After learning the ins and outs of live sound and recording, I wanted to be able to work on the gear that I own. This is why I dove into DIY mic preamps, and other DIY electronics. There are many reasons to go the DIY route. Don’t be afraid of crazy schematics or having to learn electronics even. Almost all DIY kits come with step by step, fool proof, instructions. You do need to learn to solder, but if you are an audio person, this is a necessity anyways. Start with a small simple kit, or just practice soldering on some spare junk parts. Heres my bullet list of why I DIY…and then my top sites for sourcing.
- Price – well without a doubt, the cost of the goods you are getting when you do a DIY project will usually be about half the cost of the actual item if you bought it assembled.
- Quality – You are the manufacturer at this point, so you can source better parts and assemble the item yourself, giving you a quality piece of gear that would normally break your bank.
- ITS FUN! well that too…this probably should be first…
- Knowledge – when my gear starts doing weird things, i know what to look for to resolve the issues and keep my sessions rolling. This is a big key factor for me as I like to use older gear as well as modern gear, so I need to know whats actually going on inside my preamp, console, and digital setup.
My top 3 sites for DIY are:
1. Five Fish Audio – Neve style mic preamps. Also in 500 series ( I own 4 of these)
2. Seventh Circle – Several styles of mic pres ( An 8 channel is on my wishlist)
3. Classic Audio Products of Illinios – Focus is primarily API clones ( I own 4 of these)