DIY kits unlike any other
Everything you need to build your own high quality stereo tube amplifier
Below are the kits I'm offering. Several of these are the same as my fully-assembled amps, while a few of these are available only as kits. If you need help deciding, you may want to read my page, help me choose.
4W per channel
$799 DIY Kit
7W per channel
$1099 DIY Kit
7W per channel
$1399 DIY Kit
Also available fully assembled
3.5W per channel
$1599 DIY Kit
Also available fully assembled
For some of us, buying something isn't the point.
You know that feeling, right? You worked hard on something, put time and effort into it, built it with your own hands, and then it works and every time you use it, you have pride in what you did. Sure, we could buy an amplifier off the shelf. But that's not the point.
My own journey with tube amps many years ago didn't start with a full kit, it was a printed circuit board with instructions. I barely understood the world I was entering, but I had a hunch tubes were going to be really cool and I wanted to get started somehow. It took a lot of research and sourcing parts. I borrowed tools to make a chassis to hold it all together, soldered the components in place, plugged it in and waited to hear some music emerge. Holy smokes it worked! And the sound was amazing.
Three goals for my kits
After building my first amp, I went on a journey to really learn how tube amplifiers work--what is going on with each component in the circuit and why does it work the way it does. After building knowledge and experience (and more amps), I started to think, I could share this with other people who love to learn and make stuff. Maybe that's you!
I started making kits with three goals:
1. High Quality Audio
You will get high audio quality, with reasonable circuit complexity and cost. The circuits used are based on designs that have been used for many years and proven to work very well. I have carefully tested these and made adjustments.
One of the benefits of a kit is that you have everything you need in one box, and don’t need to go through the difficult job of sourcing components, often from multiple suppliers, paying multiple shipping costs and needing to identify precisely the right part from a multitude of options, sometimes testing and needing to try again with a different selection. This work is done for you so you can save time, money, and avoid mistakes.
I have sourced high quality components from carefully selected manufacturers, for the best possible quality without excessive cost. I did not try to build the cheapest possible kit, and I assume you are someone who is willing to pay for quality.
2. Great visual design
How it looks is as important as how it sounds.
Great visual design is important to have an end-product you are proud of. This is a showpiece in your home that your friends and family will see and ask about. For each kit, I wanted to create a custom-designed chassis to hold the components functionally but also beautifully in context of your listening environment.
For those who don’t have extensive workshop tools and finishing capabilities, this allows you to have a great-looking amplifier and not settle for an off-the-shelf, generic metal box. And for those of you who do have tools and skills of design and construction, a kit can serve as your entry into point-to-point building. I explain how the layout is selected and important choices about the physical construction to minimize hum and ensure heat dissipation or other considerations. You may in the future build a custom design of your own for your next amplifier and put some of your own inspiration into it! Tube amplifiers are both art and science, and I hope you find ways to lean into your creative side.
You will truly learn how a vacuum tube amplifier works.
My instructions are not simply a step-by-step guide, although you could use them that way. My intention is to show you exactly how the entire circuit works, how each component is selected and the role it plays. You will walk away with knowledge that empowers you. This may be the only kit you build, or it may be one stop on a journey of learning and building. Perhaps your next build will extend on what you have learned, and you could customize a circuit or come up with your own designs. If you want to learn, this is the kit for you!
The instructions are extensive and filled with illustrations or photos, and explanations. Some kits include poorly written instructions that are difficult to follow, and you might get the amplifier to work, but only after frustration, perhaps a few mistakes, and certainly without learning anything new. I want your experience with these instructions to be the best you’ve ever had in a kit
What do I get? What do I need?
Kits include all of the components you will need: tubes, transformers, resistors, capacitors, chassis, connectors, wire, and more. The only things you need are some typical hand tools such as screwdrivers, wrenches or nut drivers, and you will need a soldering iron and solder. I recommend a 40W iron or soldering station and 63/37 tin/lead solder. This is a point-to-point wired kit, not printed circuit boards (PCB). You need a cat to monitor your progress and sometimes sit on your instructions. And a cold Dr. Pepper is ideal.
You do not need to know how to read a schematic (though I'll help you in the instructions if you want to learn how the circuit works!) You will need to have decent eyesight and nimble fingers for details, as some of the components are small and require working in relatively tight spaces. And you should be comfortable with basic soldering.
Kits are best if you have patience, take your time to read the instructions and enjoy the process!
Get started today.
"The AE1 Stereo Tube Amplifier Kit has been one of my best DIY experiences since I first learned to solder."
"Fantastic comprehensive kit with detailed instructions of how to build and how it works of top quality components that sound phenomenal."
"This kit is impeccably put together."