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Old 17th October 2012, 04:51 AM   #1
bugeyed is offline bugeyed  United States
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Default Looking for first tube amp kit.

I would like to build a nice tube amp to drive my Sonus Faber Cremona speakers. They are rated at 90dB efficiency & are in a small room. I listen at moderate levels to most everything except rap & hip hop.
I am an electronics engineering tech & proficient with a soldering iron & have some test equipment, so I am not afraid to tackle a complex project if the results are worth the effort.
Looking for something less than $1k & am looking for a kit to avoid having to source all the components. Not opposed to point to point wiring construction or one with a SS power supply. I will be using a SS preamp for now. Integrated tube amp is good too! With a nice phono preamp. Anyway, I just want to get started playing around with glass & have some fun without spending a ton. Any guidance will be appreciated.

Thanks,
kev
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Old 17th October 2012, 09:17 PM   #2
disco is offline disco  Netherlands
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Kev, walk away from it now you still can.
We're all broke solder slingerers with three mortgages to the home.
Our kids are frequenting the worn store or hunting for fur
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Old 17th October 2012, 09:46 PM   #3
tinitus is offline tinitus  Europe
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hi kev
if no tube amps, what other amps have you built
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Old 17th October 2012, 09:46 PM   #4
bugeyed is offline bugeyed  United States
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Quote:
Originally Posted by disco View Post
Kev, walk away from it now you still can.
We're all broke solder slingerers with three mortgages to the home.
Our kids are frequenting the worn store or hunting for fur
Well, it's too late to walk away! I have too much SS stuff as it is. Actually, tube equipment offers a cheaper alternative to high end SS gear IMO. At least there is a chance I will stumble on a deal on a vintage piece sold as-is at a good price, right. It could happen, right? At any rate I am somewhat committed. I do have a friend in the audio industry & he can get me all the cables I want for dirt cheap & has contacts at all the high end marqs. I just can't afford even a great deal on the golden stuff. Too bad. Anyway, thanks for trying to save me, but I'm going to ignore your advice for a bit longer.

Cheers,
kev
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Old 17th October 2012, 09:57 PM   #5
bugeyed is offline bugeyed  United States
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Originally Posted by tinitus View Post
hi kev
if no tube amps, what other amps have you built
Hi,
I built some Dynaco SS kits way back in the '70s & Superhet radio in school. There must have been a Heathkit somewhere in the mix, but don't remember. I pride myself on being very good at working with soldered components & mechanical assembly. I have done quite a bit of component level repairs on power supplies & such as well. I even tore down my Nikon D200 & replaced some components way down inside!
Click the image to open in full size.
That was scary though. Would much rather work on audio gear.

Cheers,
kev
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Old 17th October 2012, 10:01 PM   #6
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Hi Bugeyed. Have you considered a tubelab SSE? It's not a kit, but there's tons of support here on the forum if you need it. Lots of options to build it how you want. And they sound fantastic! Just my two cents worth! Best of luck with whatever you decide on ;-) regards, Pete.
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Old 17th October 2012, 10:17 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bugeyed View Post
I do have a friend in the audio industry & he can get me all the cables I want for dirt cheap & has contacts at all the high end marqs. I just can't afford even a great deal on the golden stuff.
Just make your own. The high priced cables are just that, and really don't offer anything other than fancy looking finishes and termination.

On the amp front, just look around for an old Dynaco ST70 to hotrod. With a new driver board and some PS upgrades, should drive your speakers fine in a small room.

jeff
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Old 17th October 2012, 11:04 PM   #8
bugeyed is offline bugeyed  United States
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Originally Posted by vinylkid58 View Post
Just make your own. The high priced cables are just that, and really don't offer anything other than fancy looking finishes and termination.

On the amp front, just look around for an old Dynaco ST70 to hotrod. With a new driver board and some PS upgrades, should drive your speakers fine in a small room.

jeff
I agree about the high priced cables, but you missed the point. They are available for pennies on the dollar if you work for the manufacturer. I may build a cross connected coax speaker cable & see how it compares to the overpriced ones.
I have been following quite a few ST70's on the bay to get a feel for the prices & most seem to be going for $400 & up. I will also look into the Tubelab SSE that was recommended above.

Thanks,
kev
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Old 17th October 2012, 11:19 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bugeyed View Post
I have been following quite a few ST70's on the bay to get a feel for the prices & most seem to be going for $400 & up.
New Bob Latino ST70 kits are about double that.

Quote:
Originally Posted by bugeyed View Post
I will also look into the Tubelab SSE that was recommended above.
Probably fine for moderate listening, but will quickly run out of gas when you want to play "bass heavy" music loud.

jeff
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Old 17th October 2012, 11:28 PM   #10
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I offer a complete kit. Everything included. The link is in my signature.

The complete kit price is now $825.00 instead of $849.00.

Scott

Last edited by scott17; 17th October 2012 at 11:33 PM. Reason: cost revision
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