Blog Forums Member Area Hello looking for guidance in the DIY community

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    • #10738

      Hey everyone my name is Shawn King. I’m a beginner in the DIY community and looking for guidance on setting  up my turntable  (at lp140x). Its in a small living room.  Like most people, I would like to have great sound without spending thousands of dollars on equipment.

        I listen to a wide variety of music from gaming music, chillstep, synthwave, pink floyd, classical, and some music with heavy bass. Just to name a few.

      There is a lot of information out there and so many different routes to take. Bluetooth speakers, internal amps, external amps, crossovers, etc….I had no idea what i was getting into but now i am here. I have gone deep into the rabbit hole.

      I’ve  been researching quite a bit but Im still in need of a guidance before i make the plunge into speakers, pre amps, amplifiers, and cables.

      I like doing DIY projects and I dont mind trying out soldering or making crossovers but i need a good step by step guide. I am also thinking since I am a beginner. I may just start off with ones already prebuilt. I prefer wood over MDF.

      1.) Speakers I am considering:

      The Dinas, Eso7, 3.1 speakers, or parts Express speakers like dayton mk402 (out of stock at the moment.)

      2.) Amplifiers: I am considering 

      Dayton amp or Ice diy 300.00 kit (which I am not sure about how i do volume control)

      3.)Pre amplifier

      Aiyma sj2 for turntables and changing the vaccum bulbs.

      4.) Diy cables or non DIY cables

      Anyhow this is where I am at.

      Any recommendations for a prebuilt option or a DIY route would be much appreciated. 

      Thank you

    • #10741

      @kingsanguine Welcome!  it is great to have you!  I am fully impressed with your wide array of musical choices.  You sir, definitely do enjoy music of all varieties.  That’s really cool to see.

      It is funny you mention the Mk402.  I just picked up an open box 442 and plan to review them on the channel.  I haven’t really got a chance to listen to it yet, so I can’t say anything about it.  However, I owned a pair of 402’s for a while, so I can easily talk about that,  You really did pick a wide array of choices.

      If it were me, I would put them in this order: The Eso 7, The Dinas and the MK402.  Here is why.

      Eso 7 – They truly are full range for music.  I have yet to hear something on them that I don’t like.  Which for you would be important.  They also have a really wide response, which can fill the room with sound.  Downsides: most expensive to build out of the options chosen and have rising impedance.  This means they aren’t the best to use with tube amplifiers and preamplifiers.  However, they sound fantastic paired with the $300 Ice power amplifier (which is what I run mine with).

      Dinas – The Dinas have full adjust-ability with the plate amplifier.  You pick the amount of bass and or treble you want with it.  They are a really fun speaker and are once again full range for music.  Downsides: being highly customizeable it is easier to get a sound you don’t like just as it is with a sound you do.  They also do not have as flat a response as the Eso 7’s.

      MK402 – They are a great beginner speaker.  For the price, they are hard to beat.  However, it is not an audiophile grade speaker by any means.  Downsides: it will have more distortion and will not fill the room with sound like the others.  Also they will not be able to be full range (around 60hz), so you would definitely want a subwoofer with it.    

      Amplifier question:  How do I control the volume?  You just use a preamp.  I would suggest something like the Shiit Sys or equivalent.  They are a well known company in the audio field that provides good quality products at affordable prices.  


    • #10743

      This cleared up a lot for me thank you for the quick response.

      I think that will be the route I take. 

      1.) Speakers ESO7

      2.) 300.00 ice amplifier

      3.) Schiit sys.

      *I was actually thinking of the Schiit Mani beforehand but I saw the Aiyimas SJ2 vacuum tubes and thought that would be a good choice? 

      *Also, I had a question about tweeters. What’s the differences between having soft dome tweeters and tweeters like the ESO 7? 

      So, i guess now, I’ll  have  to get all the materials and plans in order to make it happen.

      Maybe, I can take pics or even videos when I get it all done. I’m still a newbie but if I can get set on the right track from other experienced audiophiles. I might be off to a good start having that hivi audio experience.

    • #10744

      Hi Shawn! Welcome to the forum.

      To the speakers, I’ll defer to Nick (123TOID) as I have no experience with any of them.

      The amp, isn’t the $300 ICEpower amp a mono unit (Nick)? If so, you’ll need a second one to get stereo. But the 200ASC and the Ghent enclosure with wires isn’t that bad for price. Plus it is made by Bang & Olufsen, so it’s darn good quality. Hey, if PSAudio can use them in their stuff, why not? 🙂

      The PreAmp is the part that concerns me. You say it is mostly to connect your turntable to the system, so you’ll need one that has the RIAA equalization curve available to it. Now, I looked for the SJ2 at Aiyima, but couldn’t find it. Not even on Google. I did see the T2 that had the RIAA curve built in, so there’s an option. Also, if you look back in some of the threads, there is one on a phono preamp that you could build if you are up to it. It is based on the phono preamp at the Elliot Sound Products (project) pages of their web site.

      From there, then you’ll need a way to control the volume. According to one of the comments on the Parts Express page for the 200ASC, the inputs don’t like the standard voltage divider potentiometer used in most passive systems. I have no experience with the Schiit Sys or those amps, so I ask for some clarification from Nick about that. But what that comment says to me is that they prefer an active (buffered) preamp stage.

      After all that, there is the option of going with one of the Dayton amps that has all that built in. They may not have as much power as the ICE amps, but the convenience and price is also a factor. All in one for less $. Just a thought.

      I don’t mean to dissuade you from your course, but I do want to help you avoid a possible pitfall.

      Until we hear from Nick or anyone else with firsthand experience of these units, keep your dream alive and work toward it. And let me/us know your thoughts and concerns. We’ll share any knowledge and experience we can.



      You say it is for a small living room. I know that small is a relative term, so, would you give us an idea of the size you are talking about? It can help in sizing your system to fit best.

    • #10745

      Hey, Charlie.  Haha, I guess I’m back in the rabbit hole 🤣. I definitely want to make the right choice here before I get started.

      Speakers: I think I will stick with the ESO 7. I wanted to ask Nick about damping, chamfering edges, or changing the tweeter size. If it would matter or not. (Probably have to change the crossover for that?) I even saw someone using a simple diy damping of plain towels. Not sure if that would make a difference but I thought that was interesting. 

      Pre Amp: Here is the Aiyima SJ2

      I was thinking of the Schiit mani but I didn’t  see a volume control.

      Then the Schiit sys says pre amp and it has a volume control but some people says it’s more like a switch than a pre amp.

      Also,  I am not sure about the RIAA equalizer curve as well you brought up a good point.

      • Yeah, I could go that route and build a phono pre amp if it’s on a thread. I’ll  have to check that out. I’m just not sure which route to take at the moment.

      Amplifier: I think If i have a good  guide and I have all the materials in order i can try to tackle the Ice DIY for 300.00. The Dayton Amp would save some time and money.

      The living room size is roughly 13′ x 18′ 

      I really appreciate the responses and guidance.  

    • #10747


      Actually both of them that I built are stereo.  The $300 which is perfect for the Eso 7’7 uses the mono 200asc board with power supply built in.  That supply can power up to itself and two of the the 200ac boards.  I used one of the 200asc and one 200ac to make a stereo amplifier.  It’s pretty cool to see how many people have built that amp and are impressed with it.  I am still so impressed and I use it daily.  😊 


    • #10748


      It looks like the Shiit Mani is a phono preamp.  If you plan to hook this up to a record player, you will need a phono preamp.  Depending on which record player you have, it might have it pre built-in.  Mine had a switch to turn the preamp on or off.  All this does is amplify the signal from the record player so you can hear it on your amplifier (very simplified explanation).

      As far as the Es0 7’s go, I did not use amp dampening material in it.  You can always experiment.  Believe it or not, when I do design a ported speaker with dampening, I almost always use a cheap mattress topper from Wal-Mart.  It does the same thing and is a lot less expensive.  In fact, in the Uglies build, you can see photos with it being used.  

      You really can’t change out the tweeter without changing the whole crossover, which you eluded to.  As far as the corundum tweeter goes, it is designed using better materials which allow it to go much lower without distortion.  It is one of the better performing tweeters I have come across for this reason.  Very flat response without being bright. 

      As far as chamfering the edges, that wouldn’t/shouldn’t make a big difference at all.  But if you want to post some ideas of what you are thinking, I could better answer that for you.

      I would love to see any pictures or video you put you.  If you do, please share them.  That would be really awesome!


    • #10749

      There it is! That is the T3, pretty much just an updated T2. It is the correct one to use with your turntable, plus it has the 1/8″ (3.5mm) jack that takes over when pluggged in. I have no idea why it didn’t show up in Aiyima’s website, even when all I used was the term RIAA. I think the part that threw me is that it says 6j2. No biggie, it happens.

      That still leaves a source selector and the volume control.

      The source selector could be something from nobsound or maybe this one. I’ve used MCM stuff in the past and really liked it.

      The preamp/volume/tone controls could be this part. I like the chip used and the price is nice. You’d just need a case for it and a 12v supply. Current can’t be more than a hundred milliamps or so. Size the PS accordingly.

      That would get you all the way up to the amplifier, whichever one you choose.

      As an alternative, you have the matching amp to the Aiyima phono preamp, this. At 50 W x 2 +100 W, it’s not bad at all. Not as much power as the ICE modules, but still a good amount. Depending on if you want more inputs, you may still need a selector, or you may find that phono, 1/8″ and BT are enough. That’s a call for you to make.

      Lastly, your room. It’s a decent size room. Not huge, but not small. Your speaker’s sensitivity will determine what you need, powerwise. The ESO 7 drivers are 84.8 dB and the tweeters are 88.7 dB. Nick can give us a more accurate number, but I’d hazzard a guess of around 85  dB at 1W/1M SPL. Not bad, but not super efficient. So 1 watt will get you 85dB, 10 watts ~95dB, 100 watts ~105 dB. That’s pretty loud. And with the quality of the ESO 7, it should be way more than enough for your room, especially if it has 8′ ceilings. 50 watts may be enough, 300 might be to your liking. It all depends on how well the amp works with your setup. 

      All I can tell you is that you’ll have to start the journey somewhere. And any of those would be a good place to start. 

      My setup is turntable, 100+1 CD changer, 2 tape decks, 20 band EQ, and a 20 watt Sansui receiver driving 2 pairs of Radio Shack speakers – rebuilt Optimus 30’s (10″ 2-way ported) and a smaller Optimus pair (8″ 2-way sealed). This spans my dining room and living room ~16’x34′ total. It gets VERY loud and the OP 30s shake the house.  (Forgot to mention I have a BT adapter feeding a tape adapter in one of the decks because I don’t have anywhere to plug it in.) Not bad for most of the stuff having been bought in the 80’s.


      ***Sorry Nick I didn’t see your replies above. Mine was a long time in the making and we crossed over. Thanks for the clarification on the points I posited. 

    • #10750

      Hey, how are you guys doing today?

      That’s a great idea on the Uglies for damping material! Maybe, I can try that out. 

      Haha, I could imagine my house shaking and my neighbors getting pissed! 😆 The Sansui seems like a great option. Nice setup!

      Okay, just to sum everything up. I’m down for either or. I can benefit and learn a lot on DIY but I’m still a beginner.  I’m open for buying options too. I really want quality sound though. My budget is around 700 to 800.

      Summary of specs:

      Turntable ATLP 140x (no pre amp option on the turntable)

      Room size 18′ x 13’x 8′

      Music type: Maybe more highs than lows… I have wide variety. (Mellow, upbeat, and bass)

      Ideas and choices for buying:

      ELAC debut reference B6.2 speakers

      KGUSS T3 vaccum Tube

      Not sure on Aiyima amplifier?


      DIY route:

      ESO 7

      YuanJing stereo pre amp volume control

      ICE module


    • #10758


      I completely understand not being sure of yourself with the DIY route.  It takes time and the Eso 7’s may not be the right first project.  If you decided against DIY speakers, I would second the Elac.  They are great speakers made by a world class designer.  You really can’t go wrong with them.  

      I would still recommend the Ice Amplifier.  It makes a huge difference on how your speakers sound.  If you need a preamp for your turntable, you would either go for the Mani from Schiit or just try a cheap one off Amazon (not as good).  You still would need a preamp for volume control like the SYS. You’re probably used to seeing these as one unit, all built together.  When you go high end, they separate each unit, so it can throw some people off.   

    • #10778

      Okay, i ended up getting a schiit mani. For the pre amp and I just ordered the kit for the amplifier. 


      • I’m having to cancel the amplifier case due to the corona virus from ghent audio.Is there an alternative site?

      I canceled parts express order too for now.

    • #10779

      @kingsanguine wow! I didn’t even think about that. But that’s a great call. Let me check around for you. I don’t know of any off the top of my head.


    • #10780

      @123toid Okay, thank you. I really appreciate it. 

      Sorry if this is a stupid question. What’s the difference between 125ASx2 and the 200asc class D?

    • #10783


      I looked around and asked around and can’t find any sourced anywhere else.  That really is a dilemma. 


    • #10784

      Is there a way for me to make an amplifier only using parts express

    • #10785


      You can always buy an amplifier case and drill your own holes.  It just couldn’t find one that already was setup for the IcePower amplifiers. 


    • #10890

      Hey Nick, I just bought the plans for the ESO7. Since i cant get a hold of an amplifier case I just decided to work on one thing at a time and start with the speakers. I think I have every thing in my cart. Is there a soldering iron, speaker wire, crimp terminals, and circle jig you reccomend? I have a router and miter saw to work with. 


    • #10900


      I typically use this circle jig.

      And this is my favorite soldering iron for the price.

      I can’t wait to see the project when it is finished.  Keep us updated. 



    • #11055


      Hey Nick,

      It’s been a while. So, much has happened since we last spoke. I hope everything is okay? I left a few emails. I feel like I’ve hit a complete wall on this project.

      I’m kind of just stuck sitting here with a bunch of parts everywhere and a bit bummed out.

      I dont know how this amplifier will hook up to schitt sys, mani, and turntable since those are RCA cables… and I already ordered the power ice 300, case, and parts.

      I’m also having trouble with getting bananas plugs or rca plugs. I dont know what I should do or where to begin? I really need some help. 

      With the speakers and amplifier setup/hookup/install.

      Is there a way I can send you everything? Cause I’m truly lost. I’ll pay shipping and other expenses. Or some guidance? I left all the pictures in the emails. 

      I have not hooked up any parts inside the amplifier. 

      This is basically where I am.

    • #11056


      I did get your email. Sorry I was out working on the house when you emailed me. But don’t worry I’ll walk you through everything as needed. Let’s just work on one project at a time. That way we don’t get overwhelmed.  I see the case for the amplifier sitting there, have you got a chance to wire that up?  

      Do me a favor and let me know exactly which shiit products you got. And then I’ll draw you a diagram on exactly how it hooks up. 

      Don’t worry, I’ll make sure you’re completely taken care of. Let me know which project you want to start with first and we’ll take it one step at a time. 

    • #11057


      Ah no worries.

      I have Schitt Sys and Schitt Mani.


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