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Old 27th September 2003, 04:23 PM   #1
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Default So how much does a Gainclone cost to build anyway?

Okay, so I am a poor college student looking for a project to do over Christmas. The gainclone is really starting to look nice, but I can't seem to find a thread that gives a rundown of the cost of parts to build one! (Chips, PSU, connectors, etc). I know I'm a newbe at this, and I will only have about 3 weeks to put together a amp that will be in a condition where I can take it back to school w/o tweaking--just woundering if anyone has any opinions on this goal?

P.s. I also want to build a gainclone because I have a really nice design for a case--Oak and Glass on black velvet!
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Old 27th September 2003, 04:25 PM   #2
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You can built one for $50, or you can built one for $500. It's up to you to decide on a budget.
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Old 27th September 2003, 04:31 PM   #3
JoeBob is offline JoeBob  Canada
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I've you're not including the price for your case it can be very cheap (oak and glass sounds nice though). But often the case costs a large portion of the total cost, so if you don't already have the oak and glass that'll bring the cost up.

Peter is right though, it can be cheap or expensive, and for sure the $500 amp isn't 10 times better than the $50 amp, but it will probably be better in some respects. But when you get into more expensive "gainclones" I feel that most of the extra costs are going towards fancy enclosures for them. Which some may argue that they provide better sonics (our friend Peter here advocates so) others may be willing to pay the price solely for good looks.

So it can cost alot, but don't think it has to cost alot to sound amazing...
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Old 27th September 2003, 04:49 PM   #4
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Nice case is probably a driving force (in some cases) to built a GC. What I learned so far is that the least complex case gives best results. So if your GC doesn't have to look fancy, use a chunk of metal (be it aluminum or copper) and attach everything to it and use a sort of spike support and this will probably produce the most acurate sound from your amp. Adding additional panels and building it up only complicates matters and veils the sound.

Here's the pic of my monos, and if it wasn't for aestchetics, the side panels wouldn't be really required. Just the frame around (to dissipate heat) and the copper bar to add mass and stability. When you look at this design, it is certainly as simple as it can get. Chip mounted to the bar, caps below and close to chip, pins from caps run directly to the bridges, which are on the other side of chip and as tight as possible. Copper bar acts as main pillar, it is supported by the cone, the cone releases vibrations to the platform below. Also, the copper bar is used to hold together the whole amp's assebly and transfers the heat to top, bottom and front panels. The caps are attached with a piece of rubber (this way the vibrations are not that influential here). The transformer is mounted directly behind the bar (the bar acts as a shield) and the wires from TX to the bridges are also minimized.

So far, this is the best sounding GC I've made. The previous experience, tells me that for the amp to sound good, you need metal frame. If you use too much wood the sound becomes dull.
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Old 27th September 2003, 04:51 PM   #5
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Thanks--I was thinking of a budget of about $100 for the parts (case excluded). I guess I could line the case with metal foil as a cheap shieding. I have been reading up on the Amp and it seems easy to make, The main thing now is reading up on the PSU--I have never built anything before that works off of house current.
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Old 27th September 2003, 05:03 PM   #6
JoeBob is offline JoeBob  Canada
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Be sure to read up on PSU design, you'll find it easy to understand (at first) but if you follow others examples you won't have to design a super psu, just use the standard gainclone psu. BUT be real sure to understand the safety issues with the psu, that's the most important thing to understand.

As for the wood chasis, I like the sound coming out of a wood chasis, I've always had some metal with the wood of course, but I really like to look of wood so I often use it. Peter's opinions are great, but don't think your amp will sound bad because you use wood, it's just what he noticed. It's all a matter of opinion in the end.
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Old 27th September 2003, 07:18 PM   #7
quekky is offline quekky  Singapore
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i dont know abt US, but over here, my friend built his under S$200 (S$1.8 = US$1) including new casing, good caps and resistors. and i built mine ard S$35 with 2nd hand parts
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Old 27th September 2003, 11:23 PM   #8
matjans is offline matjans  Netherlands
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Hi Mike,

For my stereo pair:

PSU:
A 225VA toroid I had lying around, I estimate ~EUR 10.
I still had some Schottky diodes, estimate ~EUR. 8

prices are for the whole lot, not a piece.

AMPS:
5x LM3875TF NatSemi samples: $12.95 ~EUR. 13
4x Sprague 1000uF 50V ~EUR 1.00 (on sale at a local electronics dumpstore)
2x Philips 0.22uF MKT ~EUR 1.00
2x Philips 22uF ~EUR 1.00
Resistors: Standard stuff, a few euros.
Volume/lineswitch: el cheapo ~EUR. 3.00
Wiring: a few euros.
Case: two 1-2 mm stainless steel oval-like boxes people use to store flower/sugar in etc. EUR. 5.00
one for PSU, other for amps.

So you CAN build it pretty 'on the cheap' say for like EUR. 35...

But then, when I hooked it up, it sounded so much better than my old amp I decided to put in a few extra pennies:

Amplimo 225VA 2x22V secondaries ~EUR. 43
Neutrik powercons (expensive!)
Good, VMS/AK (twisted and heavily shielded powercable, mainly for industrial use), power cables (not too expensive)
Nice gold-plated RCA/cinch thingies ~EUR 2 a piece.
All silver/silver plated copper wiring with teflon insulation.
I will replace my signal-in capacitor with a Black Gate.
Better (decent!) resistors (pretty expensive imho).
An Alps Blue Velvet stereo volume pot.
A nice 4x3 lineswitch (gold plated)
Better interconnects (self made silver-teflon)

I did keep it in the stainless steel box (which looks pretty cool, i'll post some pics later).

You name it. In the end I think it cost me around EUR. 150 in total (and I have a lot of spare parts left to build the rest of my home cinema set with!)
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Old 28th September 2003, 12:06 AM   #9
Rarkov is offline Rarkov  England
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Here is my breakdown of two amps.

Ellie's amp is the standard non-inverted gainclone.

Hybrid Gainclone is the JLTi hybrid valve / SS inverted gainclone

(Macros on the hybrid excel sheet are addition things...Not viruses!!! )

Also, please note that this is only what I could think of at the time...it won't include small things. Esp the hybrid list

Gaz
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Old 28th September 2003, 02:09 AM   #10
Variac is offline Variac  United States
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Mike,
The gainclone is the amp for you!
College guys have to start making these to keep the flame of
audiophilia burning. Use the cheaper components except for the feedback resistor maybe. Get it going durring Christmas, you can upgrade later. Then demo it to all your friends, and get them to make 'em: Have a seminar in your dorm room, sign up some people, buy the parts, and help them all make amps-couldn't take more than 2 evenings
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