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Old 7th January 2005, 10:22 PM   #1
sweet is offline sweet  United States
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Hi
I am below a novice when it comes time for building or designing a tube amp. However I am a perfectionalist when it comes to listening to music. I made the fatal error of listening to a tube amp and now I must own one. I was researching on the web and made my second fatal error of stumbling on this site. Now I must build one.
I have been reading posts, following links, reviewing safety for quite some time now and still a bit intimidated.
I am very handy with a soldering iron and tools. I have no electronic experience other than trial and error. I am very safety concience ( was Expolsive Disposal in Military )
So I need help and don't know how far everyone is willing to carry a new comer like me.
I MUST build an amp I no longer desire to buy one already done.
I have about $1000.00 ( hidden from wife) to spend.
I would like to have at least 25 watts per channel
I need to know how sweet of a sounding amp can I build for that amount. What would be my shopping list. and last but not least a design.
If I am off base for asking for so much when I have so little experience just tell me. But I need for my first to be a beauty.
Thanks Steve
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Old 7th January 2005, 11:29 PM   #2
Sherman is offline Sherman  United States
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Location: Chicago area
Welcome to the addiction!

For $1000 you should be able to make a very nice amp. But there are an incredible number of designs and it is easy to get lost in the specs and details. So first you need to clearly lay out your requirements.

* Do you want to build from scratch or from a kit?
* Do you want a separate preamp and power amp?
* If so do you want a stereo power amp or monoblocs?
* Do you want a single ended amp (25W is a little high for SE but can be done) or do you want push-pull?
* Are you sure about the 25WPC? With reasonable speakers three or four watts sound great.
... and a bunch more specifics to be ironed out!

I'm no expert but I do know how easy it is to get sidetracked by the details and conflicting arguments regarding one design or another or one tube or another. Try to get all your requirements laid out before deciding on specific hardware or schematics and I think the process becomes easier.

I have received great help here and I have no doubt you will as well!
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Old 8th January 2005, 02:17 AM   #3
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Since you haven't built anything like this before, I think a kit like the Ella would be ideal... about $600 for a 30W stereo amp kit, complete, wth assembly instructions.


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Old 8th January 2005, 06:57 AM   #4
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Default Re: Shopping list

Quote:
Originally posted by sweet
I am below a novice when it comes time for building or designing a tube amp. However I am a perfectionalist when it comes to listening to music. I made the fatal error of listening to a tube amp and now I must own one. I was researching on the web and made my second fatal error of stumbling on this site. Now I must build one.
Welcome. Though this is sometimes a bit more of a disease than a hobby Fatal errors indeed.

Quote:
Originally posted by sweet
I have been reading posts, following links, reviewing safety for quite some time now and still a bit intimidated.
I am very handy with a soldering iron and tools. I have no electronic experience other than trial and error. I am very safety concience ( was Expolsive Disposal in Military )
So I need help and don't know how far everyone is willing to carry a new comer like me.
You'll find lots of helpful people round here. I went into a bit of detail about basics in this thread a little while ago. The most useful things there are probably the links...

Quote:
Originally posted by sweet
I MUST build an amp I no longer desire to buy one already done.
Great. It's a lot more rewarding to build and/or design something on your own then go find it in a cardboard box.

Quote:
Originally posted by sweet
I have about $1000.00 ( hidden from wife) to spend.
Tsk tsk....

Quote:
Originally posted by sweet
I would like to have at least 25 watts per channel
That's actually a moderately large amp, though of course it can be done. PP is probably the way to go, unless you're into transmitter types for SE (like 813 or GM70) which might be pushing the 1kV barrier for power supply voltage

EL34s in PP will probably give what you're after. Though, cheaper (and cooler looking ) alternatives are out ther like PP 829B or 832A. They are like little Martians or hamburgers depending on how you look at them The 807/6L6 family (and relatives) might also be something to look into.

We need to know if you're looking into a kit, or something to build completely from scratch.

Quote:
Originally posted by sweet
I need to know how sweet of a sounding amp can I build for that amount. What would be my shopping list. and last but not least a design.
You could probably build quite a decent amp for that money. Parts are often cheaper in the US than in other parts of the world, too.

Quote:
Originally posted by sweet
If I am off base for asking for so much when I have so little experience just tell me. But I need for my first to be a beauty.
Of course you're not off base. The more valve amps out there the better
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Old 8th January 2005, 01:40 PM   #5
sweet is offline sweet  United States
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Perhaps I do not need a 25 watt amp. The speakers I am alowed to have in Living room are Beovox RL140 with a sensitivity rating of 93 at 1 watt I want to make the sweetest sounding amp. It does not have to be 25 watts. That just my SS amp days showing through.
thanks Steve
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Old 8th January 2005, 03:10 PM   #6
Sherman is offline Sherman  United States
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Quote:
Originally posted by sweet
...The speakers I am alowed to have in Living room are Beovox RL140 with a sensitivity rating of 93 at 1 watt I want to make the sweetest sounding amp...
With 93db 1W/1M speakers I think four or five watts should be sufficient. That opens up many more possibilities (to confuse matters even more).

I really think a single ended design would meet your needs with the added advantage of (usually) being very simple to build. The main drawbacks of SE amps are the lower power ratings (not too much a concern with your speakers) and the higher cost of the iron. The advantages are simplicity, less stuff in the signal path and (according to some) more "tube-like" sound.

Of course once your amp is complete you'll be wanting one for the bedroom, one for the workshop or basement etc... Then of course you'll probably also be building speakers to match them and... oh never mind, you're in too deep to get out already!
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Old 8th January 2005, 03:23 PM   #7
sweet is offline sweet  United States
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Thanks for the answer to one of my questions as to what type of design I'm looking for...SE. Now what I need is a good shopping list so I can start gathering everything I need.

Thanks Steve
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Old 9th January 2005, 04:09 AM   #8
BbbyBld is offline BbbyBld  United States
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Do you have a set of speakers yet? Why not try building a tube headphone amp first? I think you would get lots of good layout practice, you don't have to work with really high voltages, and you can experiment with different types of pre-amp components and really hear the difference they make in the sound.

I think I would go a little higher than 3 or 4 watts. I like having a little headroom.
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Old 9th January 2005, 05:31 AM   #9
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As a sweeping generalisation, SE tends to sound 'sweeter' so it is probably what you're looking for. But for SE, power is generally <10W. There are of course many exceptions....

Something I've been meaning to try with a few valves I have lying around is an SE amp with 829Bs. Pete Millett has done that, and has shown a spectral analysis of the output:

Click the image to open in full size. More info here.

There is quite a bit of second harmonic there, so it should sound sweet. That sort of harmonic profile (quite a lot of H2 with decreasing amounts of higher orders) is common to most SE designs.

Of course there are other options, like maybe parallel 2A3s or trioded EL34, but I think the 829s look cooler, if you don't mind the anode pins. In any case, for SE I would suggest using either triodes, or triode-strapped pentodes. SE pentodes without some sort of feedback tend to have objectionable distortion and other nasty things. Here's a picture:

Click the image to open in full size.

And after all, if you build the amp yourself and something is 'not quite right' you can chop and change as often as your pocket allows
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