pmcuk

How many potential kit builders are here on 2 Channel?

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I've built various pairs of speakers over the years, initially prompted by the crap quality of the bookshelf speakers that came with my starter system bought in Tottenham Court Road in about 1972 - they were basically a couple of no-name twin cone ellipticals in a sealed box and sounded distinctly awful. I had heard about Lowther speakers, and lived just a few miles from them at the time, so bought a set of plans for the "Dual Position Acousta" and built them out of chipboard. It was another 3 or 4 years before I had the space to use them, and bought a pair of PM6A drivers to fit in them. I "upgraded" these a few years later by building a pair of Bicor 200 cabs - again from Lowther plans - a much more compact design than the DP Acoustas and sounded pretty good. These got sold off to a friend when I bought a pair of Celef Domestic II speakers which served for many years, until, remarkably, I entered a competition in one of the HiFi mags and won a pair of Japanese bookshelf speakers which replaced the Celefs on the grounds that they took up much less space in the lounge. They were never in the same league as the Celefs but stayed in place for a few years until I re-connected with the friend that had bought the Bicors and discovered that they had been languishing in his rather damp shed for a few years, and yes, if I wanted to pick them up, I could have them back. Not surprisingly, the surrounds were shot but the cones and voice-coils were intact, so replacement foams were ordered and installed, and they were back in working order. The Lowther theme continued for a while, initially I bought a new pair of PM6C drivers, then acquired a pair of PM2C that needed a refurb. The PM2C's were incredibly sensitive - high 90 dB's - and sounded pretty good. I experimented with a further build, based on the Acousta design but with the speaker firing upwards, but these never really sounded "right" and became firewood. I spotted a pair of factory made Bicor cabs on Ebay, and these replaced my home-built ones (I had veneered them, but very badly). The Bicors came with me and Ed to the one and only Harrogate show, where we paired them with his sub and a DSpeaker Antimode DSP unit to match them up - the sound, especially considering the very strange room layout, was surprisingly good. This was a bit of a turning point, because it demonstrated what could be done with active and DSP, so the next build used the Lowther PM2's as mid/HF units and added a pair of Tang Band 8" woofers in a ported bass bin, with a miniDSP 2x4 HD as the crossover/correction unit. These for the first time gave me something approaching the sound I was looking for - the Lowthers never had enough bass weight on their own, and their fabled rising HF needed taming, all of which was possible with the DSP. The next iteration was to replace the Lowther drivers with Alpair drivers, keeping the same cabs and bass bins, and adding Dirac capability to the miniDSP - another step change in SQ came from that. At the same time I acquired a pair of Tannoy "In Wall" speakers - you hack a hole in your plasterboard and the speaker clips in, using the void behind as the cabinet. These were interesting because the drivers were 8" Dual Concentric units - the point source approach appealed, especially as it perhaps wouldn't come with the attendant downsides of full range units like the Lowthers. The Tannoys went in a simple stand-mounted ported box, again using miniDSP tech for crossover/correction, and made a pretty good account of themselves - the top end was better than the Alpair setup but they always seemed lacking in the bass department. So, the next iteration was a pair of 3-way floorstanding cabs, with a separate small compartment housing the Tannoy DC's for mid and HF duty, and two 8" Tannoy woofers in each cab for bass duty. This setup is, in my view, the best of my speakers to date, by a good margin. The Alpair/Tang Band speakers are still doing good service in the lounge, mostly providing high quality audio for the TV, and the Tannoys are the development system in the study. They were due to go with me to Kegworth this year, but...

Since starting the active game, I have mostly been using Class D amps, the first ones were plate amps bought from Xkitz in the US, but more recently, I have been building IcePower-based amps - these can be bought as un-cased modules which you then install in your own case, and they work very well indeed. The Tannoy 3-way build uses four of them so there is a dedicated amp channel for each drive unit (2x woofers, 1x mid, 1x tweeter).

My most recent build has been converting my workshop in the roof of my garage into a 2.1 speaker system - I bought a very cheap pair of Keff "Eggs", ripped out the drivers/crossovers, mounted these in-wall along with a pair of 5" woofers that were lying around, and these are fed via a very inexpensive 2.1 plate amp - these are now on Ebay for around the £18 mark, and for a simple workshop system they work just fine.

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I went DIY only last year, by getting a knowledgeable gentleman to build my speakers, instead of buying something commercially available.  They spank my PMC 20.26 out of the room straight away. But I started this with a very firm eye on the future I wanted to head into. Which was to avoid buying speakers again and again. 

In the long term, I will be adding super tweeters and big subs on top of the present speakers ,on their own isolating stands. By the way I will be going fully active too. So Iam glad to have my hands full for the foreseeable future, as otherwise I keep having an itch to buy boxes I don't necessarily need :(

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I started on the diy in the mid 90s, restoring and modding vintage amps then a kit amp, then building my 1st se amp.. it was scary at the time !

I started building speakers just after that, lowther back  horns in various sizes, then alot of open baffle types.

I've many other hobbies so time is always an issue..

Edited by steve 57
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I became aware of IPL Accoustics speaker kits quite a few years ago. The floorstanding transmission line models were one of my upgrade options when my budget was tight. But in the end I felt it was too much of a risk, and really wanted to try a commercial speaker north of £3k.

But I really fancy building some speakers as I have always been quite handy although I am busy with work and have a list of home d.i.y stuff to do first.

The plan would be to build a centre speaker and front bookshelf pair to replace my MA Bronze models in my home cinema setup. 

I'll get there one day!

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Super Wammer

Built my first valve amp at 12, was “working” in a TV repair shop age 13. Built a number of experimental project over years, then became a professional hardware/software engineer. Now back to designing and building valve amps some 50+ years later, full circle except now I know what I am doing lol

jessica xx

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I built a stereo receiver as part of my apprenticeship back in the mid 70s. 2.5 watts of pure power into 15 ohm elliptical speakers.

My DIY efforts over the years have been mostly phono stages up until a year or so ago.

I now have DIY Kit standmount speakers, a DIY first watt M2X power amp, an Elekit Valve Pre and various phono stages of both MM or MC flavour.

Edit ***  I forgot the 4 DIY headphone amps too, plus the Nelson Pass ACA power amp (8 watts per ch of Class A) and the DIY B1 pre and B1k pre. ***

Edited by Batty
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Super Wammer

Electronics is absolutely not my thing ..although I could rewire a house at 15 thanks to going on jobs as a labourer with my dad during school holidays ..

Having been in the coatings industry and still am after 45 years my forte is finishing...whatever the substrate , wood ,plastic,metal..did a lot of development in the late 70s and 80s on wood finishes and went to several uk speaker manufacturers on tech service ..most notably wharfdale , mission, AR and the likes

I love real wood. I enjoy bringing an unloved pair of speakers back to life ..Done lots over the years and currently in the process of working on the mission 700 series of speakers , up to the big 4 way floor standers 730s

a pair of recently refurbished 710s and Gale 401

B76B53AC-D154-4D44-A91E-16C386691EF4.jpeg

3B5E1045-A78D-4C01-93EF-3DE1A8D7FD19.jpeg

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50 years for speakers, nearly the same for TTs, 45 years for amp kits (Hafler and JLH), 35-40 years for electronics from plans (inc. etching pcbs), 30 years for cloning amps, about 5 years for DHT pre-amps (with a great deal of help from Simon Shilton and diyAudio).  Currently building a no compromise Lenco L75 ( or as little as possible).  I have no training whatsoever in electronics, and for most of my life there was no access to the internet, and very little available in the way of measurements.

My current QUAD 2805 speakers are the only pair of main speakers I haven't built myself.  And they are for sale!

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I'm in the process of building my first pair of speaker cabinets for some Mark Audio drivers - got them working, but need to veneer and seal them. It's been a real pleasure to create something for myself - I'm on the edge of the building trade so do things for others, but not for me! I'll post pictures once done. 

I'd love to build an amp but have absolutely no idea about anything so if there is a good guide book to help me through a kit I'd love to know. Thing is, it's got to be worth doing, as I don't want a spare amp that never gets used. A valve amp could be a nice result.. 

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If you need a book, I'd suggest Morgan Jones "Valve Amplifiers". It's helped many a builder, and I've read it countless times. It has most of what's needed -  a good grounding in simple English from one of the valve gurus. Don't bother with the second volume, on building Valve Amps. Just the main book. You absolutely need the basics. 

You want to hang out on DIY Audio. And read as much as you can of Bartola Valves website. Ale is another valve guru and very up-to-date and experimental. Much more on DHTs. 

If you're any good at Excel, I strongly suggest making some spreadsheets of the common formulae like Ohms Law. I couldn't exist without my Excel spreadsheets, which have got very numerous over the years. They have all the equivalents in measurements and currencies, plus formulae for VA of transformers, "find the second resistor" for 2 resistors in parallel, operating points, etc. etc. Indispensable!

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Super Wammer

This thread has spurred me into action finally!

It's been 25 years since I did any electrical theory stuff at uni so I've gone back to basics and have started looking at a very simple intro course on youtube.

going to brush my skills up and then I'm going to make something in the new year!

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Super Wammer

I second the Morgan Jones book, also “tube CAD journal”. For the later you do need a little more knowledge, but if have an idea the journal has about 20 possible designs for it and gives all the pros and cons  

Jessica xx

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Not really a kit builder but I'm building a dedicated music server/transport based on a roon nucleus but at a fraction of the cost.

I'd also like to build some Wilmslow audio full range 3 ways (active or passive)

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On 10/11/2020 at 15:38, pmcuk said:

If you need a book, I'd suggest Morgan Jones "Valve Amplifiers". It's helped many a builder, and I've read it countless times. It has most of what's needed -  a good grounding in simple English from one of the valve gurus. Don't bother with the second volume, on building Valve Amps. Just the main book. You absolutely need the basics. 

You want to hang out on DIY Audio. And read as much as you can of Bartola Valves website. Ale is another valve guru and very up-to-date and experimental. Much more on DHTs. 

If you're any good at Excel, I strongly suggest making some spreadsheets of the common formulae like Ohms Law. I couldn't exist without my Excel spreadsheets, which have got very numerous over the years. They have all the equivalents in measurements and currencies, plus formulae for VA of transformers, "find the second resistor" for 2 resistors in parallel, operating points, etc. etc. Indispensable!

98% of that is totally over my head. Guess I may be aiming a bit high  at this stage....:S

However, I may see if I can find a used copy of the book just to see how little I know.

Hmm, guess I may be sticking to the physical side of building rather than the electrical for a while..

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Super Wammer

I have been playing with electricity since I was about 7 years old when I was given my first soldering iron, a Henley Solon 25w by a friend of the family who was an electrician and an electronics engineer.

He also would instal temporary PA systems for gigs and gatherings in football stadiums. I had the privilege of being his labourer quite a few times, of which I thoroughly enjoyed every moment, from the laying out of miles of cables, to learning how to connect it all up to the mixers and power amplifiers.

I was only about 9 at the time and people used to see me behind the bank of Vortexion mixers and power amps and say "What the hell are you. doing" quite a lot.

When I told them I was checking for pin 1 problems and making sure all speakers had the correct transformer installed for 100v line operation, they would wonder off with a bemused expression on their faces and leave me to it :D 

I still build audio electronics, but mainly the digital side of things, mostly Dacs and transports, with various balanced mains units, the odd valve buffer amps and of course ... cables.

I enjoy the theory and will always try to match the listening tests to the design ethos's that are offered.

A few things I have learned:

1, Keep one hand in your pocket when working on anything over 60v

2, Burn in happens, PA systems get louder over a few hours running time, SPL meter and output voltage shows it.

3, Get someone else to look at a circuit before you draw its PCB.

4, The best designed regulator may not be the best sounding one.

5, Listen to new products for a month before deciding if they sound better or worse.

6, Never sell your tools.

7, Never tell how much you spend on a project 😁

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