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Old 18th September 2008 , 11:54 PM
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Cool DIY Preamp - FiveFish SC-1 kit build blog

OK, I bit the bullet and ordered a full kit of parts to build a stereo SC-1 preamp with DI module and LED VU meters on both channels a couple of weeks ago. Today the box arrived and the photos below give you an idea of the contents.

Over the next few weeks I shall be building the preamp and will treat this thread as a sort of blog of the build.



First off, what I ordered was:
  • 2 x SC-1 preamp kit
  • 2 x Mini IO kit
  • 2 x VU meter kit
  • 1 x PSU kit
  • 1 x toroidal mains transformer
  • 4 x chunky pointer knobs
Separately I have also bought a 1U rackmount case, folded steel construction with 4mm aluminum faceplate and a pack of "A4 inkjet water-slide decal sheets" (which are like the transfers you used soak in water, slide off the backing sheet and then stick on your model airplane kit - but can be printed on in a standard inkjet printer). The decal sheets will be used to print the front panel legend and can apparently be baked on in a domestic oven.

I have also needed to build a new floor standing angled rack cabinet as there's no more room in my "in-console" rack for the new preamp! I've included a picture of that also... all the objects are on top of it to hold the joints together whilst the glue sets up!!

Well, that's all for now, I'll be adding to this thread as the build progresses. Below are the initial photos.

Attached Images
File Type: jpg IMG_2802a.jpg (54.5 KB, 40 views)
File Type: jpg IMG_2803.jpg (51.6 KB, 30 views)
File Type: jpg IMG_2805.jpg (44.4 KB, 31 views)
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Old 19th September 2008 , 05:18 AM
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+1 Dave. Good luck with the DIY. I'm sure we'll all be watching this space very carefully.
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Old 19th September 2008 , 07:59 AM
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good luck with the build dave, i look forward to seeing the results
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Old 19th September 2008 , 08:03 AM
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Morning Dave, ( great name, somewhat jetsetty and urbane I always think?).

I have just got a prototype mic pre up and running using the THAT chip and the application notes circuit. It was a bit "chucked together" and I did not use metal films everywhere I should but even so the noise performance is exceptionally good.

Can I ask the crude question of how much the kit cost you, we have heard large figures bandied here!

Oh! And I wish you luck chewing thru' that 4mm faceplate mate!

Dave.
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Old 19th September 2008 , 08:38 AM
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I'm quite happy to share what it cost:

Stereo SC-1 pair kit (inc PSU) = $269
Mini IO kit $49 x2 = $98
VU meter kit $19 x2 = $38
Plastic knobs = $8
USPS Shipping US to UK = $86

All comes to roughly $500. That converts to a quid or so over 280. There is no import duty, but import VAT is 42.82 (and fortunately, being VAT reg'd I can reclaim) plus 8 Parcelforce Clearance Fee. All in that's a couple of quid over 330 to get it all here.

The Decal sheets (10 sheets of A4) were 11. The 1U rack case was 35.

... and do please share some details of your prototype if you can!

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Old 19th September 2008 , 08:41 AM
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Best o' luck on the build Dave.. I too will be watching this 'blog' with interest...
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Old 19th September 2008 , 10:26 AM
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Well, I think that is a bargain despite the work you need to do.

Sad that we cannot do something similar over here. Once the 700 bill to MOT the car has been forgotten I might go for just the pre's (I am knee deep in trannies and psu's!).

Happy drillin'

Dave.
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Old 19th September 2008 , 11:39 PM
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Have assembled the first board tonight, the PSU board. All components installed except the power LEDs which I'm currently thinking may be best mounted on the front panel. Whilst taking it steady and double checking the value and orientation of each component as it is installed and soldered,the build time for this board was about 90 minutes.

Have also finished assembling the floor standing rack, next job is to paint it.
Attached Images
File Type: jpg IMG_2806a.jpg (46.0 KB, 29 views)
File Type: jpg IMG_2808.jpg (67.6 KB, 25 views)
File Type: jpg IMG_2809.jpg (58.3 KB, 22 views)
File Type: jpg IMG_2811.jpg (52.1 KB, 25 views)
File Type: jpg IMG_2813.jpg (41.0 KB, 26 views)
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Old 19th September 2008 , 11:42 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dave Boulden View Post
Have assembled the first board tonight, the PSU board. All components installed except the power LEDs which I'm currently thinking may be best mounted on the front panel.

Have also finished assembling the floor standing rack, next job is to paint it.
look quite handy with a solder good luck with this but seems to me you don't need any. nice
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Old 20th September 2008 , 04:02 PM
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There must be one hefty manual included in all that Dave! How's it going? Have you finished it?
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Old 23rd September 2008 , 12:56 PM
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Has anyone seen Dave since those boxes arrived?

Dave...how's the DIY going?
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Old 23rd September 2008 , 01:14 PM
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Had a busy weekend with gigging and was mixing tracks all night last night. I've treated myself to a new soldering station which has just this second been delivered by the UPS guy as I'm typing this... the iron I've been using is actually older than many of you here! (Seriously, it's an old Antex XS, probably about 28 years old!) I thought I'd wait for the new iron to turn up before building the rest of the boards as the old Antex was a bit to large for the the fine soldering around the small pads on the FiveFish PCBs.

I have been working on the new rack which has now been painted and rack strips installed so that it's ready and fully installed before the FiveFish 1U unit is completed... I'll also be migrating a few other items into this rack.

I'll post an update tonight with some more photos.
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Old 23rd September 2008 , 01:26 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dave Boulden View Post
I've treated myself to a new soldering station which has just this second been delivered by the UPS guy as I'm typing this... the iron I've been using is actually older than many of you here! (Seriously, it's an old Antex XS, probably about 28 years old!)
You know how to make me feel really special, Dave!

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I'll post an update tonight with some more photos.
Keep up the good work!
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Old 24th September 2008 , 01:13 AM
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Tonight I assembled one of the main SC-1 preamp boards. It was also cool to try out my new temperature controlled soldering station... *so* much better than the old Antex iron!

I did have one mishap though. I managed to snap the leg off a ceramic capacitor as I was pushing it home into it's holes on the PCB... means I've now got to flipping well either drive 10 miles to the nearest Maplin store or order a single ceramic capacitor, probably costng no more than 10p, and incur a standard delivery charge! Bu**er!!

A few components were a little fiddly to install. The IC sockets and DIL jumper pins were a lot easier to solder once they had been temporarily held with the judicial application of some masking tape. Had to do the same when installing the 2 switches and the potentiometer. The main gain switch was particularly fiddly (the red bodied round one) as the pins had to be soldered onto some extremely small closely pitched PCB pads and it was necessary to solder them under a magnifying glass to ensure a clean and tidy job with no accidental solder bridges. The build time for this board was around about 2 hours... again I was proceeding steadily and double checking each component as it was installed.

The floor standing rack has also come along. It's all assembled and painted now. I have also installed the rack strips and a Behringer rack light which has the very useful feature of 8 extension IEC sockets on the back panel all running from a master switch on the front of the unit... very nice, especially given that it's a Behry! I now just need to finish the real wood top with hardwood edging to complete the rack.

As before, here are the all important pictures.

Attached Images
File Type: jpg IMG_2911.jpg (44.4 KB, 18 views)
File Type: jpg IMG_2912.jpg (44.7 KB, 16 views)
File Type: jpg IMG_2914.jpg (49.9 KB, 18 views)
File Type: jpg IMG_2915.jpg (40.0 KB, 18 views)
File Type: jpg IMG_2916.jpg (59.8 KB, 18 views)
File Type: jpg IMG_2917.jpg (59.9 KB, 19 views)
File Type: jpg IMG_2906.jpg (42.0 KB, 21 views)
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Old 24th September 2008 , 06:24 AM
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Well done, it's really coming along. I imagine if I tried something like that, I'd break more than one capacitor leg! I did once buy a soldering iron but it never got used!

Watching your preamp come together makes me feel part of the process...can we all share the final product?

That rack looks like a big temptation to fill Dave! Have you already got stuff to fill it or are you going to splash out on new gear?
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