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Old 16th May 2009, 08:40 PM   #1
mattmcl is offline mattmcl  United States
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Default Where to start?

Here is what I have- an old Rotel 40wpc integrated amp, a computer full of 320kbps mp3s (I'm slowly re-ripping to FLAC), and a pair of short Thors in the works.

Here is what I want- play FLAC tunes over the Thors in the best way possible.

The Rotel is fading, but will work in the short term.

I'm wondering what my next project should be? I've never done PCB soldering, and am a newb with electronics, but I learn fast. I want to build my system up in steps. Here's my thinking:

Step 1: complete Thors, use Rotel to amplify the line out of my soundcard.
Step2: Build a pair of Gainclone monoblocks. Use the Rotel as a preamp, and continue to use the line out of my soundcard.
Step 3: Build a pre amp, continue to use line out of soundcard.
Step 4: Build a DAC.

Thoughts? And how exactly does a USB Dac work? Do I install a driver and treat it as a sound card?
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Old 17th May 2009, 07:45 AM   #2
Nuuk is offline Nuuk  United Kingdom
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1 You may find this site useful, and answers a lot of your questions.

2 Build a stereo Gainclone into your Rotel amp keeping the pre section. You can build monoblocks later if you like the GC sound.

3 Get a USB DAC (or Squeezebox). If you are using Windows, you will need to install ASIO4ALL drivers but there are quite a few places on the internet covering this in detail.

You may find it better to go to the 'correct' sections of this forum for more specific advice on your speakers and DAC projects.
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Old 17th May 2009, 09:18 PM   #3
mattmcl is offline mattmcl  United States
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Thanks Nuuk. I thought about modding the Rotel, but it's way beyond my skills. This would be my first project beyond passive crossovers, so I want to keep it simple. The Rotel has some problems too, so I really want to move towards replacement.
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Old 18th May 2009, 07:49 AM   #4
Nuuk is offline Nuuk  United Kingdom
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That's fine! If you can find another faulty unit like the Rotel, you will have a case, and possibly a suitable transformer too! You can build your GC into that.

Get the GC made first. If you need a pre or buffer, there are lots of fairly simple (well as simple as a basic GC) designs that you can make up later.

Read the Getting Started] pages at DD and take note of the tip to practise your soldering on some old hi-fi before you start building something 'for real'.
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