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  1. #1
    Super Wammer Dik Dolan's Avatar
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    Ayup folks.

    I just started building the new World Designs preamp and phono kit (with external PSU). It's taken a while.. WD were still finishing the instructions CDrom, and are still waiting for the MC stepup transformers.

    With typical timing, my printer had died just as I needed to print out the PDF's. A local print shop quoted me £25 !!!! to print out the 48 pages. I said a rude word.I then spent most of the morning walking from Maplins to Aldi to TWO local small pc shops, to buy a cheapo printer (and I really really don't like going outside....) None of 'em had any sub £50 printers in "Try again next week mate". The local college annex I tried said "sorry, only registered students can use the pc's". I said another rude word, then walked back home and had a cuppa. The walk from the workshop (ok, kitchen) to the living room to read/solder/read/solder/read etc would do me good, I reckoned.

    I've started with the PSU..... Construction was straightforward, apart from a couple of things. A quick post on the WD forum soon got a reply that sorted a point or two in the instructions that wereconfusing me (they were typo's), but also pointed out that they hadn't sent me a couple of resistors that I would need.... they sent 'em next day. The instructions are really foolproof, and even when I managed to mis-read a bit, a quick phonecall to the helpline got an instant and helpful reply, with Andy happy to answer any question no matter how dumb.

    THe PSU took me about 6 hours to put together (prolly spent 3 of those walking back 'n forth)=) The psu3 is basically the same as the older WAD psu11 (same pcb) but with a slightly different decoupling arrangement for the HT lines (so i'm told)..I just go by the pretty pictures and wurds. A couple of minor points: The power switch shaft was a little too big for the knob, but a quick rub with some sandpaper fixed that. 4 diodes had been changed from the older psu, and the legs were a little too large to go thru the pcb holes...so I used pcb pins, no big deal. Andy said that in future all pcb's will have those holes drilled a little larger.

    Plugged it in and switched it on.......... and nothing. No smoke, no sparks, no fuse blowing. Then the power LED lit. YAY !! Measured the voltages carefully (one hand behind my back, one probe clipped to the earth, only using one hand to poke about with. All voltages reading a little high, but within tollerences. Fook me, it works=)

    My camera is crap, so a bit pointless taking 100's of closeups (my camera is even more short sighted than me) but here is one.






    Tune in next time for the pre3 build bonanza.......

    "My god, it's full of arse"

  2. #2
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    Post imported post

    Hi Dik,

    Thanks for posting this, my plans for a PRE III set-up should have been kicking in around now but unfortunately (ish) the other half has decided we really must take a holiday to China next month so we can be present at one of her best freinds wedding. I'm keen to go but it does mean that June/July available finances are now fully spoken for and my PRE will have to eait a little while.

    I'll try to get my solder fix by proxy as I watch your build!

    cheers
    Dave

  3. #3
    Super Wammer Dik Dolan's Avatar
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    No problem Dave =)
    I am now half way through constructing the pre3. It's going together well, the instructions really are nicely done. Having said that, I can't find the section where it tells me to connect the cable from the selector switch to the relay pcb, but the included photos show what goes where, so hopefully no dig deal. I had to enlarge the mounting holes in the case for the output transformers (4 mm bolts wouldn't fit in 3 mm holes=) The output transformers are really massive! but there is enough room, everything is nicely layed out.
    Hopefully I'll have the pre3 finished today- I can't wait to hear her sing=)
    "My god, it's full of arse"

  4. #4
    Super Wammer Dik Dolan's Avatar
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    The pre3 build is nearly done, just need to make up the umbilical lead, then I can start testing, but I'm knackered and it's getting dark... I dont fancy poking around inside it when it's live in the poor light.. I know I'm a wuss, but I'm a live wuss=)


    Hopefully just some tidying up to do., then I can start on the phonostage.... I hope the stepups won't be long=)
    "My god, it's full of arse"

  5. #5
    Super Wammer Dik Dolan's Avatar
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    Post imported post

    IT LIVES!
    All voltages checked out fine, so a bit of tidying up to the wiring, a spot of hotmelt glue to hold the LED in place, solder the relay board to the sockets, put the lid, knobs and feet on and plug it in..
    First impressions are very good. The pre3 is virtually silent- a tiny bit of hum from the right hand speaker with my ear held close, but absolutely inaudible from a couple of feet away. It has bags of grip and dynamics even from cold. Treble sounded a touch prominent for the first few minutes, then everything evened out beautifully (could have been my amp warming up too- not used it for a few weeks).

    I'ts a bit early to give a detailed impression- only listened to it for 30 minutes so far- but my initial random thoughts are: drive, grip, clarity, speed, dynamics, lack of harshness and BASS=)
    One minor thing, the led of the psu3 glows orange, the pre3's glows red then changes to green as the heater voltages come up- is this normal for the psu3 to be orange or have I cocked it up?

    A BIG thankyou to WD for a fabulous kit, well done chaps.
    Phono3 build next, hope the stepups come soon=)
    "My god, it's full of arse"

  6. #6
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    Post imported post

    Looking Good Dik!

    Can't give you anything solid on the PSU Led (tried posting on WD forums?) but I have to say it doesn't sound right to me - I would have expected the PSU LED to follow the red ---- green pattern too.

    good luck sorting that one, if indeed it needs sorting, can't be anything much if your voltages check out OK.

    Looking forward to seeing the phono build next!

    cheers
    Dave

  7. #7
    Super Wammer Dik Dolan's Avatar
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    Post imported post

    Thanks Dave=)

    Thinking about it, I'm pretty sure it is supposed to be orange. It is a tri-colour red/greenLED, but the instructions say to wire up two of the led's legs together, then connect to the pcb, using one wire to the joined up pair, and another to the middle leg...so I can't see how it *could* change colour.

    I might try disconnecting one of the joined up legs and see if it then just glows green....or red. I cut the legs down so now have no way of knowing which is which, easily.
    I also cut 'n pasted this build on the WD forum, but I think most of the regulars have been away at "eggfest"=)

    edit to add, just found this:

    The most popular type of tri-colour LED has a red and a green LED combined in one package with three leads. They are called tri-colour because mixed red and green light appears to be yellow and this is produced when both the red and green LEDs are on.
    The diagram shows the construction of a tri-colour LED. Note the different lengths of the three leads. The centre lead (k) is the common cathode for both LEDs, the outer leads (a1 and a2) are the anodes to the LEDs allowing each one to be lit separately, or both together to give the third colour.

    http://www.kpsec.freeuk.com/components/led.htm



    so it's yellow, not orange.......dang colour blindness will be the death of me one day=)
    "My god, it's full of arse"

  8. #8
    WYLD STALLYNS JPG's Avatar
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    Post imported post

    Nice work there, Dik.
    Be excellent to each other. And... PARTY ON, DUDES!

  9. #9
    Super Wammer Dik Dolan's Avatar
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    Thanks JPG=)
    Been having a good listen today...
    The pre3 really is stunning. Compared to my tvc the pre3 doesnt seem to lose much if anything in detail (going by memory, I haven't listened to the tvc for a few weeks), but it adds impact and drive. Music is more involving, it grabs your attention and refuses to let go. Tonal colour and finesse might not be quite up there with the tvc yet, but until I do back to back comparisons I can't be 100%positive... besides the pre3 only has a few hours on it yet, I'd guess it still needs a few more hours for all it's qualities to come through.
    Seperation and imaging are on a par with the tvc, in other words, fooking excellent. The way it plays bass is really really good. Tight, tunefull with slam , with real foot tapping rhythm. Vocals are clear, with oodles of seperation in crappy multi-tracked recordings. Treble is sooo smooth and clear, but with real extension and impact when a cymbol is hit hard, for example.

    When I ordered these kits, I mainly wanted the phono stage kit, because I've used my EAR 834p for probably getting on for 10 years now, and felt like a change/upgrade. The EAR is a great phonostage, but maybe a little *too* valvey- always nice, but not really exciting, if you get what I mean. Anyway, to power the phono3, I needed the psu3 kit... which also powers the pre3, so I thought "For another £300 I could get the pre3".

    I've never had a *good* active preamp before, and had read that the phono3 might have trouble driving a tvc, so ... Boy am I glad I did, it's truly fabulous... and I know there is more to come yet with a few tweeks. Some nice PIO (from WD, of course) coupling caps, shuntmodding the alps pot or trying a dact, etc.

    If the phono kit is anywhere near as good as the pre3 I will be very very happy. I'll start on the build tomorrow, today I will be mostly listening to music=), beside, still not got the stepups yet, and not sure how well my Lyra Dorian will work into a MM stage.
    To anyone considering going for the new pre3, all I can say is DO IT, it's a fabulous preamp.
    "My god, it's full of arse"

  10. #10
    Super Wammer Dik Dolan's Avatar
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    Halfway thru putting together the phono kit and..........

    aw bugger.
    Fitted pcb pins, valve bases, resistors...came to start fitting the capacitors, and..... the pcb I was sent was "issue 1" the instructions and photos are for "issue 11". most of the cap positions/markings are different. Quick phonecall to WD HQ, and they are sending me an issue 11 board. They still don't know when the stepups will arrive either.

    A less patient man than I would be starting to feel a tiny bit peeved....
    "My god, it's full of arse"

  11. #11
    Founding Wammer jonjin's Avatar
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    Great posting! The combination of valve pre and 300B power must be really sublime! I was just wondering how much difference in sound between an active valve and a passive pre. Is it different type of sound or more detail, imaging, control etc... ?

    JJ

  12. #12
    Super Wammer Dik Dolan's Avatar
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    The active pre has given the music more ooomph. It sounds more dynamic, punchier. For years I used the EAR straight into the power amp, using the volume control on the EAR. When I added the tvc it made music more cerebral, having lighter touch, and very smooth and clear with a bigger better focussed image.
    Swapping the tvc for the WD pre3 hasn't diminished detail that I can tell (without doing back to back comparisions) but it has given the music more zest and power. PRAT seems better too, and dynamic contrasts *feel* more pronounced. Top and bottom end seem to go higher/lower with more weight and slam.


    "Air" might be a little less, but it's early days yet. Soundstage is probably on a par with the tvc- big, deep and wide (relatively, I listen in a small room).

    The pre3 and the TVC do many things similarly- both sound very smooth and clear with no nasty hard edge unless it's in the recording- probably a transformer thing. The WD pre uses HUGE output transformers to drive whatever it's plugged into.


    The tvc has more drive and weight than a pot-in-a-box type passive. I briefly tried one a few years ago and wasnt too impresed. it was detailed and open, but not enough weight to the sound, in my system at the time. As ever, it's all system and taste dependent, thereare no universal rules here.
    "My god, it's full of arse"

  13. #13
    Super Wammer Dik Dolan's Avatar
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    Received a jiffy bag from WD this morning. Got the replacement pcb AND all new bits to populate it with, a nice touch.
    In my opinion, it's things like this (how well companys deal with mistakes/ooopsies/ moaning customers) that makes the difference. WD have been superb.
    Still not got me stepups, mind... but that's their suppliers, not WD
    "My god, it's full of arse"

  14. #14
    Super Wammer Dik Dolan's Avatar
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    WD phono3 up and running=)
    Even without the stepups *cough cough* there seems to be plenty of gain. (lyra dorian 0.6mv MC) Only had a quick listen so far at pretty low volumes, but sounds promising. I just plonked all 3 boxes (pre, psu and phono) next to each other, on a too small cabinet, but hum isnt a problem... there is a little, but I havent tried connecting any earth leads or seperating the boxes at all yet. The hum that is there is still very low- I can't hear it unless my ear is close to the speaker.

    It did seem to pick up a "crack" when an old noisy light switch was errrr switched, but as I say, I haven't tried earthing anything yet (apart from the mains to psu cable- that has the mains earth connected, of course.
    It's a bit early to give a proper assessment of it's sound but initial impression is decidely positive. Loads of deep bass that is textured and tuneful- seems fast too. Clear mids and clean treble, imaging seems deep and wide, with better focus than the EAR.

    Thanks to WD for a great set of kits, and for the very prompt help in sorting the minor problems I had.

    I can and will thoroughly recommend the kits and WD to whoever will listen=)
    "My god, it's full of arse"

  15. #15
    Super Wammer Dik Dolan's Avatar
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    Time for an update.
    The WD stepup transformers arrived early July. The wait was worth it, they are seriously beefy look more like small pipe bombs. I wired 'em up for x10 gain, and oooooooooo me likey. Not sure if it's the different loading they gave to my cartridge or the extra gain or what, but the sound definately improved, seemed to gain more body and colour and made music more exciting to listen to.

    This weekend I swapped the "orange drop" coupling and output caps in the phono and the pre for Soniqs SAX polyprops- again another nice improvement. Sounds even clearer, small background details are easier to pick out and absolutely no hint of harshness. Dynamics seem improved too.

    1st record I played was Clapton unplugged, at the end of the 1st track, he plays quieter and quieter. I hadn't really noticed this before, thought it was someone playing with the faders, now it was obviously Eric=)

    Next to try is the 3.18us mod in the phono and the shunt mod for the volume pot.... oh and cart loading experiments, and valve swapping and, and....

    The WD pre/phono kits are seriously good, and respond well to tweaks and upgrades. I think I'm going to be using these for a long long time=)


    "My god, it's full of arse"

  16. #16
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    Post imported post

    Looks very cool DD.

  17. #17
    Super Wammer Dik Dolan's Avatar
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    Thanks Murray=)
    I'll sort out a better stand for the pre/phono eventually... might even move the amp onto the bottom shelf and put the WD stuff in its place, but at the moment I still have tweaks and upgrades to play with so easy access is preferable=)
    I still havent done any upgrades to the amp yet- I have a long list for that too, but so far it's easily good enough to show front end differences.
    This DIY lark is fun, even for numpties like me that can only follow instructions/pictures=)
    "My god, it's full of arse"

  18. #18
    Super Wammer Dik Dolan's Avatar
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    Just done the 3.18us mod.
    Another nice improvement, gains seem to be in openness and treble definition. Imaging seems "bigger" with more front-to-back layering and focus. No downsides that I can tell. How much better can it get=) For the price of 4 resistors from maplins, a very very nice upgrade.
    "My god, it's full of arse"

  19. #19
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    Post imported post

    try it with vishays ;)

  20. #20
    Super Wammer Dik Dolan's Avatar
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    I just might... or audionote tants or shinkos=) Still got to experiment with loading, and the shunt mod for the alps in the pre3. Then I'll probably try some of the expensive bits=)
    At the moment every time I play a record I'm hearing stuff I haven't noticed before or imaging improvements, or stuff that just makes you go "oooooooooooooooooo"
    "My god, it's full of arse"

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