Daniel Dicker's
Date of "Visit":
09 June 2002

the system

DIY 845 PP amp

semi-DIY speaker



e-mail to:
Daniel Dicker

I've always enjoyed audio. I remember begging my father for a Fisher receiver and replacing the tweeters of the accompanying speakers with stuff from RadioShack and admiring the improvement.

After graduating college and making some money, I started buying commercial 'audiophile' gear. I managed to stay pretty stable for about 12 years but then discovered DIY audio gear. I was amazed at the quality / value relationship of DIY audio.....commercial units regularily sold for 8-10 times the cost of it's parts, while in DIY, I could put 100% of my costs to improve the sound. The internet gave me the opportunity to see and learn so much more than I otherwise might. For the last 7 years or so, I've read everything I could get my hands on and listened to the opinions of the greatest minds in audio design on the Sound Practices list (joenet). I started by building kits and then moved up into scratch projects arriving at the system you see here. Our den (MY audio room) so closely resembled a bombed-out student dormitory that my wife demanded a more orderly approach..........so we had a custom unit constructed AROUND the gear that I had built. God, let's hope I don't get tired of these speakers too soon (tee, hee).

I guess the project I'm most proud of would be the amplifiers. They represent what I've learned about audio circuits and my sound preferences so far. They use transmitting triodes (845's) and choke-loaded drivers, Interstage coupling and octal voltage amplifiers, as well as chokes in the power supply. They're pretty 'iron' intensive; each monoblock has 14 separate transformers!! They're sort of based on the work of Japanese super tube guru Sasuma Sakuma. But, they put out 45 of the sweetest watts I've ever heard, and I've heard a lot of amps at this point. The amplifiers took almost 2 years to build, counting in the design process with a great contributor to the "joenet" (thanks, Grover!) and the time to accumulate parts and layout and finish the chassis. Looking back on it now, I could imagine building another amplifier, but not another BEAST like these. I'm glad they're done.

I'm 42, married with 2 children and live in Great Neck, Long Island, New York.

System's Components


Linn LP12 - Akito, Arkiv, Origin Live DC motor

Phono Preamp:

Vendetta Research SCP-2B


dCS Purcell upsampler / dCS Delius DAC, CEC TL2 belt drive transport

Line Preamp:

DIY based on a Bruce Rosenblit schematic - alternately, I often go 'passive' with a First Sound stepped attenuator

Power Amps:

DIY 845 push-pull amplifiers the schematic, (if you're interested) is available here: http://www.spiritone.com/~tube/constructor.htm


semi-DIY system designed by Orca Design utilizing the AMAZING Raven R-3 mid/tweeter and parallelled Focal 10" woofers -- constructed and finished by Zalytron -- http://www.zalytron.com

Speaker Cables:

available at Zalytron -- http://www.zalytron.com (I don't much 'believe' in wire)


Various, but mostly DIY using AXON cables and AXON

Daniel's comments about his System:

AA: "Daniel, how would you describe your system's sound?"

DD: "I'd say that my first priority when assessing a system is it's transparency, it's 'realness', it's ability to make you forget that you're listening to a system and transport you to the event.....I'd like to think my system does that extremely well."

AA: "Do you think there is room for improvement?"

DD: "Always!! Just last week, I dropped in 4 Sophia Electric 2.5V filament mesh plate 300B tubes (http://sophiaelectric.com) instead of the Sovtek 2A3's I was using in the driver stage of my amps and hoo boy! Everything got bigger and more true to life.........there's always room for improvement, but I'm plenty happy now, too."  

AA: "Have you got plans for upgrading?"

DD: "I'm thinking about retiring my old friend Linn turntable after about, what, 17 years of service. But even here, I'll probably go in an opposite direction. The Linn is suspended, AC motor, integral plinth.......I'll look for something with no suspension, a DC motor and a decoupling from the plinth....something the teres guys are monkeying with now........looks like another project is always afoot !!"