Practice/Headphone Amp Project

lcipher3

Active member
To add my own input...

I built a headphone amp a while back that I absolutely love, and I'm in the process of building a second one for my father. It's a community-designed circuit that AMB sells the circuit boards for called the M3. It's not a terribly expensive build, but it's certainly a bit more than an average pedal.

I've got a little collection of cans...nothing too crazy or ridiculous. It's easy to get up one's own ass when exploring the audiophile world. I tend to use mine with a pair of BLON planar magnetics or my Sennheiser HD 6xx.

Something that I really appreciate about the one I built is it's sense of "space" in the stereo image and quick tracking of low end transients. I've attached the schematic, which is open-source.


Something I've noticed over the years is that the majority of the commercial guitar headphone amps I've used have felt pretty claustrophobic and sterile, more of an afterthought and a race-to-the-bottom make it cheap cheap cheap toy than something I'd actually want to spend time with. And using one for bass...typically ends up being a smeary, unfocused mess.

So...that is to say...it would be really cool to build something with enough "oomph" behind it to drive a pair of circumaural cans competently, enough capacitance on tap to cleanly reproduce the low end transients of a bass guitar, and something that sounds more akin to the "amp in a room" soundstage than the typical "hey bud get your ears ready for this mono exploration of sandpaper and ice-pickery".

Again, it's easy to get up one's own ass when it comes to the world of audiophile headphones and amps and cork-flatulence-sniffing, BUT...there are little pieces to be snagged from that world that could be utilized to create something quite capable and FUN to use.

Granted, not everyone's gonna have $200-300 headphones to enjoy it with, but my vote goes toward "overbuild that shit".

View attachment 18467
I haven't heard the M3 but have the CKIII versions and did my own board Good stuff ABM
This headphone amp projects sounds like a ton of fun!


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daeg

Well-known member
I just spent half a billion dollars on the Walrus ACS1 as a headphone amp to not wake the kids up at night.

One thing I have to say, is that the adjustable Room Reverb really helps dial in convincing tones. On both the Walrus and Strymon, it's subtle as far as reverbs go, but makes a big difference.
 

finebyfine

Well-known member
Granted, not everyone's gonna have $200-300 headphones to enjoy it with, but my vote goes toward "overbuild that shit".

Just throwing in my quick agreement on this.

One thing I could see becoming a concern for an overbuilt one is like, at what build price does a commercial option start making more sense? Again, I am in the overbuilt camp.

We all get different value out of this hobby, but for me a $15-$20 rat build feels worlds cheaper than a $70 new in box production pedal, but a $80 headphone amp build starts feeling not much cheaper than a $250+ yamaha or katana even if it’s a blast to build and sounds better.

Cheaper isn’t always the goal though and I think anyone who’s built more than one pedal after building their first “to save money” can attest to that.
 

Danbieranowski

Well-known member
I haven't had a chance to look through the replies on this, but it would be cool to be able to use the Daisy Seed to do a serious digital amp sim with IR capabilities.

I know St. Rock makes this pre-populated IR loader PCB: https://www.st-rock.com/ampir/ but I've reached out and received no response about acquiring one.
 

ADAOCE

Well-known member

Here is the earliest incarnation of my desk unit.

The signal chain goes fuzz to fx loop 1 to oc-2 to fx loop 2 to amp sim 1 to amp sim 2 to cab sim to fx loop 3 to reverb.

From the reverb it goes to a switch that selects whether it goes to the headphone section or to the direct out. Direct out is for recording into an interface.

The headphone section has a headphone amp and an auxiliary in.

I use it to practice and write and record and for travels. Sounds killer and works well through the jambox
A few questions if you don’t mind

1. Are you running all these off the same power tap?
2. What headphone amp and mixer circuit are you using? Is it mono or stereo?
3. Is that a Hammond 1456 enclosure?
4. Do you have updates build pictures? Looks great 👍🏼
 

jjjimi84

Well-known member
A few questions if you don’t mind

1. Are you running all these off the same power tap?
2. What headphone amp and mixer circuit are you using? Is it mono or stereo?
3. Is that a Hammond 1456 enclosure?
4. Do you have updates build pictures? Looks great 👍🏼
I am always available to answer questions, whether or not I answer them correctly is another thing.

1. Yes, the whole idea behind this is everything powered off of a one spot. To answer then next question you may have, no I have no issues with hum.
2. It is a mono headphone amp and mixer that @Chuck D. Bones came up with when I asked for some help. It works really well for what I use it for.
3. I believe that is the enclosure, I ordered it from my usual enclosure place, Hawk Electronics. I will dig into this some more and get you the exact model number.
4. I do not have any pictures taken but can tell you this took a back seat until last Monday. It is almost completely done, I have one last little character to paint and then I will film the video for it. It is the hardest I have ever worked on any DIY project and is turning out really cool.
 

ADAOCE

Well-known member
I am always available to answer questions, whether or not I answer them correctly is another thing.

1. Yes, the whole idea behind this is everything powered off of a one spot. To answer then next question you may have, no I have no issues with hum.
2. It is a mono headphone amp and mixer that @Chuck D. Bones came up with when I asked for some help. It works really well for what I use it for.
3. I believe that is the enclosure, I ordered it from my usual enclosure place, Hawk Electronics. I will dig into this some more and get you the exact model number.
4. I do not have any pictures taken but can tell you this took a back seat until last Monday. It is almost completely done, I have one last little character to paint and then I will film the video for it. It is the hardest I have ever worked on any DIY project and is turning out really cool.
Thank you for the reply!

1. Glad to hear you have no issues with hum. I’m almost certain my project should be fine considering this.
2. @Chuck D. Bones id love some more info on this. I’m ready to build another GGG mixer and headphone amp setup again but I’m looking for other ideas too.
3. Hawk is where I’m looking to get mine and it looks just like it. Thanks.
4. Can’t wait to see this thing and watch the video! I’m gearing up for my first pedalboard build and combo box like this right now and the amount of prep I’m doing is way more than ever before.
 
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