Exactly how good ARE DIY amps
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Porksoda

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So I am wondering. Exactly how do various DIY amps stack up against commercial amps, particularly the Headroom amps? For instance, what headroom amp is approximately equal in sound quality to a maxed out PIMETA, or a stock pimeta, or a stock PPA?

I am only curious because I am building my (more or less) stock PPA now and I am curious as to what level of sound quality I can expect from it.
 
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Iron_Dreamer

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IME, maxed wall-warted META42/PIMETA approx.= Headroom Little More Power
 
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Edwood

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Depends on what your definition of DIY is.

Some people (thanks to Kevin Gilmore's open source generosity) have even built DIY Blue Hawaii's and various Solid State Gillmore amps that crush commercial production amps.

-Ed
 
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ITZBITZ

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I think you'll be quite please with the PPA. It's great in the stock form and easy to upgrade as you are intimately familiar with the components once you finish building it. I've built enough of them that I've pretty much settled on a solid configuration, but it is so easy to tweak I can't help changing things every so often.

Either way, DIY is a great way to relax -- for me at least.
 
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JohnFerrier

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Depends. Technically, a well built DIY amp can better a lot of commercial products (remember there are commercial products costing thousands of dollars, so don't know if it will better everything). Don't do it to save money. And certainly it's an investment in time. If you have a passion, go for it.


JF
 
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aphex944

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With time and experimentation, it's not too hard to design an amplifier that sounds miles better than commercial amps 5x the price of your parts.
 
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morgan jones

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By the time you've taken sales taxes, dealer's mark-up, packaging, transportation, marketing, etc into account, the typical mark-up from component cost to retail price has to be 4:1, and more likely 5:1. For "high-end" stuff it has to be even higher.
 
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Quote:

the typical mark-up from component cost to retail price has to be 4:1, and more likely 5:1.


True, but to be fair, the cost of the parts in commercial amps is a lot lower than you'd pay for the same parts from, say, DigiKey in qty. 1. The overall ratio is probably more like 3:1 when comparing parts-in-volume plus the markups you mentioned vs. the cost of DIY builds.
 
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Also depends on what amp you're building...... some are better than others. I built the williams hart "Chiarra" amp and PSU for £200 and it knocks seven colours of *** out of any of the commercial offerings I've heard (Sugden headmaster, MF X-can V2 & V3, Graham Slee Solo, Creek OBH 11SE)

All the best

Pinkie.
 
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rsaavedra

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Quote:

Originally Posted by ITZBITZ
Either way, DIY is a great way to relax -- for me at least.


Ditto. I'm a newbie in DIY electronics, recently did some mods on my Toshiba 3950. It was a thrill at the beginning, but also so relaxing all the way, it totally hogs your mind. I was hours continuously in front of that open box, very late at night/early morning, as if time wasn't passing. Really a very engrossing thing to do. I develop software, so my daily activity to some extent is "building" things, but analyzing and putting together software abstractions and objects is one thing. There is something so satisfying about building/working with actual physical stuff. As soon as I receive some black gate capacitors I'll finish the mods in that player, and then I'm planning to build a K.Gilmore's Dynahi amp.
 
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Agree with Tangent. Buying low quantities is costly. And there is shipping costs from multiple vendors. I was also matching components so purchased many JFETs that went unused. Plus there are tools and supplies. My project was ~$700. Of course, I'm happy with the results. (Though, I'm not going to say I spent months and all this money on this project and then write oh, BTW the sound really sucks : ).


JF
 
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Quote:

Originally Posted by tangent
True, but to be fair, the cost of the parts in commercial amps is a lot lower than you'd pay for the same parts from, say, DigiKey in qty. 1. The overall ratio is probably more like 3:1 when comparing parts-in-volume plus the markups you mentioned vs. the cost of DIY builds.


Don't forget the cost of labor.


-Ed
 
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Porksoda

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Yeah I have been researching and designing amps for about 2 months now, but this is my first time building. I've worked with soldering simple circuits before, but never anything this big. I definitely enjoy it, as I am still hunting for a summer job and this helps keep my busy. Sadly all I have to show so far is a half-complete power supply and a second-degree burn the size of a nickel on my thumb
 
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Paragon

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DIY can be just as good if not better than a comparable commercial amp. If you think about it, most of the time you can get the same or only slightly different parts that are used in commercial amps. What generally happens is DIY tends to be better because you can customize it to your taste and cans. DIY is jsut generally held back by the amount of money you have available at the moment. You may build an amp but not put a volume control in it until a while later when you get some more cash and then easily add it to your amp. Same thing with components. You can do the same with components such as capacitors, resistors, opamps. This is half the fun of DIY. The other half is the knowledge that you gain from it and also knowing you just built a better amp than most for a lot less that commercial cost.

I am just starting to get into this audio DIY and I fear it will be eating through my wallet for quite a while. Won't be as bad when I find a job, bust still as fun. Eventually I will get the rest of the parts for the Gilmore, evenyually I will have an amp to be proud of. But in the meantime, I enjoy thinking about the amp as much as building it will probably be.

A few years ago, I had an A47 all designed and had planned on CNCing the case out of solid aluminum. Well, college got a little more demanding and those plans got thrown in the basement of general daily things to do. Now that I am done with college, nothing to do but wait for a job, here I sit thinking about amps again
 
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JohnFerrier

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Customization is a good point. I tailored the topology, gain, power requirements, enclosure, jacks, etc. to my headphones and taste... A commercial amp has to work for a broad range of phones and taste. And, again, I'm glad, after months of thinking about it, to be on the listening side of the project : ).


JF
 
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