Get yer 1176 here!
There are two reasons I point this one in particular out: (a) the circuit boards are only $20, and (b) the web page has _very_ thorough descriptions of the why and wherefor of the process. Thus, while it is a relatively simple build as such things go, you can actually learn about what's going on in the process, rather than just soldering components to a board. The expensive parts are the iron and the VU meter, as always. You're looking at about a $400 to $500 cost-to-build here, depending on the components you go with, but of the 1176 projects I've come across, this one seems to be the best way to go.