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Confessions of an audio DIYer

Posted 11th January 2010 at 01:58 AM by Damon Hill

Current projects:

P. Millett's Sound Card Interface

Long term projects


I'm a DIYer, and that means for me a lot of test equipment. I bought a lot of Heathkit gear in my day and still have most of it, supplemented with a Hewlett Packard oscilloscope and Tektronix audio distortion test set, but the Heathkit gear is still my mainstay.

Since an Audio Precision test set seems to be forever out of my reach, I'm taking a crack at a sound card based analyzer, as above.


My main amplifier is based on Marshall Leach's design, version 4.4, with a massive power supply (about 1/4 farad!) on a dual mono chassis. I've been building his amplifiers since the late 70's with excellent success, to the point that I've neglected making a serious effort to build anything else.

At the moment I'm considering Jan Didden's design using Hawksford error correction techniques, since that may get around some of the limitations of classic negative feedback.

I do have a tube amplifier chassis partially constructed, but it's stalled lacking output transformers and a clear idea of what I want to build. I've got a pair of Sovtek EL34s awaiting a decision. The power supply will avoid using electrolytic capacitors.

FM: Tuners and Antennas

FM and me go a long ways back, to the late 60's and my first Heathkit, an AR-17 receiver which I still have. I wrote an article for The Audio Amateur based on my experiments with the Finco FM-4G (stacked) and a Blonder Tongue 8 element log periodic.

My current active tuners are a Sony XDR-F1HD (awaiting modifications) and a Heathkit AJ-1510 (purchased used) which needs some work and modifications. I'm thinking a major redesign of the multiplex board...

The antennas are a self-built copper pipe J-Pole and and an Antennacraft FM-6, which I plan to modify for additional gain and directivity. When I can get a roof mount installed and rotator and thrust bearing put up, that is...
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