DIY dilemma

I have more boxes than I need and therefore I should probably get rid of a few. However in true hoarder mode I’ve decided to add to them instead. The difference now though is that I fancy building something myself. Now I have nowhere near enough knowledge to design even something fairly basic from scratch, so I’m going to try a DIY ‘kit’ to get me started.

I realise that it will effectively be little more than a soldering and assembly exercise, but I’m happy at that level for now. It will be something to occupy the evenings and it shouldn’t get in the way of the day job, which has stalled a bit recently as I’m waiting for supplies.

Before anyone suggests it, I thought of Kondo copies from Nobsound et al, particularly an M7 copy I found which was tempting, but in true Monty Python style (and believe me, it will probably be like one of their sketches, once I get started) I think I’ll go for something completely different.

One kit that tweaks my interest is this Doug Self designed pre-amp -

This will come in at around £600 for everything I need to complete the project and at the end of it I will hopefully have an adequate pre-amp to play with.

Or not!


Any thoughts on this kit, or any recommendations for different/better/cheaper/more foo alternatives will be appreciated.


I am interested in this. It looks like I’ll be off work until late in April so having something to keep me occupied would be good. I realise that I might also burn the house down or electrocute myself, but on the upside that might relieve the tedium.


Make Rabski an offer for his bits? :wink:

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It looks great Paul ! I was going to say that you’ll be able to out-Serge Serge. But actually it may not be Serge’s cup of tea. It measures not just adequately but fantastically well.

I know your mech. eng. is top notch, but if you don’t mind me asking what’s your soldering like ? If you feel you need to get up to speed with that then I’d recommend practising on a bit of scrap circuit board first. The kit’s pcb is a one-off and if it gets damaged by overheating or by bridging tracks with a bit too much solder then putting that right could be tedious. You’ll also need to decide which solder to use. I see the kit is advertised as RoHS compliant, which means among other things that all the components are lead-free. If you were going to ‘manufacture’ this and ‘put it on the market’ then you’d need to CE mark it to assert that it was compliant with the regs, one of which says you should use lead-free solder. The fact is though that lead-free solder is harder to use than the traditional lead-tin mix. Getting a good joint with lead-free needs good temperature control in the iron and a fair level of experience on the part of the solderer. Personally I’d recommend doing the job with lead-tin if you’re not going into production. It will be easier to get a top-quality result.

It might be worth checking with the suppliers a) whether any of the components is static-sensitive and b) what the pros and cons are of the Alps pots versus the Omeg pots (it seems you have a choice). Given how close you are to the sea maybe it never gets dry enough for static to be an issue :slight_smile: ? But it would be a shame to see off a fragile FET if there are any in the circuit.

I’ll be interested to see how it goes !


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Feck off. I want to try a bit of DIY, not take up archeology. Paul might be keen though…

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Looks good - I have been thinking of building something but not found the right item yet
Practice soldering and lead solder sound like good advice.

If you want an all singing pre this looks like it

I have been looking at Bottlehead stuff

I’ve recently ordered this kit:

The only time I’ve soldered previously, which was on a circuit board, was during work experience when I was sixteen :slight_smile:

Has he actually bought any bits?

Things are warming up in Funzie!

For best results always perform soak testing in the bathroom sink

B1 buffer from Pass Labs.

That’s a good one - I had one once and sold it in a stupid moment

They are great, fairly cheap, simple jfet circuit that measures great, plenty of opportunity to foo it up.

In the spirit of “recommend what you own”,

I don’t actually own a b1 but I have a WAD Kat34, very nice to build, as I’d imagine anything from them would be.

Sadly there are people who do Man dies charging iPhone while in the bath - BBC News. I’m tempted to say ‘Darwin gets another one’ but then I remember that this was someone’s son/husband/brother …


I’m pretty sure he did, and good quality bits too, but I’m working from the fossil records here.

Not going into production. Lol!

I’ve done some soldering in the past with pretty average quality equipment and made a reasonable job of it. I’ve invested in a nice soldering station now, so that should help once I’ve had a bit of a practice with it. The solder I had thought of using was this -

I think that should be ok?

If I do choose to make that pre, I will start another thread with progress updates. I have already contacted them regarding the pots and any static sensitive components.

Out-Serge, Serge. Hahaha, I’d never live it down!

Some other interesting suggestions there, but nothing yet that has changed my original thinking. Please keep them coming though :+1:

You would need the Rosetta Stone to decipher the fucking instruction manuals

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Looks good, you wont need the M7 after this.

To help you out I will volunteer to look after the M7

You can borrow it for a while, if you would like to?

I’m a good few weeks away from being in a position to set my system up :disappointed:

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