Last night, I started to work through the initial build steps of my Audio Note Kit 1. These consist of fitting a variety of hardware components to the chassis. No soldering yet; these first steps are all strictly mechanical.
Brian sent me three PDF files of build instructions. These are extensively illustrated with captioned photos, although this new edition of the manuals updated to reflect the latest versions of all the parts is still a work in progress.
Clearly the author of these instructions is aiming to make the builder feel comfortable. There are lots of exclamation points and declarations of “Well done!” at the end of each step. I feel a little like Harry Potter learning to summon objects with the “accio” spell.
I particularly enjoyed two aspects of this build thus far.
First, you are working with what feels like very high quality parts (at this price you should be)! Even the grommets that protect the cables that will run through the holes in the chassis are made of very heavy rubber. Likewise, the chassis itself is a precision part, a thing of its own industrial beauty. Those grommets take some effort, patience and dexterity to fit into the chassis holes, but once you do, well, you feel a sense of satisfaction because you’ve built something solid. No, those grommets are not coming loose once you’ve wrangled them into place. It gives you the assurance that this thing was designed with care and that the end results will be something you can be proud of.
Second, there’s a bit of a puzzle-solving and skill-acquisition aspect to elements of the build. How do you get those grommets squished in just the right way to get the groove on the grommet positioned flush with the chassis hole? Which way on the tube (or, in British parlance, “valve”) bases does the bracket go, and how are you to hold the nut still with your fingers while you tighten the counter-sunk screw from the other side of the chassis?
I am thinking of this kit the way I think about following an unfamiliar recipe to cook a good meal. If you are in a big hurry to get to the end result (whether listening to music or sitting down to dinner) you may find the process stressful and decidedly not fun. If, on the other hand, you are slow, deliberate and take joy in the process itself, you will love doing this. Indeed, part of what I figure I’ve paid for is the very experience of building this amp.
Okay, here are a few photos:
Grommets, one fully fitted and one in process. A great opportunity for developing fine motor dexterity and finger strength.
After fitting the five grommets, the next step is installing the base for the rectifier tube. Here’s the little baggie continuing the valve base, as well as another, tinier baggie containing the bracket that holds the base in place from the underside of the chassis.
Here’s the underside of the rectifier valve base after installation. How exactly to do this elicited a few minutes of head-scratching on my part, but once you figure how the bracket works you smack yourself on the forehead (literally) and say, “Oh, so that’s how it goes! Duh!!”
And here’s the same valve base from above. (Maybe I need to get a life, but I think these parts are beautiful.)
Finally, here’s the chassis with the rectifier tube base and the two 300 B bases installed.
Next installment, finishing off the chassis bits!
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