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DIY 500 series

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DIY 500 series

Postby dazzathedrummer » Thu May 18, 2017 12:59 pm

Hi,

I'm really interested in building some DIY 500 series modules - I'm pretty good with a soldering iron and I'd really like more audio gear!

I like the look of the DIYRE colour modules (https://www.diyrecordingequipment.com/) and I think I might start with their 70's colour pallet.

I'm just wondering about chassis/racks. I'm after something fairly low cost and with a small amount of slots (I'm happy to upgrade later on).

I've seen the following on DV247 and I'm just wondering if this would be a good place to start of if something else would be better?
http://www.dv247.com/studio-equipment/lindell-audio-503-power-3-slot-500-series-power-supply--208494
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Re: DIY 500 series

Postby MarkPAman » Thu May 18, 2017 2:41 pm

We've got one of https://www.thomann.de/gb/fredenstein_bento_6s.htm?ref=search_rslt_500+series+rack_404003_2 in our classroom studio.

You get a bit more for your money and we've not had any problems with it.
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Re: DIY 500 series

Postby dazzathedrummer » Thu May 18, 2017 7:28 pm

MarkPAman wrote:We've got one of https://www.thomann.de/gb/fredenstein_bento_6s.htm?ref=search_rslt_500+series+rack_404003_2 in our classroom studio.

You get a bit more for your money and we've not had any problems with it.

That looks great - Thanks!
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Re: DIY 500 series

Postby Martin Walker » Thu May 18, 2017 8:32 pm

That Fredenstein Bento 6S does look much better value.

However, every time I entertain starting a 500 rack system (and yes, I'd start with one or perhaps two of the bargain DIYRE colour modules), I think about spending nearly £300 on a PSU/Case and bottle out :beamup:


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Re: DIY 500 series

Postby dazzathedrummer » Thu May 18, 2017 8:54 pm

Martin Walker wrote:That Fredenstein Bento 6S does look much better value.

However, every time I entertain starting a 500 rack system (and yes, I'd start with one or perhaps two of the bargain DIYRE colour modules), I think about spending nearly £300 on a PSU/Case and bottle out :beamup:


Martin

Yeah, I know what you mean!
The PSU is a necessary evil and I'm justifying the whole thing by not buying SSL modules!
...well not yet anyway :D

Seriously though, I love the whole pick'n'mix thing going on with the DIY audio gear - I'm hoping I can get into this and build some nice sounding things!
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Re: DIY 500 series

Postby mashedmitten » Thu May 18, 2017 9:06 pm

Martin Walker wrote:I think about spending nearly £300 on a PSU/Case and bottle out

What an opportune time for a review. Better yet, a head to head comparison so everyone on the crew can get the discount. ;)
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Re: DIY 500 series

Postby resistorman » Fri May 19, 2017 3:30 am

Martin Walker wrote:
However, every time I entertain starting a 500 rack system (and yes, I'd start with one or perhaps two of the bargain DIYRE colour modules), I think about spending nearly £300 on a PSU/Case and bottle out :beamup:
Martin

That sure has slowed me down too, though I WILL build a couple Hairball Lola pres this summer!
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Re: DIY 500 series

Postby jaminem » Fri May 19, 2017 8:26 am

Hi There, I have gone crazy for the DIY 500 series format - I love it - so hopefully this will be of some help.

As stated above the Fredenstien Bento 6/10 chassis offer the best vfm - I have the 10 and its been faultless in operation however there is an alternative that while has a higher initial outlay should save money in the long run, when you get bitten by the bug and want to keep building - it happens...

I have been through the build of a load of this kit and one guy stands out above the rest for quality of module and that is:

http://www.capi-gear.com

They do a chassis and a floor box psu that can power 2 chassis
http://capi-gear.com/catalog/product_in ... cts_id=367

and


http://capi-gear.com/catalog/product_in ... cts_id=358
I think these worked out cheaper per slot than the Fredensteins last time I looked but the exchange rate may have killed that now

There is also the Lindell Audio 510 power option and SMpro audio do the juice/rack/box series as cheaper alternatives


@ CAPI-gear Jeff Steigers modules are based on classic API designs and sound superb.
I did a review of my VP28 build here:

http://www.soundonsound.com/forum/viewt ... 27&t=32088

The other 2 guys you're going to want to check out are Soundskulptor and JLM audio

The Soundskulptor kits are and absolute dream to build and they do a full range of preamps, a compressor, eq and rather nice looking tape sim, they also do a single slot enclosure if you just want to try your hand - its also really useful for testing so you don't risk blowing your expensive 10 slot chassis

JLM Audio are based in Aus and their LA500 kit is fantastic and a pretty easy build to boot.

Then have a look at Hairball Audio as previously mentioned and The Don Classics who have a really nice looking GML type eq

In case you have any direct questions about specifics my setup is as follows:

Homemade 11 up rack + Fredenstein Bento 10
2 x CAPI VP312
2 x CAPI VP26
2 x CAPI VP28
1 x CAPI VP25
2 x CAPI FC526
2 x CAPI LC53A
2 x Soundskulptor MP573
1 x Soundskulptor EQ573
1 x JLM Audio LA500

Good luck, but you can quite easily get hooked on this stuff- you have been warned.. :P
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Re: DIY 500 series

Postby Hugh Robjohns » Fri May 19, 2017 9:08 am

Bear in mind that 500 rack systems from different manufacturers often provide different (and not always compatible) features and facilities. There is supposed to be a 'standard', and API head up the VPR alliance to try to maintain standard compatibility... but several manufacturers have chosen to leave the path and 'improve' things in various ways. Whether this is good or bad depends on your point of view, but it is certainly something to be aware of when choosing rack systems...

In particular, the compressor side-chain linking facilities vary a bit between different racks, and some manufacturers re-allocate one or two of the edge connector pins for alternative purposes -- like Radial's Omniport or Fredensein's aux I/O facility, or Wes Audio's USB port. Modules that rely on these facilities obviously won't work correctly in frames from alternative manufacturers.

There can also be some mechanical slot size discrepancies, and some offer greater module current capacity than others, too.

And then there's the connectivity: some have analogue D-Sub connectors as well as, or instead of, XLRs for the module I/Os, and some have built-in facilities for rear-panel daisy-chain linking between adjacent modules, and some even have built-in A-D/D-A stages and ADAT connectivity...

So don't assume a rack is just a rack... choose carefully and be aware that you may end up needing a couple of racks from different manufacturers.

H
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Re: DIY 500 series

Postby dazzathedrummer » Fri May 19, 2017 12:36 pm

jaminem wrote:Hi There, I have gone crazy for the DIY 500 series format - I love it - so hopefully this will be of some help.

Thanks for the information, I'll have good look through that at the weekend - I had a quick look at the CAPI website and that looks like a great resource!
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Re: DIY 500 series

Postby dazzathedrummer » Fri May 19, 2017 12:52 pm

Hugh Robjohns wrote:Bear in mind that 500 rack systems from different manufacturers often provide different (and not always compatible) features and facilities.

Thanks for pointing that out - I've just looked into it and discovered that there is an API 'VPR' format and a '51X' format. It looks like the 51X is better for DIY gear.

I've sent a message to DIYRE asking if the Fredenstein rack is compatible with their modules. The Fredenstein website says 'API-500' compatible and the DIYRE site says '500 series' compatible.

I can see that the Fredenstein rack has 15 pin connectors, I'm not sure about the DIYRE colour pallets though, although, I think they may have been designed for the API format and before the 51X format came about - I'll wait to hear back from them.

I'm pretty sold on getting the DIYRE units as a first go and I don't mind have a 6 slot rack dedicated to just those if I have to (although I suspect there are more that will fit).

Thanks for the heads up!
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Re: DIY 500 series

Postby Martin Walker » Sat May 20, 2017 12:53 am

resistorman wrote:
Martin Walker wrote:
However, every time I entertain starting a 500 rack system (and yes, I'd start with one or perhaps two of the bargain DIYRE colour modules), I think about spending nearly £300 on a PSU/Case and bottle out :beamup:
Martin

That sure has slowed me down too, though I WILL build a couple Hairball Lola pres this summer!

Hi resistorman!

Just investigated the Hairball Audio Lola preamp kits, and they do indeed look (and apparently sound) most impressive.

There's a well-written review in Tape OP here if anyone else wants to explore:

http://tapeop.com/reviews/gear/93/lola- ... ic-preamp/


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Re: DIY 500 series

Postby jaminem » Sat May 20, 2017 7:54 am

dazzathedrummer wrote:
Hugh Robjohns wrote:Bear in mind that 500 rack systems from different manufacturers often provide different (and not always compatible) features and facilities.

Thanks for pointing that out - I've just looked into it and discovered that there is an API 'VPR' format and a '51X' format. It looks like the 51X is better for DIY gear.

I've sent a message to DIYRE asking if the Fredenstein rack is compatible with their modules. The Fredenstein website says 'API-500' compatible and the DIYRE site says '500 series' compatible.

I can see that the Fredenstein rack has 15 pin connectors, I'm not sure about the DIYRE colour pallets though, although, I think they may have been designed for the API format and before the 51X format came about - I'll wait to hear back from them.

I'm pretty sold on getting the DIYRE units as a first go and I don't mind have a 6 slot rack dedicated to just those if I have to (although I suspect there are more that will fit).

Thanks for the heads up!

I can answer that for you. 51x are not compatible with any of the mainstream racks. They use a different voltage and edge connector. You want VPR alliance stuff. If you intend to build your own rack then you can opt for 51x style but tbh it's going to limit your choices later on. VPR alliance is the norm with all of the main manufacturers of 500 series. Only a few diy companies offer 51x
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Re: DIY 500 series

Postby Hugh Robjohns » Sat May 20, 2017 11:32 am

dazzathedrummer wrote:Thanks for pointing that out - I've just looked into it and discovered that there is an API 'VPR' format and a '51X' format. It looks like the 51X is better for DIY gear.

Hmmm... not sure I'd reach the same conclusion!

The 51X format extends the API VPR format by using 18-way edge-connector sockets which allow additional +/-24V power rails in addition to the 500-series standard +/-16V rails.

CAPI claim you can plug most -- but not all -- standard 500-series (or API-500, if you prefer ;-) ) modules into the 51X frame... but regardless of the technical arguments in favour of having access to 24V rails, the obvious fact is that a standard 15-way edge connector will not be located securely and safely in an 18-way slot. There is an inherent risk of misalignment and potential catastrophe!

I've sent a message to DIYRE asking if the Fredenstein rack is compatible with their modules. The Fredenstein website says 'API-500' compatible and the DIYRE site says '500 series' compatible.

I don't think you'll have any problem there.

H
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Re: DIY 500 series

Postby Sahib » Sat May 20, 2017 12:17 pm

I am one of the originators of GDIY 51X - 511 format. It was a three way joint venture among Volker in Germany, Jeff (CAPI) in US and myself in the UK. After selling over 500 units worldwide we parted company and went our own way.

GDIY51X is essentially 500 standard with added + -24V operation. API's original 500 format uses 15 pin card edge connector. We increased that to 18 pin for additional 24V operation. Otherwise there is no change to API's original 500 pin configuration and you can use standard 500 modules without any worry.

Our current version (TAC511) that Graham (Langley) and I came up with has comprehensive signal splitting and routing facilities with unbalanced/balanced insert points. Currently there is no other 500 series rack offers the facilities and the flexibility that our rack offers.
Even the better side is that you do not have to upgrade every single slot. You start with the basic version with the main XLR in/outs. Then work out your signal chain and upgrade the slots needed upgrading. As well as 11 slot we also have 6, 3 and 1 slot.

On our web site we sell the built/tested version but the kits are sold through GroupDIY.

https://groupdiy.com/index.php?topic=52462.0

I am conscious of the fact that I have to be careful not to appear to be directly pitching for sale here so I will not mention figures but I am happy to answer all your diy related questions as best as I can.
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Re: DIY 500 series

Postby resistorman » Sun May 21, 2017 4:09 am

dazzathedrummer wrote:Hi,

I'm really interested in building some DIY 500 series modules - I'm pretty good with a soldering iron and I'd really like more audio gear!

Damn you, Daz, for getting my interest going again :headbang:
Thanks to all for your links and comments :bouncy:
Hey Martin, hi yerself! I'll post on here when I get those Lolas built, probably be a month or two.
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Re: DIY 500 series

Postby jaminem » Sun May 21, 2017 8:00 am

Sahib wrote:I am one of the originators of GDIY 51X - 511 format. It was a three way joint venture among Volker in Germany, Jeff (CAPI) in US and myself in the UK. After selling over 500 units worldwide we parted company and went our own way.

GDIY51X is essentially 500 standard with added + -24V operation. API's original 500 format uses 15 pin card edge connector. We increased that to 18 pin for additional 24V operation. Otherwise there is no change to API's original 500 pin configuration and you can use standard 500 modules without any worry.

Our current version (TAC511) that Graham (Langley) and I came up with has comprehensive signal splitting and routing facilities with unbalanced/balanced insert points. Currently there is no other 500 series rack offers the facilities and the flexibility that our rack offers.
Even the better side is that you do not have to upgrade every single slot. You start with the basic version with the main XLR in/outs. Then work out your signal chain and upgrade the slots needed upgrading. As well as 11 slot we also have 6, 3 and 1 slot.

On our web site we sell the built/tested version but the kits are sold through GroupDIY.

https://groupdiy.com/index.php?topic=52462.0

I am conscious of the fact that I have to be careful not to appear to be directly pitching for sale here so I will not mention figures but I am happy to answer all your diy related questions as best as I can.

Sahib- wow, can't believe I've missed this, well actually I can since I've been sorting the studios acoustics, but this is great news to hear you have these available I will be in touch in due course I'm sure!!!
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Re: DIY 500 series

Postby Sahib » Tue May 23, 2017 7:33 pm

Thank you. I look forward to hearing from you.

Regards,
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