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Super 14th September 2001 01:48 AM

Well, my SonoSub will be completed soon, and I will be left without a project, until I manage to save up for the next speaker building project. However, after talking with a fellow member of the boards, I'd really like to try building a pair of monoblock amps, something I've never done before. But being only 15, I've never had the chance to learn how to interpret electronic schematics. I'd really like to learn how to do this. I know how to solder, but is there any good online sources which can teach me how to do this? Any recommendations for excellent kits would also be greatly appreciated. I currently have no interest in designing my own, but I'm leaning more towards the available designs for solid state amps over tubes, possibly a Pass design. I have about $1000 to spend in parts, and a neighbor who is highly knowledgeable in electronics should I need help troubleshooting. Any help or suggestions would be greatly appreciated.


hifiZen 14th September 2001 03:01 AM

I don't specifically know of any online resources, but an excellent place to start would be the ARRL Handbook, which should be available at your local library. Although it's oriented towards radio, it gives a thorough introduction to the basic concepts, and carries right through to some fairly advanced topics. Plus, it's chock full of useful construction tips and information. This book was an invaluable resource for me when I was starting out, and even today I still take it off the shelf now and then for some obscure information that isn't available anywhere else.

Good luck to you!

Eric 14th September 2001 01:41 PM

Electronics Resources
Super: I don't know if this is what you have in mind, but the following are sites that have information about electronics basics:

This should be more than enough to get you started. You might also want to have a look at <a href="">my web page</a> on the Pass Labs a40 amplifier and <a href="">Mark Finnis' page</a> on the Pass Labs Aleph 4. These are as close to a "kit" as you can get without actually offering a kit.

Super 14th September 2001 08:00 PM

These were exactly the kind of thing I was looking for, the website I found to be the most helpful. I'll be sure to swing by the library and pick up that book while I'm at it. Right now the a40 is looking pretty good, especially considering the price range. My birthday's in a month, hopefully the parents will pay for the parts to build the bugger :) Thanks for all of your help



PassFan 15th September 2001 02:01 PM

Keep It Simple
I dont know how involved you want to get with these monoblocks , but it seems you have access to enough money to build a pair of SOZs . These are excellent monoblocks and you can hardly go wrong with this design . The circuit is simple , the output is scalable ( depending on the voltage of the transformer ) . The article can be found on the Pass Labs web site . The only thing you would have to design would be the case that you wish to house it in . The transformers , heatsinks , and power resistors can be found and purchased off the web and with help from this site . This is a very easy circuit to build ( hard to go wrong ) . Please feel free to E-mail me if you need any help with anything ( i'm very good with chassis building ):)

Super 15th September 2001 02:08 PM

I actually took notice of the SOZ projects that were on the Pass website, but I wasn't sure of how much they'd cost me to build. If its under $1000, then I'll definitely look into it. The heatsinks I'd most likely buy online, but not the chassis. I know several people who are machinists who would gladly make me one, and tap anything I need as well. Hopefully I should know within a month or so whether or not I'll have the opportunity to build any of these, but for the time being, I'll just keep up on my reading. Thanks again. I'll be sure to keep your offer in mind! ;)



paulb 15th September 2001 06:13 PM

So you're 15, have $1000, know several machinists, and want to build a pair of monblocks. I'd say one of the Zens would be a good choice.

Here's a link on how to machine your own heatsinks, in case you didn't see it on the ESP site:

Super 15th September 2001 06:55 PM

Looks good. If they're willing to spend the time to make them, then hey, a few more dollars saved. Any suggestions as to the type of enclosure I should use for it? I've seen chassis that were fully enclosed in heatsinks, and others that are pretty much an open design. Around this household, the more aesthetically pleasing the better, but I don't want to compromise reliability and function. Thanks again


(By the way, about half of that money is coming from an upgrade-hungry father :))

Oh yea, one more thing. Anyone have a general ballpark figure for what the cost of this project may run? Thanks again.

[Edited by Super on 09-15-2001 at 05:07 PM]

GRollins 15th September 2001 11:06 PM

Just for reference, I built a pair of Aleph 2's (100W/ch) for much less than $1000.
The SOZ is a fine idea, but it's even hotter running than the Alephs--something to consider when looking at the parental factor. It's easy to run the what-it-looks-like factor past them, but once they feel the heat given off, they may be less than pleased.
Oh, and I'm building a second pair of Alephs for roughly half the cost of the first pair, because I bought 100 output devices (to get the price break--you could get matched sets from smaller quantities) for the first one and had enough to build a second pair 'for free' as far as the outputs go.
Your cost will vary widely, depending on where you source your transformers and heatsinks. I'm assuming you're going solid-state, here. If you try for a tube design, strike the heatsinks, but add output transformers. Cost-wise, output transformers cost somewhat less than heatsinks.
You should start by determining how much power you'll need. Hint: It's not a linear ratio, it's log. 100W is not ten times louder than 10W, it's more like twice. Once you've got a target wattage, look for designs that will get you there. Yes, in theory, you could do your own design from the ground up, but it's a pretty scary thing to do for a first project, as you'll need at least a good meter, an oscilloscope, a signal generator, etc. Not to mention a fair amount of time. (It's fun, though...lots of fiddle factor and demented mad scientist behavior involved.) Anyway, once you've got a possible design, work up a parts list and try to source parts. That'll give you a *much* firmer idea as to your cost. Warning, you'll likely buy your transformers new (i.e. not surplus), and finding heatsinks is a real booger. That's what led me to building my Alephs in the water-cooled mode.


arnach 16th September 2001 03:25 AM

way to go buddy

Way to go.. being 15.. im 16, rare to find people my age in this hobby.

A pretty good cheap resource for learning how to read schematics diagrams is in those booklets you can buy at Radioshack by Forest Mimms.

When I was 6 or 7 I had "Getting Started in Electronics." I just went and got it off the shelf, still got alot of good stuff in it.

-- Aaron Finley

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