Disclaimer first: I'm NOT an electronics expert, far from it. I'm simply an enthusiast starting out with DIY audio, learning along the way and wanting to share my findings with other enthusiasts, hoping to infect others with the DIY bug ;-)
I’d been eyeing DIY audio websites and forums for a while now, and wanted to build a GSSL compressor and Classic API preamps for myself, but not without some practice first. I never soldered on a PCB before, the toughest thing I ever soldered was a Bantam patchbay, so I thought I’d get my feet wet with a rather basic yet high quality build first.
PCBGrinder.com sells PCB’s and kits, and just before the BODI28 kit went out of the store I ordered one. The kit is sadly no longer available, if it were I’d build me some more of these DI’s. Forgot to took pictures along the way, suffice it to say the build actually went very smooth and the circuit worked right off the bat.
The kit contained two PCB’s, so I ordered all components required from Mouser and a case from Modushop, and built myself another one. The metalwork on the XLR connector – i know, i know – isn’t too smooth but the entire package feels very sturdy nonetheless. Most important, it sounds a gazillion times better than any DI at the price point of this kit.
This first build definitely got me interested in building more and consequently, more kits and PCB’s are on their way to what is now my DIY corner of the house. Don’t be afraid to try it yourself, start with an easy kit and go for it. It’s fun to build and learn about electronics and hearing your own work actually work is pretty kick-ass too.
You’ll need some tools that are adequate for the job though. What I used to finish this very build was :
- A good temperature-controlled soldering iron. I was recommended this Velleman soldering station by a friend with a lot more soldering miles on his sleeve than me.
- Decent solder.
- A third hand of some kind. I’ve got this one from Conrad.
- Multimeter for measuring resistance values and verifying solder connections (continuity test). I dived into the Velleman catalogue again and got me the DVM 851.
- Some basic cutting and stripping tools (I bought a Jokari stripping tool for this which is extremely convenient) to get wires cut to the right size.
- The drilling work on the case could be prettier, but a standard electric drill with metal mills did the job for me.
Up next is a GSSL with Turbo mod and a CAPI VP28!