Originally Posted by sokolov91
My questions is this: Can someone with 0 experience put one of these together, or am I risking a lot of money (or my life for that matter)?
To answer those 3 questions, in order:
yes, yes (yes.) People with basically no electronics building experience have built crazy amps. Not as many as have failed (to answer Q2) and part 3 is a risk once you get into pains-powered amps.
Until you are confident that it will fire up right, or you can fix it if it dosnt, AND that it will sound at least as good as something that costs twice as much on the used market as your parts cost DIY is not a method to save money. Also take note that DIY is a drug if you get into it for the fun of building to build. People who have built Balanced B22's and custom tube amps are known to build little home amps, and medium home amps and on and on.
In the begining you consider the cost of parts, and the tools you will need to buy. $30 in parts for a basic cmoy opamp amp + $50 for cheap tools that are no fun to use you could have put your $100 (most people have no trouble tagging another $20 onto the minimum costs...) towards something nicer off the shelf that WILL work when it gets to you. The actual build process is quite fun, and there is a decent amount of pride to be found in building something that sounds decent yourself. The parts cost of the little guy isnt so bad that you'd be terribly inconvenienced if it goes up in smoke and someone is always looking for a cmoy second hand so you can sell it to fund upgrades easily with little monetary loss.
Moving up to more complicated op-amp based amps with spiffy buffers and simpler discrete amps starts to bring you to legitimately nice sound! They are of course harder to build, with several times more parts to stuff, which is a fancy way of saying several times more places to screw up. :) I have an SMT buffer board sitting right here with all of the resistors soldered on one side. Yea, that was retarded. It would be an easy fix except that the transistors are already mounted on top. Assuming you are confident in your ability to build one of these amps and get it running something else to consider is that these dont get the same press that the bigger and more complicated amps do despite the fact that they sound quite nice. Unfortunately if you need to sell the amp, reviews and reputation are KEY. They are truly nice amps, and they consistently swing above their weight when they are reviewed, they simply arent reviewed frequently enough to keep them on people's minds. Unfortunately building one of these "middle ground" amps is often an economic disaster although it is still a sonic success. They are not a B22, dyna-(whatever) or balanced. This is an awkward step you probably should take because you will learn some skills that will probably help with building more complicated stuff, although selling one of these amps can be tough. If you decide one of these is enough amp for you, and stop here you are probably a little bit to a decent bit ahead on the cost VS SQ curve, assuming you didnt blow anything up along the way.
After that there are the "big" amps that everyone talks about. Things like the B22, Dyna-whatever and the like. Building one of these amps is a great thing assuming you can get it put together right and it works. Its not as hard as I may make it sound, but be honest with whether you can do it and read up on people who have had (cough)issues(cough) you can learn a lot from the bad experiences of others... Whats cool about building one of these amps is that if you dont like it, you can sell it easily, and if you do like the sound of the amp you are well ahead on the cost VS SQ curve.
So. If you want to build stuff mostly to enjoy building it, and maybe eventually build something that is almost certainly nicer than what you could buy second hand, start soldering. If you just want an amp, just buy it off the FS forum. Wait for a something that appeals to you, built by someone you trust. They typpically sell for within a few percent of parts cost and you may catch a good deal below parts cost.
Originally Posted by El_Doug
you can always balance a cmoy
Balanced "mahogany comy" It has great synergy with Grado's ;)
I also really like the way the CKKiii sounds :)