Q: A simple question – is it possible to purchase a kit from you? If not, are there decent kits you would recommend for a first-time tube build? My husband has built a couple of solid state preamps and power amps and is intrigued by tube ware.
A: Your husband is a lucky guy to have someone encouraging his hobby!
I don’t sell any kits for my builds at this point (though I do send out prototype PCB boards to my Patreon subscribers on occasion). I am happy to provide some recommendations for beginner-friendly tube projects and/or gift ideas, though. Some of these are PCB boards that require you to select parts (or leave your husband to do so afterwards). Many builders enjoy the process of picking out and sourcing parts, so this isn’t necessarily a bad thing and you might include a ‘parts budget’ as part of the gift in that case.
Tubecad.com makes some of the best documented and flexible board kits you can find for tube hobbyists. In particular, the Aikido and CCDA designs have a great following and lots of user support on community websites like diyaudio.com:
Note the above let you add parts or order boards by themselves. Adding parts might be tricky for you to do without your husband’s input, though TubeCAD does a good job keeping the options and confusion to a minimum.
Here’s another PCB board (no kit) for a phono preamp (for turntables) that I can also recommend. The designer of this one is another well-known author on tube topics:
Bottlehead is one company that gives you everything you need in a full kit. They have a lot of tube kit options at different price points. If your husband also listens to headphones, this company is especially well-known for their headphone amp kits (two options below, but explore the site to find more).
Bottlehead’s kits are pricier, but the documentation and the all-in-one nature add a lot of value for beginners.
Lastly, Elekit is another Japanese company that does all-in-one kits. These are available through the diyAudio Store. I don’t have personal experience with Elekit kits, but I have read a lot of good things (and the manuals I’ve seen look very well-done).
Hopefully you find something in your budget in the above links. I think anything you do to show an interest in his hobby will be very well received!