pass labs, diy and commercial

harrydg

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Hey all,

I'm fairly new to all the audio stuff, but i just bought a diy amp (Dx MKIII Hx) to start in that direction... But now there are questions that come up:

1. Can you compare DIY amps to (high-end) commercial products?

2. why are there NO passlabs amps tested on whathifi?

3. does anyone have information about sonics of diy amps? (off course, a lot depends on the components used)

4. only the high-end commercial amps use toroidal amps while most diy amps that i've seen made, have toroids. Is this because of "compensation" of bad quality or more because they are "high-end"-comparable

So in the end: is it "good value" to make a good diy amp, or is it better to stick to commercial ones?
 

Clare Newsome

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harrydg said:
2. why are there NO passlabs amps tested on whathifi?
Pass Labs don't appear to have a UK distributor at the moment - in fact the entire 'international sales' link on their website is greyed out at present.

However, we're just down the hall from them at the Venetian suites at next January's CES show, so we'll be sure to visit them for an update. :)
 

oldric_naubhoff

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harrydg said:
So in the end: is it "good value" to make a good diy amp, or is it better to stick to commercial ones?

yes, it is a good value. if you get your hands on a good and trusted design and you're good with a soldering iron you'd be better off with a DIY machine rather than commercial one, especially at budged price levels.

however, it's not to say that all manufacturers of hi-fi make rubbish. there are some brands out there with a great reputation for making quality and good sounding machines. anyway, I personally would advise to stay away from those producers which all too often appear on ad inserts in glossy hi-fi magazines. it's clear indication that major share of budget is spent on marketing and advertising rather than on quality components. Pass Labs would be a good example of such a company. it has really good reputation in DIY circles.
 

Overdose

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Having dipped into the DIY scene with an amplifier and a DAC project, aside from the satisfaction of creating something that actually works, the next best thing to come out of it all for me, is an appreciation of what constitutes a good end product and price is not neccessarily a deciding factor.

By far the most important aspect of any audio equipment, is the design and if the design is good, the sound quality will be good if not put together by a monkey.

As for 'high end', the only thing guaranteed is 'high price'. There is a point at which better becomes entirely subjective and this is easily achievable at a modest price in DIY designs.

The main thing to aim for, is a good solid design that is proven to measure well.

Don't be concerned too much about torroids, plenty of good amps exist using frame transformers.

It can always be proven to be cheaper to build DIY over commercial, but it will cost you dear in time and the finished article might not be much to look at.
 
A

Anonymous

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Interesting topic.

I was always curious myself about the DIY project quality (assuming the job is well done).

Since up front I'm missing time, I'm heading for buget hifi until I'll give a try on a DIY and compare.

If it can be of any help:

http://diyaudioprojects.com/

Let us know if you ever complete a DIY!
 
I cannot directly answer any of the original questions, but I did see some Pass Lab amps recently, alongside AMR products at the National Audio Show last month. They have a fine heritage.

Generally, I've always been wary of DIY items built from kits. I did have a skilled friend many years ago who built a Hafler pre-amp which was very good. If you can start from scratch you might get something good, but you'd need as much spent on test gear, which to me makes it rather pointless, other than for amusement.

Given the rarity of kits I'd say the answer is better stick to commercial ones, which in many cases can be made in China very cheaply, which wasn't the case back in the Heathkit era. Their time has surely passed.
 

oldric_naubhoff

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harrydg said:
So you're saying that pass labs is NOT worth its money if you buy it, but it IS as diy?

that's not what I'm saying. I meant that when (especially) splashing out money on a budget gear it's better to explore DIY sector. you'd almost certainly get better performance than going for mass market product.

as for Pass Labs gear. the issue of whether it's worth the money or not is largely a matter of personal choice. there are many people around this forum that claim that, say GBP1000 worth of piece of gear brings you as much hi-fi as you'd like to get and spending more is pointless due to "law of diminishing returns". I think everybody should establish their own such limit. my personal experience tells me that this is way above GBP1000 mark (provided you do your shopping wisely), but I appreciate the fact that other people may have different opinion. Pass Lab's gear is not cheap at all, but judging after reviews in different magazines and what reputation it earned over the years (unfortunately I never got a chance to listen to it personally) it surely is worth this kind of money. provided you want to hear more subtleties in music. if merely following the leading notes is enough than there's no point to stretch out to Pass Lab's level of prices IMO. but if you want more involvement in music then Int-30A may be the only amp you'll ever want in your life :). now, I'm not saying that Pass Labs has exclusive rights to produce musically sounding gear but they definitely must be good at it.
 

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