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Old 29th March 2012, 04:25 AM   #1
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Join Date: Mar 2012
Location: Urbana, Il
Default pc speaker amp (kit) for a newb, not sure where to post.

I have no experience with diy amps or crossovers. I can solder and I love learning new skills and doing new projects. Right now I am in need of some nice sounding pc speakers. I am a drummer/musician/music software junkie. I am confident that I can put together all the required components on my own and get better results then the out of the box speakers that can be bought. I also have a small budget at the moment, ($50?) I am also a woodworker and have tons of scrap wood going spare. My dilemma is where to begin. I have an audio source, my PC. So some power (amp) and some drivers are what I'm thinking I need. With my limited budget I am unsure of how to proceed. Prebuilt amp and some full range drivers? prebuilt amp, crossover and low/high frequency drivers? amp kit and drivers, and so on. This is what I am wondering. Any suggestions of not only how to proceed, but perhaps specific components and/or projects that others have done? I apologize if I have posted in the wrong forum.
Thanx, can't wait for responses.
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Old 29th March 2012, 05:48 AM   #2
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Oh well - with that money if you are lucky you can catch something at some garage sale , anything that is in working condition .
A pair of speakers and an integrated amplifier ( or just the power amplifier , confiding that you won't make a mess with the volume control of the computer , but it's always handful to control the volume manually , with a passive device , such the stereo potentiometer ).
Otherwise , you can grab a chip amp such as an LM 3886 ( check the chip amp forum ,under solid state ) , and they come already mounted and tested ,but without the power supply .
For the speakers , take a look at undefinition
for getting an idea of how complex can be to build two little boxes .
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Old 29th March 2012, 01:05 PM   #3
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Join Date: Mar 2012
Location: Urbana, Il
Default Thanx for your response

like I said, I am an entry level guy. I have looked at the page you linked as well as many other speaker designs. I am very confident that I will be able to construct enclosures with little problem. The amp kit just looks like a fun project to learn about the way components go together. I am currently looking around for an inexpensive way to power my speakers. I am going to want a manual volume control. I am not seeking to build anything high end right out of the gate. My budget is flexible.
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Old 30th March 2012, 05:21 AM   #4
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Well , like you said , me too have no experience of diy amps and crossovers They really scare me !! And about high end , finally I have that approach. In fact ,there are some who are glad to have their LM3886 ( or 3875 ) chip amp built with exotic components , with huge power supply , etc etc. ; this means that the details make the product . Instead , it's the global view . I would focus on a single component , and step by step , bring all the components to the same quality level . This can be done to the infinitesimal part ,also ( devil is in details !! ) .
I have : cdp and tape deck found in the trash ( aside the garbage ); amplifier (integrated) lent from a friend ( dissectioned and upgraded : I kept only the amplifier );also preamplifier from a friend ( lately upgraded with fresh caps );
speakers found in the trash ( dump diving ); tweeters , bought for 15 $ each ;
crossover components swapped from other speakers ; cables bought from the near hifi store . also , I spent 100 $ for two 5" drivers last year , and the speakers I made I brought to an hifi contest ( not classified )
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Old 9th April 2012, 01:11 AM   #5
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Join Date: Oct 2009
Location: Hamburg
DIY does not usually save you much money over buying a final product, but you can get a better end result and have fun doing it. Your budget is too low for New and HiFi, maybe too low for new. That said you can get some things second hand cheap. Depending if you find you may then have some options, but I would still be surprised if any thing will come cheaper than hanging out at the rubbish tip and asking people who work their for a Hifi Amplifier or some speakers.

When it comes to Speakers, you might consider that Bass costs money in cabinetry and speaker drive units. Good bass drivers will typically bring you over your budget. If you can live without much Bass, you could get something that was really Hifi in both accurate sounds, and stereo imaging with a cheap full range driver and a box you made, not including wood and time for around 50 Euro.

Some thing like the FR10-8 Visaton 10 cm full range loudspeakers in a nice box, no cross over needed, brings you already to 24 Euro, A 10 Euro approximation for wire and plugs from computer to second hand amplifier, and amplifier to speaker. Use old mains wire for loudspeaker cables.

Get a 1970's amplifier that's working and ideally got a service manual that is freely available on the web. I should the later in the 1970's the better. Receiver's (Tuner built into same box and amplifier) rather than integrated amplifiers are often much cheaper, get rotary not linear volume/tone controls as linear can be hard to replace. You can replace the capacitors at a later date, and fix the amp up to original or better specification if you can find a service manual.

If you do decide to upgrade an old amp it will cost around 50 Euro to replace the capacitors inside, (and changing the settings to what they should be is easier with a service manual), if you use an old amp and don't upgrade it, the sound will often get distorted, the controls may crackle and eventually it will break without a capacitor upgrade, this is also true of many amplifiers over their service age.


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Old 22nd April 2012, 10:36 AM   #6
dangus is offline dangus  Canada
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Join Date: May 2004
Location: Vancouver Island
Buy a T-amp board on eBay for under $20 shipped from China. Search on TA2020 or TA2024. Power it with a 12V 2 to 5 amp supply, from eBay if you can't find one in a thrift store or in a box in the basement.

Full-range speakers are simple and can sound good (see what's popular at Parts Express), or get a set of car speakers from a thrift store, yard sale, swap meet.
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