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  1. #1
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    ampCamp amp -- a surprisingly beguiling amp

    good to see the recent AS interest in DIY !!

    i have just built an ampCamp amp v1.8 and thought i would chime in and share my experience here for anyone that might be interested. below is a sequence of pictures that document the build process. they are pretty much self-explanatory.

    i will point out here that building the amp was extraordinarily fun and satisfying. anyone with basic tinkering skills who can diligently work through the detailed instructions can easily accomplish this. the kit chassis, PCBs and electrical components are high quality (although, next time i would upgrade the speaker binding posts and RCA inputs to something a bit more substantial).

    in terms of sound quality… all i can say is that i am just floored by how good this $327 DIY kit sounds. it would be hard to overstate how much the amp exceeded my admittedly low expectations … it is a tribute to its designer. the ampCamp amp is equally as enjoyable to listen to as my SET tube amp; different but just as engaging.

    for audiophiles on a budget, i would have absolutely no problem recommending this amp as at least a starting point, thereby, freeing up funds for higher level speakers.

    here are just a few takeaways, what i learned, or had reinforced from this project:

    > nelson pass is a genius ...and, the audio ecosystem he has built and mentored is visionary and without equal.

    > simple designs well executed win -- every time.

    > i now fully understand why joe has so many amps !!

    > after ~9 years of listening to the same amp, it was really nice to hook this amp into my system and hear an equally good but very different sound. having a few amps and rotating them periodically can certainly add to the enjoyment of one’s system.

    > all your amps — or even your only amp doesn’t have to cost as much as your lamborghini. one can get terrific sound for a relatively small investment. i would love to do blind A/B listening test of the ACA with much more expensive amps.

    > i have under-appreciated solid state amplification

    anyway, i hope this inspires others on to DIY projects of their own. for me, the next project is probably to build a first watt f-6 clone, a somewhat more ambitious build in that it involves an on-board power supply.
    Attached Images Attached Images
    kanjiroba yak + roon rock > t+a dac8 dsd > almarro a318b > viking acoustics berlin r mk2 | alp-tone audio analog cables
    core audio designs
    plyKraft 3L | hifi racks ltd podium t5-iii

  2. #2
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    Re: ampCamp amp -- a surprisingly beguiling amp

    Awesome job and photos. Thank you for posting this. I’m sure the sounds amazing. One day I’d like to give it a try. I need some soldering practice first.
    Wharfedale Linton w/ stands, Avantgarde Duo XD, Klipsch RB-75, Klipsch RP-160M.

    Job INTegrated.

    Conrad Johnson GAT2, Misho Myronov Wooden preamp.

    Misho Myronov Wooden amp, First Watt SIT-3 (x 2 - one as backup), Job 250 Monos, NuForce STA200, AkitikA GT-102 amp, ASL Wave monos, Dennis Had 45 monos. Absolute Audio Labs PCF 25 amp (improved First Watt F7 super clone)

    RME Audio ADI-2 DAC FS, ModWright Ultimate Sony XA-5400ES.

    Burmester 948, McIntosh MCLK12, Kimber Kable, Siltech, Cardas, Avanti Audio cables.

  3. #3
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    Re: ampCamp amp -- a surprisingly beguiling amp

    Quote Originally Posted by joeinid View Post
    ...One day I’d like to give it a try. I need some soldering practice first.
    i have done a small bit of soldering in the past, but have never soldered components to PCBs. i was a little worried that my skills were not up to the task but i just watched the video recommended for beginners and then soldered away. very easy and as you can see in the pics, i was able to get surprisingly good joints, connections, etc. ...maybe, that's why it sounds so darn good!

    kanjiroba yak + roon rock > t+a dac8 dsd > almarro a318b > viking acoustics berlin r mk2 | alp-tone audio analog cables
    core audio designs
    plyKraft 3L | hifi racks ltd podium t5-iii

  4. #4
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    Re: ampCamp amp -- a surprisingly beguiling amp

    Do you have a link to where you bought all the parts ?


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

  5. #5
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    Re: ampCamp amp -- a surprisingly beguiling amp

    Quote Originally Posted by carlthess40 View Post
    Do you have a link to where you bought all the parts ?
    i bought the diyAudio store kit. everything you need; however, you can also buy just the PCBs + chassis and then source your own parts from the bill-of-materials.

    also, if you don't have a soldering iron, i highly recommend the haiko soldering iron
    kanjiroba yak + roon rock > t+a dac8 dsd > almarro a318b > viking acoustics berlin r mk2 | alp-tone audio analog cables
    core audio designs
    plyKraft 3L | hifi racks ltd podium t5-iii

  6. #6

    Re: ampCamp amp -- a surprisingly beguiling amp

    Looks like a fun project. It has been a long time since I've built any projects but I have dabbled in DIY speakers and basic amps many moons ago. This may be a fun project to tackle. The amp being 8w and my Harbeth speakers 85dB efficient, it may be enough for some late night listening fun but nothing too dynamically challenging.
    Serge

  7. #7
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    Re: ampCamp amp -- a surprisingly beguiling amp

    Way to go @aKnight! You will have a closet full of amps in no time. The ACA was my entry to the FirstWatt class A DIY audio. The early on ACA kits were monoblocks. Mine run some efficient desktop speaker in my office at work, although I use headphones most of the time when there.

    I use the M2x, in my system, with a stable of sets of input daughter cards, with 2 more daughter cards in construction.
    Amp : DIY FirstWatt M2x mono amps
    Digital : Bricasti M12, Oppo 203
    Analog : Technics SL1200G, DIY K&K Audio Maxxed Phono Amp
    Speakers : Daedalus Audio Muse Studio
    Headphone : BHSE + Voce

  8. #8
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    Re: ampCamp amp -- a surprisingly beguiling amp

    just an update for anyone following along...

    after listening to the ACA in my system for a ~10 days, i swapped my SET tube amp back in for a listen... the almarro is so much more textured, rich, 3-d, detailed and a whole lot of other audiophile words. however, this in no way diminishes my enthusiasm for the ACA in terms of how enjoyable and engaging it is. there is something about its "leanness, sparseness, directness" that emphasizes other aspects of recordings that i find refreshing...

    one man's different is another man's better, right?
    kanjiroba yak + roon rock > t+a dac8 dsd > almarro a318b > viking acoustics berlin r mk2 | alp-tone audio analog cables
    core audio designs
    plyKraft 3L | hifi racks ltd podium t5-iii

  9. #9
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    Re: ampCamp amp -- a surprisingly beguiling amp

    There’s just something about tubes and especially a well done tube amp that brings magic to music. There are a lot of great solid state amps and some come really close or can be better in certain areas, but tubes rule.
    Wharfedale Linton w/ stands, Avantgarde Duo XD, Klipsch RB-75, Klipsch RP-160M.

    Job INTegrated.

    Conrad Johnson GAT2, Misho Myronov Wooden preamp.

    Misho Myronov Wooden amp, First Watt SIT-3 (x 2 - one as backup), Job 250 Monos, NuForce STA200, AkitikA GT-102 amp, ASL Wave monos, Dennis Had 45 monos. Absolute Audio Labs PCF 25 amp (improved First Watt F7 super clone)

    RME Audio ADI-2 DAC FS, ModWright Ultimate Sony XA-5400ES.

    Burmester 948, McIntosh MCLK12, Kimber Kable, Siltech, Cardas, Avanti Audio cables.

  10. #10
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    Re: ampCamp amp -- a surprisingly beguiling amp

    Thanks for the update, I also have the Almarro, which I swapped out during the summer with a red wine audio amp to reduce the heat. I love the red wine amps, but putting the Almarro back in service this fall was a very nice upgrade! Tubes definitely have something special going on, as Joe said.
    Ron

    *Almarro A318B, Red Wine Audio Signature 16 and 30.2 lfp-v, Metrum Onyx via I2S from Metrum Ambre streamer, Sonictransporter i5, Roon, Tidal, Clearaudio Concept wood/satisfy + nagaoka mp-200, Graham Slee Reflex Gold; DeVore Gibbon The Nines; audience, auditorium, snake river, audioquest, wireworld, shunyata cabling*

  11. #11
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    Re: ampCamp amp -- a surprisingly beguiling amp

    Quote Originally Posted by joeinid View Post
    There’s just something about tubes and especially a well done tube amp that brings magic to music. There are a lot of great solid state amps and some come really close or can be better in certain areas, but tubes rule.
    not to get off track here but... tubes are to solid state as ice cream is to sorbet


    seriously though, i can see why some like a tube pre-amp with a SS power amp. the few examples i have heard were quite nice, especially the vinni rossi seperates
    kanjiroba yak + roon rock > t+a dac8 dsd > almarro a318b > viking acoustics berlin r mk2 | alp-tone audio analog cables
    core audio designs
    plyKraft 3L | hifi racks ltd podium t5-iii

  12. #12

    Re: ampCamp amp -- a surprisingly beguiling amp

    AKnyght,
    Nice build! You may remember I did my ACA build last summer (July time-frame).

    As nice as the stereo ACA is, it really sings when used as monoblocks. I used mine as bridged monos, and the improvement when using it in this configuration is really notable.

    Your build pics look just like mine! LOL...








  13. #13
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    Re: ampCamp amp -- a surprisingly beguiling amp

    Quote Originally Posted by Puma Cat View Post
    AKnyght,
    Nice build! You may remember I did my ACA build last summer (July time-frame).

    As nice as the stereo ACA is, it really sings when used as monoblocks. I used mine as bridged monos, and the improvement when using it in this configuration is really notable.

    Your build pics look just like mine! LOL...
    i think you wiring is a bit more tidy than mine!

    i well remember your build thread... it was what inspired me to do this one -- so, thanks!!

    after i have some more fun with this one, i am going to give it to a younger family audiophile who along with a pair of speakers. then at some point, i think i will build one of the first watt clones - probably the f6 - which looks to be decently more challenging.
    kanjiroba yak + roon rock > t+a dac8 dsd > almarro a318b > viking acoustics berlin r mk2 | alp-tone audio analog cables
    core audio designs
    plyKraft 3L | hifi racks ltd podium t5-iii

  14. #14

    Re: ampCamp amp -- a surprisingly beguiling amp

    Very nice work guys. Your wiring is much neater than mine is, that's for sure. You won't be sorry if you decide to build an F6, I have put 5 amps against the F6 (including my OTL monos) and it has won every time.

  15. #15
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    Re: ampCamp amp -- a surprisingly beguiling amp

    Quote Originally Posted by aKnyght View Post
    just an update for anyone following along...

    after listening to the ACA in my system for a ~10 days, i swapped my SET tube amp back in for a listen... the almarro is so much more textured, rich, 3-d, detailed and a whole lot of other audiophile words. however, this in no way diminishes my enthusiasm for the ACA in terms of how enjoyable and engaging it is. there is something about its "leanness, sparseness, directness" that emphasizes other aspects of recordings that i find refreshing...

    one man's different is another man's better, right?
    I may be able to work with wood but, I admire people that can do electrical audio projects. Nice job.
    Synology 1019D+ - SGC Sonictransporter I9 w Roon/HQ Player- UltraRendu- PBD Stream IF to Playback Designs MPS5 via fiber optic - ARC 40th Anniversary Pre - ARC 610 T's - Martin Logan CLX's - 4 Martin Logan Depth i Subs - Shunyata Hydra & PC's. DIY PCOCC interconnects & speaker cables with Furutech terminations. Audio Quest Vodka CAT 7's. Acoustically treated room with one permanent chair.

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ampCamp amp -- a surprisingly beguiling amp

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