Hi guys. I hoped members here might enjoy seeing the build process for what will hopefully soon be a fully constructed tube preamp. After having some success last year putting together an ANK DAC kit and a Nelson Pass amplifier design, I was looking for a preamplifier kit for use in between them. I was missing the tube preamp section from my previous integrated amplifier, so was inclined in that direction for a separate piece. Quickly I landed on the VTA SP preamps, especially their top SP14 models at http://www.tubes4hifi.com/SP14.htm, which looked to have everything I wanted - including a high quality remote volume control option. While researching that as a project, I found out these VTA preamps were based on a circuit topology by John Broskie called Aikido. Mr. Broskie has a blog at Tube CAD Journal where he writes highly technical articles about many kinds of circuits and their design. 95% of his writing sailed completely over my head, but in the posts I could understand I found his writing interesting, entertaining, and refreshingly pragmatic. He also has a store GlassWare Audio Design that sells circuit boards of his creations. When building an Aikido based preamplifier a selection of tube types can be implemented for the same board, which was very appealing. I had a small collection of 6DJ8/6922 tubes already as they were utilised in both my integrated and DAC, but there was no 6DJ8 option in the VTA range. Also, by going with the Aikido option I thought it would enable [force] me to learn more about the fundamentals of what I was doing than the purchase of a full kit would. That turned out to be quite true. I ordered the boards for the Aikido Noval (9-pin) line stage and complimentary PS-21 power supply, both of which come with components and instruction manual. I decided that the project itself would be modelled on the VTA style, as there was not much sense to me to reinvent the wheel. This build is nearing completion (about six months after it began - much longer than I had wanted) and thought I might share the process here. I always like seeing build threads, and hopefully there's some of you here that are the same. Here it is in its current form. The front panel is taking longer to arrive than I'd wished, so I'm testing with a quickly hacked together MDF sheet. Just a warning before continuing: Although this thread will hopefully be informational, I am not an expert of any description, so I would refrain from considering this a how-to guide. I cannot guarantee anyone duplicating what they see in this thread won't be maimed, killed, or thoroughly disappointed by the finished article. In fact, I'd be very appreciative of any critiques of my theory/method by anyone more experienced. There was probably more guessing involved at some points than there should have been. To avoid text overload at the beginning, I'll try to bounce back and forth between the theory and it's actual application, but let's start with some pictures first!