Originally Posted by Grimace
And I have a couple of the mic kits on my radar as well... And hey, why not a Fairchild 670? Really.. why not???
Because there's a huge difference between simple "paint-by-numbers" kits à la Hairball 1176 & SCA stuff or well documented easy builds like a Drip Opto and extremely complex builds like a e.g. Fairchild 670.
And building a N72 or an EZ1073 and building a Neve 1073 or 1084 true to the original layout is two different worlds...maybe that's why
...I just finished a dual Neve 1084 with step-attenuators - all parts stereo matched and with some extras added to the original circuit. For things like that its mandatory you can read schematics and hand wiring all the concentric switches incl. the step attenuators is no joke!
Not to say the SCA stuff or especially the Drip designs don't sound fantastic if done well - I built a couple of Greg's designs in the past as well - also some Opto 4's. You can learn a lot and get High-End (though not the vintage) sound for relatively little money.
Actually my first DIY project was a Drip Opto - and at that time I also felt like hey - with this great manual and stuff it's pretty easy - why doesn't everybody do this??
(If you look at the Hairball kits - sometimes I get the impression indeed "everybody" does them)
And that's a good thing because I think it's very beneficial to gain some knowledge about how the gear you're using is actually working.
But also with the 1176 there's a difference between buying a kit and sourcing all the original parts and building an exact replica of an original unit.
Apart from that it's easy to follow a build manual - if everything works in the end. But if it doesn't and you don't know what the heck you are doing there and where to start troubleshooting because you always just followed a paint-by-numbers manual - guess what
Anyway I don't want to rain on your parade - DIY is great, but just sayin' putting together a Drip Opto is a piece of cake - a Fairchild 670 is friggin beast dude!
I welcome your motivation - that's always the foundation for learning new things.
Further down the road you might get stuck with more challenging projects - even further down the road you will have solved the problems and that again will open the doors to even more challenging projects
I started off with simple kits some years back - meanwhile I've built LA2As, Pultecs, SSL comps, LA3As, Neve EQs etc...now I have no problems building 1:1 point to point replicas of LA2As or modifying existing layouts to better fit my needs...and I all learned it thanks to DIY and great forums like e.g. GroupDIY
Attached is a pic of the Neve "2-1084" I mentioned above and a true to the original circuit LA2A with vintage UTC HA100-X and A-24 transformers, NOS tubes, etc...and a rack with all DIY gear (except the Space Echo on top of the rack