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Building Some Mic Pre's

Discussion in 'Preamps / Channel Strips' started by karbomusic, Apr 22, 2005.

  1. karbomusic

    karbomusic Active Member

    I've been thinking of building a mic pre or two. Anyone here have any suggestions, caveats, price range for quality parts etc.?

    I have plenty of electronics type experience so construction wise it's not much of an issue for me. The biggest question is what type of quality can I approach DIY style? I'm a real stickler for "hand crafted quality" so that is the general direction I plan to go in. I have poked around some at the Jensen Transformer site but thats as far as I have researched so far. I'm interested in both SS and Tube pres...

    If the rewards are worth it, then I would like to build a couple as well as a few other DIY projects...


    Best regards-

  2. RAIN0707

    RAIN0707 Guest

    check out Seventh Circle Audio's stuff. From what I've heard from people that did an A/B comparison their pre's are quite comparable, if properly assembled of course, to the Neve, API, and John Hardy pre's they are modeled after.


    I haven't ordered a kit yet but I am going to soon once I put the cash together to at least get 2 modules so I can have 2 channels.
  3. Kev

    Kev Well-Known Member

    I DIY
    therfore I am

    use google and your will find
    ... if you have any questions I'm never far away.
  4. karbomusic

    karbomusic Active Member

    Thanks for the help guys, I will check that out.

  5. chriscavell

    chriscavell Guest

    For mic pre's, I suggest googling up some neve schematics...they are pretty straight forward no compromise designs...same with API. Eveything in the circuit serves an intuitive and definitive purpose on those early schematics...so they really are a great starting point or refresher prior to experimenting.
  6. VulcanDC

    VulcanDC Active Member

    some interesting sites and designs...



    Hope that helped.

    Cheers and goodluck
  7. davemoore

    davemoore Guest

    A direct question -- How good are some of these DIY preamp's? Also how much do they run.

    I mean, if it costs $150 for the parts to DIY and it ends up being the equal quality of a $250 quality preamp, I think that's pretty nice, although if it's $150 for the parts and you can buy the same quality preamp for $150, it's not quite worth it is it. Heh

    Just curious - Dave
  8. VulcanDC

    VulcanDC Active Member

    i am not sure about any specific DIY kits.... but the link to a design i have given in the above post, is nice and clean 'Class A' (push-pull) design preamp... should not cost more than about a 100 bucks USD in your country (i think).....

  9. Kev

    Kev Well-Known Member

    For a skilled tech I don't think there is a comparison.

    There was a time when the best studios made there own gear.
    Vintage gear is very expensive.
    I would never attempt to DIY a B ADA8000. Just too cheap to buy.

    My most often used pre-amps are built be me. I'm not going to tell you what comercial pre-amps I have to compare to as i might be putting them down and I certainly don;t want to do that.

    In one case the Pre-amp designer/maker is a very nice guy and has been a great assistance in ther DIY forum both here and the new place.

    Many of the famous boutique makers are DIY'ers at heart.

    So to answer the direct question
    "How good are some of these DIY preamp's? Also how much do they run. "

    very good
    directly proportional to the quality of parts used

    NEVER begin an expensive Top Flight project as a FIRST TIMER.
    It could all end in tears and be worthless.
    Do your research
    ONLY start a project if it is the DIY that interests you and NOT to save money. You don't have the experience or the infrastructure to make it cheaper.

    Then start with a simple low cost design
    and see if you do like this DIY thing
  10. CharlesDayton

    CharlesDayton Active Member

    Just want to put in my 2 cents on the Hamptone kits. I'm not a DIY'er, I'm an end user. A Friend who is, built mine for me. I got the HVTP2 two channel tube pre, and I like it. I have ISA 215's and API 312's and some times the Hamptone is the better choice.
  11. CharlesDayton

    CharlesDayton Active Member

    Just want to put in my 2 cents on the Hamptone kits. I'm not a DIY'er, I'm an end user. A Friend who is, built mine for me. I got the HVTP2 two channel tube pre, and I like it. I have ISA 215's and API 312's and some times the Hamptone is the better choice.
  12. davemoore

    davemoore Guest

    I got a chance to skim through that link, nice site. Very intersted.

    I've made my own cords before, and even made myself a multiple in's and out's of TRS and XLR's of two boxes. So I am a DIY and love doing things like this. But when it comes to circuit boards and the like... I think this may be out of my league. Are there *complete* instructions with this kits, would a noob of circuit boards be able to do this.

    I'm not trying to do this to save money, but rather, not waste money.
  13. Kev

    Kev Well-Known Member

    Just too hard to gauge what skills a person will have.

    There are some things that are needed no matter what type of project you may chose.

    Metal work is often the stumbling block for many people. I suggest a project that has round holes that can be drilled rather than square holes that need some skill.

    AS for full kits with complete instructions ... they do exist.

    I can't advise at this level as it is easy for me and I just don't see all the traps you may fall into.

    JLM SeventhCircle or Hamptone kits are very well presented and both Joe, Tim and Scott will be more than helpful if you do need help.

    for contact with more DIY addicts
    the Tech Talk crew ended up there

    see my site and stay tunned for the openning of the DIY Factory

    I say again
    the primary reason to DIY is NOT about saving money ....
    yes I do tend to save money when I do it myself.
  14. Midlandmorgan

    Midlandmorgan Active Member

    Most (all?) of the currently available preamp kits in any level of pre assembly use a PCB of some sort...(so it seems to me...)

    Question: why the PCB method as opposed to a point to point handwired method, as in boutique amps? I always thought PTP was actually easier to work on (larger component sizes, no board traces for follow, etc)...and they don't take up significant amounts of room.

    I know PCB is smaller, thus you get get away with smaller packaging...is that the only real advantage? As a prospective DIYer, I'd gladly put one stupidly high end PTP preamp (example: Telefunken V72) in a single space that 2 OK ones in the same rack area...

    Are there any available PTP kits designed for 1) single or dual rack space chassis, 2) 49 year old guys like me with steadily improving skills but eyesight issues and arthritic hands, and 3) something that uses lots of wire instead of PCBs?

  15. jonnyc

    jonnyc Member

    There's a guy on tweakheadz.com that builds his own neve clones and from what people say they sound geat. He uses the highest end stuff he can find and it runs him about 800 US to build a 2 channel pre. His name is Owel and you can find the link on the main tweakheadz.com page toward the bottom.
  16. Kev

    Kev Well-Known Member

    Point to point is fine and many of us started into tubes that way.
    Dave Jansens LA2 write up was very cool for the time.
    I will have a tube mic pre point to point at the DIY Factory in time ... but I have a few projects in front of it.

    Point to point has more scope for error BUT has more scope for tweaking a changing.

    Point to point has more cost as it is generally the higher cost of the NOS and very special OLD parts that people want to use.

    The Green-Pre is a great first time complete project and is very cheap.
    The dominat costs is the box and power transformer.
    As I said above JLM Seventh Circle and Hamptone have things that look cool BUT the biggest projects are from the small groups that put a group idea together
    AX84 is a great example of the group approach.
    There are also groups making Plate and Spring Reverbs and just about anything you want in recording.

    just for fun


    and my old Group DIY stuff is still here on the RO server if you can google the links. I have removed the front door ... so to speak.
  17. Midlandmorgan

    Midlandmorgan Active Member

    Thanks for the links, Kev...I'm doing some homework now...The 'issue' for me has always been the PCB etching...but if they are already done, perhaps its not such an issue afterall.
  18. GuitarTim

    GuitarTim Guest

    I've been reading this thread with interest, and following the links... very interesting stuff, but it brings up, for me, a VERY basic question, which I hope someone won't mind answering.

    In reading this stuff, I'm seeing a term I haven't heard before... "Op-Amp". What the heck is an op-amp? What's it for, what's it do, and is it a "gotta have" or a "niceta have"?
  19. Sanity Inn

    Sanity Inn Guest

    Another link

    this guy built Peter Gabriel's tube pre,,

    he has a fet kit that he swears by over his older tube kits,


  20. VulcanDC

    VulcanDC Active Member


    op amp is a Semiconductor device. Like the IC741 series chip.

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