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damonpip 1st September 2003 03:29 PM

Where do I start?
Hi, I'm interested in building myself a nice amp, but I really have no idea where to start. First, I'm not sure what all I'll need to make. I really have never seen a high-end audio system, other than expensive receivers in the stores. I guess with an amp like an Aleph you need a preamp as well? I've built plenty of other electronics before, so making stuff is no problem.

Basically what I need to know is:
1) Do I need a preamp, and if so, which one should I build? Or should I buy one?

2) What amp should I build? I have $200-300 to spend on it, and already have the stuff for a case, and I can get heatsinks cheaply.

moe29 1st September 2003 06:35 PM

Welcome damonpip

to answer you question, yes you'll need a preamp for an Aleph or
a Zen amp.

The amp you should build is one you have the best chance of
finishing, and learning basics along the way.

I would say at the least you should go over to and
read all the stuff on the Zen amps and preamps. Then decide from
there what you'd like to try. I'd say go with a Zen project, since
they are well documented and a ton of info can be had by doing
searches on this forum.

that's just my 2 cents... one thing for sure, doing the reading is
free and a good place to start! :nod: And the Gallery on PassDiy
site is inspirational too.


Anorgan 1st September 2003 08:43 PM

Preamp - Bride of Zen or Bride of Son of Zen (balanced BOZ)
I made the BOZ, and it is very easy to make, can't smoke it for its protection diodes, has a very nice sound. Cheap (everything cost me about 40, without trafo).
Amp - Zen v5 would be a bit expensive, so go with Zen v4. Think twice about makeing an class a amp, since they burn a lot of power - maybe you could go with some solid state amps, but that is just blasphemy on thease pages ;).
I calculated everything for this combo, and the outcome is 300$, so i'd go with that.
Happy DIY-ing!!

till 1st September 2003 09:11 PM

Start with Zen lite or Zen V4, for preamp BOZ or BZLS.

damonpip 1st September 2003 11:27 PM

I've decided on the Zen V4 and the BZLS. I'll update later when I finish!

till 2nd September 2003 01:55 AM

good choice! im on a BZLS as you may have seen, BOZ and Zen V4 is allready playing.

GeorgeBoles 26th August 2004 07:45 AM

Well folks, you got me here..

Which creation is BZSL??

I also saw a CCS-X_BOZ or something similar as a suitable preamp ... what would that one be??

George Boles

zinsula 26th August 2004 09:47 AM


BZLS (not BZSL) means Balaced Zen Line Stage, i.e. a cirquit suitable to build up a preamp.
It is the same as BOSOZ (Bride of son of Zen) :D
Look at

There are also people who built this design with a ccs, they x-ed the circuit, and so on. Perform a search in this pass labs forum, and you will have enough information to build tons of preamps :D :D

Greetings, Tino

GeorgeBoles 26th August 2004 12:00 PM

More Questions:
Thanks for the information Zinsula ... that makes more Zense to me now.

More questions please, since I have started typing away:

1. Which are the best threads to follow for information on making say: an Aleph-3, a Zen V4, an A75? (The Zen V4 looks pretty much self explanatory in the .pdf files, there is not a lot happening with the A75, and the Aleph-3 looks a most elusive of all. (It was easy to find a thread on the Aleph-X! :) )

2. Would I be correct if I thought that the Zen V4 still sounds and performs best with a pre-amp stage ... Bride of Zen or Bride of Son of Zen. Any preferences as regards these?

3. Even by Mr. Nelson Pass's comments, it would appear that the bass on the Zen V4 may be a bit light on or not well defined.

What is the best solution:

a. pre-amp?,
b. Zen V5 (twould appear that this is a solution, but we are no longer single ended if we go down that path), or
c. perhaps extra parallel devices in the output of the power supply to get its output impedance down.

4. I have been poking around a bit on this site looking for a feeling about comparative sound quality of the three amps mentioned above and the Aleph-X and haven't found all that much so far.

My initial impression is that knocking up a V4 with the parts from Pass DIY would be easiest to do, and probably cheapest.

With thanks and regards,
George Boles

Anorgan 26th August 2004 10:47 PM

Re: More Questions:

Don't know which treads are the best, but check these out:
Penultimate Zen Hybrid (do a search on this forum)
Till's homepage:

2. You would. I made the BOZ, BZLS is better, and you can make zen hybrid with the balanced input - nice option

3. That's where the preamp comes in, and lot's of uF :)

4. Some say Aleph 2 sounds the best, according to some, Aleph 5 is next, and Aleph X is crossed version of A5.

5. Go for it!

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