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Newbie tube buffer kit
Newbie tube buffer kit
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Old 8th April 2009, 10:18 PM   #1
Mungo Park is offline Mungo Park  Canada
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Default Newbie tube buffer kit

Hi, I am a Nubie who had just joined the forum. I did a search but with my limited knoweledge the info is way beyond me and my level of question.
I am wanting to build a tube kit on a PCB board. I was thinking about a amp but came across a tube buffer. To this end I thought a tube buffer kit would be a good starter kit. I figure it would be good way to try my building skills and to get a little bit of the tube sound for a low entry cost. I have a Nad pre amp and a parasound power amp if that helps.
This was a kit I found on the net:
http://www.analogmetric.com/store/goods.php?id=88

So I would like to ask:
Is this a good kit to try out
Any other kits around that do not come from Hong Kong.
Am I wasting my money on this kit.
Do I need something else besides this kit to use it on my system.

Thanks a lot Cheers Ron. in Canada.
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Old 9th April 2009, 04:15 AM   #2
Mungo Park is offline Mungo Park  Canada
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If this level of question is to mucky mouse its their another forum that is more in line with the Nubie.
Cheers Ron.
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Old 9th April 2009, 04:26 AM   #3
Richard Ellis is offline Richard Ellis  Argentina
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...........Ron:
I surfed thru this site selling this kit &...well it is quite probably the cheapest way to start in on tubes. i was a little dismayed that the info on some of the other kits are lacking in specifics. However this kit seems to have the most info....perhaps because it is the cheapest.
You will need much more "stuff" to get this up & running. Let us run down what you will need in addition to this one twin channel kit.
You will notice they note you will need a specific transformer to power it all up...further you will need:
Soldering Iron (Appx 25 Watt)
Solder
desolder bulb (OR solder wick OR desolder tool)
Well lit workspace
An enclosure ( empty as new or fabricate)
Set of Four RCA jacks (In & Outs)
A double pole single throw switch (DPST)
Fuse and fuseholder
Pilot light (Optional)
AC cord (Should be IEC plug socket & cord)
20 Gauge wiring wire (Overkill)
Drill, drillbits, metal files (Flat & rounded)
Short lengths of coax cable
Assorted nuts & bolts
__________________________________________Rick.... ...
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Old 9th April 2009, 04:39 AM   #4
Richard Ellis is offline Richard Ellis  Argentina
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Ron..
Don't get dismayed by all of this.....you really are building this device from pure scratch........it is really quite involved when you consider all the supporting...infrastructure type stuff.
Often times the fellows here will brag of their great creations...only to reluctantly provide a picture of a pure "project" that is temporarily wired up on a workbench. A sweep of the arm across said workbench would destroy these "projects" (( Accompanied by smoke, Zapping of high voltage and the household circuit beaker tripping))
You can use just about any enclosure you want..as long as its big enough inside. Use your artistic side....your just enclosing your project...whats around your place that might work???An old rectangular baking tin??
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Old 9th April 2009, 05:52 AM   #5
planet10 is offline planet10  Canada
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Newbie tube buffer kit
It looks like they have spent some effort covering off some of the deficiencies of some of the buffers out there. And it is cheap.

And you could just bolt it to a pice of wood to start.

dave
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Old 9th April 2009, 02:37 PM   #6
Evenharmonics is offline Evenharmonics  United States
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I have asked about that kit here (post #39) but it only got little feedback. Some members don't feel confident about their products.
There has been frequent mention of Frank's line stage design on this forum and some members have actually built it. You may want to look that up.
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Old 9th April 2009, 03:38 PM   #7
Mungo Park is offline Mungo Park  Canada
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Rick & Dave Thanks for lending your valuable insights.
I did not realize that it was not all there!
It looks like this is the transformer needed, YES/NO? It is $40

http://www.analogmetric.com/store/goods.php?id=434

I have the soldering iron and solder, need the bulb/whick
The other things I should be able to get from a local source, Winnipeg is good for this sort of thing. I guess it will be a learning curve thing. I have a drill and bits and lots of files and I think I can make a enclosure.

So Again thanks for pointing the things out I need I will check that I can get the extra stuff might as well see if a transformer is local as well if you can tell me if the above one is the right one?
I would think I am moving towards getting this "kit" to get my feet wet as you put it.
Cheers Ron.
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Old 9th April 2009, 05:38 PM   #8
Mungo Park is offline Mungo Park  Canada
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A friend advised me that a kit without all the parts and a scematic from Hong Kong, thinking of customer support might not be a good starter for a Nubie. Eli, thanks for the extra input. Did you ever build one? I will look at Frank's line stage design, even tough it does no sound like a kit.

So at this point, despite my previous post of going for it, it seems prudent to pass and keep looking for a better tube buffer kit, might have to spend a little more to get something more doable for me.
Thank you all, Cheers Ron.
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Old 9th April 2009, 05:46 PM   #9
mikejennens is offline mikejennens  United States
This speaker DIY thing, it's pretty addicting!
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Newbie tube buffer kit
Ron,
Here is an option. I think these kits come with everything you need. I haven't purchased one form them, but I have emailed for info and they were very prompt.
Mike

https://id266.securedata.net/s5elect...tubeorder.html
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Old 9th April 2009, 09:20 PM   #10
Mungo Park is offline Mungo Park  Canada
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Well Yes maybe a tube amp kit with everything in it comming form the US might be a safer bet, as a starter, I did not find much else in the tube buffer kits.
Cheers Ron.
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Old 9th April 2009, 10:13 PM   #11
tomsyl is offline tomsyl  United States
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MP. I'd strongly recommend you consider the Decware product Evenharmonics linked to above as an alternative. I've purchased from that company before and it is reputable, reliable and run by honest and experienced people imo.

When buying from China, be extremely vigilant about shipping charges. Analogmetric's seem reasonable, but get them pinned down before you pay. I've seen eBay items where an amp is very reasonably priced, only to find that "shipping and handling" is in the $200-plus range. Of course that's for a heavier item, but I think many vendors sell at or below cost and make their profit on S&H. Also, don't buy transformers in cans from China; a big can likely will conceal a tiny core and windings.

Why not just go all the way and build a simple two or three input tube preamp instead of a buffer? Your options are much broader and you have a choice of buying a complete kit with the transformer, case etc. In my experience the casework can take longer than the actual assembly and testing of the electronics, maybe because I am a klutz.
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Old 10th April 2009, 06:04 PM   #12
Mungo Park is offline Mungo Park  Canada
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Thanks
tomsyl
The Decware is looking great, BUT again I think it is to much of a bite for a Nubie, it seems to need some tweaking and a few extras to get in going. I think I am going to offer a trade or something to see if someone will build one fr me. I will post in the trading floor section.
I make hand forged knives and custom built fishing rods maybe somebody will trade custom made for custom made.
In the meantime thank you all for such a warm welcome to the DIY and I will look at the simpler all in one amp kits as a starter project.
Cheers Ron.
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Old 10th April 2009, 09:06 PM   #13
tomsyl is offline tomsyl  United States
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MP, feel free to email me privately if you are interested in trading versus buying. I have far too many pieces of equipment lying around (including two dozen vintage integrated amps - mostly EL 84s but all PP; no SE stuff) and by a remarkable coincidence I have a modest knife collection (though I hold the record as the worst fisherman in Hawaii).

Your idea to get going with some ready-made tube sound while building your dream piece is an interesting alternative IMO. I started out ages ago with a Japanese 300B SE kit and the anxiety to get it up and running was counterproductive to the build process. (I'll say though that the sound when I got it working was absolutely incomparable - beyond my expectations and completely addictive. I can tell you now that this is almost certainly where you will end up imo because SE triodes are the ne plus ultra in the pursuit of tube sound - there is really nothing like it, though PP we3ll executed can be very good indeed. So you may as well start saving your pennies now. I'm guessing a substantial number of people here with a lot more knowledge and experience than me will agree with that.

In the meantime there are many great people here with deep engineering backgrounds who share their knowledge freely. For one example, look up SY's multi-part unity gain preamp thread, which is a perfectionist's version of a buffer. he took a lot of time to explain every design choice he made, and the result is something that probably would sell for kilobucks of you could even buy one. Even if you don't decide to go that route, you will learn a lot from Stewart and from the forum's comments and contributions to his design. Even better, he's reproduced all of his work on the subject on his website, which is http://syclotron.com. Look for "The Heretical Preamp" and consider reading it from beginning to end.
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Old 10th April 2009, 10:13 PM   #14
tinitus is offline tinitus  Europe
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Newbie tube buffer kit
Default Re: Newbie tube buffer kit

Quote:
Originally posted by Mungo Park
Hi,

I have a Nad pre amp and a parasound power amp if that helps.

Am I wasting my money on this kit.

Do I need something else besides this kit to use it on my system.

Thanks a lot Cheers Ron. in Canada.

Maybe it needs some rethinking

How much do you use your NAD pre
Number of signal sources, and which
Do you use tone controls etc
How much do you normally turn up the volume knob, 10oclock, 12oclock, ?

Which speakers do you use
What kind of music
How loud
Do you have plenty bass, or need more
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Old 10th April 2009, 10:30 PM   #15
G is offline G  United States
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Default Re: Newbie tube buffer kit

Quote:
Originally posted by Mungo Park
Hi, I am a Nubie who had just joined the forum. I did a search but with my limited knoweledge the info is way beyond me and my level of question.
I am wanting to build a tube kit on a PCB board. I was thinking about a amp but came across a tube buffer. To this end I thought a tube buffer kit would be a good starter kit. I figure it would be good way to try my building skills and to get a little bit of the tube sound for a low entry cost. I have a Nad pre amp and a parasound power amp if that helps.
This was a kit I found on the net:
http://www.analogmetric.com/store/goods.php?id=88

So I would like to ask:
Is this a good kit to try out
Any other kits around that do not come from Hong Kong.
Am I wasting my money on this kit.
Do I need something else besides this kit to use it on my system.

Thanks a lot Cheers Ron. in Canada.

Hi Mungo. Go to Bottlehead and order this:

http://www.bottlehead.com/et/adobesp.../foreplay3.htm

It has step by step instructions and is a solid design. It will blow your NAD preamp away. This is a great beginner project and you have the whole Bottle head forum to back you up if you have questions. IMO this is the best beginners kit on the market. This kit will teach you about layout and about soldering. After that you will find soldering on PCBs a walk in the park. Just my two cents. Here is a quote from the descroption that you should pay attention to:

Quote:
Assembly can be accomplished in a few evenings, and is tailored for the builder with little or no kit assembly experience.
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Old 10th April 2009, 11:12 PM   #16
Evenharmonics is offline Evenharmonics  United States
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Default Re: Re: Newbie tube buffer kit

Quote:
Originally posted by G

Hi Mungo. Go to Bottlehead and order this:

http://www.bottlehead.com/et/adobesp.../foreplay3.htm
That price includes chassis but for less, why not try Aikido line stage.
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Old 11th April 2009, 01:04 AM   #17
Mungo Park is offline Mungo Park  Canada
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Well Every time I think I am done you guts get me going again.
I have a old set up:
A Nad 3240 PE it is a pre amp power amp which seperate, so I am using just the pre amp.
A Parasound 3240PE power amp.
I have home built peerless speakers, 2 8"drivers and one tweeter.
I do not really go for a lot of bass and play it flat.
I have a Cd player Magnavox (of no special quality) a Rega Plainar 2 turntable and a tuner, which I never use. Volume is about 1/4 mostly 1/2 is about as high as I need to go
I looked at the bottle head but it it $500 USD and is a big outlay for a starter project, well it is for me right now. With exchange duty tax it ids getting up their for a try at tubes.
Evenharmonic that line stage kit looks doable and it includes everthing but the tubes, I think. Which is about a good starter price.
I guess not knowing didly I did not knoe a line stage could be used for he same thing. The Yaqin is about the same price but I would enjoy building something, which started all of this. I can do some wood working so I can build the enclosure to make it custom.
tomsyl I will email you as well, and read the The Heretical Preamp.
Again Thank you all for keeping this dream alive it sounds like a great pastime. Cheers Ron.

P.S. I am sure I will have another question about the
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Old 11th April 2009, 01:39 AM   #18
Mungo Park is offline Mungo Park  Canada
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I am reading this kit.
http://glass-ware.stores.yahoo.net/aiallinoneki.html

"The All in One kit with four tubes, a chassis, volume control, selector switch, power transformer, and a fistful of RCA jacks is all that is needed."
So as it read it it needs those thing to get it running, as a Nubie am I able to get these to go on with limited knowledge? I can see building the enclosure. And should not be hard to get the tubes.
My 5yo daughter wants me to put on this icon
Cheers Ron.
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Old 11th April 2009, 04:41 AM   #19
G is offline G  United States
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Quote:
Originally posted by Mungo Park
I am reading this kit.
http://glass-ware.stores.yahoo.net/aiallinoneki.html

"The All in One kit with four tubes, a chassis, volume control, selector switch, power transformer, and a fistful of RCA jacks is all that is needed."
So as it read it it needs those thing to get it running, as a Nubie am I able to get these to go on with limited knowledge? I can see building the enclosure. And should not be hard to get the tubes.
My 5yo daughter wants me to put on this icon
Cheers Ron.

That is a good starter too Ron. Don't be intimidated. Look at one wire, one resistor and one capacitor at a time and before you know it it is done. Here is a enclosure for it if you decide to get it.

http://www.mpja.com/prodinfo.asp?number=16294+BX

All you will have to do is drill some holes, add a transformer and some connectors. Maybe a little paint if you are vain like me.



By the time you buy all of the parts that are needed to finish it you might find that the Foreplay is a pretty good deal.
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Old 11th April 2009, 01:38 PM   #20
tinitus is offline tinitus  Europe
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Newbie tube buffer kit
You could also consider to try and give your CD a better gain stage
http://www.decware.com/newsite/zkit4.htm
http://www.decware.com/newsite/zkit5.htm

Its like a tube "buffer", but just with the gain placed where its really needed


You could also build a nice "preamp" around this
http://www.intactaudio.com/atten.html
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Old 11th April 2009, 04:15 PM   #21
Mungo Park is offline Mungo Park  Canada
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Quote:
Originally posted by G



That is a good starter too Ron. Don't be intimidated. Look at one wire, one resistor and one capacitor at a time and before you know it it is done. Here is a enclosure for it if you decide to get it.

http://www.mpja.com/prodinfo.asp?number=16294+BX

All you will have to do is drill some holes, add a transformer and some connectors. Maybe a little paint if you are vain like me.



By the time you buy all of the parts that are needed to finish it you might find that the Foreplay is a pretty good deal.
Well I was thinking I was set to pull the trigger on this but the part saying "It will cost almost as much as the bottlehead Foreplay by the time I am finished" is giving me pause, it might be a good point id the cost is cost to that.
Meantime reading as much as I can.
Cheers Ron.
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Old 11th April 2009, 04:28 PM   #22
tinitus is offline tinitus  Europe
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Newbie tube buffer kit
Maybe also look at PassDIY firstwatt buffer/pre
They sell boards as well as matched fets

I suppose you could still use your NAD fore turntable phono only
But if you favour vinyl, a Broskie phono would be good
Remember that Aikido is top notch quality

A combination of above is about as good as it gets

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Old 11th April 2009, 05:23 PM   #23
VictoriaGuy is offline VictoriaGuy  Canada
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Newbie tube buffer kit
Ron-
Sorry to jump in just as you seem to be reaching a decision.....

If you want to get an idea of 'tube sound' (aka 'something completely different'), I'd suggest you build a small tube amp (with volume control- ?).

Tube buffers and other 'add-ins' to your current system can make such a subtle difference that it may not reward your effort and investment.

For me, a tube amp and 'average' fullrange speakers (FE167) really opened my ears to some new possibilites for music listening. The Bose spkrs & SS receiver went out the door quite quickly.
Admittedly, you are starting from a lot higher point with your gear, but I'd still advise beginning with the tube amp, and changing other parts of the audio chain later. Most small amps are not that complex, and you should not have any trouble with a decent kit.

Cheers
John
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Old 11th April 2009, 09:49 PM   #24
G is offline G  United States
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Are you confused yet Ron? For tube sound and a DIY starter either the Aikado or the Foreplay are your best bet. More bang for the buck. A Amplifier will cost you more in iron. Choose the one you are most comfortable with and build it. I will be around the forum as well as a lot of other guys that are more learned than I. You have a support group so don't sweat it. It can be overwhelming until you have a couple of circuits under your belt but it is challenging and fun and ultimately very satisfying. The Aikado will be a bit less expensive than the Foreplay but you will need to ask more questions in building it. Thats what this forum is all about. Many a newbie has been nursed through their first build here, Either way it will turn out fine. Relax and enjoy the journey because as soon as you finish the preamp you will be asking about building a amplifier. That's the way it works.
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Old 11th April 2009, 10:02 PM   #25
VictoriaGuy is offline VictoriaGuy  Canada
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