Aug 23, 2016

DIY audio.

A lot of people like soldering up their own cables or making their own amps, for a fraction of the $ that premade cables sell for (and some reasonable savings on amps etc too).
I'm wondering where kits and tools to undertake these projects belong and if there is interest in them within the MD community. Right here? Tech? Hobbies?
What are other peoples thoughts on this?
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chat7
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I use Shure SE846's with custom earmolds. I love them. Not looking for anything else. BUT, I am distressed by hiss which I'm very sensitive to for some reason. I have noticed that the line out of my new shanling M5 and my old DX50 are very clean relative to the phone out. The line out of the DX50 was also connected to the volume control and so was pretty decent to listen to. The shanlingM5 line out has no attenuation and is, thus, way too loud.

I thought it might be a nice project to make a high quality passive attenuator that can be used on the relatively lower noise line out (or on the phone out if you like). It could possibly have short cables and plugs in and out, or could be some sort of small solid unit that plugs in with a phone out.

I understand that there are some fixed value inline attenuators but that is not so useful for a fixed line out.
I'm using Shure's attenuator but it is not ideal. So improving on that idea...as a DIY... any interest, knowledge, thoughts on the subject?
I like the concept and am interested.
Electronic construction is a hobby... I have a lot of old tube gear that I occasionally restore, but much of the problem is parts availability (especially high voltage capacitors) as well as mechanical issues such as corrosion removal. Custom parts such as multi-tap potentiometers is another big problem. If you are thinking about making up kits for construction, be sure stick to recent designs and common parts.
brian3i
Thats spot on brian 3i. I was thinking of commonly available gear like the BH Crack and that sort of thing. Not the super exotic unobbtainium stuff - although people can always source more exotic components with same electrical value (ie: substitute standard caps for PiO ones) if they want.
A lot of kitters are small businesses and some even have lead times. Not sure if they could handle the volume or even want to provide through MD unless md engaged in kitting and using their leverage to order parts (unobtainium)?

Some "mainstream" kits that might be suitable are:

Garage1217 amps (Ember Polaris Horizon Sunrise etc) - entry level desktop class
PM - Starving student amps - entry level
Diy audio - first watt power amp clones
Sokris DAC - diy r2r dac, smd?
Bottlehead (crack, mainline, upgrades) entry level and summit fi tubes
ECP Torpedo 1,3 high end desktop class tube
AMB MCubed midfi desktop solid state, opamps based - never sold as kits
AMB y1, 1.5, 2 dacs/amps, portable or small desktop class, smd - never sold as kits
Thanks mate. That makes a lot of sense. There must be some kits that would be available in large enough numbers though - I know the popular Crack amp. is discounted if you buy 10 or more, so maybe that uses fairly common tubes. And some tubes are still being manufactured, although they aren't as sought after as the '50s and '60s ones. There are also kits for DACs and SS amps, which can be upgraded with exotic caps and the like, but should still be pretty good with more common parts. Then there are cables - but I guess a "cable kit" is a bit silly when it's simple enough just to buy wire by the meter (or foot) and the appropriate terminals...
My entire equipment collection is DIY except the headphones. At one point the odac and o2 was diy only.

The problem is many builds are designed around unobtainium. Out of production or custom transistors, jfet, bjts, tubes, output transformers etc. There's no substitute for these items without performance sacrifice. Md might not be able to get sufficient quantity to make volume kits.

Example, many builds are based on matched pair Toshiba 2SK170BL 2SJ174BL jfet input stage. You can't get those in mass quantity unless you hoarded them. Thats not to imply that there aren't nice builds that don't have these parts. Selection is much more limited with parts availability factored in
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