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Old 16th October 2002, 07:26 AM   #1
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Default Help a newbie choose a DIY amp and cd source for cheap

Hi Guys,
I am a very serious audiophile, i have a successfull award winning sound quality competition car already.
I want to do a cheap DIY home stereo.
I have already picked out the speakers that i will build. They will have 150W RMS power handling, 92dB@2.83Vrms sensitivity and a frequency response of 39Hz-20Khz and are fairly flat with 3dB over that range. The speakers have 2 8" drivers and 1 tweet each, they are vented.

Anyway, my question is not about the speakers.

I need to amp them somehow. All i need is an amp with volume control.

To give you an idea of my price range and what i would probably buy if i cant work out the DIY stuff:
http://www.cambridgeaudio.com/index2_f.htm
I would get the A300 Integrated Amp and the D300 CD transport.
Together I could get them both for around $700 shipped or tax included.

So, i need an amp of similar power, it does not have to be integrated, just has to have a volume control. I will also need a very good cd transport with around 2V preouts (if the amp is not integrated).

I am toying with the idea of a lesser power tube amp too.

I simply dont know where to start. I am in no big rush. I am very willing to get books if you suggest. Kits would be nice, but not totally necessary.

I am an electrical and computer engineer in training. I have some circuits experience and learn fast. I can definitly solder and read schematics.

So, to sum up,
With no more than $700, what amp and cd source would you choose?
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Old 16th October 2002, 07:54 AM   #2
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Cambridge is a nice choice...

Buy this month's What Hifi, it has some tested combinations in each edition. I bought mine in the netherlands, it's a british magazine.
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Old 16th October 2002, 09:06 AM   #3
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I can't help you with the CD source, but I would definitely consider the smaller Aleph amplifiers www.passlabs.com/aleph.htm.

This could be put together with one of the Zen pre-amp stages www.passdiy.com/legacy.htm along with a suitable PSU.

These are relatively simple circuits with an excellent reputation for sound quality. Use a search engine with the Aleph amps and you will see what I mean. Try these for starters:www.stereophile.com/showarchives.cgi?674 & www.stereophile.com/shownews.cgi?318

If you need any further encouragement look here.
www.passdiy.com/gallery.htm

Regards

Paul
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Old 16th October 2002, 03:11 PM   #4
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i am a little confused about what you are suggesting.

are you saying i should buy the aleph amps and build the preamp? where can i find the specs of each amp and where can i buy them? which preamp and psu are you referring to? is this in my price range? say $400-500 for ALL PARTS including PSU and chasis, for the preamp and 2 amp channels.

btw, i do have access to a very nice shop with cnc routers, lathes, laser cutters, rapid prototypers, and the usual manual milling machines, lathes, drill presses, table saw...
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Old 16th October 2002, 04:55 PM   #5
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I believe that Paul was suggesting that you build an Aleph/zen pre integrated. I think that you would blow your entire budget on only the heatsinks, transformers, and power supply caps doing it this way, unless you are an outstanding shopper with exceptionally good luck. I would think a class A is out of the question.
I wish I could recommend something, but your budget is fairly low. What about finding something used and modifying it? Dynaco ST70?
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Old 16th October 2002, 04:59 PM   #6
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How about just a pair of Zen V4? With the input buffer, you could probably drive them directly from a CD player, and forget the preamp. Maybe the budget will stretch this far?
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Old 16th October 2002, 06:56 PM   #7
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i am fine with class AB, i dont know how much more complex the circuits are, i dont need that much power, just 15-50W.

how much would the zen v4 cost to build for 2 channels?

what about "the bride of zen" as a preamp?

if i dont get a source with balanced outputs, is there any need for a balanced preamp?
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Old 16th October 2002, 07:39 PM   #8
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If you are wery serious audiophile I would suggest you to build one of the Aleph amps (these are simple circuits compared to class AB amps..), but that surely wont cost you only $400, more like $4000 to be done good..
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Old 16th October 2002, 07:59 PM   #9
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well, unfortunatley i will not spend that much money.

sure it will sound nice. but, there has to be something in that price range, right?
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Old 16th October 2002, 08:57 PM   #10
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Have a look at this amp.

It is on my short list. It will take me some time to work myself up to building an Aleph.


Happy trails.
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