Have you ever built a piece of audio gear? What was it?

Have you ever built a piece of audio gear? What was it?
Yes, here it is
83% (121 votes)
No, never
14% (20 votes)
Tried once, but it didn't work out
3% (5 votes)
Total votes: 146

Some of us remember Heathkit and Hafler build-it-yourself audio kits. Others have designed and built their own stuff from scratch, with the pride in ownership that follows. Have you ever built a piece of audio gear? What was it?

J Green's picture

In 1960, my family moved to a new house that had a built-in intercom system. No one ever used it, so I robbed all the speakers and hooked them up to my GE radio in my bedroom. It sounded great to me. Surround sound in mono on AM and stereo on FM.

TerryM's picture

Linsley-Hood LH25 (integrated) amp. A much underrated piece of kit!

Craig's picture

While I admire someone’s ability to put a bunch a pieces together to make a piece of equipment that is capable of producing good sound and I like to have some idea of the basics of what goes into such an effort, I never had the desire to really get involved in doing it myself. About as close as I have come to “equipment building,” actually modification, was when I overloaded and blew out the crossovers (which were mounted in separate boxes) for my KLH Model 12 speakers. After making a futile effort to try to figure out just which parts inside the boxes were bad, I simply ripped out all of the parts and replaced them with three-way crossover networks purchased as complete units at Radio Shack. The result sounded so good I kept the 12s for many years after that.

Denny Lach's picture

Heathkit AR1500, Hafler DH200, Assemblage DAC 2, Heathkit AA1600, and the Foreplay preamp. Great fun, and they all worked fine.

Rob Gold's picture

Fried C3 loudspeakers, Teres turntable.

Dave Bennett's picture

I've built a switch box, to increase the number of line-level inputs for a preamp with not enough inputs. I've also replaced a volume pot on an integrated amp. The original, a carbon track type, was replaced with a conductive plastic one, and I changed the value of the pot to give larger range of operation, as the old one went from silence to too loud over about 15 degrees of turn. I'm also considering a Marchand crossover kit.

Tim Bishop's picture

Goldsound .8 speakers. Still have them and use them, only modified a bit.

Tod's picture

The Last PAS preamp by David Vorhis. Bettered my Audio Research SP3-A-1 by a long shot.

Matt's picture

Bottlehead preamp and phono stage.

Rollin Fraser's picture

Built countless Heathkits during the '60s and '70s. It was too bad they succombed to the Japanese during the late '70s and '80s. I still have a Hafler 220 that was built from a kit from the mid-'80s. Kits were a hands-on and affordable way to get better sound and made audio a less passive activity. I gave up on audio once the build-it-yourself era passed. The high-end has degenerated into a boutique hobby for people with more money than common sense.

bill z's picture

Heath amp & preamp; Hafler amp & preamp; Dynaco upgrades.

Glenn Bennett's picture

In the '60s there was so much fun to be had with hi-fi and the advent of multiplex stereo. I built many "mono" components from Allied Radio's Knight-Kits and Heathkit's first stereo transistor amplifier. With the advent of stereo I built Dynakits and some kits from Scott and Fisher. When FM Multiplex stereo came along I built the stereo converters for the mono tuners. Of course they didn't work very well or had to be adjusted by a shop tech. I will never forget when I built the Dynakit FM stereo tuner. I put on headphones and adjusted it according to the instruction manual. All of a sudden the sound just bloomed into full stereo on the phones and sounded amazing. I was in the San Francisco bay area then and the stations all were fighting for the most power and best quality sound. Today, well, it seems the quality of the signal just doesn't matter in most markets.

Bubba in SF's picture

It was two Hafler kits. The first was a DH101 preamp. Didn't route the wiring very well so it had great microphonics. The second was a DH220. That turned out to be a great amp I had for six years before I bought a Sumo. Both Haflers were a lot of fun to build and the amp was one of my favorites. I have a Sunfire now and it sounds great, but the DH220 will always be remembered.

Jim S.'s picture

Both Hafler preamp & power amp, as well as Heathkit stuff. Great insight, rewarding and fun!

Carl's picture

Hafler stuff was and is so superior. They are a bargain on eBay, then ya get them tranformed into sonic bliss at www.avahifi.com. Great stock units, turned into 21st century marvels. The basic Haflers, DH500, Pro 500, XL-600, Pro 505 are so good, they deserve to be used forever. AVA updates them into fast works of sonic art.

Bob Gibbons's picture

I built all of my speakers (mains,surrounds,sub) from my own designs. The surrounds were not based on any actual research or specs, but I like the way they look. They sound okay, but use cheap Radio Shack drivers. The mains were well researched and inspired by the Liquid Acoustics louspeakers that feature angled mid-base drivers with a top mounted tweeter. I used Morel drivers all around, and am most pleased with the results. The subwoofer is a Dayton Titanic 15", originally powered by the Dayton 1000 Watt sub-amp. The amp blew out twice, so I now use my old Yamaha receiver as the sub amp, which is more than enough for music (maybe a little weak for action movies).

Alain Dupont's picture

www3.sympatico.ca/aldupon/ A75 PassDiy Bosoz PassDiy Ono PassDiy SE 6C33C-B FPV5A Phono from A. Wright ...

David Kiesel's picture

Dyna FM-3 tuner

John in the Finger Lakes's picture

A Dyna Stereo 70, followed by a scratch preamp based on the Scott 299C. If memory serves, the original Scott integrated still sounded better. Also lots of speakers, and a turntable.

Mike Agee's picture

Yes, and I was so excited and impatient with the first one that a repair man who asked to see inside couldn't help himself and ended up cleaning up my solder joints and re-dressed all the wires, tsk tsking the whole time. I built from kits a Dynamco FM tuner and a SCA-80Q integrated amp, and a Hafler DH(?)-100 amp. All worked very well for me and for the people I sold them to.

Dimitris Gogas's picture

A great sounding amplifier it would be. Alas, it went out in a cloud of smoke, making ugly noises...

Mike Molinaro's picture

Built several Heathkit amps back in the day. And a tuner, too!

Do It Yourself's picture

;) (prepare for Rant) I don't think I like the tone of your question...."with the pride of ownership..."...Ha! That's what you people have with your multi-thousand dollar amplifiers, speakers..., etc. DIYers have pride in accomplishment;...that they've built, say an amplifer, for a few hundred dollars that are in many cases as good any of your precious amplifier costing thousands! Death to pretentious overpriced condeit-inducing equipment! [insert Howard Dean picture in your mind] YYYEEEEEEEEEAAAAHHHHHH!!! I feel better now...built a Nelson Pass Zen amp. And I am considering a chipamp from Chipamp.com that is similar to the Class B rated 47 Laboratory Gaincard Power amplifier: http://stereophile.com/solidpoweramps/120147/ But...if you don't have the time/patience/motivation...go ahead spend the money and buy the amplifer you want and make yourself happy...and your dealer.

Stefano Lindiri's picture

The Zen v.4 amplifier, project of Nelson Pass, and I have used it everyday for two years!

byron minter's picture

First was a Dyna SCA35 kit, then several speaker systems. I rebuilt a pair of Heath wm4 amps in '94 and still in use every day along with my own passive line stage.

Gary Johnson's picture

HH Scott Integrated Amp Lk-72, I think, and HH Scott FM Tuner.

gnb's picture

I've built several DIY components during the last few years... An S&B transformer preamp, a bridged 3886 chip amp, a 3886 integrated amp, four modified UcD 400 amps with battery power supplies configured as two 300w monoblocks, several home brew balanced power supplies and several cmc and capacitor type power supply filters ala Audience.

Matt P.'s picture

I am a DIYer, true to heart. I have built Chipamps, NOS DACs, speakers, crossovers, preamps, interconnects, speaker wire, and various modifications to prebuilt equipment.

Jim's picture

Dynakit:FM5 was the first... followed by Stereo 410, 400, PAT-5 and a Hafler DH101.

Michael P.'s picture

Latest project: pair of 15W triode single-ended amps: 300B-XLS output(500v, 110ma)/paralleled ecc99 mu-follower (190v, 38 mA) /Electra-Print output (3K) and power iron/choke input B+ and filament supplies/Hexfred rectified/ common-mode chokes in various spots (they kill grunge fast), all Solen PS caps/ Mundorf silver & oil coupling cap. I love to tune the circuit for the sound I want. Listening to these guys play is even more fun.