Balanced Zen Line Stage

Here's my iteration of the Balanced Bride of Zen preamp. In keeping with the spirit and intent of the project it is kept balanced all the way through with one set of XLR inputs and outputs. The RCA's will be utilized at a later date as a second input. All connectors are Neutrik with the exception of the very nice RCA's made by Canare. The components are straight out of the article and ordered from Digi-Key. I was lucky in finding chassis which perfectly fit the two circuit boards and the transformers. The separate power supply is connected to the signal chassis with a 3 foot umbilical which allows remote placement if necessary. Fortunately the chassis are all aluminum and well ventilated. The front panels are Australian Lacewood I had lying around from a musical instrument project. After cutting, staining and attaching the wood it occurred to me that the grain pattern of this species resembles sine waves if the light strikes it properly. A happy accident. The blue LED's were tweaked until just the right brightness level was reached. The hardest part of the project was finding a 4 gang level control since I wanted to keep it balanced all the way through. Future upgrades will include a visually appropriate power switch and circuitry for the utilization of the motor on the level control with a remote control in a matching Lacewood case. The sound is wonderful and much better than I was expecting. This is my first DIY project and I am thrilled with the performance. It makes it very difficult to go back to my old preamp. My next project will be a pair of Aleph 5's to bi-amp some actively crossed-over DIY speakers. Gratitude to Nelson Pass for making such high performance accessible. The statement at the beginning of the article is what inspired me. Simple circuits are "more understandable, more likely to be attempted and more likely to work". How true. Special thanks to my co-worker Joel DeRome for technical assistance and insight during construction and testing. I probably would have blown up myself or the project without his help. Reagards, Tim Bonner

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