Ipod Tube Dock

Kurtis Berry sent in his response to all the ipod speaker docks out there. Instead of buying one, he built one. It’s really a combination of several projects, and it looks great. He used a monoblock tube amp kit to provide 8 watts of excitement to a well known diy speaker design, all encased in oak. He’s hit that wall we all know – that point where we quit because it’s working so nicely as it is. Still, I’m not sure that adding a second channel would add too much to the sound experience with his speaker unless he wants to build a matched set. (I can’t give him too much grief, I’m jealous.)

23 thoughts on “Ipod Tube Dock

  1. From the tube amp website:
    “These Amplifiers may be operated as
    supplied, however voltages in excess of 200 volts
    are present on the board and the tubes get
    very hot. It is advised that the amplifier be mounted in a well-ventilated metal enclosure to reduce the potential of fire or shock.”

    Hope that beautiful wood enclosure never catches fire.

  2. am I the only one that doesn’t see the point of hooking the pos daq in an ipod into a $100 worth of tube amp? I seriously doubt that he is using lossless compression on a nano…

    on the other hand I do agree with the mono, as the speakers are so close to each-other that you wouldn’t get any stereo separation anyway. I just hope that he correctly combined the 2 stereo channels into the single mono one.

  3. it’s brilliant – i don’t mind mono in such a small design because i’d be wanting to use this as a portable or second stereo, and setting up stereo speakers for proper separation isn’t as easy as just placing them a foot apart – well it is nearly that easy, but considering that most stereos aren’t really that stereo, and it doubles the work and price, i’d build mono.

    as for valves? i don’t have any, but even with mp3 they’ll sound so much more alive and natural. i imagine the bass is beautiful.

    best hack yet – pity there aren’t more details.

  4. The source of the sound isn’t necessarily all that important… the tubes will color (warm) any signal passed through them, from a DAC or a record player. It’s no more stupid than running a CD player through a tube amp.

  5. “…” if you read about the construction of the dayton 3 loudspeaker you will see that it is actually a 2 mid-woofer 1 tweeter setup with a crossover circuit built into it, rather than a stereo setup. the guy that designed the d3 is incredibly knowledgable about speaker construction.

  6. I too built the stereo kit from tubesandmore.com, about five years ago, and it’s an amazing amp.

    I made four small improvements, though:

    1. I subbed out the stock capacitors with slightly better ones, for a total cost of about $4.

    2. I put the whole kit and kaboodle under a Marantz-style cage, which I bought from Hammond (prob from angela.com).

    3. I re-mounted the RCA inputs to a more user-friendly location on the chassis.

    4. The PCB-mount tube sockets that came with the thing are some sort of plastic, and started to deform and turn brown within a month, so I subbed ceramic ones at a cost of about $8.

    The bass on this thing is pretty good. Eight watts is plenty loud for home listening.

    I also have what the audiophile geeks call a “single-ended triode” amp, which is supposedly the bees nuts as far as accuracy, euphonious distortion, killer sound, blah blah blah, are concerned, but this thing is every bit as good, the bass is a little stronger in the sub 50Hz range, and the eight watts pushes my not-very-expensive speakers better. I like it.

    There’s also a fair amount of web pages devoted to modding the thing; google K-502, which is the number given to the kit when I bought it yrs ago.

  7. “So, I’m also wondering about the safety of surrounding the tubes with wood… is this generally a risk for fire?”

    No more than a hot cup of coffee on your end table. (but you probably use a coaster)

    Funny to see these reactions, goes to show 1] how ignorant people are about tubes these days, and 2] how nervous people are… your toaster is much bigger threat than this!

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