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Old 4th August 2010, 07:26 PM   #1
BigguyZ is offline BigguyZ  United States
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Default Total Noob- need some advice/ direction

OK, so I have some basic skillz, and an interest in audio and electronics. I'm building my speakers, and I'd like to build an amp as well. So, here are my initial questions...

-Solid State, Pass Labs, Chip Amp... What's the difference in these designations, and what's best? Or what's easiest to build for a begginer? Which options have easily available parts, plans, or kits? I'm assuming I'll get something superior regardless of what route I go, but I would like to get this information too...

-Kits. I think a kit would be the best way to get into this hobby. What sites/ designs are the best bang-for-your-buck, and appropiate for someone who's a beginner?

P.S. I did look in the Wiki, but no articles came up. So hopefully I don't get slapped on the hand too hard for the post.

Thanks!
Travis

Last edited by BigguyZ; 4th August 2010 at 07:37 PM.
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Old 4th August 2010, 08:16 PM   #2
sreten is offline sreten  United Kingdom
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Location: Brighton UK
Quote:
Originally Posted by BigguyZ View Post
OK, so I have some basic skillz, and an interest in audio and electronics. I'm building my speakers, and I'd like to build an amp as well. So, here are my initial questions...

-Solid State, Pass Labs, Chip Amp... What's the difference in these designations, and what's best? Or what's easiest to build for a begginer? Which options have easily available parts, plans, or kits? I'm assuming I'll get something superior regardless of what route I go, but I would like to get this information too...

-Kits. I think a kit would be the best way to get into this hobby. What sites/ designs are the best bang-for-your-buck, and appropiate for someone who's a beginner?

P.S. I did look in the Wiki, but no articles came up. So hopefully I don't get slapped on the hand too hard for the post.

Thanks!
Travis
Hi,

No, you will not get something superior. There are very good amplifiers
you could not build for the parts cost, never mind the time, buying used
it gets even more one sided.

Years ago my sisters boyfriend wanted to buy an awful lookng amplifier kit.
I took him to a shop, ponted at an amplifier (on sale) and said buy it, he
never regretted the decision. (About twice as good for 35% less IMO.)

Building anything as a learning process will cost you money. Id say buy
a decent used amplifier and then research it, and other similar amplifiers.

The cheapest way to make gainclones is actually buying commercial
cheap amplifiers and stripping them for all the necesssary parts, and
then rebuilding them with optimum layout etc.

By all means study the ins and outs of amplifiers and the details of both
commercial and amateur designs, then make your own mind up. Personally
if building an amplifier I'd be first looking for something for the donor parts.

/Sreten.
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Old 4th August 2010, 08:21 PM   #3
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There are loads of kits on the internet and ebay.

You can even buy ready built amplifier modules.
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Old 4th August 2010, 08:47 PM   #4
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Anything related to Pass Labs you'll find in the forum next door and at Pass Labs: Technical articles. The more you read the more you'll know what you want (maybe).
DIY AUDIO PROJECTS - Do-It-Yourself Hi-Fi for Audiophiles is always a good read, they also have a gainclone section. Also here: Gainclone chip amp index page

Well, as for kits, there are many available, f.e. also here at Vendor Forums - diyAudio

For basics I always liked Elliott Sound Products - DIY Audio Articles.

Enjoy your research and come back and to ask more questions.
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Old 4th August 2010, 09:10 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BigguyZ View Post
OK, so I have some basic skillz, and an interest in audio and electronics. I'm building my speakers, and I'd like to build an amp as well. So, here are my initial questions...

-Solid State, Pass Labs, Chip Amp... What's the difference in these designations, and what's best? Or what's easiest to build for a begginer? Which options have easily available parts, plans, or kits? I'm assuming I'll get something superior regardless of what route I go, but I would like to get this information too...

-Kits. I think a kit would be the best way to get into this hobby. What sites/ designs are the best bang-for-your-buck, and appropiate for someone who's a beginner?

P.S. I did look in the Wiki, but no articles came up. So hopefully I don't get slapped on the hand too hard for the post.

Thanks!
Travis
Ok, I have had good results from these two sources. The first is with Peter Daniel Audiosector.com the LM3875 kits are as easy as it can go and they sound really good, I would sugest to use a lot capacitance at least 10,000uf per rail. The kits come with just 10uf caps. and the other (My favorite) is from Aussie Amplifiers I got the NXV200 kits, they are small modules but Carrie big punch.
the sound is wonderful and believe it or not this NXV200 kits if they are married with an adequate power supply, it will compete with amps costing thousands.
The kits are top notch quality. Check pictures.
These two providers are excellent but you have to do your homework before you decide the one you need.
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Old 5th August 2010, 02:19 PM   #6
BigguyZ is offline BigguyZ  United States
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sreten View Post
Hi,

No, you will not get something superior. There are very good amplifiers
you could not build for the parts cost, never mind the time, buying used
it gets even more one sided.

Years ago my sisters boyfriend wanted to buy an awful lookng amplifier kit.
I took him to a shop, ponted at an amplifier (on sale) and said buy it, he
never regretted the decision. (About twice as good for 35% less IMO.)

Building anything as a learning process will cost you money. Id say buy
a decent used amplifier and then research it, and other similar amplifiers.

The cheapest way to make gainclones is actually buying commercial
cheap amplifiers and stripping them for all the necesssary parts, and
then rebuilding them with optimum layout etc.

By all means study the ins and outs of amplifiers and the details of both
commercial and amateur designs, then make your own mind up. Personally
if building an amplifier I'd be first looking for something for the donor parts.

/Sreten.
So, you're saying if I spend $3-400 on parts for an amplifier, including kit, transformer, and chasis... I won't have something that sounds better than an already-built amplifier costing $3-400? I know for speakers, building yourself can get you much more performance for the $$. But if that's not the case for electronics, I'm sure the professionally-built stuff has a better fit and finish anyways.

Otherwise, I was eyeing the kits at Chipamp.com. Are they any good?
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Old 5th August 2010, 02:44 PM   #7
AndrewT is offline AndrewT  Scotland
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Hi,
you will need to invest in a lot of resources to build an amplifier.
Sreten is saying that the cost of these resources is not zero, and not cheap.

Try buying a third hand amplifier to use the chassis and knobs, and other hardware for a few $$.

Strip it out keeping anything that is undamaged for a future use.

Put your chipamp kit inside that box, reusing the heatsink, the transformer (if suitable), the smoothing capacitors, the rectifier, the switches, the terminals, everything that costs money to buy in small quantities.
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Old 5th August 2010, 05:40 PM   #8
sreten is offline sreten  United Kingdom
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Amazon.com: Behringer A500 Reference Studio Power Amplifier: Electronics

Hi,

Try pricing up all (and I mean all) of the parts for a fascimile of the above .... ouch .....
You'll be over $200 by my reckoning with just a big transformer, a nice case and 2 x big heatsinks.

2 x 300 Watts into 4 Ohms, 600 Watts into 8 Ohms in bridged mono operation

Advanced convection-cooling for absolutely noise-free and stable operation (no fan)

Precise level meter and clip indicators for accurate performance monitoring

Input connections on balanced XLR, 1/4'' TRS and RCA connectors

Speaker outputs on professional ''touch-proof'' binding posts and 1/4'' TS connectors

Ultra-reliable Toshiba / Fairchild power transistors

Independent thermal overload protection with LED indicator for each channel automatically protects amplifier and speakers

High-current toroidal transformer for absolute reliability and lowest noise interference

/Sreten

Click the image to open in full size.

Last edited by sreten; 5th August 2010 at 06:08 PM.
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Old 5th August 2010, 05:46 PM   #9
BigguyZ is offline BigguyZ  United States
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[QUOTE=sreten;2263769]Amazon.com: Behringer A500 Reference Studio Power Amplifier: Electronics

Hi,

Try pricing up all the parts for a fascimile of the above .... ouch .....

/Sreten

[QUOTE]

But is that a good amp? It seems to me, you can buy an amp kit for $70, get a torroid for $63 from PE, and then buy some raw aluminum for about $80. Add some machine screws, the necessary plugs/ posts, and you end up at about $300. Yes, more expensive, but not much more. And is the quality better than the Behringer?
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Old 5th August 2010, 05:55 PM   #10
sreten is offline sreten  United Kingdom
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Click the image to open in full size.

Amazon.com: AudioSource AMP-100 2-Channel Bridgeable Stereo Power…

Hi, the above is worth buying simply for all the bits, /Sreten.

(It also very likely contains popular gain clone chips).

Last edited by sreten; 5th August 2010 at 06:10 PM.
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