• WARNING: Tube/Valve amplifiers use potentially LETHAL HIGH VOLTAGES.
    Building, troubleshooting and testing of these amplifiers should only be
    performed by someone who is thoroughly familiar with
    the safety precautions around high voltages.

Building a tube amp from scratch

Hey Guys,

Im pretty new to the forum. so far have spent most of my time looking at the full range speaker section. I joined the community because I'd like to build a complete audiophile type system for our formal living room. Im interested in building a tube amp for a set of full range single driver speakers. Source would be a turntable.

First I have to ask, is building a tube amp with no education in electronics doable?

Is there a recommended design for this application?

Where would you recommend researching, and purchasing what I need for this project.

Where would you have a newbie start....

Thanks Justin.
First I have to ask, is building a tube amp with no education in electronics doable?

Building anything, by rote, without some understanding is asking for trouble.

Get some education free off the WWW. Run a Google search for NEETS. NEETS is U.S. Navy training material. After NEETS, a number of good books are available.

Im interested in building a tube amp for a set of full range single driver speakers. Source would be a turntable.

Many single driver speakers are at least reasonably sensitive. What sort of sensitivity is claimed for the speakers you will be using? That number will control how much power you need.

A turntable means a phono preamp is needed. That's definitely not the sort of thing a "rookie" should try to DIY. While opamp based, Jim Hagerman's Bugle2 is reasonably priced and good sounding. That piece will get you started and you can consider DIY, after you get experience under your belt.
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2008-12-08 10:24 pm
No education or no background at all?

I don't consider the three-days-a-week technology class i took in 1986 to be much of an electronics education but i have built many working electronic devices.

Can you solder? Do you understand the basic concepts of electricity and electronics?
i've just repaired a tube amp , the first one in my life.
Now they are not that complicated as compared to semiconductor devices and the parts themselves are rather big and easy to handle but they involve high voltages , and good soldering skills and also good soldering equipment is needed because any loose connection with HV on it could create sparking etc , also you need to know basics in electronics and physics , also if you are not ordering a kit you have to make your own pcb.

the pcb needs to be of good material because tubes produce way more heat than transistors.
overall not that hard but you have to first get used to the area , maybe get an older simple and cheap tube amp and just get yourself familiar with how it works and then read some more on the net and pick a good design and schematic and start from there ?

just my suggestions.
Im mechanically inclined. Im a furniture builder/wood worker for a living. I've done alot of Mechanical type things, but I've never played with electricity very much. I get a little apprehensive about reading the schematics they look like foreign language. I do understand what makes a good solder connection, and feel that I could practice that before going into my project. Right now I need to figure out how to demystify the schematics. I'll see about getting an older one to explore. and I'll check into the links.

By the way Im looking at the Pluvia 7 driver for now this system. I thought I would need to push somewhere in the 25 to 35 watts area.
well I too started years ago by building something hard even though i should have begun by something simple , it's just that men always tend to go for the bigger and more complicated rather than starting out slowly.

I mean go ahead it's fine just remember tubes are high voltage things and in most cases an error or a failed device in an amp has to be checked while the power is on so you will have to deal with those voltages safely.
I had no experience in building anything electronic. I am in the finishing stages of my first build, Pete Millett's DCPP amp. I agree it is better to start off with something simple. There are some fairly simple kits such as the Oddwatt Alpha or the Budgie SE or Tubelab's SSE. All have great instructions and would have been better first builds for me. If you know someone with an electronics background who can mentor you along the way, that is what I would recommend. I have two friends, one with an E.E. degree and 35 years experience in highpower AM transmitters, the other has an electronic background though he is not an E.E. There is no way I could have done this without them.