Thursday, June 3, 2010

Micro Cmoy Headphone Amplifier

I had never even heard of headphone amplifiers until last month, and now I am totally sold on the concept.

In my last blog post, I mentioned that my new headphones were a bit anemic due to their high resistance, particularly when used with an iPod. I had borrowed my boss’ HeadRoom Total Airhead amp, and it made the headphones sound exactly the way I wanted them to.

This amplifier is available online for about $100, but I was hoping to get the job done a little bit cheaper. A friend suggested that I build my own (?!) and pointed me to a link with detailed instructions and a parts list to build a Cmoy amp. I researched what people had to say about these amps, which are commonly built inside an Altoids tin, and there were very positive reviews of the amps. Plus there was a note that somebody was building these and selling them on eBay for $35, which is about $15 more than it would cost me to make my own. Hell, it even comes with a battery! As an added bonus, he has a number of different mint tins to choose from.

I bought one from seller juice2214 on eBay, and it showed up quickly, and was well-packed. The first thing I did was pop it open and look at the insides. I am really glad I did not try to build my own because all of the components are REALLY tiny. The build quality is first-rate, with neat soldering and plenty of shrink wrap to prevent shorts. There was no skimping on the parts, either. He used an Alps pot, Nichicon capacitors and a TI Burr Brown OP AMP chip.

The controls are simple, a volume control potentiometer with an ON/OFF switch, a 1/8” input, 1/8” output and a bright blue LED to let you know it is on.

I plugged it in, and it does everything the Airhead did, and really brings the headphones to life. I have used it about 10 hours so far, and the 9-volt battery is still going strong. I have not noticed any change in tone, so I do not know if the amp will burn in and sound better as time goes on. Either way it is cool with me, because I the way it sounds right now.

The only downside that I can see is that it might confuse the TSA airport security folks when they see it with their x-ray machines. It does kind of look like a home-made bomb…


  1. whhere do you get it from and whats the name of it

  2. I got mine from eBay seller juice2214 and the service and product was great. Thanks!