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Pre-amp kits
Old 15th October 2013
  #1
Pre-amp kits

I got the urge to build myself a pre amp. Anyone know of some good kits out there under $300? Preferably single channel, transformer coupled and simple gain and output control.
Old 15th October 2013
  #2
Gear Maniac
 
theskycouldfly's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by auralart View Post
I got the urge to build myself a pre amp. Anyone know of some good kits out there under $300? Preferably single channel, transformer coupled and simple gain and output control.

FiveFish Audio - Mic Preamp Kits, Lunchbox 500 Series Modules Preamps, Equalizers, and DIY Kits
DIY Mic Preamp Kits - Seventh Circle Audio

these two companies are great!!
Old 15th October 2013
  #3
Agreed, the SCA stuff sounds steller! (Plus they have the mini case versions now) a bit over you price range but definitely worth it!

If you've got a 500 series rack there's more options.
The Don Classic NV73
Sound Skulpter makes an API, Neve, 990 and others in rack and 500
PCB Grinder has SSL9k
Hairball Audio Lola
Classic API has the VP-25, 26, 28, 312

Plus there's more in the White Market at GroupDIY.com. They may not all be kits, but that's why it's called it DIY!!
Old 15th October 2013
  #4
Have you guys built any of these? This will be my first time diving into the world of electronics building.
Old 15th October 2013
  #5
901
Gear Maniac
 
901's Avatar
If it's your first diy project I would recommend to start with one of the well prepared kits that contain everything you need.
Sourcing the right parts by yourself out of a BOM can be a challenge to the less experienced.

I have built the NV73, CAPI 312DI + VP28 and a SSL9k preamp (not sure whether it's the one you're talking about). The easiest was CAPI 312. And it sounds wonderful plus it offers various options (DI, output attenuator, etc)

The NV73 kit does not contain most of the electronic components and it's quite stuffed. OTOH they sound really great imho...
Old 15th October 2013
  #6
Keep in mind a lot of the pres mentioned are 500 series builds requiring a lunchbox to power them, or in the Seventh Circle Audio case they have their own chassises and power supplies.
Old 15th October 2013
  #7
Lives for gear
 
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The jlmaudio baby animal preamps get lots of praise. I haven't built one myself yet...but it's on my list of hopefully future projects, and Joe at JLM has been very helpful with other kits I have built.
Old 15th October 2013
  #8
Lives for gear
 

not that i have any diy experience, but make sure to have a look at drip electronics stuff!
Old 15th October 2013
  #9
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Silent Sound's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by auralart View Post
Have you guys built any of these? This will be my first time diving into the world of electronics building.
Do you have any experience with reading schematics or soldering? Not that it can't be done, but a preamp isn't an easy first build. There's a lot of opportunities for something to go wrong in a preamp, especially for someone with no prior experience. You might wind up spending more money and a lot more time than you would have if you just bought a decent prebuilt preamp.

I'd start off with something easier and less expensive for your first build. Maybe a guitar effect pedal or something. Just something to get your feet wet and let you know a little bit about what you're in for. Also, something that if it doesn't work out the first attempt (and they often don't) that you'd have a chance at troubleshooting. Troubleshooting is a lot harder than building, in my opinion.
Old 16th October 2013
  #10
Gear Maniac
 

The $5 DIY preamp got a lot of discussion a few years ago. Here's a GS thread, although there are several: $5 mic preamp beats $1500 pre

You can also find other links by Googling the keywords. Its main claim to fame is the steady DC voltage from a battery pack vs. AC current.
Old 16th October 2013
  #11
Lives for gear
 
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Preamps are fairly easy builds....especially the API types...

I would go capi, the kits are well organized and you'll enjoy the build and do fine if you take your time.

Its not rocket science, its just audio!
Old 16th October 2013
  #12
Quote:
Originally Posted by Silent Sound View Post
Do you have any experience with reading schematics or soldering? Not that it can't be done, but a preamp isn't an easy first build. There's a lot of opportunities for something to go wrong in a preamp, especially for someone with no prior experience. You might wind up spending more money and a lot more time than you would have if you just bought a decent prebuilt preamp.

I'd start off with something easier and less expensive for your first build. Maybe a guitar effect pedal or something. Just something to get your feet wet and let you know a little bit about what you're in for. Also, something that if it doesn't work out the first attempt (and they often don't) that you'd have a chance at troubleshooting. Troubleshooting is a lot harder than building, in my opinion.
I'm not gonna lie I don't know the difference between a capacitor and resistor. So I'm pretty beginner when it comes to that. Was hoping to find something that has all the required parts and a detailed step by step instruction on how to build it. Maybe building a pedal would be the better first option.
Old 16th October 2013
  #13
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Maybe it might be an idea to practice soldering some components on some board etc before you start on a project. Even if you get a kitset with all the components, you will still need to work out which resistors and capacitors etc are which, so you put the right ones in the right places. Do a bit of research on resistors, capacitors etc too so you at least have a rough idea what they do.

I still consider myself a greenhorn when it comes to electronics, but I have built a few things now that I am very proud of and they work great and sound awesome...but I made mistakes along the way and learned plenty of stuff the hard way.
Old 16th October 2013
  #14
Gear Head
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by auralart View Post
I'm not gonna lie I don't know the difference between a capacitor and resistor. So I'm pretty beginner when it comes to that. Was hoping to find something that has all the required parts and a detailed step by step instruction on how to build it. Maybe building a pedal would be the better first option.
My next purchase is a SCA rack with a N72 and an A12 (for now). I've had a chance to play around with both before and they're absolutely fantastic pre's. For the money, you can't beat them.

Working with PCB isn't bad if you go slow, and electrical work isn't overly complicated. You're just putting together a model airplane. The hardest part is getting your solder technique down. If you practice on cables or something simple to get the technique down, then you won't really have to worry much about future stuff. I've built a few pedals (PCB and PTP) and a small amp, and unless you're developing a circuit, then I think anyone can learn to do it.
Old 16th October 2013
  #15
Deleted User
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SCA and CAPI kits attract a lot of interest. Both are excellent. SCA is known for their great sounding Neve, API, and John Hardy inspired kits, while CAPI has a strong API vibe to it.

The CAPI VP28 is what gets many people excited these days. It has a built in output attenuator that allows it to be over driven to get that classic API rock sound. It would be cool if someone would come up with an SSL inspired kit designed with a similar attenuator. IMHO, the VP28 is a bargain.
Old 16th October 2013
  #16
I'd start out by practicing on an electronics kit to get the hang of soldering on a pcb (my first project was a simple voice changer kit with a handfull of parts). Also checkout this soldering tutorial, it's a little long but this guy definitely loves to talk soldering

Untitled Document
Old 16th October 2013
  #17
Lives for gear
 
jdier's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by auralart View Post
I'm not gonna lie I don't know the difference between a capacitor and resistor. So I'm pretty beginner when it comes to that. Was hoping to find something that has all the required parts and a detailed step by step instruction on how to build it. Maybe building a pedal would be the better first option.
I built two of the BYOC pedals (Vibrato and Envelope Filter) and then moved on to the SCA preamps.

The SCA stuff is super easy. I built 6 kits from scratch and then bought 6 boards that people had given up or could not get to work. All my from scratch kits work great and I was able to get 4 out of the 6 broken board up and running too.

For me, (noting that I never built, tried or heard the J99) the only ones that I really like are the A12 and the N72, and if I could do it all over again I would have two racks of just the N72
Old 19th October 2013
  #18
Hey thanks a ton for all the great feedback! And they say gc is filled with just a bunch of trolls..

Very helpful, I'm gonna order some tools and start on a pedal then work my way to something from SCA.
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