First off a huge thanks to Jan for selling his amps and starting these forums. Obviously without him this site wouldn't be up and most of us would be looking at higher priced alternatives. So without further ado here is my review of the prototype board the Amp 6 Basic.
I first emailed Jan almost two months ago asking some questions about the regular Amp 6. He emailed me back stating that he was working on a new version of the Amp 6. He asked if I would like to be a tester. Let me think about that for a second... "Hell yeah I would". So I emailed him back saying I would love to be a tester. He said that the new Amp 6 was less complicated, had fewer parts, no on board power supply, and no toroid winding like the original Amp 6. And unlike his other amps, it came with all the necessary outputs so you could run the amp as soon as you finished building it. It came with speaker terminals/powerblocks, the 3.5mm audio input jack and the 5.5mm ac adapter power jack. You can also solder wires for the the battery input. To me, that was perfect. Jan agreed to send me a prototype board in return for feedback. He wanted to know what types of questions a newbie would have, and what issues a newbie might run into during the fabrication/soldering of the amp. Before he sent the board he sent me several revisions of the instructions, and noted that it will have more pictures so you can see how the board is supposed to come together, and that it will be very comprehensive.
I received the prototype board in the mail after a couple of weeks. While I waited for it, I went over the instructions for both the original Amp 6, and the Amp 6 Basic. He sent me several revisions with changes he made along the way. And so he left me to start building.
I checked to make sure I received all the parts, and I went back over the instructions again. The instructions have lots of pictures so you will be able to see where everything goes before you start to do anything. For the newbies I highly recommend you go over the pics and read the steps before doing anything. The pics are there for a reason so take full advantage of them! I took out all the parts in the first bag and the first section of the instructions. I placed all the caps and the resistors in their corresponding places on the PCB. I didn't solder anything yet. I wanted to make sure I knew where everything went before I started on the path of no return. One can never be too careful when building your own amp, because if you aren't, you will have to consult the troubleshooting guide at the end of the instructions or start asking the forum for help. Anyway, once I knew where everything was supposed to go, I removed everything and started from step 1. I followed the instructions, and I started soldering the parts. Let me also add that the instructions are clear, concise, and well written. For the most part I had no problems with putting the amp together. I also emailed Jan about suggestions about the order in which things should be soldered, and some questions about the resistors.
You do need a multimeter, otherwise it will be hard to determine where you might have an issue and it will be just guesswork. If you are in the US you can get one off Ebay for under $10 with shipping. I paid about $8.79 with shipping for a cheap digital one. Its not the most accurate, but it gets the job done. I did have a problem, which is noted below, and the multimeter helped my to pinpoint where the problem might be.
Anyway, after finishing the amp, I tested it. The fuse didn't blow, and nothing shorted out. So now I hooked up my MP3 player and turned up the volume. I heard music but it sounded very faint, even at full power. It turns out that the soldering I had done on the inductors wasn't making good contact. After resoldering the inductors, the amp worked beautifully. There was no distortion, no nothing, just clear beautiful music coming from the amp. Maybe its me, or maybe I never noticed before, but some music I listened to before I thought I was able to detect notes or background sounds that I hadn't noticed previously. Not quite sure, but I like the way it sounds. I will have to do a back to back comparison with the same music at the same volume with my Sonic T Amp to be absolutely sure, but I do know this. With the Amp6 Basic I can achieve higher volume levels than the Sonic T amp, and that can only be a good thing. Also, I do believe the bass response is better than the T Amp as well. So far there isn't anything I would change on the Amp6 Basic and I prefer it over the Sonic T, and if you have both or are considering an amp from 41Hz, you can't go wrong with this lower priced and easy to build kit.
So now that I am finished with the Amp6 Basic kit, I am strongly considering making the jump into the Amp32. Thanks Jan for making a great sounding amp, and for thinking about newbies who might be wary of trying to build their first one, or more experienced builders who want a no-nonsense amp that sounds every bit as good as other models without having to wind inductors or go blind trying to solder surface mount resistors and caps.