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Old 2nd November 2004, 08:50 PM   #1
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Default [n00b] Realistic, would it be wise to DIY

Hi, during registration they told me that y'all love to know more about me, so here i go spilling my guts...
Facts:
I never done a DIY project
I want quality, no room for (much) consessions
I'm not easily satisfied with my own work (ADHD perfectionism)

Goal:
I currently own a Onkyo Integra A9711, and the quality, well, s*cks. (to much noise, tiny cracks, etc), so i want something better.
I really like the Vincent SAV-C1 /w SAV-P200 combo, so that's where i put my goals, stability & quality wise.
I'd like my new set atleast 70% as aesthetically pleasing as above mentioned.
Currently it only has to drive 2x JBL TI600 & a DIY SUB, but i'm in the process of purchasing a set of Magnepan MMG's (fronts,rears,center).

So, the question: Is it realistic to think i could build a DIY project on my first try, and achieve ALL of above goals, whilst staying within my budget (approx $ 1200,- for the complete package (pre-amp with 6 channel amp) or should i do myself a favor and try to find a good second hand set (either DYI or Commercial).

I don't have two left hands, i know how to handle tools and all, but i lack any and all experience. Also i do have the time, but this will be limited to a maximum of about 3 hours a day (if i drop all my other tasks )

If you DO think it's a feasible goal, any good directions would be greatly appreciated!
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Old 2nd November 2004, 11:55 PM   #2
dangus is offline dangus  Canada
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The preamp part is difficult to impossible, assuming you want 5.1 decoding. The necessary chips can't be bought without licensing from Dolby and/or DTS. You could get something like a Technics SH-AC500, which accepts 4 digital inputs (DD, DTS, or 2 channel PCM), and has volume control, but it doesn't handle video switching, so that's another box to build or buy.

Amps are DIYable - just build 6 gainclones. If you want more power, things get more challenging. Kits would be the way to go for a newbie, and get someone more experienced to help you with final testing and power-up to avoid expensive smoke.

With $1200 to spend, I'd look seriously at a surround receiver from Outlaw; they sell direct, which hopefully makes them better value for money. If they have a pre/processor for that kind of price, that'd be another way to go, then build your own amps (Gainclones?). Later you could build or buy better amps if the GCs don't satisfy.
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Old 6th November 2004, 09:46 PM   #3
HFGuy is offline HFGuy  Canada
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Location: Toronto, Ontario
Building a pre/pro for HT is out of the question, that you will have to buy. Outlaw audio makes a very cheap unit. As far as building your own amps goes, i think its a great idea. Building a gainclone (god i hate using that name, non-inverting op-amp) is a great starter project, the chip has great protection circuits making it easier to build then discrete transistor amps. BUTTTTTT the gaincard amps are only good for 40-50w which isnt going to be enough to drive MMGs. They make more powerfuly op-amps but power transistors on chips arnt great. I'd recommend looking for a hybrid amp. Using an op-amp as a gain stage followed by a discrete voltage follower you get the best of both worlds, simplicity and power.
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Old 7th November 2004, 09:57 PM   #4
alvaius is offline alvaius  Canada
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Do you have any experience with Electronics at all? If not, I am not sure this is the way to go.

To achieve your quality statement, you are going to need a good pre-amp\processor. The new NAD (can't remember the number) is pretty good, however, there goes your $1,200 budget.

For the amps, sure you can build gain-clones, but by the time you package, power supply, etc. for 6 amps, it will cost a penny.

I would suggest starting small (can you use your Onkyo as a pre-amp?) If not, buy a half-decent stereo pre-amp on E-bay and start playing with amps. There is always the option of buying something off the shelf and upgrading components, i.e. op-amps, capacitors, etc. This can give you lots of gain for little pain.

Unless you have electronics experience, I would look at this more as a hobby then as a way to cheap high end equipment. For all the posters on here, there are likely 10x that have given up.

Alvaius
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Old 14th November 2004, 07:27 PM   #5
wazzup is offline wazzup  Netherlands
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I have a education in electronics, but I can honestly say I suck at it. I build my stuff by taking a lot of time, and learning as I go along.

I`m very happy with what I made, and I`m sure if u read a electronic book, with the basics, u can build your amps yourself.

Building 6 gainclones would be very cool, for a HT and it would easily kick your onkyo`s ***. -although u might wanne keep it as a preamp-
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