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Stephon 06-29-12 03:36 PM

Suitcase amp
Ok, electronics and audio inclined--how difficult is it to build a custom amp? Something akin to a Crate Limo? Is it something an inexperienced but reasonably intelligent person could do?

gav 06-30-12 11:08 AM

Yes !
Get a 2 channel car amplifier, around 50 watts rms per channel. That probably means it will be advertised as a 200 watt amp.
Alternative is to buy a t-amp such as this one

Get some 2 or 3 way car speakers no less than 70 watts rms (again, advertised as a larger wattage), and here's the really important bit.... make sure they have the highest sensitivity rating you can find, 92 -93 decibels. Personally I like the oval shaped 6 x 9's.

Now you're going to need a mixer. There's a bunch of options out there for battery powered or unpowered mixers but I think currently the best one is
Behringer 302USB. It runs off usb power (5v dc ), so it's easy enough to buy 1 of those usb sockets for use in your car that converts 12v to 5v.

Get a rechargable sealed lead acid battery 12v 7 amp hour ( if you get the little t amp mentioned above, you could have a smaller battery, say 4 amp.)

Buy the cables and wires you need to hook it all up. If it works, then mount it all in some kind of box. There's a whole science to how big the box should be and stuff, but I just go with what looks right.

Don't forget to have a fuse between the battery and everything else.
I never include a switch, I remove the connection from the battery after every show. I also make the battery easy to remove and recharge it outside the box with a separate charger.

Depending on what you're doing with it, I'd recommend 2 speakers that are able to be placed about 5-6 meters apart, but if it's for roving, just have them in the one box.

I've always made my own systems, 1- because I'm cheap, 2- because when I started out 22 years ago, you couldn't buy a battery powered amp in Australia, 3-because if you make it, then you know how to repair it, especially as it is made of separate components. You might just have to replace 1 component, not the whole amp.

Most importantly, read all the install instructions that come with all that stuff you'll need. It's pretty simple though.

Chance 06-30-12 11:45 AM

I agree with almost everything Gav just said. Just like Gav, I've made all my own street amps for years. I'm on my 7th or 8th generation by now.

But I would recommend an amp like this one. It has a built-in mixer, so no need to buy one as Gav suggested:

The only thing I would add that Gav didn't touch on, is to make sure your Ohm ratings match up between all the various components. Ask the tech shop where you buy all your parts to confirm all the ratings match. Mis-matched Ohm ratings will cause speaker feedback, as well improper drain on the battery.

Lepai makes other/bigger amps as well: And I saw one a while ago that had a factory Ipod cable.

Stephon 07-02-12 06:16 PM

Thank you both. I may make this my summer project.

Peter 07-02-12 07:31 PM

Also check out the ARRL site {ham radio} when I was studying for my ham radio license a lot of us in the class built amplifiers. I build a small ham radio (morse code only) powered by a 1.05 volt battery but had an amplifier circuit that kicked out 10 watts of power. Fairly easy but again ham radio noe entertainment stuff

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