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Old 2nd December 2009, 07:30 PM   #1
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Default Bottlehead Foreplay III improvements, suggestions, alternatives?


I decided to go ahead and build a Bottlehead Foreplay III preamp.
I've got no experience whatsoever with electronics but from what i've read here and on the Bottlehead site, I think i'll manage

(Do speak out if you think this is not a good starter project and i'll probably end up with a nice nightlight or kill myself)

Does anyone have any suggestions for instant (easy) improvements that I can incorporate in the initial build? Different wires, power supply etc.

I want to start out with a kit because I don't want to source all the components myself (since I don't exactly know what I need) and need decent building instruction. I've looked at the Grounded Grid preamp and the Decware zen plate but (almost) decided to go with the Foreplay, mainly because the decware site states it is not really suited for beginners and I don't like the look of the Grounded Grid.

Any opinions on those kits and any reasons to go with either instead of the Foreplay? Any other suggestions are appreciated

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Old 2nd December 2009, 08:02 PM   #2
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Hi, I'd recommend you build it first and then listen to it for awhile. I don't think you need to start modifying the circuit or replacing anything just yet.

If your handy with a soldering iron , and a volt meter you should be ok. Just take your time and double check everything.

I looked at the bottle head amp, but ended up building a dynaco st35 clone from

You'll get plenty of support online. So, if you encounter any problems, don't hesitate to post a message to the forum.
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Old 3rd December 2009, 11:52 AM   #3
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Join Date: Jul 2003
Location: Ann Arbor, MI
Build the kit...then worry about mods. That will give you some understanding of what/how to do your own w/o the cost saving/profit enablers Bottlehead had to live under in critical stuff like the power supply. A good DIY linestage should have a PS like a small amp, good, Iron-based filtering for example...

You'll also discover how much gain ou really need, and that you can use other( better ) tubes like the 12B4 for instance if you need less, or 5687 if you find the original's gain useful.
the Tnuctipun will return
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Old 3rd December 2009, 01:40 PM   #4
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Join Date: Dec 2009
Location: Utrecht
Thanks for your input

I was thinking in the lines of 'why put in a 'bad' component when I can just as easily put in a better one', but maybe you're right and I should contain my enthusiasm and take the slow & steady upgrade route.

The gain thing is what worried me a bit, being pretty high, but I understand you can tame it by using different resistors? You say using different tubes can also lower/raise gain?
Is changing from stock to, for instance, a 12B4, plug 'n' play or does that mean altering the circuit?

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Old 3rd December 2009, 04:02 PM   #5
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Join Date: Jan 2007
Location: Central Iowa
Ahoy Ahoy
Going to a 12B4A would not be plug 'n' play, it would require modification. The 12B4A is a single low mu low Rp triode, so less parts and one less stage. I would defiantly build first then think about upgrades or other options. You can find plenty of help around here or on their forum, both for build help and for upgrade advice.

Have fun and happy building!

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