Simplest Linear PSU?

Which linear power supplies can you recommend that have the least amount of miniaturized SMD and semiconductor nonsense?

I wish Audionote made a stand alone PSU. I know Weiss does, it looks good, but pricey. Looking for something simple already made to DIY with.

thanks in advance!!




you must know enough about a PSU to build one yourself. Go to DIYaudio and ask for advice.

Not sure how much "miniaturized SMD and semiconductor nonsense" you're willing to tolerate, but I had Teradak custom build an 18V 2A LPS for my E.A.T. E-Glo Petit and it has worked flawlessly and was very affordable. Highly recommended.


Do you have a particular price range? I use the Fidelizer Nikola II LPS with my Pro-Ject RS2T CD Transport and it’s a wonderful pairing. There are folks who are happy with the LTA (Linear Tube Audio) LPS. Plixir and Farad are well regarded op.


i would concur that teradak in china builds excellent, low cost lps's.... not blingy, but quiet, clean reliable dc power...

Thanks. Teradak looks interesting. I’ve found that, being able to upgrade every component around a transformer can yield better results than a great transformer with a lot of junk around it.

I read the audiobacon article a while back, but almost every brand he mentioned had stopped producing during covid. Maybe those brands are back in action.

Don’t be too critical of SMD. For semiconductor devices, the exact same dies are available in old fashioned THT and SMD. Difference: packaging. Packaging may affect heat rating, but for power applications you will find the devices are THT. In many cases newer devices with better performance are ONLY available in SMD.

Look more deeply.

As noted, if you understand the stuff, build your own. I do and they outperform pretty much anything you can afford to buy.

I'll also take issue with "simplest" implying that simpler is better. The best are not that simple. Mine are not that simple.  I use combinations of active and passive noise elimination.  Simpler would be nisier.

I really like sola Linear PS which can be had on ebay for a song for things like NUC PS. For more critical stuff, Sparkos Labs have the best dead silent mostly assembled boards for DIY. Peace

I just bought a Teddy Pardo LPS for my Node N130. It was a simple install and it sounds great!

+ for Pardo….i run a bevy of them including 24/7/365 servers…for years…zero issues

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@itsjustme Well to be clear - simple is not always better no, but SMD packages and their industrial solder joints wreck havoc on audio information. (As well as their non-audio grade THT versions). And not amplitude measurements, but sonic information. So while you can solve some problems with more complex circuits, you have to be mindful of the materials being used.

My theory of why most audiophiles prefer simple circuits, whether they know it or not, actually comes down to the physical quality of the components available in discreet, THT layouts, especially when you are shopping ones designed for audio. In short, a circuit is like the schematic for a deep space telescope - the angles of the mirrors, magnifications, and other math has to be right to transport the light from one end to the other and be mechanically stable, but the real quality of the information retrieved will be determined by the physical materials of the mirrors and glass. Just ask Leica. Once I understood that sound and light work the same way, in this regard, it totally opened my mind to building better audio systems. Just my experience!



Obviously buy what you like, and what makes you comfortable.  But the purpose of these sites is to share info, and I'm trying to counter what i see as knee-jerk reactions to modern technology.  Some SMD IS bad.  But some can be very good. I want as many as i can impact ot understand that.


I found your reply hard to follow -- full of vague analogies (some off base) and such. I design with both and have listened extensively and find pretty much the opposite. The short, tidy connections i can achieve with SMD, combined with more up to date components, are (and its a tiny difference) superior. Some packages demand THT - for size, weight or simply historical reasons. So my boards are most often actually hybrid.


In an LPS, in particular, some components simply require size and mass (thermal mostly). But i doubt any serious design tries to use SMD for high power levels. So i’m not sure if you have some deep secret knowledge, or are just defending your position... if its the former please share, if its the latter, you might benefit from being mroe open minded and looking into the details of each design and what is appropriate. I had reservations (in some instances still do) but have worked through to find what better (most) and what’s not (long random list). discrete R2R dacs for example would be impractical on many counts without SMD. resistor tolerances, size, complexity of assembly, bad noise immunity (exposed surface area/difficulty in shielding) to name 4.


Where are your data that show “most audiophiles prefer simple circuits”? Most have no clue regarding circuit design. In certain applications, SMD have some advantages, such as reducing stray inductance and capacitance that can arise because of longer lead length and layout of through hole parts. Also, are you looking for tube rectified PSs? Because SS rectifiers can be construed to be semiconductors. Finally most commercially available LPSs are going to use semiconductors for regulating the V output, unless you want unregulated.

If I wanted simple I wouldn't have researched and picked out my Audio Research SP8 ver5 preamp with it's multiple regulated power supplys. Talk about complex, but it all part of what makes that preamp so good.

Want a great power supply on the cheap? Ebay is full of high quality used laboratory power supply's such as Power Designs, Lamda, etc. Fully adjustable, and some have voltage stability down into the microvolt range.




You make some insightful points regarding SMPS capability. Antipodes latest flagship music server is the Olandra and they decided on SMPS rather than LPS. They intend to compete with Taiko Extreme and Pink Faun which both have LPS developed to the nth degree.

So it appears that high quality well implemented SMPS are very viable choices. Most people switching from stock SMP with their components to LPS do legitimately experience an upgrade in performance. Listeners teport what they hear with direct comparisons. For my CD transport, I replaced the standard SMPS (Actually pretty good) with a LPS and there was a noticeable improvement in sound quality.

Those SMPS do not represent the best efforts and generally are provided due to cost consideration. Are there any SMPS upgrade options that can be purchased as alternatives that compete with good quality aftermarket LPS choices?


I think the reason many people report audible benefits from LPSs vs SMPSs is that they have upgraded from a wall wart quality (i.e., low quality) SMPS to a high quality LPS designed for audio. David Berning has been implementing SMPS power supplies in his state of the art amplifiers and preamplifiers for years, if not decades, and no one seems to notice. If it’s done well and well built, an SMPS can certainly hang with an LPS. And the benefit is you won’t get a hernia from lifting an SMPS-powered piece of gear.

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@lewm I think the reason many people report audible benefits from LPSs vs SMPSs is that they have upgraded from a wall wart quality (i.e., low quality) SMPS to a high quality LPS designed for audio

Yes, exactly my point and personal experience. I don’t question the existence of high quality and good sounding SMPS. It is however most listener’s experience has been with the wall wart SMPS variety. People have naturally discovered they can do much better. Lewm, I’ll ask you the same question. What are the commercially available SMPS one could purchase?



@charles1dad @lewm

smps have two problems as i understand it

1) they can produce an output that has nasty digital switching noise, if the output is poorly or is not at all filtered to deliver a pure dc output

2) smps are also notorious for putting noise back into the ac line, which in turn can affect other components on the house circuit

there are industrial and medical grade smps units that address both these issues as they are engineered and built with this in mind - smps units for portable medical and lab/scientific instruments

for hifi, my understanding that ifi of the uk makes several relatively inexpensive upgrade power supplies that are still of the smps variety (not classic transformer driven linear ps’s) but with onboard filtration/noise management

i power 2 with active noise cancellation

i power x (higher version)

there is also this very pricey one which according to its marketing script has both ps technologies on board...


Why would anybody but a piece of equipment with a substandard power supply? Instead of pissing money away on outboard power supplies try buying equipment with decent power supplies to begin with.

@itsjustme That is right - complex things like R2R require SMD and because of that, they can sound pretty bad even if they improve some aspects things. I compared the Mola Mola Tambaqui ($13k) over a $2k AKM-based DAC I modded with as many high end discreet components and the Mola Mola objectively couldn't portray most instruments fully - a ton of information was simply missing, and exhibited the typical SMD "sound" to me which is a false sense of bass on every sound and brittle highs that appear as dynamics but are missing the musical information. The components eat away at transparency, period. They are simply not designed for audio - they are designed to be mass produced cheaply and fulfill non-audio engineer criteria. Nothing like that belongs in audio gear, IMO. Not even a chassis.

Anyway, yes it all depends on what discreet components you choose, only a couple people are manufacturing top end ones. On the other hand, sometimes its unavoidable like you said. I love Weiss op-amps, they do have SMD but they are the best sounding option that I know of when op-amps are needed.

I'm very open minded with audio, thats how I spent years modding and arriving at this conclusion. But I will try anything once.


@mijostyn Its for a recording studio not audiophile den, so its unavoidable with certain creative tools. 

@charles1dad The best thing you can do is upgrade as many components as you can on your SMPS to audio-grade, and you will be blown away with the results of even just a few. Which really means, how bad they are to begin with.




I appreciate your comments posted here. My Pro-Ject RS2T Box CD transport comes with a wall wart SMPS. To be candid, it sounds terrific and bettered my long term P.S. Audio PWT (On board LPS) which is very good sounding. So, Pro-Ject does achieve excellent sound quality with their standard SMPS wall wart. They do offer an upgrade LPS.

I chose a Fidelizer Nickola II Signature LPS and it did take what is very good, even further upward. So I’m convinced excellent sound is possible with either type of power supply. Design, part quality and execution the determining factors affecting final sonic results. All of my other audio components came with on board LPS.


Charles, like Mijo, I’ve never had occasion to shop outboard power supplies of any type.

@charles1dad Eventually as a consumer it becomes subjective, like shopping for tubes or negative feedback. Many LPS that are designed for audio by well meaning people still use filtration or regulation, and to some, that can feel like the life gets kinda sucked out of their music. Ive used some popular ones talked about here and IMO they use pretty bad components (wiring, recepticals, fuses etc which can always be upgraded) that are really "thin" or "edgy" and sound unnatural to me, but some people think they are dynamic and full of bass. Etc.

Thats why for me, I want to start with a really super basic LPS and build it around my favorite sounding components. Or I guess I should build one totally from scratch but I'm not super knowledgable about transformers to my satisfaction yet.


SMD, not SMP = Surface Mount Devices

THT means through-hole devices

often the same devices, different leads. Which is why the criticism is misplaced, IMO. There are bad components of all types. And also good ones.


On the topic of SMPS (switched mode power supplies) the problem is noise.  Noise CAN be controlled, but it is difficult. That said notice some of the finest test gear now uses SMPSs.  I however, do not. And the ones we can afford are just nasty.

Yes, and there are no serious audio-grade SMD components, so as people miniaturize or design complex circuits, audio quality will suffer with these and there is no way out. Thats my only point I was making.

Although I definitely do not agree that SMD are categorically to be avoided at all costs, nevertheless it occurred to me that for those obsessed with avoiding SMDs, I would go along with a recommendation I think made by someone else to look on Ebay for laboratory grade DC power supplies. Those made by lambda or by Pharmacia, for two examples, are of very high quality well regulated and permit adjustment of voltage and current. However they are also relatively large in size, and some have fans for cooling that will make a tiny bit of noise in your listening room. They are meant for laboratory use, for real. And most likely anything you can find these days will contain semi conductors. Heaven for bid!

smd vs smps -- 🤣

that is hifi nerd-dom conflation at it’s nadir!

what the heck are we talking about here????? 🤔

on a slightly more serious note, i think one needs to bear in mind that some judicious component designers may choose smps for their compactness and economy, and could well build in power feed filtering within the main body of the component... doesn't solve the problem of the cheapo smps dirtying the shared ac power line other gear takes from, but the particular unit in question could well run beautifully with the smps delivering the dc at its input

there are no serious audio-grade SMD components,


"audiophile" with size, shape, lovely colour, gold plated leads, pc triple c copper leads, aged, brewed - I have a bunch of audiophile components in the spares bin that were easily outperformed by "non audiophile" components.

SMD can offer huge advantages in short signal paths, more controlled rf floating around, less leakage, more accurate solder joints ( by the way solder joints - no 2 are the same, even the shape of the solder joint can induce distortion )

But @lewm is correct here - most audiophiles have no idea and make assessments based on labels on components and audiophile jewellery. A bit of machined aluminium inside the case sends most audiophiles into raptures - completely unaware of the dodgy solder joints. 

I recall asking my tech about a stereophile class phono stage all the rage - he said "the case looks nice, but I lost count of the dodgy solder joints".


On the topic of SMPS (switched mode power supplies) the problem is noise.  Noise CAN be controlled, but it is difficult. 

Thank you - the first intelligent post on this thread.

That is the issue - linear power supplies vs switched mode power supplies.

The early switched mode power supplies were awful, spewing out rf and noise both into the circuitry and back into the mains. New generation switched mode power supplies are much better now, but personally I still prefer a linear power supply - ease of repair and if properly designed more headroom.

New generation switched mode power supplies are much better now, but personally I still prefer a linear power supply - ease of repair and if properly designed more headroom.

I suspect that is the general consensus here.


When researching  streamers I found Antipodes philosophy in regard to mixing smps and lps singularly interesting, came close to pulling trigger on K50. In the end went with custom build with LPS, choice was not about aversion  to their proprietary use of smps. But other than Antipodes I'm not convinced of any smps being the equal or preferable to lps. I use lps on every single component in my streaming setup, including modem and router, better than any smps I've used.

LessLoss R2R DAC with 2 onboard FireWire 640X. 

Wonderful and I agree with @mijostyn why by gear you need to upgrade power supply. 


@jerryg123 , sh-t Jerry. The last thing you want to do is agree with me. That is the kiss of death.

Guys - the amazing level of confusion continues, post after post.

The OP asked about power supplies that were made with SMDs. Maybe he mistyped, maybe he has no idea what he’s typing, but he did. SMDs are surface mount devices. Note this means the same old components in a different package, - no through holes. His question was for LPSs with

"the least amount of miniaturized SMD and semiconductor nonsense?"

This means he wants his transistors to have three long legs rather than three short tabs. Period. End. Nothing more to see here, move along. The dies are the SAME, except that sometimes you can buy better transistors int he modern parts and th eolder ones have been discontinued. e.g.: 2SC389, J201.

Somehow people moved on to Switched Mode Power Supplies and then combined the two. I mean, really? Does anyone have any clue what they are typing about?

Quick answer: not apparent.

The problem is that there can be issues with both. But they need careful clarification. I took the OP at his word (letters?) and discussed that the linear power supplies he desired could be made, maybe should be, with at least some surface mount devices for cost, size and the ability to robotically assemble (meanings cost and quality). Other parts (pas transistors) likely are better off THT for heat dissipation and current capability.

If someone wants real data from someone who designs, professionally, with all this stuff I’ll jump back in but at the moment its just too painful.

We also seem to have moved to R2R DACs! The connection, except that i used them as an example of why tiny, cheap surface mount technology is essential to audiophile grade modules, is pretty tenuous.



Consider doing your own.... simplest? Transformer, Bridge Rectifier and filter caps..... You’ll need to do some homework.... What component are you going to use it for? How much current will the transformer need to handle. You can choose by votage and wattage rattings and get fairly close, I would choose around 4 times or higher wattage rating to make sure that you cover for 2 channels and peak current. If you are making a pure class A component, you will need much higher.  You will need to know what dc voltage that you need. Choose a transformer that is approximately 20% lower than the DC that you’ll need. So if you needed 30v, you may choose a 24v transformer. When you add the Bridge to convert AC to DC you will get the voltage boost, next choose capacitors for each channel. I’m a firm believer that the more the merrier, others don’t always agree, quoting in rush current. i have yet to have a problem here. Do some homework, if you can mod one, you can build one.

Building a good LPS is or can be a little more complex than implied. It helps to have an oscilloscope to analyze the performance, too. Learn about pi filters, etc.Also, you may want to regulate the V output in which case you design for a higher V output than needed to allow headroom for the regulator to operate. 

Transformer, Bridge Rectifier and filter caps.....

yes, that's the simplest but likely not the best.  For constant current draw stuff, multiple filter stages can be very very good, and sound remarkably right. but for anything requiring specific DC levels (like any ICs) or current surges, it has major issues and regulation is required. regulation brings its own issues and noise sources.


This is why i somewhat push back on the most  basic tenets espoused in this thread.


@itsjustme +1 I use Uptone JS2, choke based lps on some of most important digital components. This will explain issues with T,BR&F  and advantages of choke based,

I am a fan of small chokes to eliminate the HF noise generated by most series regulators.