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raver 13th January 2013 07:54 AM

First DIY project, which SE tube amp should I build?
After about ten years in collecting vintage tube amps, and having learned to solder decently and to replace components, I would like to start my first DIY project but for my limited electronics knowledge and practical experience I want to start with something simple, but yet good sounding.
My choice would be a stereo single ended amp.
My first idea was to clone my magnavox 196 (SE EL84) that sounds very good (better than the other maggie SE amp that I own, the 8303) and doesn't seem too complicated, but before deciding I am open to other options, suggestions and advices from you the experts.
The conditions should be:

-reasonably easy building for a newbie
-sounding at least as good as my maggie 196
-not featuring too expensive/exotics tube or parts
-I don't need a kit or a printed circuit board, point-to-point soldering is ok

If possible I would like to be able to use vintage OPTs for it, these are often available on ebay (for example from old 50's radios on and less expensive that their modern counterparts.
Thanks in advance

cotdt 13th January 2013 08:19 AM

I would suggest the Tubelab SE which has PCB available. Check out George's website. It is easy to stuff the back of the boards and mount it. You can use the 45, 2A3, or 300B as output tubes. I recommend it because it is easy to build and sounds great.

Vinylsavor 13th January 2013 08:23 AM


You might want to have a look at the single ended amplifier concept posts on my blog. These might help to give some ideas:

VinylSavor: Single Ended Amplifier Concept, Part 1

VinylSavor: Single Ended Amplifier Concept, Part 2

VinylSavor: Single Ended Amplifier Concept, Part 3

VinylSavor: Single Ended Amplifier Concept, Part 4

VinylSavor: Single Ended Amplifier Concept, Part 5

VinylSavor: Single Ended Amplifier Concept, Part 6

VinylSavor: Single Ended Amplifier Concept, Part 7

Best regards


Eli Duttman 13th January 2013 12:06 PM

The DHTs are expensive. Triode wired members of the 6V6 family sound good and have a much more favorable expense impact.

SE O/P "iron" always carries a hefty price. It simply costs more to make than the stuff used in PP circuitry.

akimmet 13th January 2013 07:54 PM

Rather than the Tubelab SE, I would recommend the SSE.

The SSE uses much more easily avalible 12AT7/ECC81 for the driver tube. The output tubes are also much more easily available.

The 5842/417A used in the Tubelab SE has been since "discovered" by the audiophile folks and is now expensive. The Tubelab SE is designed for DHT tubes like 45, 2a3, and 300b. All of which are expensive.

If all you want is a simple no semi-conductor design, I recommend a variation of the Mikael Abdellah circuit.
It can be adapted to any common 6l6, 6550 ,or el34 variant. The downside is these tubes require a large OPT, any large vintage or new OPT will be expensive.

As for cheap new OPT's read this page: Budget OPT's

overtheairbroadcast 14th January 2013 08:39 PM

Take a look at the suggestions from this page. Another new DIY'er looking for suggestions...

I have my thoughts in on that post too.

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