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  1. #1
    Administrator Tracy Rainwater's Avatar
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    Anyone Ever DIY a Home Theater or Audio Project?

    I'm itching to get a DIY project started. Where's Heathkit when you need them?

    So.....I thought about incorporating my DIY project with my renewed interest in two-channel audio. That being said, I thought about giving a simple build DIY amp a shot. No, I am not an electrical engineer but I know the names of a few legendary amp designers.

    Nelson Pass of Pass Labs makes some of the finest performing amplifiers on the market. Luckily, he appears to be the kind of person who gives back to the audio hobby. In addition to all his high-end business ventures, he also designs amplifiers, posts those designs and parts lists for anyone who is willing to plug in a soldering iron and get their hands dirty.

    As part of Pass' Amp Camp, which is a get together for Audio DIY enthusiasts to build one of his custom designed amps to take home, comes a Class A dual mono amplifier kit.

    Name:  Pass AC Amp.JPG
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    This kit ($149) comes complete with all the parts needed to build two identical Class A amplifiers. You can get the custom designed circuit board and all the needed parts as one option. The option that appeals to me, is the kit along with the complete custom designed case and heatsinks ($269).

    This is an extremely simple design that is completely Class A. The only potential downside is that the amps are only 5 watts, but as Pass says, "but they're very good watts" and "The first watt is the most important watt", which is the motto of his custom audio company First Watt.

    More details can be found Amp Camp Amp Kit – diyAudio Store

    So, are you into DIY AV, do you have a project in progress, or have you completed a DIY AV project? Post them here.

  2. #2
    Senior Member
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    AK4490EQ based DAC kit, with Burson .V5 OpAmps!!!! However the .v5 doesn't allow me to put my cover on my DAC, they're too tall! It's sounds pretty good though!
    Infinity Composition Prelude P-FR L/R, Infinity Overture 1 center, Front hgts, and side surrounds, Infinity FPS-1000 Rear surround and rear hgt, Acoustic Elegance P1152 subs (x2) SVS 16-46 (x2), (x2) B&K Reference 200.7 power amp, Denon AVR X4300H, Yamaha MX-830, Behringer NU4-6000, 8 core HTPC W/Blu-ray W/Jriver nVidia 1060gtx 6gb,Hybrid tube DAC W/Burson Vivid, Silicondust HDHR3 Prime, TCL 4K 55 inch LCD, Vivitek HK2288 4K Projector

  3. #3
    Owner-Publisher Jerry Del Colliano's Avatar
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    My stepfather built Dynaco Stereo 70 amps from a kit that lasted for a good 30 plus years.

    I am not sure WHY he did this other than he could.

  4. #4
    Administrator Tracy Rainwater's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jerry Del Colliano View Post
    My stepfather built Dynaco Stereo 70 amps from a kit that lasted for a good 30 plus years.

    I am not sure WHY he did this other than he could.
    I'm kind of the same way.

    Could you ship your old Focal speakers to me? I seem to remember them being really efficient, which would be perfect for these amps.

  5. #5
    Administrator Tracy Rainwater's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by prerich View Post
    AK4490EQ based DAC kit, with Burson .V5 OpAmps!!!! However the .v5 doesn't allow me to put my cover on my DAC, they're too tall! It's sounds pretty good though!
    That sounds interesting. Do you have photos and links to the "kit"?

  6. #6
    Senior Member David Vaughn's Avatar
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    Jul 2002
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    Northern, CA
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    I just bought a couple of ATI Class D amps I reviewed (they are amazing and I've replaced my Parasound A51 and ZoneMaster 1250) with them. I could probably build my own amps though...I may try to do that in the future. My latest project has been making my own XLR cables, which worked out great (took a lot of times though) and they are a huge improvement over the Monoprice cables I was using (which I started to have multiple failures in them--they were cheap and that's what you get). I'm going to make my own power cables next at the exact length that I need to clean up wire clutter in my rack. I'm also going to make my own RCA cables next for the same reason, even though I don't have many analog cables left.
    David Vaughn
    Technical Writer/Blu-ray Reviewer
    Sound and Vision Magazine

  7. #7
    Administrator Tracy Rainwater's Avatar
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    David, you have completed several DIY projects. You've lowered your ceiling, built artwork acoustic panels and recently your screen masking. You should get some type of achievement award.

    What did you use for your XLR cables? It sounds interesting.

  8. #8
    Senior Member David Vaughn's Avatar
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    It's been something that I've wanted to do for a while, but never had the time. Seeing how I was off for 20 days over Christmas, I decided to give it a go. Here's the parts I ordered from Markertek:

    Canare L-4E6S Star-Quad Microphone Cable (66 ft)
    Neutrik NC3FXX-B 3 Pin Female XLR Cable Connector Black/Gold (11)
    Neutrik NC3MXX-B 3 Pin Male Cable Connector XLR Black/Gold (11)
    Tenma 21-1047 Lead-Free Rosin Core Solder - Silver - 6OZ
    Behringer CT100 3-Mode Microprocessor Controlled Cable Tester

    I almost "winged" it without the Cable tester, but I'm glad I bought it. Sure enough, nearly half my Monoprice cables were beginning to fail due to the cheap wires that they use. Total cost of the cables was about $185 (including the tester), for about $17 per cable (before adding Techflex and Shrink Tubing, which I already had on hand from other projects). Take the tester out, then about $14 each. I'll be using the tester in the future so its cost will drop over time. In the process of doing these cables, I also was able to color code each of them (L/R) as well as color and label them for where they go using a Brother Label Maker, which I've had for work. Everything is installed now, so I can't take any "pretty" pictures of them, but I'll snap a couple of pictures from behind the rack.

    They sound great, especially since they aren't failing like the Monoprice cables were, and weren't that hard to make. It took me a long time to make the first one, but by the 11th one, I was down to about 35 minutes to solder both ends along with making them pretty with the Techflex. The added benefit is I don't have a massive gaggle of excess cable behind my pre/pro now because each cable is the proper length.

    I ordered the parts for my power cables today (just under $100), but that doesn't include the 10/3 cable (just the connectors). For those I ordered the parts from a company I'd never tried before called "Handmade Electronics." They had better pricing than Parts Express by over 40%. I ordered these:

    3 Wattgate 5266i Edison- black $16.00 $48.00
    (5-WAT-5266iB)


    2 Wattgate 320i high current IEC- black $32.00 $64.00
    (5-WAT-320iHCB)

    I'm going to get my 10/3 cable from the excess cable that I cut off my PF60 power conditioner, since that damn thing has a 10-12 foot cord on it (which is why I ordered 3 "male" plugs and only 2 "female" plugs). Once I cut the power cord down, I plan on using the excess to make short runs to my amps (about 18-20 inches each). This is a big difference versus the 6 foot "stock" cords that come with the amps.

    There's so much information out there on how to DIY things, I plan on going that route whenever I can. This summer I'm probably going to replace my Coax subwoofer cable that runs under my house with an XLR one (my HSU has an XLR input), not for any particular reason....just because I can

    One last thing...along with the power cables, I plan on finally hooking up my MiniDSP that I got for Christmas and integrating it into my system. I'll probably write up a web article for S&V on that project though
    David Vaughn
    Technical Writer/Blu-ray Reviewer
    Sound and Vision Magazine

  9. #9
    Senior Member
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    Yeah, I can take some pics. The kit is one of those Chinese kits, the OpAmps are directly from Burson. Which reminds me, I can now write a review about them (compared them to their old v4, Muse 01, OPA2132, Muse 8820, and LME49720 OpAmps).

    I'll get you a link for the kit if I can still find it (bought it in 2015 on ebay). The hardest thing about this dac was getting the drivers to work!!!!! The only drivers that I could find that worked well initially were the Thesycon USB drivers - but they add a beep for every 90 seconds of music. Support for the kit wasn't that good, but I went to DIYAudio.com and found a few people with the same kit having a similar problem. One guy found a set of XMOS Audio 2.0 drivers that worked well!!! I found those drivers back in October and now the DAC runs smoothly!!!!
    Infinity Composition Prelude P-FR L/R, Infinity Overture 1 center, Front hgts, and side surrounds, Infinity FPS-1000 Rear surround and rear hgt, Acoustic Elegance P1152 subs (x2) SVS 16-46 (x2), (x2) B&K Reference 200.7 power amp, Denon AVR X4300H, Yamaha MX-830, Behringer NU4-6000, 8 core HTPC W/Blu-ray W/Jriver nVidia 1060gtx 6gb,Hybrid tube DAC W/Burson Vivid, Silicondust HDHR3 Prime, TCL 4K 55 inch LCD, Vivitek HK2288 4K Projector

  10. #10
    Senior Member
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    I put a miniDSP into my system as well. One of the best things I've bought...ever!!!!
    Infinity Composition Prelude P-FR L/R, Infinity Overture 1 center, Front hgts, and side surrounds, Infinity FPS-1000 Rear surround and rear hgt, Acoustic Elegance P1152 subs (x2) SVS 16-46 (x2), (x2) B&K Reference 200.7 power amp, Denon AVR X4300H, Yamaha MX-830, Behringer NU4-6000, 8 core HTPC W/Blu-ray W/Jriver nVidia 1060gtx 6gb,Hybrid tube DAC W/Burson Vivid, Silicondust HDHR3 Prime, TCL 4K 55 inch LCD, Vivitek HK2288 4K Projector

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