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Little Sweetie Forum amplifier project


henry4841
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Yeah parts are  big problem. If I order from B&C there is a 6 month lead time for it to arrive here. Woofers from PE can take 3 months to be back in stock. Same for resistors.

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1 hour ago, michaelwjones said:

Maybe the long wait is due to parts shortages like most are experiencing and that Decware is not a factory.

 

It's mostly due to off the charts increase in orders over the last 2 years, before 2020 averaging about 70 pending orders to over 1800 now (even after adding more staff).

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There is some truth in what jimjimbo said in that one will be putting down their hard earned money for a forum member designed amplifier, built by a forum member at his home in his spare time. One should consider what he said but for the ones willing to take a risk and your taste in music and sound is what I like you might like this little amplifier.

 

So far if my math is correct I have spent $241.47 for parts with a few more parts to buy. I am going to estimate $35 more is going to be the extra cost for parts bringing the total parts cost to $276.47. I would hope anyone interested in me putting the parts together making a working amplifier will be willing to pay me $100 for this service bringing the cost to $376.47. It figures at 10 hours at $10 an hour. About what McDonalds is paying now. I would not call this fee extravagant and far less than what I made when I was working. One hundred dollars does not go far these days with eggs at almost $5 dozen where I live.  There will still be an added shipping cost to send it any one wanting to try this amplifier. This is with those Chinese OPT's which might not suit me raising the cost buying Edcors with a long waiting period to get them. OPT's are just wire wrapped around a steel core. If the wire is sufficient size for the current going to them they should not fail. That and if they are built to the correct specs. I honestly expect them to sound really good keeping the cost down but I will see. This is not a secret design and possible other members with an electronic background will build and sell one themselves making this a true forum amplifier. That is if they like the sound as much as I do. Just search on this forum for Little Sweetie for schematic. I think Maynard did an excellent job designing this amplifier from the ground up. 

 

I am only doing this fun and I have built over 30 amplifiers the last 10 years having many to compare this amplifier to. I also have 6 or 8 working receivers that I have restored and repaired. Most are the ones offered on Ebay as not working only taking my time and a few parts to get to going again. I few others are waiting for me to take on for a project along with a few I have gave to friends and kinfolks.  I am only using parts from Tubedepot and Mouser to build this amplifier. The tubes are NOS ones from Tubedepot. Not off of Ebay. I can find very little history on the 6Y6 tube only that it was built for audio many years ago. Radios of yesteryear. Obviously if Maynard used them he had them in his stash of tubes when he designed an amplifier around them. Trusted sources so I would not call the parts cheap. If no one wants it I will just add it to my collection having fun building another amplifier. I am only doing this for fun hoping others might have some fun following me along on this build. I plan on taking pictures of the progress. 

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Always fascinated so many different personal paths to audio enlightenment.  I think it is very cool and generous esteemed forum members such as Henry and Maynard so willing to provide their expertise for nothing but the personal satisfaction of sharing their wealth.

 

I can also see Jimbo's point that an authentic Decware amp would perhaps be more valuable due to the usual audio hype and marketing. Hell, if one had some foresight two years ago, they could probably double their investment flipping a Decware amp the wait list so crazy long.

 

Also, I see no reason a DIY build could not equal or surpass commercial built, but really have no way of knowing. 

 

Who is to say, really ?

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The hype over Decware amps is real. I’ve owned one and would own one again. I wouldn’t lump Steve’s products in the category with AR or CJ which are truly mass produced. It really is more like an amp that was hand made in someone’s basement. So more in common with the little sweetie than at first glance.

 

I have no doubt that  DIY design could sound as good. But Steve is running a business, so of course there will be a mark up.

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As stated previously I built a version of the Decware Zen and still have it. Great sounding little amplifier, at least the one I built. The 2020 schematic of the Zen is online for anyone to build. I would not build and sell a clone of it though being Steve is feeding his family building this amplifier. If is hard enough for a small business to make it in such a specialized field against the big boys.  

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12 hours ago, jimjimbo said:

You're comparing a home built amplifier with modest parts and unknown quality tubes to amplifiers with huge market recognition, lifetime warranty, etc.

To clarify, the parts can be any you wish to use that satisfy the design, modest to ridiculous. I assume some members may build this amp themselves since it is an established working amp. Sometimes new builders just need a support network to help them along and get motivated. If you can solder and drill holes, you can build one of these amps. It may not be the prettiest piece of equipment, but after it is working, you can go back and clean up your masterpiece. 

 

I would not call any USA NOS tube "unknown quality", but some of the ones from Asia I would. There are many reputable tube dealers, eBay included. I only buy from sellers who have a return policy and check the tubes as soon as I get them. 

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1 hour ago, Racer X said:

Also, I see no reason a DIY build could not equal or surpass commercial built, but really have no way of knowing. 

 

Who is to say, really ?

There is a huge audio underground where people have been making tube equipment for many years. A lot of them bought commercial built equipment and sold it to have amps built for them by DIY builders or they built it themselves and love(d) the equipment. 

 

Angela Instruments was noted for publishing schematics drawn by JE back in the late 90's and a lot of people built those amps. JE continued to design and draw many designs. Some may not have been original, but I credit him with getting (a lot more) people involved with tube amp building back then. 

 

I realize not everyone can or desires to build their own equipment, but if you can, in some cases it can and will equal or surpass equipment bought from a comercial brand.

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If I am not mistaken RCA invented the 6Y6 tube. Tube Depot sells them as NOS various brands. My personal amp has RCA 6Y6 tubes. I like the nostalgia of this old tube. Probably your grandfather or great grandfather listened to a radio with a 6Y6 tube at some time in his life. From what little I have found the 6Y6 lost popularity to the 6V6 which needed less power for the filaments. The 6V6 made it cheaper to build a radio or amplifier with. 

 

Those with an electronic background of amplifier circuits know that a 2 stage SET amplifier is the easiest to build needing very few parts. This Little Sweetie has only 7 resistors and 4 capacitors in each amplification channel.  Just be careful to place them in the correct spot and you have a working amplifier stage. It has a SS rectification stage which I have come to favor over a tube one as sounding just as good. Debate on that subject I do not wish to get into here. Much like LP's vs CD's. Rectifier, 3 caps and 3 resistors in that portion of the amplifier. The most labor intensive part of building a tube amplifier like this is chassis work, drilling holes and installing the hardware. I am lucky to have a drill press making that chore easier but still work. 

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Let me be clear, I am not doing this to make money. If someone wants to try this amplifier and does not like it you can send it back to me and I will refund the price of the amplifier but not the shipping charge to or from you for lets say a week. That should be a sufficient time. I will not lose money on something that has no significant profit. I just want to contribute to this forum a project I enjoy having fun building and talking about the progress with other members. Let's keep this thread positive and have some enjoyment with it.  

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34 minutes ago, henry4841 said:

If I am not mistaken RCA invented the 6Y6 tube. Tube Depot sells them as NOS various brands. My personal amp has RCA 6Y6 tubes. I like the nostalgia of this old tube. Probably your grandfather or great grandfather listened to a radio with a 6Y6 tube at some time in his life. From what little I have found the 6Y6 lost popularity to the 6V6 which needed less power for the filaments. The 6V6 made it cheaper to build a radio or amplifier with. 

 

Those with an electronic background of amplifier circuits know that a 2 stage SET amplifier is the easiest to build needing very few parts. This Little Sweetie has only 7 resistors and 4 capacitors in each amplification channel.  Just be careful to place them in the correct spot and you have a working amplifier stage. It has a SS rectification stage which I have come to favor over a tube one as sounding just as good. Debate on that subject I do not wish to get into here. Much like LP's vs CD's. Rectifier, 3 caps and 3 resistors in that portion of the amplifier. The most labor intensive part of building a tube amplifier like this is chassis work, drilling holes and installing the hardware. I am lucky to have a drill press making that chore easier but still work. 

The 6Y6G was designed as an "Beam Tetrode". This would indicate that it was designed for audio service, but could also be used in TV sets as well for video. The 6Y6G was used in a lot of table top radios or where only a few watts were needed for audio. The 6V6 was the successor which is also a great tube for a low power SET amp.

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I got those Chinese OPT's today and I do not like what I see. Too small in my opinion to have any bass. I found some Hammond OPT's for $131 and that is what I am going to use. I want this project to sound it's best and not be low cost without having quality as well. Adding around $90 to the build but I think worth it. Hammonds known for quality built transformers so the little amplifier should sound it's best. The parts cost is now $369 and adding $100 assembling fee totals $469 plus shipping. I was really trying hard to keep the cost close to what a Chinese SET amplifier is selling for on Amazon. With the price increases this is the cheapest I see for building a decent quality amplifier. As for as $100 assembling fee, as my uncle use to say "If you don't feed your bird dog he want hunt." If no one is interested I will have me another amplifier which is alright with me. I like amplifiers. Have since I was just a kid. 

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5 minutes ago, henry4841 said:

I got those Chinese OPT's today and I do not like what I see. Too small in my opinion to have any bass. I found some Hammond OPT's for $131 and that is what I am going to use. I want this project to sound it's best and not be low cost without having quality as well. Adding around $90 to the build but I think worth it. Hammonds known for quality built transformers so the little amplifier should sound it's best. The parts cost is now $369 and adding $100 assembling fee totals $469 plus shipping. I was really trying hard to keep the cost close to what a Chinese SET amplifier is selling for on Amazon. With the price increases this is the cheapest I see for building a decent quality amplifier. As for as $100 assembling fee, as my uncle use to say "If you don't feed your bird dog he want hunt." If no one is interested I will have me another amplifier which is alright with me. I like amplifiers. Have since I was just a kid. 

I think we should encourage members to build it themselves as well. It is a simple amp and parts count is fairly low comparatively. @rmlowzhas already reached out to me to build him a Little Sweetie this fall/winter when I have time. 

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1 hour ago, henry4841 said:

I got those Chinese OPT's today and I do not like what I see. Too small in my opinion to have any bass. I found some Hammond OPT's for $131 and that is what I am going to use. I want this project to sound it's best and not be low cost without having quality as well. Adding around $90 to the build but I think worth it. Hammonds known for quality built transformers so the little amplifier should sound it's best. The parts cost is now $369 and adding $100 assembling fee totals $469 plus shipping. I was really trying hard to keep the cost close to what a Chinese SET amplifier is selling for on Amazon. With the price increases this is the cheapest I see for building a decent quality amplifier. As for as $100 assembling fee, as my uncle use to say "If you don't feed your bird dog he want hunt." If no one is interested I will have me another amplifier which is alright with me. I like amplifiers. Have since I was just a kid. 


I hate to say it, but anyone averse to paying 500.00 for a custom amp should probably take up needle point instead…

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Maybe newbies could find another forum member to build along with them so they could commiserate. Then one wouldn't feel so alone and it might provide a little incentive to plod along.  Misery loves company.  Just a thought....

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3 hours ago, Racer X said:

Maybe newbies could find another forum member to build along with them so they could commiserate. Then one wouldn't feel so alone and it might provide a little incentive to plod along.  Misery loves company.  Just a thought....

I’m only happy when it rains…

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I was very disappointed with those Chinese OPT's I bought on Amazon. I have two Chinese kit amplifiers I put together and both of them have really decent iron. These look to me like they were built to sell but not to use. I am going to use an Antek toroidal PS transformer along with the Hammond OPT's. Just the iron cost is $182 for this amplifier. Maynard, the designer, uses Hammond OPT's for his builds so I will for this build as well. He likes the sound of them. 

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