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Cheap hi-end system
by Andrea Ciuffoli - started in the October 2007 - end in the January 2008


This born to create a complete system cheap and good with hi-end sonic performances superior to many commercial medium price system.

To obtain the result:


(click to enlarge)
description price in euro
LM3875 Premium Kit by with all Caddock resistances and components close to the Gaincard amplifier produced by with a price about $,1500 and review  on this magazine

model: 3875-KIT-P-DM

In all my projects I am using a DACT stepper attenuator instead of the normal ALPS or NOBLE solution, but in this case, with a limited budget i have used a blue Alps 50k+50k.
got from
Audiokit webshop
4 x Capacitor BHC ALT22A103CB040 40V 10000uF to create a more solid sound
got from RS Components
Nuvotem Toroidal transformer,160VA 2x18V
got from
RS Components
4 x Loudspeakers connectors BPF 105
got from Audiokit webshop
7 x RJP420 r 421 Chassis Female RCA
got from Audiokit webshop
Hi-Fi 2000 chassie GX 288 with internal size 230 x 280 x 80
got from Audiokit webshop (3 item)
Solid Anodized Aluminium Knobs DCR AM 40 Black Dxh 40x22 and 20 x 22mm
got from Audiokit webshop
12 x Rubber Foot mm 38 diameter 18 mm height mm 6 holed
ot from Audiokit webshop
Cdrom as transport (my choice has been a Philips DVD±R/RW/DL Lightscribe 18x with spdif output) 30 boards (include Finished Board + VFD Lcd display) 64
RC5 handset
got from as part of CDPRO kit

any Philips RC5 remote command could be used like the
RC07104/01 still available on some Ebay stores
2 x 12v 50VA Toroidal transformer for the CD Player
got in any electronic components shop
DAC with a sinlge TDA1543 by no more available but could be replaced by the Mini TDA1543
got from but available also as Ebay item

All the resistor on the signal path must be replaced with MK132 Caddock and all the electrolytic capacitors with Sanyo OS-CON.


USB to Spdif converter
got from but available also as Ebay item
PIMETA headphone amplifier.

All the resistor on the signal path must be replaced with MK132 Caddock and all the electrolytic capacitors with Sanyo OS-CON.


50w R-Core transformers R26-10 by 12
2 x Diode bridge 200v 3A, 3 x 2200uF 35v electr. capacitors and linear regulator (7812 and 7912) to create the power supply for the pre-ampl. got in any electronic components shop 20
Power supply 15A switches (3 items)
got from RS Components
RS Stock No. 665-679
Manufacturer APEM
Manufacturers Part No. 641NH/2
SilverMIca Zero-One by Voodoo Cable custom 2 x 25-35cm 70
Many MK132 Caddock resistors and Sanyo OS-CON capacitors to get the best parformances 60
Shipping costs of these parts 100
After a comparation test with of Wharfedale 8.3, my Neo-fone and my Apostrophe' the my commitment have choiced the last one.

The Apostrophe' are full-range loudspeakers using a dual cone driver unit ZS 266-8-1 (125 euro each driver + 180 euro the enclosure + 200 euro the black finish).

The Sound of The Valve Full-RangeZS 266-8-1 got from Audiokit webshop


430 - 630

The total are:


It use the boards like CDROM controller and the spdif output is got from CDROM/DVD unit (keep attention because only few DVD have spdif output).

A strong 3.3ohm 10w resistor has been used to reduce one 12v secondary of the transformer.


To convert the spdif signal coming from cd transport or from usb2spdif converter it use a DAC with a sinlge TDA1543 by

This DAC  has been choiced for the natural sound produced and it is very similar to TDA1541A.

The I/V convertion on the DAC is created using the passive method with Caddock MK132 resistors.

A simple high frequency filter is created with 1-2.2nF on output.



Schematic, photos and measurements

I have used in all the measurements the Clio system by Audiomatica with the Transit by M-Audio to use the USB port of my portable pc (instead of the PCI audio board) and with the Audiophile USB by M-Audio to increase resolution and to use my laptop.

Here some test on 5 ohm load at 5w and 29w.