taking the plunge
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kelly

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I stopped at Radio Shack tonight and picked up Getting Started in Electronics for $2.99. I'll be making my way through this book (and likely asking a few of you stupid questions along the way). I also recruited a coworker who has an engineering background and has taken a mild interest in my fascination. He already has the necessary tools and expressed interest in building an amp along with me.

Thus, I need to soon order parts necessary to build two CMOY amplifiers. If anyone would like to help me put together that shopping list, please let me know or reply here. I'm not looking for a killer CMOY amp--just something that works and proves we can solder circuits to a board. Next, we'll be looking at more complex designs and kits--this is really just to get us started.

Thanks to all of you who have helped so far. I simply can't sit in the dark and treat the amps as black boxes any longer and I'm finally going to start trying to do something.
 
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puppyslugg

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Hi kelly,
Quote:

I simply can't sit in the dark and treat the amps as black boxes any longer and I'm finally going to start trying to do something.


You'll be sorry! A tweaker's work is never done!


Good luck.

puppyslugg
 
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Nick Dangerous

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Get thyself to Fry's and get a Hakko 15W soldering iron. For the money, it's a good start. Using a low wattage iron prevents the frying of delicate components like diodes... and will also give you more time to "think" your way through each joint as the solder melts.

Thus far, I have built 90% of everything with that little 15W iron. I only need higher temperatures for heavy jobs like RCA jack ground lugs and such.
 
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kelly

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mkyy
Already on it--thanks, though. Tangent's site is awesome. I wish he and Chu could work together to clean up the "library" on HeadWize and make everything so lucid. Of course, that would be a full time job.

puppyslug
The problem is that I am already infected--but currently have to beg people like you, KurtW, Wayne and Dan Wright (among others).

Nick
My coworker has this bad ass high dollar three piece thing with adjustable stable temperature and interchangable tips. We'll be using that this time around. I have this POS radio shack iron myself that I've only used to mod game systems for region-free/copyprotection-free play. The extent of my technical abilities exposed. I'll make a shopping list after we complete the first project.
 
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mkyy

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kelly, you might as well check out the META 42 parts list and add that to your shopping list and order them at the same time. Haven't you planned for you next project?
 
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kelly

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Quote:

Originally posted by mkyy
kelly, you might as well check out the META 42 parts list and add that to your shopping list and order them at the same time. Haven't you planned for you next project?


META42 is a very likely candidate for second project. While personally I have a couple of commercial amps, my coworker doesn't and needs to build a good one. So something in the META42 range is closer to his real goal. My real goals are quite a bit loftier (the Gilmore tube electrostatic amp, a dual mono class A preamp/dynamic headphone amp, etc.) The META is probably a good stepping stone if the we can pull the CMOY off. If we can't then... well, at least I won't be out as much money to learn the limits of my abilities.
 
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mkyy

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I am also a newbie. Having followed tangent's tutorial, I've built my first CMOY with not much trouble. My META42 PCB is on their way, I don't expect too trouble either. I'll let you know how this works out once I built it.
 
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aos

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Just don't rush things. Once you're good at soldering and know your way around schematics, you could assemble pretty much any kit. Unfortunately there are almost no kits to speak of. If you ever get to the point where you have to design part of circuit yourself or fit pieces together in a non-trivial way, and have to design your own PCBs, you might be over your head.

Dual mono Kevin Gilmore dynamic amp would not be a bad choice. You have all schematics, and you can build power supply on protoboard if necessary. With two dual supplies, one for each channel, and Kevin's later bridged design (I don't remember if he published PCB for that) you should be in Blockhead league, or even above it - as this is all-discrete design.

Electrostatics are another story. They require in part a completely different skillset and, they are potentially deadly. Even if you built advanced solid state, I'd start easy with tubes and build at least two intermediate projects before tackling something as big and expensive as (probably) Kevin's is.
 
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kelly

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aos
Building a good preamp/dynamic amp in my lifetime seems reasonable. Adding all the features and jacks I want even seems reasonable.

The tubed electrostatic amp... well, that may be above my skillset on a permanent basis. Unfortunately there aren't many of you guys I could beg for such a thing from, either.
 
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aos

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I personally wouldn't tackle tubes at all. I know I'm clumsy and a mistake can be deadly. In addition, if you're building electrostatic amp, you would find it harder to test and if you screw up, ultraexpensive phones would be destroyed. You'd need proper measuring equipment etc. In solid state low voltage world you can use $1 phones to test your amp and can afford to burn dozens of them.

However, those are my fears. Some people fear SMD. This hobby should make you feel happy. If you have to force yourself through most of the project (I'm not talking about installing it in the enclosure, everybody hates that one
) then you're probably doing the wrong thing. If you feel comfortable doing tubes - once you get a feel of it - then by all means go ahead. From what I know in some ways it is easier than solid state - you do point to point wiring and solder big things instead of small things, etc. Just don't rush.
 
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zzz

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Kevin says that his solid state electrostatic amp is way better than his tubed electrostatic amp (higher slew rate, much lower output impedance, etc.). That was my reasoning to stay away from tubes and try my hands on the SS amp first...
 
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kelly

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Quote:

Originally posted by zzz
Kevin says that his solid state electrostatic amp is way better than his tubed electrostatic amp (higher slew rate, much lower output impedance, etc.). That was my reasoning to stay away from tubes and try my hands on the SS amp first...


...but the Stax 007 is not a dynamic amp, so this will not solve that problem for me.

I need to figure out how to audition one of the solid state Gilmore amps sometime before I start building one.
 
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tangent

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Quote:

Tangent's site is awesome. I wish he and Chu could work together to clean up the "library" on HeadWize and make everything so lucid.


Not gonna happen, sorry, for a bunch of reasons. But thanks for the sentiments.
 
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zzz

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Quote:

Originally posted by kelly
...but the Stax 007 is not a dynamic amp, so this will not solve that problem for me.


Whatever floats your boat
.

Since I always order 2x the parts to have a buffer in case I fry some of them (which is expected), I'll be probably building two amps (one on protoboards and in el cheapo enclosure, another with nice PCBs and stuff), and if all goes well will start `KGSS electrostatic amp-rolling`
. This has chances of happening no sooner than in a couple of months though.
 
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