My first ever Zen amp.

It seems like Zen projects become popular again after almost 10 years from their beginning. And since competition is nocking on a door;) (Jam knows what I'm talking about) I decided to present here my first Zen amp which I built after reading the original article in AA '93.
 

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The case was as usually influenced by the heat sinks type, which BTW, I bought dirt cheap at CAD$10, surpluss. I was still under the impression that Wima caps supposedly sound pretty good, but later added MITs, which clearly improved the sound. I also used good grade Nichicon Muse as coupling electrolytics.
 

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These were the times when I was a fan of PCBs and a perfect order in all my constructions. So you don't see much wire. Even binding posts are soldered directly to PCB. The filtering capacitors are mounted on separate board which through brass spacers connects to main board. Everything is pretty tight but I still found the place for inductors. Heat sinks can be easily removed for access in case of troubleshooting.
 

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The chassis influenced by Aleph designes was done from 1/4" aluminum and anodized black, everything hand made. This is actually my favourite Zen amp and I will probably never get rid of it. One advantage is it's small size. The sound has unique flavour, although I prefer more forward character of A75. Aleph 5 sound (which I built recently) is IMO between Zen and A75.
 

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"First day of listening"

To me, the first 5 minutes of listening to a new component -with a music track that I'm very familiar with - either self built or bought, is most critical. That first 5 minutes of listening is the deciding factor of whether I'll continue to listen to it or pack it up and put in the closet.
 
OT: Aleph 2 sound

I have been thinking about how to describe the sound of Aleph 2 ......

I can't exactly describe it like the pro does but my thought keeps going back to the analogy of video. Here goes .... VHS picture is all right but when you compared it with DVD, the picture quality of DVD are so much sharper, clearer and in focus. That's how I would describe the sound of Aleph 2.

My first 5 minutes listening impression of Aleph 2 is very satisfying. I will definitely NOT put it in the closet!
 
Remember it was 1993 when I built it, and I bought them from Active Surplus on Queen St. and Bathurst. They recently didn't have good selection in heat sinks. The other place you can try is Sayall which has location on Mattheson & Dixie as well in Scarborough on Gordon Baker and in Burlington.
And Aleph is definitely worth trying out. I recently took mine Aleph5 to a friendly used equipment dealer and it was his first choice, easily beating expensive Spectral and Krell.;)
 

grataku

Member
2000-12-31 9:31 am
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Lisandro,
don't die.
Either HPotter has a fully complemented machine shop in his basement with mill and lathe or he is the master of 'G' jobs (which in machine shop slang means working on your own **** on company time). From the rate at which HPotter is pumping out chassis after chassis of high quality and the fact he is an experienced machinist the second hypothesis is highly likely.
What HPotter is making you believe is that he takes some surplus crap and turns it into gold in his basement. That IMHO is complete bull.
Don't get me wrong I still like what HPotter can do it's just not in everyone's reach.
 
Machine Shop in Basement

Grataku,

I know for sure (unless pictures lie) that HPotter has a complete set of machines in his basement to crack out those professional looking chassis. I was wondering how he do that and I've asked him about it and he had responded with pictures of what he had in his basement - he said something like he bought them used for about C$400. Please also check out his thread titled "Tools and Technique". Wonderful stuff!

The next item on my list to buy is a Mitre (sp?) saw machine - to cut sheet metal as mentioned by HPotter. I've already check them out at Home Depot .... about $150.
 
grataku said:
Lisandro,
don't die.
Either HPotter has a fully complemented machine shop in his basement with mill and lathe or he is the master of 'G' jobs (which in machine shop slang means working on your own **** on company time). From the rate at which HPotter is pumping out chassis after chassis of high quality and the fact he is an experienced machinist the second hypothesis is highly likely.
What HPotter is making you believe is that he takes some surplus crap and turns it into gold in his basement. That IMHO is complete bull.
Don't get me wrong I still like what HPotter can do it's just not in everyone's reach.

Everythinng I presented on this Forum was done over the period of 8 years, so the rate is not really that great.;)
I am not machinist and took advantage of their services only once, when making TO3 mounting bars for my A75. Otherwise I DO everything by hand on my own time, no mill and lathe either. What I wanted to show here is that satisfactory quality work can be done when using proper tools and techniques. You can check it in the following thread: http://www.diyaudio.com/forums/showthread.php?s=&threadid=3371. Those are all the tools you need to do that kind of work.;) Also check the thread Useful Tools and Techniques
for more tricks, especially on effective cutting of aluminum.

For those still in doubt I can only add that my only other advantage is that I have been working for last 10 years in aviation as sheet metal and structure technichian so aluminum doesn't present much mystery to me. However, it is also not exactly amplifiers building. For me the most satisfaction brings the chassis design proccces and making it out is only means to an end.

One last thought: I hope that everything I show is rather helpful (like a source of creative ideas) and not destructive (like something not attainable and creating discouragement). Since I don't have much experience in circuit design this is the only way I can contribute to this Forum. I hope that at least some of you like it?:)