How to Build a Bass Guitar Headphone Amp

Written by simon foden Google
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How to Build a Bass Guitar Headphone Amp
You don't need a large amp to power headphones. (headphones image by musk from Fotolia.com)

Practicing your bass licks is great fun, but if you have neighbours you often have to call it a night when you're just hitting your groove. Using a headphone amp is a convenient way to mitigate this. Headphone amps are portable and enable you to practice anywhere. You can build your own headphone bass amp using a self-assembly amplifier kit. These kits comes with a circuit diagram and all of the necessary parts to assemble a compact and simple bass headphone amp.

Skill level:
Easy

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Things you need

  • Magnifying lens
  • Schematic
  • Headphone guitar amp kit
  • Spare capacitors
  • Soldering iron

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Instructions

  1. 1

    Acquire a kit. Bass headphone amplifier kits are not as readily available as guitar headphone kits. By modifying one capacitor in a guitar amplifier kit you can have your own DIY bass guitar headphone amp. The DIY Audio Projects website sells self-assembly guitar headphone amp kits that come with all requisite components. The Run Off Groove website has detailed wiring diagrams that illustrate the required modifications to turn a guitar headphone amp into a bass headphone amp.

  2. 2

    Read the schematic. This will help you understand the layout of the circuit. Identify the capacitors and their location on the completed circuit. Find the capacitor that is marked "C2" on the schematic. Consult the schematic key to ascertain the value of that capacitor, then find read the side of each capacitor with your magnifying lend to find that capacitor. Set it to one side. In the DIY Audio Projects kit, the C2 capacitor has a value of 100.

    How to Build a Bass Guitar Headphone Amp
    Increase the bass response by upgrading the C2 capacitor (capacitor image by naolin from Fotolia.com)
  3. 3

    Populate the circuit board. Install all of the components into their blank turrets, apart from the capacitor marked "C2" on the schematic. Replace this with a higher value capacitor. The Ruby Amp circuit diagram suggests upgrading to one that is of approximately ten times the value. For example, replace a 47n capacitor with a 470n capacitor. This increases the bass response in the circuit board. Push each component into the turret until the connector pokes through the base.

    How to Build a Bass Guitar Headphone Amp
    Put the upgraded capacitor in the place of the C2 capacitor (circuit board image by Andrzej Thiel from Fotolia.com)
  4. 4

    Flip the board over and solder the connectors to the base.

  5. 5

    Solder the completed circuit board to the base of the chassis.

  6. 6

    Inset the potentiometers into the front panel of the chassis. The chassis has pre-drilled holes for each potentiometer. Solder a positive wire to the output terminal of each potentiometer. Connect that wire to the relevant eyelet on the board. Consult the schematic for more info.

  7. 7

    Install the panel mount IEC socket or battery snap, depending on which type of power supply your kit has. Connect the red wire and the black wire to the board. Ensure the polarity is correct, red to positive, black to ground.

  8. 8

    Solder the headphone wires to the output terminal on the circuit board. Feed the wire through the smallest pre-drilled notch or hole in the chassis.

  9. 9

    Fit the dials on the potentiometer poles.

  10. 10

    Fit the top and back of the chassis.

Tips and warnings

  • Use a highlighter pen to mark the location of C2 on the board.
  • Inspect all of your parts with a magnifying lens before you begin assembling the amp.

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