (headless panther)

    Votes: 3 1.3%
  • 2. Not terrible (postman panther)

    Votes: 7 3.1%
  • 3. Fine (happy panther)

    Votes: 42 18.7%
  • 4. Great (golfing panther)

    Votes: 173 76.9%

  • Total voters
    225

amirm

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This is a review and detailed measurements of the 3e Audio 480-1-29A, TPA3255 based class D amplifier module. It was sent to me by the company in a reference design for ease of testing:
3e audio TPA3255 Amplifier Review 480-1-29A Mono Class D.jpg

The module is the PCB to the right and costs US 89.99 from company Aliexpress store. This is the mono version (I reviewed the stereo version earlier). The differentiation is pulling the required class D filter into the amplifier feedback loop (PFFB) and with it, essentially eliminate the effect of speaker load on frequency response. Low cost implementations lack this which can make the tonality somewhat variable. Other optimizations are done to extract better performance out of the TI TPA3255 class D amplifier module.

When swapping the stereo module for mono above, I was impressed by the hefty machined aluminum heat coupler. It is quite substantial and spreads the heat nicely to large area of the case bottom.

The included power supply in this sample is MORNSUN LOF550-20B48-C. Specification is 48volts at 6.5 amps with air cooling and 11.5 amps with forced air. Latter allows more than 550 watts to be provided to the amplifier.

3e Audio 480-1-29A Amplifier Measurements
The initial set of measurements match the stereo version so I will quickly go over them:
480-3e audio 1-29A Mono class D amplifier Kit TPA3255 Measurements.png

Best amplifier kit monoblock reviewed.png


Best amplifier kit monoblock DIY reviewed.png

480-3e audio 1-29A Mono class D amplifier Kit TPA3255 Dynamic Range Measurements.png


480-3e audio 1-29A Mono class D amplifier Kit TPA3255 Frequency Response Measurements.png

480-3e audio 1-29A Mono class D amplifier Kit TPA3255 Warm Up Measurements.png


480-3e audio 1-29A Mono class D amplifier Kit TPA3255 Multitone Measurements.png

480-3e audio 1-29A Mono class D amplifier Kit TPA3255 19 20 kHz intermodulation distortion Mea...png


We get more power:
480-3e audio 1-29A Mono class D amplifier Kit TPA3255 Power 4 ohm Measurements.png

480-3e audio 1-29A Mono class D amplifier Kit TPA3255 max and peak Power 4 ohm Measurements.png

We had 206 watts in stereo. Same improvement with 8 ohm load:
480-3e audio 1-29A Mono class D amplifier Kit TPA3255 Power 8 ohm Measurements.png

Stereo version produced 92 watts.

Interesting to see the transfer function change some in this version:
480-3e audio 1-29A Mono class D amplifier Kit TPA3255 Power 4 ohm vs frequency Measurements.png

Cleaner than mono at first but then worse at higher frequencies. Here is the stereo version again:
index.php


I captured the switching frequency and was impressed by how low its level was, and how high the frequency was:
480-3e audio 1-29A Mono class D amplifier Kit TPA3255 FFT Measurements.png


Amplifier Reactive Load Test
This is one robust amplifier, essentially not caring about the load down to impressive 2 ohms!
480-3e audio 1-29A Mono class D amplifier Kit TPA3255 Power Inductive Measurements.png


480-3e audio 1-29A Mono class D amplifier Kit TPA3255 Power reactive Measurements.png


You get nearly 600 watts here! :eek: Note that the test only keeps the amp at these power levels for short period of time so this is not "continuous" amount of power in the pure sense of that term.

Conclusions
I don't know what to be more impressed by: the TI TPA3255 or 3e Audio's engineering skills. This is an incredibly well performing at this price level. Of course you have to account for adding a capable power supply and case to get these numbers but still, one can't help but be impressed.

I am happy to recommend the 3e Audio 480-1-29A, class D Amplifier.

Manufacturer Specifications Amp Module:

  • < 85uV Output Noise (AES17,A-weighted)
  • 480W @ 1% THD+N, 1kHz, 2Ω
  • 600W @ 10% THD+N, 1kHz, 2Ω
  • 111dBA dynamic range
  • THD+N < 0.01%, 0.3W – 300W, 3Ω
  • 90% Efficient Class-D Operation (4 Ω)
  • Fully differential layout design for lowest noise and distortion
  • Very Compact size(105mm*90mm*38.5mm – L*W*H)
  • Additional power ON/OFF reset circuit for Pop noise suppression
  • BTL configuration only for best audio performance
  • AUX Power Supply Output(12V/0.2A) for DSP Pre Amplifier
  • Single supply voltage range 24V~51V(UVP:24V)

------------
As always, questions, comments, recommendations, etc. are welcome.

Any donations are much appreciated using: https://www.audiosciencereview.com/forum/index.php?threads/how-to-support-audio-science-review.8150/
 
Last edited by a moderator:

renaudrenaud

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Thanks @amirm.

I bought 2 EVM from Texas Instruments yeeeeaaaars ago, when Ti sold them at 50%, it was 75$ each one by this time. Played a lot with the jumpers, used them in XLR and mono and was never deceived. I spent a lot of time reading the documents from Ti, testing another cards (some from 3eAudio). Sure, this is the DIY way, but a cool way to waste the time with cool projects.

Publishing your measurements is a way to "officially" validate the DIY way with low cost components. Thank you soooooo much.
 

HarmonicTHD

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This is a review and detailed measurements of the 3e Audio 480-1-29A, TPA3255 based class D amplifier module. It was sent to me by the company in a reference design for ease of testing:
View attachment 332950
The module is the PCB to the right and costs US 89.99 from company Aliexpress store. This is the mono version (I reviewed the stereo version earlier). The differentiation is pulling the required class D filter into the amplifier feedback loop (PFFB) and with it, essentially eliminate the effect of speaker load on frequency response. Low cost implementations lack this which can make the tonality somewhat variable. Other optimizations are done to extract better performance out of the TI TPA3255 class D amplifier module.

When swapping the stereo module for mono above, I was impressed by the hefty machined aluminum heat coupler. It is quite substantial and spreads the heat nicely to large area of the case bottom.

The included power supply in this sample is MORNSUN LOF550-20B48-C. Specification is 48volts at 6.5 amps with air cooling and 11.5 amps with forced air. Latter allows more than 550 watts to be provided to the amplifier.

3e Audio 480-1-29A Amplifier Measurements
The initial set of measurements match the stereo version so I will quickly go over them:
View attachment 332953
View attachment 332954

View attachment 332955
View attachment 332956

View attachment 332957
View attachment 332958

View attachment 332959
View attachment 332960

We get more power:
View attachment 332961
View attachment 332962
We had 206 watts in stereo. Same improvement with 8 ohm load:
View attachment 332963
Stereo version produced 92 watts.

Interesting to see the transfer function change some in this version:
View attachment 332964
Cleaner than mono at first but then worse at higher frequencies. Here is the stereo version again:
index.php


I captured the switching frequency and was impressed by how low its level was, and how high the frequency was:
View attachment 332965

Amplifier Reactive Load Test
This is one robust amplifier, essentially not caring about the load down to impressive 2 ohms!
View attachment 332966

View attachment 332967

You get nearly 600 watts here! :eek: Note that the test only keeps the amp at these power levels for short period of time so this is not "continuous" amount of power in the pure sense of that term.

Conclusions
I don't know what to be more impressed by: the TI TPA3255 or 3e Audio's engineering skills. This is an incredibly well performing at this price level. Of course you have to account for adding a capable power supply and case to get these numbers but still, one can't help but be impressed.

I am happy to recommend the 3e Audio 480-1-29A, class D Amplifier.
------------
As always, questions, comments, recommendations, etc. are welcome.

Any donations are much appreciated using: https://www.audiosciencereview.com/forum/index.php?threads/how-to-support-audio-science-review.8150/
Question.

Why doesn’t this graph show the 102dB SINAD for 1kHz at 5W which you showed in the scoreboard. Is THDPlusN slightly differently defined?

Thanks.

Edit. Sorry. My bad. Answered below.

1702189496881.png
 
Last edited:

sarieri

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Question.

Why doesn’t this graph show the 102dB SINAD for 1kHz at 5W which you showed in the scoreboard. Is THDPlusN slightly differently defined?

Thanks.

View attachment 332977
Watch out for the bandwidth. This test has to be done at 45khz BW because otherwise 5/10/15khz and its harmonics are almost pointless.
 

HarmonicTHD

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Watch out for the bandwidth. This test has to be done at 45khz BW because otherwise 5/10/15khz and its harmonics are almost pointless.
Ah yes. Thanks. I am on an iPhone ATM and missed the small print. ;-)
 

natna

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Wow! Nice performance.
Let's hope these modules find the way to the usual EU vendors in good pricing.

2 x 3E modules + a serious PSU = Dual mono heaven for the years to come!

Thanks Amir!
 

Koeitje

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Not bad for about €200 for a finished product (if you use a very cheap case). But that's still in the range of the cheaper Hypex offerings. So its competitive but not ground breaking.
 

JeremyFife

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Decided not to vote in order not to skew results.

It's clearly a very good amp module, but as a DIY proposition I'd never know if I had implemented it correctly.

Impressive and, for me, one to watch out for if suppliers start offering finished units ... although I'd still look for measurements of those implementations.

It does feel that very high quality amplification is getting cheaper. That's fantastic.
 

Bruce Morgen

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That SMPS goes for over $140 USD via Digikey. I wonder if the board's exceptional performance would be impacted if powered by one of the usual sub-$50 USD generic "power bricks" (and industrial PSUs) commonly used with other low-priced TPA3255 implementations.
 

Bruce Morgen

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That SMPS goes for over $140 USD via Digikey. I wonder if the board's exceptional performance would be impacted if powered by one of the usual sub-$50 USD generic "power bricks" (and industrial PSUs) commonly used with other low-priced TPA3255 implementations.
Ah, I see 3e themselves offer that SMPS for considerably less -- stand down from red alert! :cool:
 

daniboun

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Thanks again Amir for this review. I was impatiently waiting for it)
I am currently working on a DIY dual Mono project based on this 3E Audio module. I will soon open a thread for this purpose for those interested.
In all this already confirms what had been demonstrated with the Stereo module, the performance remains excellent with a phenomenal performance/price ratio)
 

daniboun

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That SMPS goes for over $140 USD via Digikey. I wonder if the board's exceptional performance would be impacted if powered by one of the usual sub-$50 USD generic "power bricks" (and industrial PSUs) commonly used with other low-priced TPA3255 implementations.

@99€


You will find some measurements with 34-36V PSU here, as already sais, the TPA3255 chip has a better THD+N figure with lower voltage

 
Last edited:

Sokel

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Decided not to vote in order not to skew results.

It's clearly a very good amp module, but as a DIY proposition I'd never know if I had implemented it correctly.

Impressive and, for me, one to watch out for if suppliers start offering finished units ... although I'd still look for measurements of those implementations.

It does feel that very high quality amplification is getting cheaper. That's fantastic.
Problem with these kind of projects are the people lurking the forums trying to make profit under the hood "offering" the assembly as a service but with no official credentials,warranty,etc.

It's an ancient problem but people are hopefully suspicious enough these days.

Other than than,great power (with the proper PSU)

Thanks Amir!
 

daniboun

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Wow! Nice performance.
Let's hope these modules find the way to the usual EU vendors in good pricing.

2 x 3E modules + a serious PSU = Dual mono heaven for the years to come!

Thanks Amir!

I am a very good Audiophonics customer, I have shared the ASR reviews with their technical department. They should order Mono modules shortly to have stock in Europe.:)
 
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