AMB M3 Headamp Evolved
...and then the problems started... I had not gotten the cutout for the VU-meter in the radius I had defined. I admit I might have been s tad bit optimistic when defining a radius of 0,5mm, but I heard no objections so I guess that one just slipped through. As you might see, the VU-meter is a bit too big for the cutout due to the fillet in the corners.
By cutting a very small amount of material from each of the 4 corners I was able to trim down the plastic of the VY-meter to make a perfect fit, BRILLIANT!
Moving on to make the last couple of holes on the backside of the front I started by covering the front to screen it from scratches.
I then made the six holes I needed. You can only see the three here, but they are mirrored on the other side of the VU-meter window. The one next to the windows I threaded to be able to hold the VU-meter in place and the two opposite each other on each side of the potmeter mounting hole are there to allow for the steering tap on the potmeter. At this point I did not quite know which way I would mount the potmeter so I made both holes to allow for mounting them with the solder pins either upwards or downwards.
This is probably not the most exciting picture ever taken, but next up was drilling mounting holes for the M3 amplifier PCB and the VU-meter driver board.
I did not quite remember to take any pictures of the drilled back, but those pictures might have proven even more boring than the previous, so you are not missing out on much here. I did come up with an interesting way of mounting the DAC though, if I may say so myself... One that enables me to upgrade the DAC if I ever feel like it. A possible candidate could be the oDAC, but currently my oDAC resides in its own casing.
Next I started migrating the M3 amp from its original housing to the new case. All wiring were redone with silver plated teflon insulated wiring(no expense spared though I doubt I can hear a difference). This wire was quite stiff and since I tried to keep all wiring as short as possible it was quite a challenge to work with. The volume pot was the worst to do...
...the others were longer and therefore quite a bit easier to get right.
This is a picture of the initial fitting test. Luckily it all fitted in where it should.
On the front side of the potmeter mounting I put small pieces of felt so that the chrome knobs will not be rotating directly against the aluminum. This should ensure a smooth and even movement of the knob.
The VU-meter was mounted with a aluminum beam spanning its width and secured with two screws.
Moving on to the backplate, I mounted the GrubDAC on an aluminum profile and screwed that profile onto the back plate of the case. If I should ever feel the need, I can mount another DAC on a similar aluminum profile and screw the new one onto the back plate. That way the DAC can be upgraded (or at least swapped with another one). The next part might very well be the most taxing part of this build, since the back wiring took quite some time.
I used a Neutrik socket for the power supply since it sports 4 pins, and locks into place. This whole locking into place thing actually gives a very rewarding feel every time you snap the power cable into place.
BAM! Not much more to do than put the lid on it and go on to get the power supply ready for some serious listening...