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What headphone amp kit for novice?

Discussion in 'Headphones, Earphones & Portable Music' started by Crocodile JD, Apr 20, 2004.

  1. Crocodile JD

    Crocodile JD
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    Hi all

    I'm into HiFi of course and would love to know more about the electronics behind it all. I reckon my next upgrade would be a headphone amp and think it might be a good place to start learning if I were to try and build my own. I think starting from scratch would be over optimistic :confused: , but a kit with instructions might be do-able. All I have is a soldering Iron and enthusiasm, what do you think, any recomendations or advice?

    Requirements:
    1 - Home feed from pre-out or tape out ideally (as the pre out is already used for power amp in bi amped system) from my integrated amp.
    2 - Mains power supply.
    3 - To feed Senn HD590 with 120 ohm but would allow upgrade to HD600 at 300 ohm
    4 - Solid state for more cost effective more straight forward and safer (for wrking on) design
    5 - To produce a definate and worthwhile improvement over my power amp headphone out
    6 - £100 to £150 (if this is realistic)

    Thanks in advance :smashin:

    Croc
     
  2. alexs2

    alexs2
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    The Williams Hart Kit may ideal for you,as well as being a good H/p amp,and you may also want to take a look at the World Audio Design valve kit,although it will be beyond your budget.

    Both are decent,good sounding amps,and a good entry point into H/p amps.

    www.williamshart.com
    www.worldaudiodesign.co.uk
     
  3. Crocodile JD

    Crocodile JD
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    alexs2

    Thanks for the reply. I'm a little :confused: , is the Williams Hart design a phone stage and headphone amp? i.e. is it this one "RIAA 'Shunt Feedback' Phono Stage and Andante power supply" ? Under the image it has "AwardWinningPhonoStage
    Class A Headphone amp", but there is no other reference to it being a headphone amp and I can't see any others on that site.
    :blush:

    Croc
     
  4. alexs2

    alexs2
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    No...there's a headphone amp,and a phono stage.....if you scroll down below the phono stage on the website,you'll come to the headphone amp....price is £109 as far as I can see.
     
  5. Crocodile JD

    Crocodile JD
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    Got it, couldn't see for looking :blush:

    Best part of £200 with the power supply as well. Question now is would I be better (Sound quality wise)spending say £150 on some off the shelf kit, eg. Rega Ear or similar and the rest on some other electronics kit from Maplins perhaps?

    Croc
     
  6. alexs2

    alexs2
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    I'd say,at that price range,that the kit will offer potentially better sound quality,and there are a few owners of those here who might be able to help you decide...the only other contender in that price range is the Creek.
     
  7. selexus

    selexus
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    Croc,

    I've just completed my PPA headphone amp that i'll be using with my HD600's.
    It's my first built from scratch amp and i was a little tentative about going into it, but as it turns out it was quite easy. Finding and ordering the parts took far longer than the actual assembly.
    There is a little bit of preplanning to do which helped me get an understanding of the workings of this amp (confidence booster). The assembly is pretty straight forward, and it has options such as bass boost, crosstalk boards, biasing into class A. There are a lot of helpfull people ( including the amps designer) on the head-fi.org message board who are happy to help and give advise if you feel you need it.
    The website address is http://tangentsoft.net/audio/ppa/
    You can order boards and stuff from here, and there is a full set of build instructions and parts lists. In total my amp has cost me about £120, so it's also VFM, IMHO.:thumbsup:

    I'm absolutly gobsmacked by the sound through the HD600's this amp is leagues beyond what i'm used to listening to :D and i'm very pleased that i took the plunge. Just got to finish the custom case i'm making for it :rolleyes: .

    Go on take the plunge
    Cheers :beer:
     
  8. Crocodile JD

    Crocodile JD
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    Now we're onto something they recommend the CMoy Pocket Amp or the PIMETA which are recommended as starter projects. I'm tempted to have a dabble at one of these first as I really am starting at the beginning. Thanks for all the pointers guys :smashin:

    Cheers

    Croc
     
  9. Crocodile JD

    Crocodile JD
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    selexus

    How much more involved is the PPA over the PIMETA? The PIMETA actually looks quite involved. Maybe even this is a bit too much for my first project. I might be better going for the CMoy Pocket Amp and then onto the PPA and give the PIMETA a miss all together.

    Have you looked at the PIMETA and if so what do you think?

    Cheers

    Croc
     
  10. selexus

    selexus
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    Croc,

    The only other HiFi DIY i'd done before this was some analogue interconnects. I'd not soldered components to boards before or tested stuff like dc offset.
    It's a little daunting before you start but it really is a simple unit to build.
    Tangent gives great instructions via his website and the Head-fi forum guys are always available. If your OK with your hands and have a decent soldering iron, go for it !!:smashin:
    At the end of the day soldering a resistor to a board is no different on a PIMETA than it is on a PPA. It's just the circuits that differ at this level of complexity (read: basic).

    Cheers:beer:
     
  11. Crocodile JD

    Crocodile JD
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    selexus

    OK so I presume that the PPA is higher sound quality over the PIMETA? and there is also reference to the META2 which is the basis for the PPA is it not or at least the PCB is the same? or am I getting :confused: again

    You say your amp cost £120 in total, does that include the power supply? I suspect not but....

    and where did you get your components from?

    Finally did you have to do much tweaking or did it work first time?

    Sorry to bombard you, but thanks for the advise

    Cheers

    Croc
     
  12. selexus

    selexus
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    Sound quality ? Sorry never heard any other headphone amp so i'm not able to compare, but i am very happy with the sound of the PPA/HD600 combo.
    As for the heratige of the PPA... well again i'm not that much help :rolleyes: but i beliove that the current top dog in this lineage is the PPA. £120 is the bare amp, no case or psu. I have used good components which are worthy of this amp. The case will also house a 6 channel volume control / pre amp thingy that i'm looking into, the power supply will feed both the pre and headphone amp so i'm going down a different route than normal.
    The Velleman K18231A power supply comes recomended and is what i'm using for the headphone amp side of things.
    My PPA is not tweaked very much at all. I've got 4 buffers per channel, no bass boost, and i've yet to bias it into class A or add the crossfeed boards.

    Your welcome to come and listen to it if your anywhere near Salisbury.

    Cheers:beer:
     
  13. suzywong

    suzywong
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    Croc,

    If you're still looking at headphone amps, take a look at this site

    www.rock-grotto.co.uk

    he has some interesting things to say on the subject.
     
  14. Nic Rhodes

    Nic Rhodes
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    WAD is better than the Hart IMHO. I have built both
     
  15. Crocodile JD

    Crocodile JD
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    Thanks Guys

    Still looking. I build my first electronic circuit the other day from a schematic off the net, a variable timer with green LED timer indicator and red LED with buzzer timed out alarm. Only a few resistors, a couple of caps and a 555 timer chip, but it all helps in the learning process. I'm reading a bit as well and I think I'll go for a couple more simple circuits before I take the plunge, but I'm enjoying myself anyhow :smashin:

    Croc
     

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