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Old 4th March 2003, 10:59 PM   #1
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Location: california
Question Cost of the Zen pass labs amp

Hi there
I am new to this site and am amazed by the amount of information and activity here. I was wondering whether anyone can tell me how much it costs approx to build the Zen amp currently listed in the passlabs diy page?
I am sure this was discussed before but I did not get any figures when I did a search. I did get figures such as US $500 to $700 for the Aleph 4 DIY.

Also, for someone who has no experience dealing with circuits (except basic soldering) how hard would it be to build this amp with the given instructions and material?

thanks so much in advance
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Old 5th March 2003, 01:05 AM   #2
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Have you read Nelson Pass' article on the Zen and its variations? If not, go to and read them, they're very interesting. From the articles you will find out every part you need. To price all the parts go to For transformers try Hope this helps!
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Old 5th March 2003, 01:08 AM   #3
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hang on, lemme help.

i just priced all the parts i could find on digikey, so i'll write them all down tonight. wait a few hours.


...unless you want to just go ahead and do it yourself. it's a hassle, but it doesn't take long.
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Old 5th March 2003, 03:01 AM   #4
cowanrg is offline cowanrg  United States
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i started here with just a very very very basic knowledge of how to solder, and my first project was an aleph2. (still in progress actually). ive learned a lot, but i still have a great deal to go. dont let that hold you back, there are great ppl here that are willing to help out.
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Old 5th March 2003, 03:40 AM   #5
jleaman is offline jleaman  Belgium
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to build a zen4 it would cost you about 400 canadian that is soo cheap fora 25watt class a amp. Nelson does some realy nice stuff. I WOULD LOVE to have some thing that he manufactured.
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Old 5th March 2003, 04:19 AM   #6
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following are minimum quantities for 2 channels of zen amp (v4) goodness:

priced in US dollars

Q1,Q2,Q5.....(10) = 18.00
Q3.....(2) = 0.96
Q4.....(2) = 1.98
D1.....(10) = 0.40
Z1-Z5.....(10) = 1.65

C1.....(2) = 10.02
C2,C4.....(4) = 18.32
C3.....(10) = 1.80
C5,C6,C7,C9,C11.....'obsolete' on digikey
C8,C10.....(4) = 1.20
C12.....(4) = 1.20

R0,R14,R15.....(10) = 4.88
R1.....(5) = 2.44
R2,R5.....(5) = 0.54
R3.....(5) = 0.54
R4.....(2) = 2.58
R6,R11,R12,R16,R17,R18.....(15) = 1.62
R7,R8.....(5) = 0.54
R9.....(5) = 0.54
R10.....(5) = 2.44
R13.....(5) = 0.54
R19.....(5) = 0.54
R20.....(5) = 2.44
total for components = ~$76 + cost of those caps not found on digikey

heatsink - varies. the cheapest one i've seen on the web so far is probably the 24 incher at MECI for 30 bucks. you'd need 2 of those i guess...i'm not sure what the C/W rating of that one is. you need one rated .3C/W max.

transformer - haven't priced yet.

chassis - haven't priced that either - although the wood ones in the gallery at passdiy are probably pretty cheap to make.

pcb's - get 'em for $50 for a pair at pass, or get a friend to make some from the gerber files, or find a good deal at an online pcb manufacturer. (such as advanced circuits, where i got mine made. )

misc. expenses will include connectors, wire, power cord, maybe a cool meter or something, a neat power switch, and a BLUE LED IS ABSOLUTELY REQUIRED.

hope this helps!

/andrew - is formulating his plan for the Ultimate Frugalphile Penultimate Zen Amplifier!
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Old 5th March 2003, 07:28 AM   #7
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Default PCBs

Why you are not using p2p connections?

You can save $50, and it is sound good too...

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Old 5th March 2003, 10:16 AM   #8
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Default Cost of V4 Zen

I ended up with around 400.00 US in my Zen V4. I suspect you can build it a little cheaper. I spent three weekends on the chassis, but my family only gives short windows to do such.
The heatsinks are the toughest, lucked up on some at Tanners in Dallas. Went back two months later and someone had cleaned them out.
Also, be prepared to wait six weeks for the Plitron power transformers. They build them on order.

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Old 5th March 2003, 05:02 PM   #9
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I'm building a pair of Zen V4 tube version. The design is a variation of NP's Zen V4 with a Tube instead of the ZVP.

At the moment the meter stopped at 350 euro.

I still need connectors and and thick piece of front material for the front of the cabinet. I've allready bought a bunch of blue leds though
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Old 5th March 2003, 05:26 PM   #10
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i'd like to hear how the tube substitution turns out. i didn't see any info on your site about the tube scheme - what else are you modifying to accomplish this feat? could be a good project for a newbie like me...

/andrew - might consider an Ultimate Frugalphile Penultimate Zen TUBE Amp...
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