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 NEW    Bruce Heran outlines the details and construction of his simple DIY 6DJ8 (ECC88) Tube Hi-Fi Headphone Amplifier Project.

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MC-Step-up-Tranformer.jpg
MC-Step-up-Tranformer.jpgDIY MC Step-up Transformer3273 viewsI the everlasting quest to better audio, I entered the realm of the moving coil phono cartridge with a Denon DL-103. To rise the output voltage of the Denon DL-103, I've build this Step-up transformer with two mic transformer from Edcor , I've use cast iron pipe bend with end plugs to make an electromagnetic shield. RCA connectors are recessed in the back of the pipes which are mounted on a black walnut plinth.

Félix-Antoine (Canada)
Jun 16, 2013
Oatley-K272C-Headamp-Kit.jpg
Oatley-K272C-Headamp-Kit.jpgOatley K272C JAN6418 tube based headphone amp kit1762 viewsIn this build I used bituminized aluminum foil to line the ABS plastic compact enclosures and switched 6.5 mm stereo phone jacks. Only with both source and headphone plugs inserted and the press button switched “on” at the rear will power flow. Wire-wrap wire has been used in the signal path and the battery health LEDs have been brought out to the front of the enclosure. The sound appears to have better bass than previous models but the tubes will ring if struck.

For more info, see the
K272C Oatleys JAN6418 tube based headphone amp\preamp
thread in the forum.

Mark Houston – retro-thermionic
Jun 16, 2013
K-12G-Tube-Ampleifier-Kit-UK.jpg
K-12G-Tube-Ampleifier-Kit-UK.jpgK-12G Tube Amp Kit build from UK3728 viewsHi this is my new build of an S-5 Electronics K-12G tube amplifier. I'm really proud of it and hope it can inspire others.

Transformer covers, knobs, feet, phono plugs and other parts sourced from http://www.mafaudio.com/.
The main transformer case was scratched and they will send another free with my next order. I've found them very easy to deal with. The case is made of pine bought at the local merchants with a plywood top. I used only simple tools.

There are more photos available in my photo library.

Luke Collings
Wiltshire, UK
May 27, 2013
12inch-60L-DIY-Subwoofer.jpg
12inch-60L-DIY-Subwoofer.jpg12-inch 60L Subwoofer2919 viewsThese 60ltr sub-woofers were built to complement my 2-way speakers "VoXDeuX". The drivers are 12" polycones with a free air resonance of 25 Hz. In the box they go down to 31 Hz where they are very active. The drivers are very efficient and are being powered by a compact 50W Class-D amplifier. A stereo feed is taken from the preamp and passed through an electronic filter. The filter has a -3 dB point of 52 Hz and but employs only a -12 dB slope. The internals of the box comprise of six vertical braces. Bitumanised heavy Aluminum foil covers most surfaces. Pockets and chambers are formed at the rear by the bracing which carries additional dampening. These are then covered by a single layer of damping.

Mark Houston – retro-thermionic
May 27, 2013
71-A-Tube-Amplifier-SE.jpg
71-A-Tube-Amplifier-SE.jpgUX-171A Tube Amplifier2299 viewsThis amplifier uses the UX-171-A tube (matched pairs) which are rare and produce only 1/2 W of output power. There are no resistors or capacitors in the audio circuit. A Hammond 124B nickel core inter-stage transformer couples to the power tube. Edcor 10W OPTs in the metal case. Bias is provided by 3 x 9V batteries and 230V by two step-down transformers wired in reverse. The rectifier tube is a very old "80". Power supply filtering is under the top plate (ply timber). The base houses the power transformers and is a 1940s wooden pot stand. The tube amplifier sounds excellent.

For more info, see the 171-A single-ended amplifier thread in the forum.

Mark Houston – retro-thermionic
Apr 22, 2013
Juan-ZCA.jpg
Juan-ZCA.jpgZCA by Juan1991 viewsGood day

I would like to add some of my pictures about my ZCA build from your site and I must say that this amp sound very good.

Regards
Juan
Apr 08, 2013
DIY-Two-Way-Speaker-VoXDeuX.jpg
DIY-Two-Way-Speaker-VoXDeuX.jpg2916 viewsUsing inexpensive components from the local electronics shop I constructed these small bookshelf two-way speakers. They comprise a 5” paper cone mid-woofer and dampened silk done tweeter. On the sides and back is wide internal vertical bracing and bitumanised heavy aluminum foil. This forms bass chambers within the box to control rear reflection. The passive crossover sits external to the speakers and is a Linkwitz-Riley 2nd order with a crossover point set at 3 kHz. The boxes and crossovers are bi-wired using Cat5 cable from the amp to driver. They sound excellent for an AU$350 build.

For more info, see the Simple and Cheap Two Way Speakers thread in the forum.

Mark Houston – retro-thermionic
Mar 24, 2013
Oatley-Electronics-K272B-prototype.jpg
Oatley-Electronics-K272B-prototype.jpgOatley Electronics K272B prototype2324 viewsSoon to be released Oatley Electronics K272B prototype. I recently made two CMoy style, OPA2134 based, HP amps but now prefer the better sounding, harmonically rich, K272B build. Two 9V batteries are used in parallel to prolong battery life and switching phone jacks, power switch and “on” LED ensures it is difficult to accidentally leave the amp on. The enclosure is impact resistant ABS which is heavy Al foil lined. Volume control is via your player and the “6418-B” will drive low impedance phones. Where the CMoy style, chip based, HP amps are clean, clear, bright and clinical, the “6418-B” has a much richer, more harmonically complex sound and a smoother all over delivery. Really it all gets down to taste. I would recommend building the K272B when released around early February 2013. I suggest you upgrade the Oatley passive parts and chip socket to better quality parts.

For more info, see the
Oatley K272B JAN6418 headphone amp and preamp thread in the forum.

Mark Houston – retro-thermionic

Feb 08, 2013
OPA2134-opamp-Headphone-Amplifier.jpg
OPA2134-opamp-Headphone-Amplifier.jpgOPA2134 CMoy Style Portable Headphone Amplifier2784 viewsThis simple headphone amplifier is based on the high performance OPA2134 opamp chip. This headphone amp\driver is good sounding and portable. The schematic is based on the very popular CMoy headphone amp design with some changes in passive parts values. For the power supply I elected to power the amp from two 9V batteries (18V) which provides longer playback time and greater dynamics.

There is only 100 mm of hookup wire in the signal path and all connections are component-2-component on the protoboard. Low ESR 200uF caps and a resistive network provide the differential voltages required to operate the chip without an output capacitor. The brd. is silver soldered with Mil. spec machined chip socket and Russian PIO caps on the input. Power only comes on when both phone jacks have plugs in them and the power switch (at the back) is on. The enclosure is impact resistant and lined with heavy aluminum foil for shielding and enclosure resonance control. The sound is clean and bright with good volume and dynamics. The amp is dead quiet with no signal.
Jan 21, 2013
Dynaco-MKIII-Copper-Steam-Deux.jpg
Dynaco-MKIII-Copper-Steam-Deux.jpgDynaco MKIII - DEUX2917 viewsHere is a photo of my latest build. I call it the DEUX.

These are Dynaco MKIII's with the VTA octal Driver upgrade. I hardwired the driver circuit to avoid using the PC boards under the hood. The bases are made from walnut, and the top plate is 1/8" copper. The bolts are 3/4" brass.

More photos and construction shots here: http://blog.coppersteam.com/steampunk-art/deux-final/

Mike Cochran
Key West, Florida. USA
Jan 17, 2013
C3m-Tube-Preamp-Menatzchim.jpg
C3m-Tube-Preamp-Menatzchim.jpg"Menatzchim" - C3m Tube Preamplifier2870 viewsThis C3m tube preamplifier uses the same power supply I have used in my last dozen preamp builds. An external 24VAC 1A wall wart is stepped up to 250VAC by using a step down transformer backwards. Double filtration and a DC filament supply ensure a dead quiet preamp. Wire wrap wire is used for signal hookup wire and heavy duty gold plated RCAs are employed. No shielded wire or PCB is used. An Alps blue velvet pot is on the output for attenuation. Jensen Copper, paper and oil caps with silver leads are used on the output. Three sets of input RCAs are selected by two small power switches.

The sound stage is extremely deep and voice and instruments have a uncanny natural sound and feel about them. With symphonic pieces you get the unnerving feeling you are in row twelve and right in the center. I would highly recommend the construction of this preamp.

For more info, see the C3m preamp thread on the discussion forum.

Mark Houston – retro-thermionic
Dec 31, 2012
4SUTea_I_retro.jpg
4SUTea_I_retro.jpg4SUTea - Super Simple Single Stage (4S) Tube preamp2892 views4SUTea is another Super Simple Single Stage (4S) Tube preamp that I have built. This one features single board construction with PS and amplifier together and no PCB. All housed in a Twinings timber Tea Box: Bitumanised aluminum foil controls enclosure resonance and Russian paper in oil caps link the modulated HT to the real world. Silver solder is used throughout. Heavy duty high grade gold plated RCAs grace the back and all is powered by a 24V 1A plug pack. There are two switchable inputs, Alps blue velvet pot and black chromed solid brass knob.

See the project page 4S Universal Preamp for 12A?7 Valves.

Mark Houston (Australia)
retro-thermionic
mwhouston: retro-thermionic
Dec 18, 2012
6N7-Tube-Preamp-Heavy-Metal.jpg
6N7-Tube-Preamp-Heavy-Metal.jpg6N7 tube preamp (Heavy Metal)2875 viewsConstruction is in a timber box. There are three switchable RCA inputs and power is supplied by an external 18V 2.2A AC power pack. Internally 255V is developed with a linear PS and regulated 12VDC for the heaters which are wired in series.

An Alps blue velvet potentiometer is fitted at the output for attenuation control with a fine solid brass knob to compliment the gold right-angle RCA jacks, name plate and ventilation holes. Wire wrap wire is used in the signal path. The power supply and amplifier are on separate circuit boards. Bitumanised heavy aluminum foil is used to line sections of the timber box for resonance control.

For more info, see the 6N7 metal tube preamp thread on the discussion forum.

Mark Houston – retro-thermionic
Dec 04, 2012
SynergyII-Cu-LM3875-Gainclone.jpg
SynergyII-Cu-LM3875-Gainclone.jpgSynergyII\Cu - LM3875 Gainclone2470 viewsSynergyII\Cu started with 3.6kg of 100% very thick copper plate. The enclosure was selected, a 1U, 19" rack mount. The challenge was to build a pure Gainclone with its three resistors and simple 1500uF storage capacitors in a compact 1U enclosure. Everything had to fit in this tiny space including two 48VAC toroidal transformers for the dual mono supply, The LM3875 amplifier weighs 9.6 kg. The sound is clear, clean and solid with bass extended and very controlled.

See the original Synergy LM3875 Gainclone Amplifier (Chip Amp) project page.

Mark Houston – retro-thermionic
Oct 18, 2012
Fostex-FE206En-Double-Bass-Reflex-Speakers.jpg
Fostex-FE206En-Double-Bass-Reflex-Speakers.jpgFostex FE206En Double Bass-Reflex Speakers4167 viewsThe finish is satin black stipple and the grills are held in place with four rare earth button magnets. Easy to pop on and off. The stipple effect was produced with a roller going over the fresh paint a number of times as it dried. The drivers huge magnets have bitumanised aluminum foil dampening attached and the internal wiring is two stands of lightly twisted wire wrap wire to each binding post. The top chamber is lined (but not stuffed) with Dacron but the bottom chamber is empty. There is no crossover in these fullrange speakers. Efficiency is 96dB at 8ohms impedance so they work well with flea power tube amps. Sitting higher than the tweeter (wizzer cone) the sound is quite natural with just a touch of forwardness in the mid-range. The speakers not only look stunning they sound excellent for a $500 spend.

For full details see the Fostex FE206En Double Bass-Reflex Speaker project page.

Mark Houston – retro-thermionic
Sep 18, 2012
retro-EL34-SE-UL.jpg
retro-EL34-SE-UL.jpg2741 viewsThe enclosure base is made using Australian Spotted Gum and the power transformers and choke are from Hammond. The audio output transformers (OPT) are from Edcor (15W XSE open frame type series) and reside in the base and are shock mounted. The feet are filled with lead sinkers for resonance control. A CLCRC filter network ensures the amp performs dead quietly and has an extremely high head room. Frequency response is to 40kHz and power is 5W RMS into 8ohms. Russian paper in oil caps are used in the inter-stage and bipolar caps and low ESR caps are used in the cathode bypass. Silver plated wire-wrap wire hooks up the gold plated RCAs to the nearby 6N1P and connects the secondary of the OPTs to the binding post. The paint work is epoxy enamel on 2mm high grade Al plate and component-2-component wiring. This is a fast amp with a huge sound stage and a rich lush EL34 sound.

For more info, see the Pimp my tube amp thread on the discussion forum.

Mark Houston – retro-thermionic
Sep 17, 2012
Don-SE-807-Tube-Amplifier.jpg
Don-SE-807-Tube-Amplifier.jpgSingle-Ended 807 Tube Amplifier3840 viewsI have stated in the past that my mate Don makes an amp a month. This month Don has completed an 807 amp based on a schematic designed by Matt from the USA and the same as I built a short time back. I took a short listen and thought it OK but a much longer review is required. Don’s iron is wound by Dyne which is near us (Melbourne, Australia) and Don’s superb enclosure bases are made by him from, once more, Australian Spotted Gum. Top plate is once more ABS and OPTs are James. This not only a smart looking amp but with some high quality passives under the bonnet and again a very neat wiring layout. In this build JJ filters caps were used. Don has another amp in the pipeline so stayed tuned. About one month from now (lol).

Mark Houston – retro-thermionic
Aug 20, 2012
6C33C-SE-Amp-Don.jpg
6C33C-SE-Amp-Don.jpgSingle-Ended 6C33CC Tube Amp with 6SL7 driver2938 viewsTake a look at Don’s new single-ended 6C33C amp. The top plate is ABS plastic, the wood base is Australian Spotted Gum. There is a power transformer for the HT supply and a toroid for the 6C33C heaters. Two chokes are used to split the HT into two seperate PS channels. This is a three stage amp with 6SL7 driver tubes. The two 6SL7 triodes are linked with a cap but the second triode drives the power tube direct. Each power tube will run up to 220mA but even at 150mA the power tranni gets real hot. Don’s work is ultra neat but I had to correct all the wiring around the 6SL7 for him to get the amp to go. It sounds absolutely fabulous. Has to be Don’s best tube amp build to date.

Mark Houston – retro-thermionic
Jul 27, 2012
SE-6AS5-Pentode-Amp_.jpg
SE-6AS5-Pentode-Amp_.jpg6AS5 Micro-Power 1W/channel UL Amp2404 viewsA nice class-A stereo amp based on the 6AS5 pentode. The amp uses a 6CG7 driver tube to drive the output stages in UL mode. The chassis is black walnut with a strip of lacewood inlay for contrast. Power level is only 1 watt per channel calling for high sensitivity loudspeakers. The input sensitivity for full output is a little over 1v peak so this amp can be driven by just about any MP3 or CD player or even a simple line level input.

Matt Renaud
Pacific Northwest, USA

Project Thread: Micro-power UL - The Amp that Never Ends
Jul 27, 2012
6V6-Lacewood-Amplifier.jpg
6V6-Lacewood-Amplifier.jpg6V6 Lacewood Amp2290 viewsThis is a 6V6 SE UL design with a 6SN7 driver stage (unbypassed cathode). Peak undistorted power is 3.2W RMS into 8Ω. Input sensitivity is 1.56v peak (1.1v rms) for full power. Designed for very quiet background, the power supply sports 15H of total inductance in two stages and a noise level of -128dBv. Hammond iron in the power supply section and Edcor output transformers.

Matt Renaud, Pacific Northwest, USA

For full details of this 6V6 tube amp, see the project page, 6V6 Lacewood Amp. Please feel free to ask questions or post comments in the 6V6-6SN7 Humless "Lacewood" Amp thread.

Jun 21, 2012
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