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What Are the Best Tips for Making a DIY Headphone Amp?

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  • Written By: M. Kayo
  • Edited By: Susan Barwick
  • Last Modified Date: 24 November 2016
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Many people like to design their own unique one-of-a-kind units and build a headphone amp from the most basic electronic components. A simple, durable and effective homemade headphone amp can be made from basic electronic components for about $20 US Dollars (USD). Consider recycling found items to be used as the perfect container for all the components of a DIY headphone amplifier. One of the best tips for making a do-it-yourself (DIY) amp is starting with the most basic and simple circuit board. If the thought of searching for all the electronic parts necessary to put a DIY headphone amp together seems a bit daunting, consider finding a set of plans on the web or buying a kit.

One of the best tips for making a DIY headphone amp is to keep it small and simple. Consider the type of enclosure that will be used to house the electronic components. Many DIY designs use existing materials like a mint tin or some other found object. For example, a tin cigarillo or cigarette case provides plenty of room for the electronic components and even a small battery. The rounded corners and sleek design of these containers have already been designed to easily slip into and out of a pocket. The simplicity of a DIY headphone amplifier makes it one of the most popular of all electronic DIY designs.

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The circuit board is the foundational component for any DIY headphone amp project, so make the job of assembling it easier by selecting a basic circuit board. One of the simplest circuit boards for a homemade headphone amplifier is the "pad per hole" perfboard. This perfboard has a ring of copper surrounding each hole in the board allowing each component to be soldered to the actual circuit board rather than to another component. Some circuit boards are made with different copper patterns printed on the board and providing a map of all the connections. These perfboards have printing on the opposite side of the circuit board to indicate which holes are connected to one or two other holes.

Rather than purchasing all the components separately, some people prefer purchasing the components as a complete kit and then assembling them to make a homemade headphone amp. These kits typically come with a set of detailed instructions, a circuit diagram, and all the parts necessary to construct a DIY headphone amp. A less expensive option is to find a free set of plans published on the Internet, order the parts indicated, and make a headphone amp. If you decide to use an off-the-shelf design or kit, be sure to carefully study the specifications and schematics making certain the finished DIY headphone amp meets specific criteria. For example, some people enjoy combining both stereo channels into a blended sound while others may prefer a more channel-separated sound.

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