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Chip
Reply with quote  #1 
As someone who has built about a dozen of Bruce's kits, I can confidently say to new kit (or experienced kit builders); that if you follow Bruce's instructions exactly, the last place to look for a problem - is his kit. Also I have never dealt with anyone, who has been more generous with his time, even when I have asked dumb questions (please don't take this as an endorsement to call him about every little thing, he is busy). I have also found that he is reluctant to give advice on modifications; using high end parts (see Audio Reality). I have four kits that are five years old, and are still on original tubes. If a problem with one of his kits does come to light (after a period of time) he will post a fix, and has always been generous with his time and parts (if the problem was his). We all make mistakes, however, as far as I know Bruce has made almost none with his kits (and those mistakes took time to show up). IMHO he is the best of the best....chip  PS Bruce please keep making new goodies for us.
binkt
Reply with quote  #2 
Hear, Hear! Accolades to Bruce indeed. I have built two SEOTLs, Two Beasts, and a tube tester and have had the best support and success since I built Heathkits and Eicos some time ago. I will build all his products sooner or later because you just can't beat the sound and results from these kits.
Please support this enterprise. There are not many kit makers remaining and it is a way of life. THANKS BRUCE
the gorn
Reply with quote  #3 

I'll third that! And now that Bruce is on the mend. I can't wait to see what he cooks up next.

Ray P
Reply with quote  #4 
Chip, having modified my SE-OTL and at the risk of being controversial I'll add a 'yes, but....'

The initial reason for modifying my SE-OTL was because I think aesthetically It isn't the most attractive device; in particular I don't like exposed transformers which are rather industrial looking. I also think exposed transformers have an inherent safety risk. On my SE-OTL I elected to replace the stock toroids with potted versions and I believe the results have for domestic acceptance factor as a result. As the potted toroids are a little larger than the stock items, and because it was harder to pot them, I had to relocate the PSU chokes inside the chassis. I think my initial reasons for modifying the SE-OTL are quite justifiable. To be fair to Bruce, I did discuss this with him before ordering and he kindly provided a kit without the toroids.
Oh, and I also added a passive attenuator, which the stock kit doesn't have but gives me just what I need in my setup.

Now, I totally agree with you that when Bruce talks about constructional details, such as the order of connecting wires to the earth bus and cable dressing, it is sensible to follow his instructions as he has invested a lot of effort in sorting them out for optimal performance. It's what I did.

Where I have some reservations about building the kits absolutely stock is with respect to substituting alternative parts. I have read Audio Reality and understand what Bruce is saying, however, I still find that I prefer to use silver wire and alternative caps/resistors/diodes to some of those provided. I do not see the use of these as fundamentally undoing Bruce's excellent design work, after all most of the amp's performance is in the design, and some may consider that I'm deluded and wasting my money but at the end of the day if I have an amp that I like I don't really care - and boy, do I have an amplifier that I like!

So yes, Bruce makes great kits and it is sound advice to follow the general build instructions but I think it is OK to do mods to optimise them to meet our own individual requirements/hang-ups but, if you do, and the results are poor then Bruce has every right to say 'I told you so' and shouldn't be considered responsible. I have no reservations about recommending Bruce's designs and kits to others.

Do I duck now?

Ray
Chip
Reply with quote  #5 
Ray - I also have modified Bruce's kits, that's part of the fun of DIY and I agree  with you. My statement about Bruce's position on mods, was about his time, not his reluctance to see his customers modify his designs. Quite a few of the post on this message board (which Bruce host at his expense, are about mods). I just wanted to reassure new customers, that his designs were complete and worked very well. Someone who is new to the message board, might get the impression from some of the post: that some of the kits might be "buggy", incomplete or not have the optimum parts in them. Bruce could include the stepped attenuator and the muting circuit with the GG, however it would then cost about $200.00 more. As far as mod's go, have at it (I do), just don't ask Bruce which high end output cap to use on the GG.....chip  PS no flying objects from me.
JackOfAll
Reply with quote  #6 
Ray.... Duck!!!!!!!!!!!!! Bruce is entitled to his opinion, even if it does seem to be a little intransigent at times regarding "boutique" parts. The last thing anyone needs as the supplier of a kit is a bunch of grief from someone who has bought a truck load of expensive "uggrade" boutique parts, fitted them on the initial build and can't get the amp working. Witness DocB, PJ et all, stressing over and over again to build a kit stock, only swapping supplied components after the design as supplied is up and running. Some of us have our own opinions regarding parts, whether they be caps, silicon, etc. etc. My neurosis normally involves throwing away 1N4007 diodes and replacing with FRED's. But a newby doing so on an initial build has got a one in two chance of getting himself into trouble with a simple component sub. Much better that they follow Bruce's design, use the parts he supplies, fit the stock "banded" diodes matching the band on the PCB...... etc. etc.

I still find Bruce's no-nonsense, very matter of fact approach to design and parts selection very refreshing compared to most of the audio industry. 99% of the effort goes into the design, not bullshit. LOL.

Bottom line, at least for you.... You're old enough and wise enough to mod without being a pain in the designers backside, whether it be component changes, routing wires, potting transformers....... And you know that if you screw up having modded, you're probably on your own.

Ray P
Reply with quote  #7 
Clive, I don't need to duck cos you've just agreed with the gist of my message, but with a few more words and I have no problem with suggesting that first time builders stick with the stock kits, which are really first class.

Ray
JackOfAll
Reply with quote  #8 
Ray, you need to duck! For having the temerity to describe the look of the amp with stock, un-potted toroids as "industrial". LOL. It's beautiful! (I'm reminded of a comment a friend of mine made, asking if the amp was something that had broken off a tractor, when it went over a bump.)
the gorn
Reply with quote  #9 

I thought Ray's build was really cool, and creative. I don't think Bruce mind's one bit, in fact it makes the forum more lively and generates more interest in his products. I found this site from a text search that lead to this forum. It's just nice to know that those of us on a tight budget can have a top quality sonically identical product. If someone is having fun, then they haven't missed the point at all. I am still interested in hearing Ray's listening impressions. I have been thinking about some lowther's.

Ray P
Reply with quote  #10 
Clive, beauty is in the eyes of the beholder so I can live with others having preferences different to my own; I know a farmer if you need any spares for your kit!

The Gorn, of course I'm guilty of swapping two components at the same time (SE-OTL amplifier plus upgraded my lowther drive units from 8ohm EX3s to 15ohm EX4s to better match the SE-OTL) but I've now put a few hours and a good variety of music into the system now, though I don't think everything is run in yet. That said, I think the music coming from my speakers is the best I've yet achieved. Compared with my previous setup (2A3 SET amp and EX3 lowthers) I'm hearing more and tighter bass, the midrange is less lush, but to the better and I'm hearing things I hadn't noticed before - it's really difficult to adequately describe the differences in simple words but the music now just makes me want to keep listening and exploring my music collection. Oh, and the imaging is more vivid and solid. If you get some lowthers I don't think you'll be dissapointed, providing you match them to a good design (there are some poor ones out there). BTW, thanks for your kind comments about my build.

I think we have actually achieved a concensus? Excellent, innovative designs, good value, well sorted kits that provide excellent sound as stock builds, modification is possible if you feel it necessary but you plough your own furrow and the important thing is to have fun!
the gorn
Reply with quote  #11 
Amen.  
   Ya, lowthers have always been out of my Grasp. The ones I have heard I loved! I wish I could swap out my fostex Fe206 e's, but don't know' if they would be happy in my kit horn enclosures. I couldn't agree more about the music. My wife has to beg me to come out for dinner. sometimes I feel like Eric Clapton is within spitting distance!
Don A.
Reply with quote  #12 
Just to chime in re: sonic qualities of TS kit, 
Between my GG, and CFA, I've the most engaging music reproduction I've had in over 40 yrs. of pursuing this hobby,--(some of us are slow learners!)
My thanks to Mr. R for making such gear available!
Don
bennett
Reply with quote  #13 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Chip
As someone who has built about a dozen of Bruce's kits, I can confidently say to new kit (or experienced kit builders); that if you follow Bruce's instructions exactly, the last place to look for a problem - is his kit. Also I have never dealt with anyone, who has been more generous with his time, even when I have asked dumb questions (please don't take this as an endorsement to call him about every little thing, he is busy). I have also found that he is reluctant to give advice on modifications; using high end parts (see Audio Reality). I have four kits that are five years old, and are still on original tubes. If a problem with one of his kits does come to light (after a period of time) he will post a fix, and has always been generous with his time and parts (if the problem was his). We all make mistakes, however, as far as I know Bruce has made almost none with his kits (and those mistakes took time to show up). IMHO he is the best of the best....chip  PS Bruce please keep making new goodies for us.
bennett
Reply with quote  #14 
do you build kits for a price. I am interested in the new minibeast. Thanks
bob
Reply with quote  #15 
To the Gorn.  what do you mean by "now that Bruce is on the mend" ?  Has he been sick?
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