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January 28, 2020, 10:27:29 PM

Author Topic: Ordering a first time kit -the Stereomour II. Couple of questions.  (Read 125 times)

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Offline vvcv

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Greetings,

The kit gives a list of tools needed. My first question is regarding a volt-ohmmeter. Do you guys have any suggestions on one that may be easier for a absolute new person entering this hobby, however, capable of growing with me as my skills grow? I've seen them used, I just don't know how 'technical' they can get. More importantly, I would like one known and trusted for dependable accuracy.

Second question is, what other tools would you recommend to help kit building go smoother, in hopes of avoiding the occasional mistake.

I am an artist, and know my way around metal and wood shops and tools used. In other words, I love working with my hands, and I can appreciate tools that can help projects go smoother. Please keep suggestions within a reasonable budget. :)   ohh, i do have work space

Lastly, once I have completed this kit, what sources may I want to seek out to learn more about making EVERYTHING that goes into a 2a3 amplifier?Even transformers for example. I know i'm jumping the gun, and I probably will never get to this point, but it seems that knowing more about the parts, I may be able to pick parts that could possibly help me build amps closer to a sound I am looking for. Heck, or even a amp sound I'm not interested in listening to but that others may like. For example, learning about the components that add to a full body, thick exaggerated timbre and tone versus a neutral sounding amp.

Thanks for any and all suggestions. And glad to soon be a Bottlehead builder and part of the community.

robert

Offline Paul Birkeland

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For a meter, the one that's about $25 at Harbor Freight is very good for these kits.

You'll want a proper pair of side cutters.  The Plato 170 is a good example that's inexpensive.  Rosin core solder with lead is a must, as is a soldering iron that's at least 40W.

For learning resources, most folks recommend starting with the Neets course to learn a lot of fundamentals.

Paul "PB" Birkeland

Bottlehead Grunt & The Repro Man

Offline Alonzo

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Once you've read thru and practiced some fundamentals, this forum is the best in the world!  Everything you could dream up has been either tried or the question asked.  Have a good read thru on other BH's problems and hopefully avoid them.  Be original, find a new problem that's not a cold solder joint or a misread of the instructions  ;).  Don't be shy, the only bad question is the one not asked.
The combination of learning the theory and the actual application (it's a very forgiving application) will give you ton's of confidence.
But since hearing is very individual, take everyone's comments on the clouds parting and heavenly voices singing with a grain of salt, it's a system and your source, amp and speakers all play a part.  Plus your ears may be tuned to a different beat.
Enjoy!!
Alonzo B
BeePre, Kaiju, some Stereomours (I's and a II as 45 and 2A3) to DT150 tweeters, GPA 802-8G's on Jabo horns, Altec 414z's, Dayton Audio Subwoofer.
Stereomour I to Altec 299-8A with MRII horns.  Seductor to Mk3 Frugal horns
SR-45 amp to HD800's

Online Tom-s

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If you prefer a book over online reading. Morgan Jones Valve Amplifiers (4th) is a good place to start understanding them and Building Valve amplifiers contains all the tips for building a tube amp.

Offline Doc B.

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Quote
take everyone's comments on the clouds parting and heavenly voices singing with a grain of salt

Those are words of wisdom, for sure. Learning how to listen critically is maybe the most difficult skill to acquire. Being able to correlate the character of what you are hearing (e.g "bloated bass", "detailed highs") to what is going on technically (e.g. impedance mismatch, treble peak at 8kHz) can help to cure the syndrome where every single mod you make becomes a life changing experience.
Dan "Doc B." Schmalle
President For Life
Bottlehead Corp.

Offline oguinn

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If you haven't soldered before (I hadn't when I started buying these kits), I'd recommend getting a practice kit from Amazon. The one I got was like $10 and it was a little push-button siren with wires, resistors, and PC boards. It saved me a lot of learning on a kit that cost 100x (although individual components are obviously cheaper to replace), and it gave me a feel for my soldering iron. It also taught me my soldering iron sucked and I should pay a little more for a lot more power.
Jameson O’Guinn

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Main System: Schiit Bifrost MB, U-Turn Orbit, Reduction w/ Integration, Smash w/ Smashup & SmashQuiet (replacing w/ BeePre), Stereomour II w/ DC Filament & Shunt Regulator (replacing w/ Kaiju), SEX 3.0 w/ C4S, Blumenstein Orcas, HD6XX

Desktop System: Crack with Speedball

Offline Natural Sound

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All great tips so far. I'll add one more thing. Take your time and enjoy the build. Read every step carefully and then read it again. The Bottlehead manuals are second to none but if you do wind up having a question ask it here.

You are going to love the Stereomour II. It's a great sounding amp.

Offline Deke609

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... can help to cure the syndrome where every single mod you make becomes a life changing experience.

@Doc B.: I don't think I want to be cured of this syndrome. It's part of what makes this stuff fun.  ;D  That said, having an empirical explanation for what I hear would be great. Although judging by the posts and exchanges of a lot people way more knowledgeable about about audio circuits than me, on this forum and others, sometimes empirical proof is elusive and you're stuck with never knowing whether it's real or imagined.

... But just to be clear, I'm not referring to blackbox tweaks that are purported to change how electricity behaves "on a quantum level" (I get a real kick out of the fact that the sales materials for one such product making this claim also states that these quantum effects are unmeasurable! And yet the manufacturer is certain that these effects exist and that quantum-level changes explain them!)  I'm talking about more run-of-the-mill stuff like parafeed and interstage caps, chokes and resistors.
Derek
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Roon Intel NUC ->  Yggdrasil DAC -> BeePre (w/ BeeQuiet and EML 300B)  -> Kaiju (w/ DCFil and EML 300B) or Stereomour II (2A3 [EML Mesh] and 45 Conversion [EML 45B])  -> Audeze LCD4

Online Tom-s

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Being able to correlate the character of what you are hearing (e.g "bloated bass", "detailed highs") to what is going on technically (e.g. impedance mismatch, treble peak at 8kHz) can help to cure the syndrome where every single mod you make becomes a life changing experience.

Is there a name for this syndrome? I'm a pretty serious example of just this  :P. For example: All over this forum you can read that with a parafeed setup, the cathode bypass resistor does matter way less then in normal circuits. But every time i "upgrade" -> change/or bypass this cap, my mind goes *poof* -> loving the basssss now  :o *... ?

Oh, and to be on topic, here's another good website for you, with a nice 101 about all tubes : https://wtfamps.com/

Offline Doc B.

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Well, to be sure the first step in learning to listen critically is wanting to listen critically. The point here is that everyone chooses their own poison, i.e., set of compromises.

What I am getting at is twofold. First, there are some who think any change is an improvement. I have a few good old friends who I would put into this category. Their advice is simply not useful because every change is an epiphany. Don't get me wrong, more power to them that they can be satisfied so easily. I can't and honestly that shit makes me get up and walk away. Second, knowing not only what you like but also what is happening to create the sound you like will allow you to replicate the conditions that make that particular sound as you evolve in your journey with your gear.

I saw a cartoon this morning that showed the evolution of acknowledged experts over the past 50 years, from those with PhDs to grad students to media pundits to Sally from Facebook. I would encourage anyone to try their own mods and spending some time reflecting on what makes a mod sound the way it does rather than taking some guy on the internet's blog as gospel (including mine!)

Also be careful in grouping things as run of the mill or blackbox tweaks. Your inclusion of parallel feed with "run of the mill" cap and transformer mods has me chuckling, as the joke at the time we started using it in the 90s was that I was the only guy in the States dumb enough to try it.
Dan "Doc B." Schmalle
President For Life
Bottlehead Corp.

Offline Deke609

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Also be careful in grouping things as run of the mill or blackbox tweaks. Your inclusion of parallel feed with "run of the mill" cap and transformer mods has me chuckling, as the joke at the time we started using it in the 90s was that I was the only guy in the States dumb enough to try it.

Apologies Doc - I didn't mean for what i wrote to be taken seriously. Was just having a bit of fun.  My blackbox vs. run-of-the-mill reference was just meant as a polite way of saying crazy versus not crazy. And re "r-o-t-m", I was referring to typical mods to Bottlehead amps - a la "Out goes the Solen, in goes the Vcap/MCap/Jensen", or "Let's put a choke in place of this resistor in the power supply", etc. I wasn't suggesting the amps or circuit designs were r-o-t-m. I think my purchase history, mostly reflected in my signature demonstrates that i think otherwise.

But, so as not to totally derail and jack this thread, here are my "gear" suggestions for the OP:

(1) Soldering iron - If I were to splurge on one thing, it would be this. A good adjustable temp soldering station really is worth it if you plan on really getting into soldering stuff (as your first post suggests you do).  Hakko and Weller are two consistently recommended brands. I have a Weller and can't see any reason to replace it until it stops working and is unfixable.

(2) Solder - as PB said, make sure you get leaded, rosin core solder - 60/40 or 63/37. I'll also suggest avoiding the really cheap stuff. No need to spend a fortune, but if it's $5 for 5 lbs it probably isn't going to flow too well. You can search this forum and other DIY sites for "solder" in the subject line if you want recommendations. Or ask in this thread.

(3) Mini serrated needlenose pliers - I find these indispensable for getting into tight spots, and getting good crimped mechanical connections before soldering (They're also an absolute necessity when you later decide to desolder and unwrap that same tightly crimped connection  ;D ).  I use the Xcelite 378M, and absolutely love them.  So much so that if I misplaced them I'd be willing to put off building and spend my time turning my house upside down in search of them - even though I have other pliers that will work.  You can get a combo pack of Xcelite sidecutters and mini needlenose for about $30 - see, e.g., http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B074NF632F/ref=ox_sc_act_title_1?smid=ATVPDKIKX0DER&psc=1  The Xuron ones look essentially the same, but I haven't used them.

(4) Desoldering braid and/or solder sucker -- inevitably, you are going to want to redo or undo a solder joint. And it would just suck to have to wait days for the braid or solder sucker to arrive before you can perform what takes about 5-10 seconds.  So I suggest getting it/them now. Some people swear by suckers and can't stand braid, and others the opposite. I like braid. If you order some braid - make sure is has flux/rosin, and I'd go for the "no clean" kind. I use MG Chemicals' "Superwick" - I find it works amazingly well.

cheers, Derek
Derek
______

Roon Intel NUC ->  Yggdrasil DAC -> BeePre (w/ BeeQuiet and EML 300B)  -> Kaiju (w/ DCFil and EML 300B) or Stereomour II (2A3 [EML Mesh] and 45 Conversion [EML 45B])  -> Audeze LCD4

Offline Raymond P.

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For me, the most difficult part of building these kits is attaching components between terminals of 9-pin tube sockets for soldering. The space there is just too confined. For that task, I find using a pair of serrated tweezers helpful with threading through and wrapping leads around the terminals. And a workbench magnifying glass is super helpful too.
Raymond P.