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Old 10th March 2015, 03:53 AM   #1
ElCid79 is offline ElCid79  United States
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Default Just about settled on building my first amp.

I am just about to attempt to build my first amp. I ultimately have settled, I think, on the tubes4hifi vta 120 kit.

I liked the idea that everything was ready to go out of the box.

Now, one question. What sort of multimeter should I buy?

I have been looking at various multimeters and am somewhat stuck.

The comparative reviews that I have found are over 5 years old. So that is kinda tough. I have roughly a $100 budget. I want one adequate for this sort of work, plus basic working around the house. Obviously safety is my top priority.

Currently I am considering the UEI DM393.

The ex505 is another option but did not review favorable 5 years ago.

Fluke 117 seems potentially too limited? and the 177 is too expensive.


Thanks in advance!
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Old 10th March 2015, 02:21 PM   #2
wicked1 is offline wicked1  United States
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Ive got a uni-t ut61e.
I like it.. True RMS. Inexpensive.

You'll probably need several multimeters, though.
I use 4 or 5 simultaneously when powering up an amp for the first time.
They don't all need to be good. I've got a few really cheap ones and all I use them for is displaying voltages.
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Old 11th March 2015, 02:02 PM   #3
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Nice looking kit - looks like a dynaco 70. The kit Price looks about to be twice as much as an old Dynaco 70 on fleabay though... Why not just search around for a rough old Dynaco 70 and refurbish it? That might be just as satisfying as building a kit.

DMM's are pretty inexpensive these days and choice abounds. $100 will possibly get you more than one. You could probably get a few decent used ones if you are not picky about what they look like. Check the cables and connection points on used ones thoroughly before buying.
Think about what you might want to measure - I like ones that can also measure capacitance. Its also very handy to have a heat probe.

Don't forget that you will need other equipment as well:

Variac: If you are just starting out then consider finding a nice used variac. You will feel much more at ease slowly bringing up the volts on your project than directly attaching it to mains.

Tube Tester: Especially if you use old tubes, you can check first to ensure that they are not the source of your amp not working.

Oscillioscope: even an old analogue one is OK here so long as it still works. This tool is very useful when trying to figure out why your creation is making strange noises or just doesn't sound like expected.

Lastly, I highly recommend getting one of those alligator-clip soldering tools. I finally got one last year and now can't imagine doing any work without it. It helps reduce the chance of burning your fingers.

Best regards

Last edited by soulmerchant; 11th March 2015 at 02:04 PM.
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Old 12th March 2015, 08:19 AM   #4
ElCid79 is offline ElCid79  United States
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Does the lower input voltage of the ut61e concern you? Or is it not really an issue for this type of work?
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Old 12th March 2015, 09:35 AM   #5
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Amazon reviews say to stay away from high current measurements when using the ut61e. also maybe invest in high quality fluke leads that have silicone coated wires.

You don't have auto shut-off (which saves your 9v battery) on the ut61 and it doesn't come with aligator clips either which are very useful.

I have two voltcraft vc860's that I picked up on fleabay germany for about 20 euro each. The vc860 has auto shut-off, came with (barely) decent leads with aligator clips and is well fused. What it doesn't have is a PC interface, but I have an osillioscope so don't need that.
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