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Old 14th November 2002, 07:24 PM   #1
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Moderater Note: This thread actually started here (gives some of the comments context).

dave

Bob4
Well, I really want to try and build my own audio system and also get advice on a video system to purchase . Unfortunately, I've been cursed with really good hearing and every system that I ever heard for less than $2000 (including speakers) sucks. A friend of mine told me to buy some good used stuff but I thought that had its own inherent problems so that led me to diy. I think some of the enclosure work might give me some trouble but I'm hoping that I might get some hand holding in here to help get it done.

Ken L
That response sounds like you wrote it while your wife was looking over your shoulder, you rascal you. Well, I'm all for a fella who behaves, even if it is coerced
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Old 14th November 2002, 09:18 PM   #2
dice45 is offline dice45  Germany
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Dave,
hinthint, ladies like open baffle speakers... ......better if you blindfold her 1st, she needn't see at once the baffle is big like a door
haven't you got some frugalphile(tm) alnico paper cones for Gina?

Gina,
handholding has just started ... maybe you have a look in our speaker section, there should also be some discussion about open baffle speakers. Ask Dave, he is a as far as cheapocheapo audio devices with terrific sonics are concerned; he owns the frugalphile(tm) trademark here

BTW, women hear in a different manner than men do ... and this manner is atleast as valid; don't get your confidence shattered by some rude male telling you what you ought to hear .
Another BTW, i have hardly heard a commercial speaker below $2000 which does not suck. Not to speak of a whole system for $2000.

Just reviewing my post, reading Ken's, grinning ear2ear
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Old 14th November 2002, 10:11 PM   #3
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dice45
I know that at first glance $2000 seems undoable but here is how I figured it. I have $1000 budgeted for speakers. I already own a decent phonograph and a own a DVD player (weak link) that will play cd's and a good cassette deck so there will be $1000 for an amp and preamp. I think that is a doable budget without much compramise. I've seen good condition used Vandersteen 3's locally for much less than $1000 and new stuff like the Rega Jura is within the budget as well. I'm not so worried about the speakers because I'll be using my headphones most of the time anyway. So now that you know my objectives, where should I start Mr. Moderator?

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Old 15th November 2002, 05:31 AM   #4
dice45 is offline dice45  Germany
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Gina,
have to admit, i am lost on your Q.
It is ys ago i purchased stuff. All home-built, either by me or buddies.
Hold it, i own a minidisc recorder from Sony i am quite happy with. MDS-JB930.
A very nice sounding device.

I once worked in a hifi store but apart from AudioReseach, Rowland, VTL, Spectral, Marl Levinson, i do not even remember the brand names.
Vandersteen? himmh, probably a speaker manufacturer.

I could tell you which phono cartridge to buy or which turntable or tonearm.

Quote:
Originally posted by Gina
I know that at first glance $2000 seems undoable but here is how I figured it. I have $1000 budgeted for speakers. I already own a decent phonograph and a own a DVD player (weak link) that will play cd's and a good cassette deck so there will be $1000 for an amp and preamp. I think that is a doable budget without much compramise. I've seen good condition used Vandersteen 3's locally for much less than $1000 and new stuff like the Rega Jura is within the budget as well. I'm not so worried about the speakers because I'll be using my headphones most of the time anyway. So now that you know my objectives, where should I start Mr. Moderator?
The minidisc thingie i could recommend sounds like scattering priorities to me, considering your budget. Ummhh, budget .. i also would budget some time&patience and make a long-term schedule where i want to arrive sonically instead of how much money i want ot spend on which.

If you get acquainted with building your own audio gear, you might find that more satisfying and way more bang for the buck and you have influence on the sonics, you can shape the sound you want to have .. within limits of course.

I did not chase you in planet10's arms without reason, he knows how to get fancy sonics for a few bucks ... he will use some vintage tube gear probably and fullrange speakers with alnico magnets and paper cones. Does not cost a fortune, sings, makes music, makes you smile. The suggestions i have read from him are dirt-cheap and what i hear is that people are quite happy with them, it certainly is worth a try. Just order some papercone FR drivers and screw them in a big baffle and find out for some weeks if you like it. And then borrow good speakers from a buddy and look if you still can like them.
If someone would take my $$$ Fertin speakers away from me right now, well, i would ask Dave for some cheapocheapo papercones, saw a hole in an old door, screw them in and have beautiful music. Not kidding.

But to topic: as amp, you could build an ASKA kit, or you could go with PassDIY, what ever you feel you can manage as 1st project. You also could order and integrated tube amp kit from our member Gabevee. I am quite sure, you arrive at a much higher level sonically than if you buy used commercial stuff. And this will be the same with speakers, please ask the people in the speaker board as i have lost touch with enclosured speakers. Cannot give valid advice on existing kits or products.
You ask me where to start? find out what you really like, what you like for long-term listening. I bet you want to listen to music finally and not to equipment, right?
Tube amps or SolidState amps?
FR speaker or conventional 3-way, vented or closed? Tranmision lines? Backloaded horn speakers?
Audio is personal taste to a high extent. What suits me perfectly may not suit you (so please take my open baffle enthusiasm with a grain of salt ).
But trying out what suits you can be fun.
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Old 15th November 2002, 08:38 AM   #5
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Hi Gina, welcome to the forums!

May I suggest a simple starting point, it may screw up the overall budget, but it might lead to more satisfaction in the long term.

I would support totally going frugalphile(TM), but for slightly different reasons. As a beginner to diy, start with simple projects, it can be very frustrating getting half way through a complex and expensive project and having to give up through lack of time, money, and understanding ( I know, I have been there!)

I would suggest using some of Dave's drainpipes with the Inverted Gainclone amp, ( do a search, they are mentioned frequently on this board). and that way you could put a system together for a couple of hundred dollars, that would probably sound better than you imagine, and if you decide to procede further, can be used as the basis for a second system.

Good luck
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Old 15th November 2002, 12:50 PM   #6
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dice45
I think I should start with a preamplifier. The Zen projects look doable but they appear to need a matching preamp so that should probably be where to begin. See my comments below concerning "frugalphilia".

Planet 10
I don't think the frugalphile route is for me. I can't have the industrial (rough) appearance match my apartment motif. Even though I'm not a spouse, the SAF I've read about on this forum definitely applies to me.

pinkmouse
Thanks for the advice. I think a good way to get my feet wet is to start putting together a parts matrix so I can see exactly what the raw material will cost to conclusion. This will minimize some of the surprises that can kill a project or bring it to a crawl.

I want to concentrate on only one build effort. I am not in this diy for life, I just want to build what I need and repair it if it breaks. I want to build a preamp and amplifier pair that will keep me happy for the rest of my days. A pair that is dead quiet and sweet sounding. It must create an excellent image and not fade or clip when driven to full volume. It should also look presentable and fit within my budget which is $1000, am I asking too much? Well, if you guys help me out, my girlfriends might get so excited about what I've built that you may just get a flood of hot sexy girls joining this site and suddenly finding audio geeks irresistable
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Old 15th November 2002, 12:55 PM   #7
dhaen is offline dhaen  Europe
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Quote:
Well, if you guys help me out, my girlfriends might get so excited about what I've built that you may just get a flood of hot sexy girls joining this site and suddenly finding audio geeks irresistable
You now have the full attention of almost everybody!

How can we help.............................................. .........
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Old 15th November 2002, 07:11 PM   #8
dice45 is offline dice45  Germany
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Gina,
good, preamp.
What for a preamp do you need?
Line level only (CD-player, DVD, tuner etc.) or do you als want to run a phono turntable with a MM cartridge (5mV @ 0dB)? Or maybe you prefer MC cartridges (0.2mV @ 0dB)) ?

How important is a luxury circuitry for tape recorders? (source/tape monitoring, pos.feedback blocking etc)?

Solid state of tube preamp?

Housing: how important is the look? I may have some advice here too but ask Peter Daniel, he is the housing .
BTW, i would try the circuit out on a breadboard and if you know what you want, then buy or design an appropriate housing.

Quote:
I want to build a preamp and amplifier pair that will keep me happy for the rest of my days.
Gina, <soothing voice> let me put my arm around your shoulder, nothing wrong, everything cool, lets relax, have you taken your medicine?, look, outside the sun is shining, let's go in the garden ...
You know what i mean? No, i am not harrassing you nor offending you in any way. Your wish is just describing audio nirwana, the dream of any audiophile, but few of us will ever reach it at all.
... where is my crystal ball .. ah here it is ... you won't reach audio heaven in your 1st try. But you will have a good success, you will be excited because the thingie works that you built with your hands and you will learn a lot .... and after a while you will find out your 1st try does not meet all your expectations and you find out what you like and what not ...and for your next try you will start to develop own ideas how to arrive sonically where you want and ... .... for your next try you hone your ideas to make it even better and you find yourself discussing circuit details with the experts. Then the day comes when a self-proclaimed expert tells you that your audio stuff cannot sound good and why and in great detail and you discover you do not care, you like the sonics, you designed it that way, do not even bother to tell him.

did i mention how highly subjective, how oriented to personal taste audio is? That Nelson Pass or Dave or Peter or Ken or Fred or Jocko or me like sonics of a given device is by no means a guarantee *you* will like it.

One word to frugalphilia(tm) : it can happen inside a beautiful housing. It will enable you to have more tries within your budget.
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Old 15th November 2002, 07:59 PM   #9
Ken L is offline Ken L  United States
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Default suggest you consider

www.bottlehead.com

a Foreplay preamp for 149.00
a set of Paramour 2A3 monoblocks for 549

All within beginner level, look sharp - are audophile quality and leave enough nickels left over to splurge on High Efficiency Speakers - the 2A3's have an excellent reputation within the High
Resolution Sound community for sounding good at low cost.

The kits are reasonably priced and well thought of, you would have more than adequate resources for assistance, the designs are well known and debugged. These circuits are reasonably simple and should put together pretty easily.

You don't seem interested in actually building something from scratch - While it is doable, it takes time energy and effort to make something from nothing - and it helps to have mechanical skills and a small shop, etc.

One thing I like about the above scenario, is that it leaves enough left over for really nice HE drivers - which is going to be the really difficult part of that budget.


My humble musings

Ken
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Old 15th November 2002, 09:22 PM   #10
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Ken L
Thank you for that link. It looks indeed very doable and definitely within my budget. High efficiency speaker elements; as a general rule I don't particularly like them. I like my music jumping out of the silence so I don't want to hear any trace of amplifier hiss or hum. All of the tube gear that I've heard fails miserably in this regard and even though it is spacious and beautiful in the high registers tubes that I've heard don't have the grunt on the basso that thrills my vacant center

dice45
Yes, I definitely want a phono stage and I would like circuits in it for both MC and MM cartridges. Come to think of it, a pot to match the cartridge impedence would be a good idea too if it doesn't degrade the perfomance. The tape/record circuit should be as clean as possible. All the gain and level adjustments belong on the cassette deck and not on the preamp IMHO. I have a very nice Pro Revox so I can afford to say this but I understand the need for this kind of 'luxury' for people who record on their VCRs. As far as the concept of Audio Nirvana: you would be surprised
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