While I commented on my progress in another thread with Junky Jan, I wanted to post an update on this thread I started back before Christmas.
First thing I did was obtain the ST 70 kit from Bob, with the VTA board. I also went for the upgraded PIO caps, and selected the KT 88 tubes. I was persuaded not only by the value for the dollar, but I frankly like the beefier look of these tubes over the standard ones.
The Dynaco was an easy build for a guy who hasn't done much soldering since highschool (27 years and counting). Fortunately some things never change!
I made a few mistakes and caught them all. Usually you can't help but catch your mistakes, since, if you attach a wire in the wrong place, it becomes obvious on a subsequent step when you're told to make a connection to a spot that's already occupied.
The instructions are complete, well laid out, easy to follow, and easy to back track -- to find those mistakes! Also, Bob Latino is readily available if you need any help, and it has to be said that he's quick and generous in his customer support. In my experience, he was exemplary in all aspects from the enquiry stage, through ordering, giving support during the build, and offering other helpful suggestions on related matters.
When finished, the amp looks simply great, and not the least bit home spun.
The sound of this amp is magnificent. Detailed, warm, soothing. "Soothing"? I know that's not audiophile lingo. Wait, ok, the highs have a distinctly nutty palate, and the lows have a crisp finish that would make even a stripper blush. Hmmm. I don't think I quite have the language, but you know what I mean.
There really is satisfaction in having built it myself, and I encourage others not to hesitate. Something more: There's a loose connection in my new DAC. I was nervous about putting my fingers inside it before I built the ST 70. I have since felt no hesitation about going in, poking around, and re-soldering the pins of the SCR that proved to be the culprit.
In addition to the ST 70, I followed Bob's suggestion, and looked into the Transcendent Pre amp. It's highly recommended all over the place, so I went for that one, as well as their phono stage.
So, to sum it all up, I am greatly gratified to have a truly wonderful stereo that I've built myself, saving thousands of dollars, learning valuable lessons and dusting off some dormant skills in the process.
There is not one single down side to any of this. No regrets or equivocations. Now, how often do you get to say that?!