I'm not an audiophile and not an expert on amplifiers either. So when I started to look around on "how to build a Serious Amp", I entered the universe of Gainclone amplifiers. Looking at the sometimes gorgeous designs, I realised I wanted to build one of these babies myself. There are many different ways to build them, so browse around and get yourself familiar with the world of gainclones...
- Mark Hennesy's website: Very, very nice amps and great info on gainclones and powersupplies. Great pics and comments on how he built it. The most inspiring resource I found.
- Wikipedia article on Gainclone amps and where they come from.
- The Chill Amp: Well documented site, including schematics and parts list.
- Chipamp.com: I used their circuit diagram for the amplifier (the pdf is available on their site. Comes along with good tips on building amps). They also sell kits and parts.
- DIY Chip Amps: Nice listing of several DIY gainclone amplifiers.
- Audiosector.com: Stunningly beautiful gainclone amps.
- Decibel Dungeon (that's an audio-nerdy name :-)): Schematics for a gainclone amp and a power supply.
- Decibel Dungeon Gainclone Gallery: Nice collection of DIY gainclone amps.
On Instructables are just a few gainclone projects. ASCAS' DIY HiFi Gainclone Power Amp
is an example.
You may have noticed that there are a lot of slightly different schematics and op-amp types that can be used. Not being an expert, I found it hard to make a choice. I turned to a friend who I consider to be an expert for advice. He convinced me just to choose something simple and trustworthy. The differences in the circuits are about details, which are hardly relevant when building your first amp. Novice mistakes will be made and those will have much more impact for the worse than the refined details have for the better.
What I really like about the Gainclone is the minimalistic approach. The general rule with Gainclones is the less components, the better the amp. This comes at a prize, of course: The quality of the components and their specs become more important, since there are so few components to create the sound.