S5 16LS kit as a first DIY tube build? - diyAudio
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Old 20th January 2011, 06:41 PM   #1
maurycy is offline maurycy  United States
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Default S5 16LS kit as a first DIY tube build?

After building my first gainclone amp based on LM3875 kit and two TA2020 amps (from pre-assembled boards), I would like to venture into a tube DIY. I know how to solder, identify parts, use DMM, etc but I do not know a lot more. I can somewhat read schematics but determining why capacitor has to be i.e. 470uF it is beyond my knowledge.

Keeping that in mind and knowing that my budget is $250 and no more, would the S5 16LS stereo tube kit be a good starter project? I have not yet determined what's the sensitivity of my EPI 100 speakers but I also have Thiels with 94dB sensitivity rating which I could use.

I have picked this kit because it is complete and all I have to do is pretty much solder parts and connect wires. I do not want to start with a kit that gets me just the PCB and I will have to source all the parts. Of course if you guys have any other recommendations for a good starter kit, please let me know.

Thanks.
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Old 20th January 2011, 06:56 PM   #2
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I assume you mean this one: link ?

Seems like a good option, but it uses 6005 tubes , I had to look them up. Afaik they are not very common, might be a bit difficult to get them later.
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Old 20th January 2011, 06:59 PM   #3
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This thread might be worth reading

www.diyaudio.com/forums/tubes-valves/115598-review-new-s-5-k-16ls-kit.html
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Old 20th January 2011, 10:49 PM   #4
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6005 is very close to 6AQ5 if not a direct equivalent.
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Old 21st January 2011, 01:48 PM   #5
maurycy is offline maurycy  United States
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Thanks for replies. Yes, the kit that I was inquiring about is the one linked by Miniwatt.

My budget is very limited so I will most likely buy this tube amp. I just wanted to know if it is a decent kit and not something I will want to throw out after it is build. There are some mixed reviews of this kit ranging from "I love it" to "I hate it".
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Old 21st January 2011, 03:01 PM   #6
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I found myself in a similar place, that is, getting started with DIY tube projects. I looked at all the kits available. I settled on building the "Simple SE" using the excellent PCB and support from Tubelab (a supporter of this Forum).

Building one of the Tubelab designs will give you more experience, as you will be sourcing your own components, rather than just assembling them. You will also learn about chassis layout; valuable knowledge for your subsequent projects.

Since my SSE was built, I also built the Tubelab "Simple Push-Pull". Both of these amps are wonderful performers. Properly constructed, they will embarrass many of the kits on the market with excellent sound quality and trouble-free durability.
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Old 21st January 2011, 03:07 PM   #7
maurycy is offline maurycy  United States
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neonthecat: Thanks for your input. If you do not mind me asking, what was the total cost of the Simple SE amp excluding case (just the PCB and parts including trafos and tubes)?
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Old 21st January 2011, 03:22 PM   #8
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This is the question everyone asks. If you hang around the dedicated Tubelab Forum on this site, you will find many examples of completed projects. The costs are all over the map. My particular SSE probably ended up in the $600 region. That is all new parts, a quality case, and good quality small parts. I already had the tubes.

The two items that make the most impact on overall cost, are the transformers for power supply and output, and the chassis. While you can always go cheap on the chassis, you should spend as much as you can on the iron. Edcor offers great value for the money. Check them out.

I think some builders with plentiful "junk boxes", built their SSE's for around $300. Visit the Tubelab Forum and website for more info.
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Old 21st January 2011, 04:55 PM   #9
mikje is offline mikje  United States
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If I'm correct, the 12G (8 watts/channel) series from S5 will give you more upgrade options down the road. It seems that there is more info on the web about it than the 16LS (16 watts/channel). Plus, the price is a little lower for the 12G.
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Old 21st January 2011, 09:39 PM   #10
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I built the K502 which is very similar to the K12G and is a great first time build with lots of support on the net. Most builders have been impressed by the sound of this budget amp. Not sure that the 16LS has the same general approval.

The K502 uses 11BM8 valves which is an 11 volt heater version of the 6BM8 (aka ECL82) which is a well liked tube and worthy of good iron.


I bought mine from Antique Electronics Supply

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