The DIY preamplifier kit from Hypex is a brand new product fresh off the production line. Unlike the company’s DSP solutions which are well-regarded and have been in the market for some time, the preamplifier is a fully analogue design though with modern conveniences including remote control, flexible signal routing, and a large monochrome display. It’s limited in connectivity though, with only three inputs, though there are add-on modules planned for the future and its output options and triggering are relatively comprehensive.
I’ll explore the preamp’s features, pros and cons in an article in due course. For now I wanted to document the build and show how easy it is for anyone to construct this high-end preamp, regardless of experience or technical ability.
The preamp comes packaged in recyclable cardboard packaging, with each component bagged and neatly laid out. Everything you need is included, even the tools – besides a 5.5 mm spanner or combination pliers.
It also helps to have an ice cube tray or pill box to organise the various screws and washers before you start.
Locate the case components. Fit the side extrusions to the base panel using the four longer countersunk screws and spring washers. Discard the screws that come in the pack with the feet. Install a washer onto each screw, thread the screw for the foot then through the side extrusion and into the tapped hole in the base.
Next the front panel brackets. Use the four large silver countersunk screws through the countersunk hole in each bracket, put a spring washer behind with the dome facing outwards, and screw the brackets into the front end of the side extrusions.
Install the power supply into the base of the enclosure using the 5 black countersunk screws. The power supply is positioned with the power inlet socket adjacent to the left-hand side of the enclosure.
Locate the back panel and fit the IEC inlet into place with the fuse drawer to the bottom. It’s a tight fit, but will snap in. For the switch to the slot above with the terminals furthest from the edge of the panel.
Connect the wire with the two spades at either end between the live (bottom) terminal on the IEC inlet and the terminal of the switch furthest from the end of the back panel. Connect the brown live cable from the power supply inlet cable to the opposite side of the switch, and the neutral (blue) cable to the middle terminal on the IEC inlet. Connect the earth wire to the top terminal of the IEC inlet.
Fit the back panel to the enclosure using four large black countersunk screws and four spring washers. Similar to the front panel brackets, feed a screw through the panel, put a spring washer behind and screw into the side extrusions.
Fit the add-on blanking plate to the back panel using 2 small black screws, 2 spring washers and 2 nuts.
Fit the mainboard. This is the most challenging parts it the three standoffs are not threaded. Three pinhead screws go through the holes in the front of the board, through the standoff and into the bottom of the enclosure. You have to position the sockets into the back panel, hooking the release buttons of the input connectors into place. The socket holes are machined to a tight tolerance. If you find you have difficulty seating the sockets into the back panel, you will probably find the trigger jacks are at fault. Using the end of the small Allen key, carefully manipulate the trigger jacks until they seat home into the back panel.
Then install the 16 countersunk screws into the sockets and tighten the three pinhead screws into the base of the enclosure. It helps to have a proper TX10 screwdriver for this.
Locate the front panel and the headphone board. Fit the headphone board to the panel with 2 panhead screws.
Fit the display and control board to the front panel using the five remaining panhead screws and two retaining brackets. Note the position of the hole marked where you must not install a screw, or you will damage the display. Note also the orientation of the two side brackets, the larger flange goes toward the bottom edge of the front./gal
Hook the front panel into place and connect the cables as shown. The headphone cables are tied together with the two included zip ties and oriented to run along the side of the enclosure beneath the lip of the side extrusion. This keeps the sensitive signal wiring away from the power supply wiring.
Connect cables from the power supply to the mainboard, from the power supply to the control board and from the control board to the headphone board.
Connect the power inlet cable, and bolt the ring of the earth cable to the chassis using the fifth large black countersunk bolt, toothed washer, spring washer and nut. The toothed washer goes below, then the connector, then the spring washer and then finally the nut, which you should tighten securely with a 5.5 mm spanner or combination pliers.
Fit the top panel by sliding it into place inside the slits of the side extrusions. When it is seated, hook the front panel on at the top and press it home at the bottom. Install the two grub screws into the bottom end of the front panel, and tighten using the included hex key.
Install the grub screws into the control knobs. Rotate the knobs so the flat areas of the shafts is pointing straight up, and install the knobs so that the screws align with the flats of the shafts. Tighten until snug, but don’t overdo it.
And that’s all there is to building the Hypex DIY preamplifier kit. The 15 steps are summarised below. Stay tuned for future instalments where we’ll look at the new Nilai mono amps and this preamplifier in detail. If you haven’t yet seen the build article concerning the Nilaai amps, you can click here to read it. I also hope to get my hands on the future add-ons for the preamp as and when they are made available.
- Install feet & side extrusions to base panel
- Fit front panel brackets, 4 silver screws & 4 spring washers
- Fit power supply, 5 black screws
- Assemble IEC inlet & power switch to back panel, connect wires.
- Install back panel, 4 black screws & 4 spring washers
- Attach add-on blanking plate, 2 black screws, 2 spring washers, 2 nuts
- Fit mainboard – 3 standoffs, 3 pinhead screws, 16 countersunk screws
- Fit headphone board to front panel, 2 pinhead screws
- Fit display board to front panel, 2 brackets, 5 pinhead screws avoiding bottom hole
- Connect earth bolt, countersunk screw, toothed washer, cable, spring washer, nut
- Connect power inlet cable to power supply, power supply cables to front and main board, headphone cables from front headphone board to main board and from front headphone board to front panel board.
- Tie headphone cables, flexing beneath right-hand side extrusion to keep them out of the way.
- Fit top panel, fit front panel into place, tighten grub screws.
- Install screws into knobs
- Fit knobs to contro shafts.