Tube Amp Update #1

So, why build a tube amplifier? Tube amps look really cool and produce a unique warm sound. There are some other considerations as well. We live in a digital age, with most of our devices digitally controlled and connected. Tube amplifiers are from an analogue era. Another reason is price; tube amps, such as the one I mention below, cost several thousand dollars.

So, by making a tube amp, I can enjoy all the pleasure of the warm sounds made by the amplifier and all the convenience of being able to control it with digital devices. In effect, by building it at home I can make a custom amplifier to meet my needs.

Every project begins with research. I’ve never built an amplifier before, but I have worked with them. I am going to start this off by looking at kits, and other amps that have been made. This will give me and idea for what kind of design I would like to make and what sort of enclosure I need to build.

I do have some preliminary ideas.
I recently put in a countertop made out of some reclaimed wood from some cabinets that were in my parent’s house from when they remodeled one of their bathrooms. This countertop is stained a dep brown/red. I think that Aesthetically I will want to use the same kind of wood stain and contrast it with chromed elements, to make a high contrast, industrial-looking piece.

A sample of what a tube amp looks like, in a style that I personally enjoy, would be the lauded and very beautiful McIntosh 275, which has been around since 1961.

The McIntosh is pretty amazing except for one really critical flaw. At approximately $4500, it’s pricetag is waaaaaaaaay beyond what a graduate student can afford for something like an amplifier.

So, when I google for a stereo tube amp kit, the first website that comes up is This website offers kits to make hi-fi stereo amplifiers, but the options are a little but overwhelming. What’s the difference between a monobloc tube amp and an integrated tube amp anyway? These are important distinctions because they impact the price of the parts.

Speaking of price, how much can I expect to spend on an amplifier kit, and how much am I going to budget for this build? These are questions I haven’t answered yet, but will explore.


About Andre Simms

Professional Ever since I was a child, my interests have always been in discovering how things work. By breaking down complex operations into their smaller components, I've grown to appreciate how things work together; finding more efficient ways of completing tasks is a creative challenge that I enjoy. Recently, I earned my bachelor's degree in Political Science at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, with a focus on American politics and public administration. I now work as a government professional with 3 years experience in both executive and legislative work. Many of my skills have grown from my experiences of studying problems in government operation, critical analysis and complex problem solving. Personal I am an avid photographer, and have been actively shooting for 10 years. My style has grown to focus on lifestyle photography; I love capturing my everyday experiences through the lenses of my camera. While I enjoy many types of photography, my favorite method is the long exposure. This method, when applied at night allows colors to saturate themselves in an unique way. At night, the world we are familiar with transforms into a new place, the night world is a reflection of the day. View all posts by Andre Simms

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