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Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by joe skinner, Apr 6, 2006.
How hard would it be to build one's own tube amp, even if its just a small wattage job?
I guess it would depend on your electronics skills/knowledge of components/ability to construct safely.
Tell us a bit more about your background - It may be simple for someone who does it everyday.. impossible for someone who is afraid to wire a plug. Maybe a bit of a daft question?
For example, I have a *good* knowledge of electronics and would be happy using schematic diagrams as building blocks to build my own amp. I'm no genius and wouldn't necessarily be able to create something off the top of my head.
If you're asking that question, I'll wager that it will be quite hard.
I've had to rebuild some tube amps that we use for our RF power supply in the lab. I could certainly wire up an audio tube amp from a circuit diagram. To design a good sounding tube amplifier would be a totally different story. I'm sure I'd have to do plenty of reading and prototyping before I'd get anything that sounded reasonably good.
Also, a one-off tube amp is going to be quite expensive. For electronic components things get radically cheaper as you buy in bulk. The unit cost of some items will be double the unit cost if you're buying one as opposed to if you are buying 10 or 25 or more. It may not be prohibitively expensive, depending on what exactly you're building.
Also, with a tube amp you can be dealing with potentially lethal voltages. If you haven't built any electronics or done a fair amount of wiring then a tube amp is, IMO, a dangerous first project.
I suggest starting with a preamp, and starting with a Class-A JFET design. The FET preamp will have pretty much the same topology as a tube preamp, with similar distortion characteristics -- close enough to learn the basics before graduating to tubes -- but using cheaper parts and running at a safe voltage. The forum www.diyaudio.com might be a good place to look for info, in their "musical instruments" section.
check that out for info
There's some good stuff at www.bottlehead.com (though some weird pictures ) - though most of it is geared towards the home audio market.
They appear to be comprehensive kits. It might be a good way to get your feet wet!
Warning! There is not nudity on this website, but it really cuts it close. You may not want to look if you are at work and want to stay on the safe side. Their website, like I said is... weird. Just figured I would pass on that disclaimer before people go a-clickin'.
Another fair place to look while researching your tube project....
start with a kit, a Champ is a dany or an AX84
Best of Luck,