looking for a guide and general info to audio-fileism

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I am a nerdy teen interested in getting into the audiofile 'sub-culture', but im having trouble getting over the first hill of the learning curve... I know a decent amount about electronics, and theory behind good quality sound, but when i read some of the posts in this forum, i get confused pretty quickly...

I am just looking for some type of guide that goes through and defines terms or gives a general summery relating to building tube amps, diy wiring, speaker building, and everything inbetween.

Thanks for any help you have, im not asking anyone to explain things themselves, just though someone might have a guide somewhere deep down in the bookmarks... thanks,
Once upon a time, books such as you are describing were common. I've got a half-dozen dating mostly from the '50s and '60s that I've picked up in my travels. If there's such a book in existence today, it's probably titled Stereo For Dummies, but since I refuse to buy books like that, I can't say for certain what's out there. A single book that tried to 'do it all' doesn't usually do any of it very well.
So what to do?
Well, hang out here for one thing. A lot of information can be gleaned by patiently digging through the old threads. New stuff crops up all the time. If you already know (some) electronics, then I'm not sure what questions you'll want answered. You might consider spending time listening to various systems as an education into what's possible with the technology we have today. There are levels of audio all the way from mass market up to cost no object. I, myself, tend towards the high end gear, but that doesn't mean that someone else needs to do so. Listen...and when I say listen, I mean <i>listen</i>, don't just see how loud it will play. When you reach the point where you can't hear the difference your money makes, get off the ride.
Bear in mind that human hearing can be educated. Over time, you will learn to notice things that made no impression on you at first. At that point, you're ready to consider going to the next level.
Whether to build your own or buy is a complex question that you will have to answer for yourself.

Welcome to the wild and wacky world of audio.:D

As to your question, the only book I know would be Robert Harley's guide to High End audio. RH is now the editor of The Absolute Sound (TAS): <a href="http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/tg/stores/detail/-/books/0964084953/rate-this-item/ref%3Dcm%5Frate%5Fdp%5F1/104-3443692-9000753">Amazon link</a> I've not read it, so I can't offer a personal opinion sorry.

Grey made a good point about educating your ears. TAS also has a guide about twice a year iirc discussing how they describe sound. It's something you learn like wine appreciation, and the language can help describe what you're hearing to others. Maybe you'll be able to find an old issue. As I see you're in the States, subscriptions to Stereophile can be had very cheap. I see them go on eBay (amongst others) for a few dollars a year. Take everything you hear other people say about how something sounds with a large grain of salt as everyone will hear the same thing a very different way. Use them as guides only, and remember what sounds best and most enjoyable to you is the best. There are a couple of free ezines too like Enjoy the Music, TNT-Audio, Positive Feedback and Stereophile has a great online archive, with some excellent "think peices" and old reviews.

There's lot's of knowledgable people here who are able to help. Pretty nice too. One of the best pure audio boards on the web, and the best diy material by far!!. Enjoy.
Like Grey implied, your not likely to find this stuff out in school. I managed to get an EE degree without ever being exposed to how a real audio amplifier works. The closest I came was studying op-amps internals (at least I got to see a long-tailed pair input). it's sad to say, but I never even heard the term Miller capacitance until I started digging on my own into audio design.

Audio design is almost becoming a lost art. With very few exceptions this subject isn't being taught in schools anymore. I quess, when you can buy a power amp on a chip the assumption is why should anyone care about it (kind of like why worry about how to do a discrete front end design when you have op-amps).

Best bet is read whatever you can get your hands on (Dougles Self and Randy Sloan have decent books on amp design that are still in print). And hang around places like this. Don't be shy asking someone to explain what they just said. Most of us are just dying to get the chance to show off and sound smart and stuff. Plus when we flub it someone else will jump right in with the truth and set us straight.

Thanks a lot guys...

Ive had a lot of spare time recently, and i stummbled across this forum by a link to the 'controversial' diy video projector thread... but eventually made my way to the stereo sections. There are still gallons of beer between now and my EE degree, so, ill see what i can do with the learning... the money is a different story, we'll have to see how that works out ...

thanks for all the info guys, just a sub question...

If i were to build a preamp/amp/dac system, what would be the minimum i would have to spend to get a decent sounding system?
how much did you guys spend? (if it doesnt make you cringe to think about)...

also, my current home theater setup is using a set of yamaha nx home speakers, $230 US for the pair, w/ 2x6.5's one 3.5 and a tweet per speaker.. and a 12" vega sub.... will a tube amp setup even truely come to life with speakers like this... just lookin out for my finacial intrests... thanks again,

Well, diy audio doesn't mean audiophilism, it means do it yourself :). You can be an audiophile and spend thousands on comercia equipment and cables, and then spend thousands more on tweaks like strange stands for your speakers that are triangle shaped and makes your speakers a million times better, it's all very silly. Just don't end up like that, please. I ain't no audiophile, I just like music, good sound quality, and building stuff.

I'll second douglas selfs book, or if you don't want to spend the cash, check out his website (can't remember adress, just search on google) it's got alot of what's in his book. Also read through sound.au.com Rod Elliot's got some good readings there. And ya, this forum is a great source of knowledge, I came here knowing nothing, and while I still don't know anyhting, I've managed to build myself a good stereo system, and even design/build my own discrete xover and amp as well (the amp's nearing completion).
I can't say that I'd endorse either the Slone or Self books. If I had to choose one, I'd go with Self, but...
If you want a good electronics book, try Horowitz and Hill, The Art of Electronics.
As mentioned above, Rod Elliot's site is decent.
You can also try www.passdiy.com.
Hit the links section and see what you can find.
Trying to give a cost estimate for building something is an exercise in futility, at least until you've fine-tuned where you want to go. If you were to want to build a car, the end price would depend on whether you wanted to build an entry level vehicle or a Rolls-Royce. Poke around and get an idea of where you want to go with this. Then try to estimate costs. Generally speaking your greatest costs will be transformers (true for both solid state and tubes) and heatsinks (solid state). Then it will come down to whether you are buying new or surplus, with surplus being much, much cheaper.

If you are trying to estimate costs, consider doubling your estimate. I find that I am willing to make compromises in the initial requirements definition and component selection, but once I start building something either the design changes or I want better components. Also, the hard-to-estimate costs end up being more significant than one might imagine.

When you buy parts piecemeal it is easy to fall into the trap of thinking "well, just $10 more for the better caps, so why not $5 more for these resistors...etc, etc".
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