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1. I've never built a kit before. What skills are necessary?
The most important skill you will need is familiarity with electronic soldering. If you choose to build the complete printed circuit board assemblies, you should have some experience with soldering of IC's and leaded components on printed circuit boards. Our boards are deliberately made without solder plating (a more expensive process but it sounds much better than plating). To prevent oxidation of the high purity copper foil they are coated with a very expensive low dielectric conformal coating. What makes this coating so special is that not only can you solder through it, but it actually enhances the soldering process. Additionally, since some of your work will involve the wiring of the "system" (i.e. all of the external wiring to the boards), you should be familiar with the soldering of connectors, switches, LED's and pots. Finally, with the Dynaco rebuilds we strongly recommend that you completely replace the old wiring with higher quality teflon insulated silver plated stranded wire. This will insure that all old suspect connections are repaired. (Usually, the sound will also be improved.)
2. What tools and test equipment do I need?
In addition to a few basic electronic assembly tools, you will need a high quality temperature controlled soldering iron. You should also have a 3-1/2 digit digital volt meter to execute the start up tests. Additional test equipment is not required. The documentation we provide with your order is more detailed and gives suggested sources for this equipment. Check out our DIY section for suggested tools, test equipment and suppliers.
3. Do you sell a "kit of parts"?
Most of our competition who offer a "kit" of parts are really in the components business (the products they offer are really a platform to sell components). Since our product is "engineering & customer service" we have a completely different inventory, overhead, and order processing system than the typical component distributor. So, although we stock the few hard to get parts, you will achieve the highest value using the components we recommend from a very well researched list of quality suppliers. And, to address those of you who prefer "one stop shopping", we offer what most of our customers have told us is a great bargain: we will provide completely built & tested boards at the "kit of parts" price. This is possible since our time to "kit" parts (pulling, testing, bagging, marking, ++) is about the same as our assembly costs.
4. If I choose the blank boards, how much will it cost me to complete the project?
Total cost including the costs of our boards, to complete the project (within +/- 10%) should be:

a. CD12V - Vacuum Tube Digital Processor $ 500

b. D2LN - Daniel II Reference Preamp (line only) $ 450

c. D2PHLN - Daniel II Reference Preamp (w/ Phono) $ 750

d. D2XO Daniel II Reference Crossover $ 550

e. Dyna Stereo 70 Driver & Power Regulator Modules $ 250 (+ Your ST-70 & Output tubes))

f. Dyna Mark 3 Driver & Power Regulator Modules $ 350 (+ Your MK-3's & Output tubes)

g. QPSA-7 Quad Power Regulator $ 100

h. B-6A Dyna PAS Preamplifier Phono Module $ 75 (+ Your PAS)

i. B-5AH Dyna PAS Preamplifier Line Amplifier Module $ 75 (+ Your PAS)

j. B-7A Dyna PAS Preamplifier Power Supply / Regulator $ 75 (+ Your PAS)

These estimates are valid if you choose to use the components we recommend for your project. For example, we recommend two possible suppliers of 19" rack mount black anodized enclosures for our preamps and processor. They cost about $75. However, you could easily spend 5 times that amount.

5. Where do I get the parts to complete my project?
Included with our documentation is a "recommended source of supply". It is a list of suppliers whom we have dealt with for many years. They have consistently provided high quality components at fair prices with a positive customer service attitude. The later is particularly important to us. Many of our part numbers reference the suppliers on the list. If you find yourself in a situation where you can't find a few components, we will be happy to sell you them from our inventory. Again, although we are not in the component business, once you choose us, we will do whatever is necessary to help you complete your project.
6. OK, is it really going to compare with the best available?
In a word, absolutely. All of our products are designed to be the best available regardless of price. We have made no compromises or other decisions to limit performance due to any "price point" constraints. For example all our designs incorporate the highest level of regulation available (no other preamp is available which provides discrete regulators at each stage of each channel , or power amps with plate regulation). Our circuit topology is first designed to be ultra linear in the lab. Next, we long term audition each design (plus send it to others for comments and critique) and make changes with topology, components, and operating parameters until we optimize imaging, dynamics and most importantly, spectral balance (what I like to call "information without aggravation"). Those design goals describe the sound of our products. Perhaps the best proof that we've achieved our goals comes from the fact that many of our new customers are the result of references from our current customers.
7. Can I substitute XYZ capacitors, ABC resistors, etc.?
The simple answer is of course yes. As long as you don't exceed the ratings of the component, substitutions will function. The real question however is how will these substitutions effect the sound? To answer that question requires a little philosophy: There is no such thing as a perfect component (regardless of what you've been told). If there was, the best design would simply be a matter of using what was was known to be the best. Unfortunately, its not that easy. A designer must carefully consider the "sound" of each component chosen in the design "recipe". The final result will incorporate a balance of components which compliment each other to meet the designers goals (in our case dynamics, imaging, and spectral balance). Since we are not in the components business, we have free reign to use those parts we feel are best suited to our designs and meet our previously stated goals. So for the sake of experimentation, we encourage you to substitute, but first try our suggested components (You will find as we have that price is not related to quality.)
8. Can I buy just a part of your product?
Actually, many of our design modules are "packaged" to be sold individually, such as those for the Dynaco PAS preamplifier. In that case you can add the power supply first, and then add either / or the phono and or line cards later. However, in the case of our CD12V digital processor, or Daniel II reference preamplifier, each module in the three board set is designed to operate in concert with the others. Therefore individual boards are in and of themselves, useless
9. What do I get with my order?
All of our designs include a full set of documentation. This includes schematic diagrams, bills of materials, wiring diagram, startup instructions, construction hints, plus other helpful info depending on the actual product (the power amplifier designs include a very detailed startup and test procedure to protect the output tubes and high current power supplies). Since our projects are completely designed with the home builder in mind, you will find our documentation to be very comprehensive. And since it has been updated over time with suggestions form our customers, nearly all questions or concerns have been anticipated and addressed. (However, don't be afraid to call us for help; your purchase includes full support!!) Our assembled boards include all on board components, tubes, and some hardware. Finally, our completely assembled products include everything; they are ready to plug & play. All assembled boards are tested at the bench with instrumentation, then undergo a 48 hour burn in, and finally are inserted into our system to insure that they meet our sonic expectations.
10. What happens if I just can't finish the project ?
Honestly, this rarely happens (about 0.4 % of the time). But if necessary we will either, at your discretion, provide you with phone support or have your return the unit to us for completion. In the latter case, we ask that you pay shipping and a service charge of $35.00 / hour if it is determined that we are not at fault.

copyright Curcio Audio 1998