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A modest proposal for all the selfless volunteers helping us build Pass amps
A modest proposal for all the selfless volunteers helping us build Pass amps
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Old 28th June 2020, 11:26 PM   #1
alanhuth is offline alanhuth  United States
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Default A modest proposal for all the selfless volunteers helping us build Pass amps

Did you ever see that Louis CK bit where he’s laughing at people on the airplane who are pissed because their phone doesn’t work? “You are flying in the sky, 30,000 feet in the air, at 500 mph, in a warm comfortable chair, and you are complaining because your PHONE isn’t working?”.. I love that routine. And that’s how I feel about what I am about to say. I am the guy with the phone. Without Papa and DIYaudio and you guys, there is no way I would even be contemplating building a high quality amp. Not in a million years. Yet here we are, and I’m complaining because it’s confusing and I don’t know which paths to take.

So, with that prelude, I have a modest proposal. It would be nice if there was a stepping stone up from the ACA; a complete, step-by-step plan, overly detailed instructions, complete BOM, maybe even a “project” on Mouser, etc. with everything matching perfectly so that a person, with a little common sense but with no confidence or understanding of what they are doing, could simply follow all the steps and come up with something First Watt level (F5, etc) that works. Pick the case, the power supply, the components, the boards, the complete parts list, and go. No customization options, no choices or decisions to make, just a functional, world-class amp in a box.

I know that is the point of the ACA, but F5 is a whole different level. I don’t know what a snubber is. I have no idea how to size my capacitors. CCLCCLCCR?? Quasimodo? Bridge or discrete diodes? The ACA is a tremendous success, and a model for how my proposal should work, maybe without the full kits, just full instructions and tools. The leap from ACA to Aleph J, as it stands now, is daunting. I realize this is asking a lot of volunteers who have already given way more than they got to get us to the point we are, but maybe this might be considered as a next step. Presumably, you volunteers do what you do here because you enjoy it and you want to help people and expand the community. I think this option I’m describing might be a good gateway drug for many people to the next levels of involvement.

Personally, I’ve decided on an Aleph J as my next amp project. I have ordered the boards, case, many of the parts, and I’m sure, eventually, I will finish it and have a deep sense of satisfaction for how far I have come and how much I’ve learned. “Gotta burn to learn”, etc. But, I’m frustrated and often overwhelmed at this point. Hundreds of pages of threads, poor recollection of where the key bits are, etc. And I have a decent technical background, including a degree in engineering.

What I really want is to build the amp, relatively quickly and painlessly, with my coach, the build guide (videos?), telling me EXACTLY what to do next, and as importantly, why I’m doing it. This subassembly is here because it is needed to do xxx. These parts make up the subassembly and they do yyy then zzz. Etc. I wouldn’t need to understand it all, but seeing, touching, building, etc will certainly give me a feel for what’s going on.

If you are into modding, tweaking, improving, experimenting, the current system is fantastic. So much to learn, so many things to play with. I want to be at your level, and some day I possibly will. But, the steps are very high from one level to the next. A half-way step might make it easier for more people to make it to your level. I get the sense that many people who are proficient audio modders feel that reading through all the threads is sort of a rite of passage, just something you need to do, to progress. I agree that it may be the only way to do it now, but it is not a guarantee of success, and it is probably not the best way to get people up to speed. My proposal, I believe, will get more people farther along quicker and with less frustration. Some day, hopefully, I will be knowledgeable and skilled enough that I can contribute to such efforts.
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Old 28th June 2020, 11:43 PM   #2
rayma is offline rayma  United States
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What you are seeking is a kit. A tremendous amount of effort (and money) goes into the development
of a successful audio kit, as David Hafler could have told you. The final kit product that the consumer
sees is only the tip of the development iceberg. But perhaps someone will volunteer for the task.
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Old 28th June 2020, 11:50 PM   #3
Russellc is offline Russellc  United States
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A modest proposal for all the selfless volunteers helping us build Pass amps
Just build it part for part and step by step exactly as 6l6's build guide. Do not deviate.

After it is up and working you may want to change something up. At least you will be modifying a working unit.

Russellc
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Old 29th June 2020, 12:04 AM   #4
flamethrower1 is offline flamethrower1  United States
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A modest proposal for all the selfless volunteers helping us build Pass amps
Quote:
Originally Posted by Russellc View Post
Just build it part for part and step by step exactly as 6l6's build guide. Do not deviate.

After it is up and working you may want to change something up. At least you will be modifying a working unit.

Russellc
Totally agree, built my first amp this way, tons of research, questions from fellow members (which were answered) and, in my case what you have to pay attention to.
What I got out of it was a very nice amplifier that I enjoy every time I listen to it.
Most importantly I gained a boatload of knowledge, still a boatload to learn though.
Take it one step at a time and you will be good
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Old 29th June 2020, 12:36 AM   #5
jjasniew is online now jjasniew  United States
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There used to be "Heathkit"; they went away as customers slid more toward the person with the phone on the airplane... Perhaps life just moves too fast and demands too much these days for most customers to want to sit down and go through every nut 'n bolt and solder connection of it.
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Old 29th June 2020, 01:56 AM   #6
2 picoDumbs is offline 2 picoDumbs  Australia
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A modest proposal for all the selfless volunteers helping us build Pass amps
6L6's build guides kind of does most of what you're after.

Erno Borbely used to do this kind of thing. He retired from doing that though (I think).

I guess the diyaudio store could produce kits like they do with the ACA.
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Old 29th June 2020, 02:06 AM   #7
codyt is offline codyt  United States
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To be honest, so much of the fun for me has been in the research and the learning. You learn a little bit with each build and find yourself much deeper into the hobby (in the best possible way.)

That said, I do understand the daunting task a newcomer faces when buying parts. Pre-made Mouser or Digi-Key carts do make it easy, but you can often find recommended part numbers in the store BOM’s. If those items are no longer available, just take note of the specs and find a comparable substitute. I guarantee you could find someone who’d be willing to review your cart for errors or missteps.
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Old 29th June 2020, 04:25 AM   #8
zman01 is offline zman01  Bangladesh
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A modest proposal for all the selfless volunteers helping us build Pass amps
Alan,

The 6L6 build guides are very helpful for amp builders.

Here's the one for the Aleph J:

Aleph J illustrated build guide

And before you check the out, maybe watch this video of Jim talking about DIY approach at the 2019 Burning Amp Festival:

YouTube
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Old 29th June 2020, 04:42 AM   #9
myleftear is offline myleftear  Switzerland
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A modest proposal for all the selfless volunteers helping us build Pass amps
I‘m same same but different:
ACA was my first, which got me on the hook.
Then I got frustrated about the huge lerarning curve (I‘m still struggling with Ohm, wart and ampere), and, as I‘m more of the micro-management type of character, I tend to dig myself totally in...
But I’m still on the hook, projects piling up (down to the muses attenuator A modest proposal for all the selfless volunteers helping us build Pass amps), and to me, there‘s just 2 things I silently complain about: i wish the forum’s threads were a bit more structured, and the phone ain‘t working while on a flight...
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Old 29th June 2020, 06:42 AM   #10
Indigent Audio is offline Indigent Audio
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For me power supplies are where the voodoo lies, the universal PCB helps but I feel like I need to color within the or get an EE degree, tube supplies seem like double voodoo. More consolidated knowledge and reasoning of these magic spells would be helpful...to me...
 

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