Fostex FE208EΣ rear loaded horns


Bluebell Audio "Loftin White" 2A3 SET valve amp
TubeCAD Headphone amplifier
Fostex T90A supertweeters
Bluebell Audio "WE91" 300B SE valve amp monoblocks

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A collection of pages detailing my meandering journey through DIY audio. With due deference to R.E.M. - find out more here, or see their album discography.

Welcome to a collection of pages documenting my experiences with high efficiency full range driver loudspeakers, single ended triode amplifiers, idler drive turntables and unipivot arms. Or as my mum so eloquently put it the first time she saw my fledgling website - "a geek site".

I'm a "happy hacker", and started out with little knowledge, but my experiences are offered here for those interested enough to read in the hope that others may experience the benefits from DIY.

A little background

I got my first serious record deck in 1988. An LP12 with Valhalla power supply, Linn Basik+ arm and a K9 cartridge. After years drooling over the LP12 in my local hi fi emporium I finally owned one. And it felt great.

Then in early 1990 I bought some new amps to replace my Arcam Alpha+. Exposure VI, VII and superVIII - pre amp with separate power supply and power amp. Very nice, and much better than the Alpha+.

Before DIY

Around 1993 the old Linn Index speakers were replaced with the newly released Linn Keilidhs, later upgraded with Ku Stone bases. I really wanted the Kabers but just couldn't afford them, so got the Keilidhs as a "stop gap".

Over the years arms came and went when good deals came up. First a mk II Ittok, then the Ekos for a good price. The Lingo power supply replaced the Valhalla, and finally I shelled out for the Cirkus bearing mod.

The system sounded better for each upgrade, but it still wasn't sounding as I wanted it to.

But the cost of upgrading became progressively prohibiting. Anything that would make a worthwhile difference was now out of my price range. So I didn't upgrade. But I read lots of hi fi mags drooling over the new kit I couldn't afford, wishing I could. Then I would have the next little piece of hi fi heaven and take another step along the path of audio enlightenment.

Then in 2002 I was reading the latest issue of Choice whilst on holiday in the Lakes. Paul Messenger was reviewing a horn loudspeaker with Lowther drivers and I was drawn to the positive comments Paul made. For someone used to mainstream hi fi boxes this was very interesting. When I got home I discovered James Melhuish's Single Driver Website and the Engineer in me was inspired to build something. What followed was a pair of rather large Fostex rear loaded horns and the rest is history...

After DIY


Many thanks to the friends and contributors to the World Designs forum for their ideas and experiences. And particular thanks to Philip Ramsey of Bluebell Audio without who's enthusiasm and patience I'd still probably be listening to solid state.


DIY hi fi is a lot of fun and makes top class kit achievable. It is not always for the fainthearted though, and there are some very real safety risks that you must understand before getting stuck in. Many valve amps run at somewhere in the region 400V, some may be 4 times that. To reiterate the disclaimer on the Bluebell Audio website "The high voltages generated in vacuum tube power supplies, if not respected, will at least take the shine off your day, or at worst KILL YOU." Oh, and tracking down hum can be one of the most frustrating and demoralising jobs there is.



Fostex FE208e Sigma rear loaded horns