Just popping in to say hi and share my experiences with- and photos of the γ2 build.
Finally finished the γ1 board this weekend after a lot of meddling with a few stubborn capacitors (that just wouldn't accept the solder until i've cleaned the leads and the pads for something like the 6th time). Also, the 1uF 50V AVX caps i've received ended up being 5mm instead of 2.54mm so it took me a bit of experimenting with bending the leads until i got them squeezed in. Hope they won't block anything on the γ2 board.
The SMDs were the easiest part, really. I did have some experience soldering them from before, tho, so i wasn't all that apprehensive about it. Interestingly, i was working on a much much tinier and more delicate SMT-only board a few weeks ago, with a non-regulated cheapo soldering iron and it turned out MUCH neater than this one (with a regulated iron and a finer/fresh tip this time).
However, all in all, it was a breeze. And the γ1 fired up correctly at the first attempt.
Mostly thanks to AMB's awesomely prepared and extremely detailed documentation
I've used three RC extension cables and some pin headers to connect the two halves for testing purposes.
So far, tried the old iPod earbuds (2nd gen) i had lying around, Stax SR-001s and Grado SR125. USB only, for now.
Sound was kinda harsh on the high-end of the spectrum with buds and Grados.
Stax was the exact opposite - bass heavy. But i don't mind any of it, since it was just a quicky test to see if things are operational or not.
Unfortunately, the γ2 board will have to wait a bit (got just the SMD's, resistors and some of the multi-layer caps on at the moment) because i'm out of 100nF Kemet caps. My order was 5 capacitors too short by accident (20 instead of 25), so i'm now missing 3 of them (C12, C14 and C27) and eagerly awaiting for the second order (via RS) to come through.