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Old 26th December 2007, 04:27 PM   #1
DMoe is offline DMoe  United States
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Default Hi-Fi system build

Im looking to build a Hi-Fi Tube system for my theater and music listening room. I was wondering if anyone could direct me on what amps I could build for this application, also what would be needed to have a system like that....Is a preamp needed, or what? Any help is welcomed and appreciated!
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Old 26th December 2007, 05:55 PM   #2
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That's a complex question. You need to know the efficiency of your speakers and how loud you want to go determine power needed. Many modern speakers are so inefficient that building a tube amp may not be a good choice. Also, many speakers may sound much different with a tube amp, especially if their impedance varies dramatically. Some speakers just don't sound right with a tube amp.

It's good to research the subject out, and remember that tube amps use potentially lethal voltages.
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Old 26th December 2007, 06:11 PM   #3
DMoe is offline DMoe  United States
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well is there a good amp that I could start off building for a good warm sound...I will find, or build a pair of speakers that sound right...I just need a amp that can throw out some good sound.
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Old 26th December 2007, 07:40 PM   #4
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How big is the room?

How much do you expect to spend on this project?

How many channels do you need (stereo, 5.1)?
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Old 26th December 2007, 07:58 PM   #5
DMoe is offline DMoe  United States
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well Im expecting to lay out about 2-3k on it......I would like to use less....Room is about 12x14
I would like stereo, 5.1 or something would be cool, but I didn't know that was possible with tube amps
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Old 26th December 2007, 08:33 PM   #6
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Default Tube theatre

Multi-channel is very easy with tube amps as many designs are of a mono-block single channel configuration.
Unfortunatly your $2-3K limit could be easily surpassed with multiple channels.
Don't get me wrong it can be done but you do need to do some research on your prefered configuration with pricing amongst the top priorities.
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Old 26th December 2007, 10:34 PM   #7
SHiFTY is offline SHiFTY  New Zealand
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If I were you I would start out with a simple stereo amp kit powering the front channels. Use push-pull EL34s, 6550s or KT88s for 30-40 watts. Buy a proper home theatre preamp, that way you get a remote control plus all the bells and whistles. Used preamps can be picked up for a song and they don't really wear out.

A powered sub & a separate solid state amp can be added for surround and centre channels.

If you want to build it yourself, there are a number of good kits available, and some of the new manufacture tubes available are really good. The kits come with all the transformers, tubes, a nice chassis and are good for the beginner/intermediate.

Unless you are an electronics tech and metalworker I wouldn't build from scratch- too much work!

As always, read the safety thread.
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Old 26th December 2007, 10:47 PM   #8
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I have 3-way stereo, it sounds gorgeous!
All 3 stereo amps are hybrid. Subwoofer amp (40 Hz and below) works in A+C, woofer amp (40-200 Hz) works in A+C, mid and high amp works in class A.
For subwoofer I have a horn under floor made of concrete with 2 Pioneer 12" drivers; for woofers I have couple of concrete bricks with 1 in each Alpine 12" with treated by composite material cones, for mid and highs I have arrays of 8 Infinity Reference 4.5 coaxials plus 8 cellphone speakers to correct vertical directivity pattern. Crossovers are made of LC contours inside of Altec Lansing 1/3 octave crossovers.
Damping panels are placed on walls.

I have also 6.5" coaxials for center and rear speakers, but I don't use them: when a room is properly treated 5+1 is odd...

More details (Russian): http://www.wavebourn.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=7&t=934
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Old 27th December 2007, 03:05 AM   #9
DMoe is offline DMoe  United States
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Well as far as electronics, I use to repair Weigh scales that were HV, and UHF radio. So I have some degree of knowledge when it comes to electronics. Metal working....I'm No accomplished welder, but I can weld pretty good...
I've been searching the web pretty consistantly for kits, and most of them that I've found only put out about 8W's per channel. Now I know tubes are very powerful, and have some juice to produce good sound, but I need some kits that I can build that will be able to throw out some decent sound... I will take your advice shifty, and start out with something simple....I can build my own PCB also...but I just need direction... I dont want to spend 3 weeks trying to build off a schematic.
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Old 27th December 2007, 04:43 AM   #10
Nanook is offline Nanook  Canada
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Default ok so you've gotta 12' X 14' room...

pretty small, so lots of power shouldn't be a requirement.

I'd recommend small fullrangers, and the best quality tube amp possible. That should leave you enough for quite a good 5.1 or 6.1 preamp/processor ($700-$1000). I did a quick search and found one that is very good for as little as $325. For the centre channel, and the two (or three) rears, I'd go for something from 41Hz.com, build a three or four channel kit at what ever power you need. A four channel with power supply could be put together for under $200 or so. And T-amps sound very "tubey", and should integrate well with a 2 channel tube , "main" amplifier. A sub pair can be put together inexpensively from parts from Apex Jr. . Perhaps allow $280 for a pair of good subs and plate amps...and 5 channels (say) of full-range drivers for $350 from any number of sources

That could leave you with $850 for a nice DIY tube main amp.

Some bargains can be had refurbishing an old tube integrated amp, or building a kit or purchasing some of the Chinese tube amps (some of which are excellent from first hand experience, but be warned, I am becoming a dealer for some of these so my view may be skewed a bit.).

I don't think there is a better way to do a home theatre setup using a high quality processor, good full-range drivers, 2 subs, 3 channels + of T-amp amplification and 2 channels of tube amplification. Personally I think it would completely rock. And play music too.

Personally in such a small room, I'd just go for a good pair of near full bandwidth (multi-way or single driver type) speakers, no surround, no processor, multiple speakers and amps. Just good 2 channel with fairly deep response, and a great DIY integrated amp (or amp pre-amp pair)


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