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Jack's SSMH Build Thread (LOTS OF PICS)

post #1 of 18
Thread Starter 

Hey all!


I learned about the Starving Student a few months after getting the headphone bug in general, and knew I wanted to try a build after getting my DT880s. I read through probably 100 pages of the thread before realizing 19J6s are impossible to find these days, but I found some updated schematics thanks to Equalizer and Dsavitsk and scored some 17EW8s on the bay, so we're off and running!


I wanted to make a wooden enclosure, just for the generally cool aesthetic.  Plywood it is!




Measuring the tube size, testing sockets:



No drill press... I made due.



Top board in the vice.



Top board with tube and heatsink holes.



DIY projects: always a good reason to buy new tools! (or router bits)





Mouser order.



Rear panel routed out for power and input.



Safety first. Every time!! Don't wind up like me.



Tube sockets fitted (with some help from the dremel)



boards stained, ready to assemble.



Soldering station set up (I knew it was gonna take a while!)






getting started...



not bad for my $10 el-cheapo soldering iron.





sinks mounted



getting there...



Output caps in.



First test: it works!! Very little hum too, I was impressed.



How it will look with feet (not installed permanently yet)



Oh baby. Too bad it doesn't look like this to the human eye.



with the phones



Closed in:








I'm really happy with how it turned out. It's not the prettiest thing on the block, but it's mine, and the sound is awesome. I only finished it tonight, so I don't want to give a huge review yet, but I dig.

I still may go through and organize the wiring just to make sure nothing shorts out in the future, and the feet will be added too.


Thanks to everybody who contributed and made this project possible on such a sweet budget.

Let me know what you think!

Edited by Jack Carver - 6/24/10 at 2:02am
post #2 of 18

Good looking build you got there Jack. Well done. Why no tube LEDs? With LED's you can light up those tubes nicely. 

post #3 of 18

Very nice jack. I wish I had woodworking skills like some of you guys.

post #4 of 18

Can I ask, are you worried about the heat of the sockets and tubes?  I am not that familiar with this design so perhaps there is not alot of heat.


Great stuff!

post #5 of 18

Wow, great woodworking there

post #6 of 18

Wow, looks really great, even for plywood! Too bad you didn't use some exotic wood, it would look quite beautiful

I especially like the way the tubes glow in their recessed sockets, it definitely gives the tubes more visual presence.


but... shouldn't this belong in the SSMH thread? :P

post #7 of 18
Thread Starter 

Thanks everyone!


As for the tube LEDs, it would look pretty sweet, but I didn't want to mess with drilling the sockets, and the small natural glow is fine with me..


The tubes get pretty warm, but not to levels that concern me. I've got a guitar tube amp too, and it's comparable.


I definitely wish I had used some type of hardwood now, but that can be for V2.0.  I've still got extra sockets and tubes,


And I figured the SSMH thread was more for single pics/design discussion. My apologies if it's not kosher to have your own thread for this type of thing!

post #8 of 18


Originally Posted by Jack Carver View Post

As for the tube LEDs, it would look pretty sweet, but I didn't want to mess with drilling the sockets...


With a bit of patience, care and some pliers you can remove the center tube without drilling. Been there, done that.  With some CA glue the sockets are easily repaired.

post #9 of 18

Wow Jack congrats! I enjoyed the thread - well done mate - great work.

post #10 of 18

Jack, that is beautiful!  Great job!

post #11 of 18
Thread Starter 

Thanks again!


Beftus - I will probably pick up some LEDs and appropriate resistors on my next Mouser order. I think I just may build V2, since I've got left-over wire, tubes and sockets.


Any enclosure ideas (besides cooler wood, which I'll probably look into) ?

I can't make them identical after all

post #12 of 18

Here are two Noval sockets I just modified for my next 12AU7 build. I removed pin 9 because it remains unconnected. The center hole is now ready to accept a 3mm LED.



post #13 of 18

or you could simply use mica sockets that are one piece and drill very easily, link


How about an enclosure made using Corian or some other solid surface material ? Make it look like its granite or marble ?

post #14 of 18
Thread Starter 

for socket info.


A marble look would be really cool. I'm gonna look into different heatsink ideas too.

post #15 of 18

Wow, what a cool looking build!  Congratulations !  I do hope you enjoy the sound of the 17EW8 version with your Beyers.



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