Book - Best for a starter

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There are a large number of basic electronics books from which to select and I have limited funds. Instead of buying one and then another I'm asking for a general consensus from the members. What is the "best" book to start with? Facts:

1) I have never built an electronics project.
2) Besides H.S. I have no training in electronics.
3) I am planning on building an inexpensive tube amp.
4) The web is a great resouce, but I need bathroom reading material

Thanks in advance.


I would say that you are doing quite well with audioXpress. It covers quite a lot of ground and usually has good pictures to help support a project.

It has been many years since I looked for beginner material but it may be worth while to visit Radio Shack and also to look on the audioXpress web site to see what books they have to offer.

It is likely that others can give you better pointers but I figured it would not hurt if I put in my two cents worth also.

John Fassotte
Alaskan Audio
I agree with Walker in looking towards your library.

It would be nice if your library had achives not only of books but also of electronic magazines that data back from the mid 1950's to the mid 1960's. These are the most usefull ones that cover construction of tube type equipment in good detail. There were many fine construction articles posted in these. Past the mid 1960's transistors started to dominate.

John Fassotte
Alaskan Audio

[Edited by alaskanaudio on 12-02-2001 at 10:00 AM]
You might want to consider building something in kit form at first and then,when you start to figure out what's going on inside,look at some different ideas,find out what your needs are,and then look at building from scratch. Rozenblit's "Tube Audio Design" is a good addition to a library.It's a good one for those of us that have some knowledge of electricity to start with.
Used book stores and thrift shops. Nobody wants those stupid ol' tube books, anyway, right? <i>Ahem</i> I mean, that was grampa stuff, an' nobody uses that any more...
(True story: I called a local parts house one day looking for a 12AX7. The young girl who answered the phone didn't know what a 12AX7 was. Okay, I can live with that. I said,'It's a tube.' Her reply,'What's a tube?' She literally had never heard of tubes.)
You'll need a good book that covers the basic electronic stuff. This one you'll need to own, no matter what the cost. The library isn't open at 2AM on a Saturday night when you can't remember the formula for Joules of storage in a capacitor bank right off the top of your head. Get a comprehensive one. Then read stuff from the library and from books picked up cheap at garage sales. A lot of it will be redundant. About every third book will have something cool in it. Just keep at it until you start to get a feel for what's going on.


Valve Amplifiers (2nd Edition), by Morgon Jones is $55 at Amazon. Have to think about that. On the other hand, at 455 pages it's only 12 cents a page. I knew I could justify it.

Let's add it up:

Parts $$$
Tools $$
Books $
Hospital stay for accidental electrocution $$$$

Total cost of home brewed amp = $$$$$$

Any particular reason you want to build a tube amp? There is lots more material on transistors and ICs.
I agree with the others about the public library, there are lots of good basic books.
AudioXpress had an article a while back on classic tube books, if you're interested email me and I'll dig up a few titles. One that comes to mind is "The Boy's Nth Book of Radio and Electronics", a series I enjoyed as a young lad. Got 'em from the (you guessed it) library.
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