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Amp Camp Amp

A complete kit consists of a parts kit, power supply and the chassis. You don't need anything else!

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Description

A Beautiful "Class A" Amplifier Kit

Stereo chassis or monoblocks. Easy to Build. Everything included.
Parts Kit $129 - Power Supply $49 - Chassis $149

Watt's new in the Amp Camp Amp V1.6?

We're excited to announce the latest revision of our most popular and in demand kit of all time, the Amp Camp Amp. Use our ACA options wizard to help you pick the right options for you.

Improvements since V1.5:

  • We have a new "ACA Information Directory" that gives you links to everything you need
  • V1.6 features new and upgraded connectors and switches, including a Neutrik XLR input so you can build balanced monoblocks with twice the power!
  • It's got a new high quality 24V 5A power supply, increasing power from the previous version's 5W up to 8W
    • Comprehensive step-by-step ACA V1.6 build guide hosted at guides.diyaudio.com
    • Just solder a few more wires to turn it into a single-ended or fully balanced monoblock with twice the power of the standard ACA!
    • A front power switch
    • Black or silver front panels, and both blue or red LEDs

    What Exactly is an Amp Camp Amp Anyway?

    The Amp Camp Amp was created by Nelson Pass for a special event called "Amp Camp" in which 20 people built their very first amplifier from start to finish in one afternoon. The event was held outdoors on a lovely sunny day in California and all attendees walked away with a fully functioning amplifier and a smile on their dials.

    Naturally, other people wanted share that same amazing experience of successfully building their first amplifier so diyAudio has created the three essential ingredients you need for that same journey - the parts, the instructions, and the community.

    Read more in the Amp Camp Amp article hosted on diyAudio.

    How does it sound?

    Once you build the Amp Camp Amp you'll never look at power and distortion figures the same way again.

    Each channel is just 8 watts, but they're very good watts. In fact Nelson's DIY endeavors are called "First Watt" because in his own words "The first watt is the most important watt". The amp has enough power for medium to high efficiency speakers at normal listening levels. They sound even better bi-amped with an active crossover.

    •  "Insane amount of detail, deep bass and crystal highs" - Starbender
    •  "Great power, bass and massive detail" - Waam68  
    •  "Highly detailed, yet smooth and sweet" - Mitchba
    •  "I am amazed at the sound quality" - Neoinc
    The Complete Amp Camp Amp Kit

    It's not just a kit, it's an education - here's why everyone is falling in love with the Amp Camp Amp:

    Everything Included
    It can take days of searching and ordering from multiple suppliers to obtain all these parts. We've done that for you. Everything you need is included, other than basic tools.

    Detailed Build Guide
    We've put together an all new detailed build guide for the new ACA complete with step by step photos and instructions so you're never lost. Plus, our friends at TekThing recorded a beautiful 30 minute build-video of how to put together the previous version!

    Quick and Easy to Build
    Even a kid can build it and many have! All you need it one afternoon and you'll have finished and be listening to a beautiful class A stereo amplifier!

    The Amp Camp Amp Kit makes a stereo amplifier that sounds great - here's why


    Designed by an Audio Legend - Nelson Pass
    Nelson's company Pass Labs makes some of the finest (and most expensive) amplifiers in the world. This amplifier has its roots in decades of award winning amplifier design experience.

    Minimalist Amplifier Topology
    Less is more. Nelson is famous for his "Zen" approach to design and this amp is no exception - it's a minimalist circuit that delivers purity through simplicity.


    A Pure "Class A" Design
    Most amplifier designs switch transistors on and off causing noise. Class A amplifiers are always operating in their sweet spot, which is why people say they sound "silky smooth".

    Save Time and Money


    You could spend days or weeks trying to find the right parts, then paying over and over for shipping from multiple suppliers. Or you could buy the Amp Camp Amp kit!

    So Simple You'll (Actually) Finish It

    We've got you covered with easy to follow step-by-step visual Amp Camp Amp Build Guide. There's also an amazing build-video of an earlier ACA version from TekThing showing construction from start to finish!

    Benefit From New Skills

    Don't sit on the sidelines - get building today! You'll learn new skills you can apply to other projects, refine your ear and duly feel pride in your accomplishment.

    Enjoy Quality Sound

    If you want to hear the sound of one transistor clapping this is the ticket. Dead silent, pure and luxurious. Reviews speak for themselves: "Insane detail", "deep bass", "crystal highs", "great power", "fluid", "sharp", "smooth", "sweet".

    Relax Knowing This Is a Great Choice

    The Amp Camp Amp Kit sounds like a much more expensive amplifier, is quick and easy to build, simple to understand, includes all the parts, comes with instructions, and has a wealth of support if you need it. You can't go wrong with this tried and tested project.

    Meet Other Audiophile Makers

    As you breathe life into these amps, they'll literally breathe it back to you! Be a part of the super friendly Amp Camp Amp maker community on diyAudio and meet other makers that share your obsession with quality sound.

     

    A step-by-step build guide and pit crew standing by

    We've just launched "diyAudio Guides" (beta), a brand new place to find and share knowledge about audio DIY. The Amp Camp Amp Build Guide is now more accessible than ever. Follow step-by-step on your phone or tablet while you're actually building the amp or printed the guide as a PDF - it's never been easier to complete your Amp Camp Amp in one sitting!

    If you need more help, there's hundreds of diyAudio members who consider it their mission to help any ACA builder get their first amplifier build completed. No question is a stupid question in the ACA thread, so join in the discussion and meet other first time and veteran builders in the Amp Camp Amp discussion thread.


    The Complete Amp Camp Amp Kit

    Watch TekThing build the ACA

    TekThing is an awesome video blog for technology geeks. In this 30 minute video Patrick Norton talks about the history of the Amp Camp Amp, and then builds a channel from start to finish! If you like the video consider subscribing to the TekThing YouTube channel for regular geekery or become a patron and get perks! Please note that in this video Patrick applies the Keratherm incorrectly - you need to peel off the backing before applying it!

    What's In The Complete Kit?

    1. The Parts Kit

    Components

    • High quality genuine parts purchased directly from "Tier 1" US distributors such as Mouser and Digikey
    • Printed circuit boards (Revision 1.6)
    • Transistors including Linear Systems LSK170 JFETs and IRC MOSFETs
    • Switches, LEDs, capacitors, resistors, we include everything 
    • The same parts quality that Nelson Pass uses in his own amplifiers

    Hardware

    • Components purchased either from "Tier 1" distributors or do-it-yourself audio favorites like Parts Express 
    • Keratherm® MOSFET insulators - very efficient and no grease required
    • M3 board mounting standoffs, w/ stainless steel bolts and washers 
    • Stainless steel mounting bolts and washers for MOSFETs
    • Gold plated speaker terminals and RCA Jacks
    • Power connector jack
    • Copper hookup wire in assorted colors
    • Cover plate for XLR hole (for advanced users, the XLR hole gives the possibility to create monoblocks with 15 watts per channel)

    2. The Power Supply

    • From Meanwell, the best known producer of high quality SMPS in the world
    • The power supply is universal and operates from 86-264VAC and 47-63HZ
    • It comes from a best-of-breed manufacturer, has less noise, more power and weighs more than twice as much as the previous power supply
    • You can read more about it on the Meanwell 24V 5A power supply page
    • This new power supply is also a suitable upgrade for all previous Amp Camp Amps, just plug and play (see notes here)
    • This power supply is Nelson's lab tested recommendation, but to save money you can BYO 19V or 24V 5A laptop style power supply. YMMV!
    • It has a generic 3 prong IEC 60320/C13 power cord inlet suitable for use with a "kettle cord"
    • We ship it with a Linvox 3271V86 6 foot cord that has a US 3 prong plug. If that plug doesn't work for you, you can use a plug adapter, or "borrow" an IEC cord from your least favorite piece of equipment.

    3. The Chassis

    • From the Italian chassis artisans at Hi-Fi 2000
    • Custom design for the ACA / ACA parts kit
    • Ships direct to you from Italy with FedEx International
    • All the work done is for you - just screw it together!
    • 10mm aluminum front panels drilled (dual LED holes), anodized and silkscreened with hole for a front power switch
    • 3mm aluminum rear panels drilled (power jack, RCA input, speaker output, power switch and XLR expansion module hole) and anodized
    • 40mm aluminum heatsinks pre-drilled and pre-tapped with M3 threads for easy mounting of circuit boards

    If you bought each part yourself

    • Bolt Depot (Bolts) - $7.71
    • Digikey (Small electronic components) - $42.43
    • diyAudio Store (Keratherm, Transistors, PCBs) - $71.89
    • Mouser (Power Supply and power cable) - $62.33
    • Parts Express (Mounting hardware, wire, etc) - $57.18
    • Customized chassis - over $200, more likely $300 including heatsink tapping
    • Total: $441.54, plus a day hunting for parts and a day drilling your chassis and tapping your heatsinks

    Save money, and time

    To assemble this same kit yourself would cost over $440 including parts, hardware, sales tax and shipping. And you wouldn't get the tapped holes or front and rear panels drilled. And then there's your time in buying all the parts and working the chassis...


      * All prices were calculated live on 11 June 2016 using real products and a shipping address of San Francisco, some prices updated May 4th 2018

       

      Technical Specifications

      Frequency response 10 - 20 kHz +/- 0.1 dB
      Power (stereo) 8W into 8 Ohms per channel
      Power (monoblock) 15W into 8 Ohms per channel. See ACA operation modes for details on monoblock operation.
      Power Measurement Measured at clipping with 3% distortion
      Distortion 0.7% at 1 Watt (primarily second order harmonic which being even-order is described as "sweet, tubey" and being low-order as "benign/inaudible")
      Input impedance 10 Kohm
      Max Gain 14dB
      Damping factor 10
      Output noise 100 uV
      Power supply input Universal 86-264VAC 47-63HZ
      Power supply output 24V 5A
      Heat dissipation 20 Watts per Channel

      Power

      Ω Ch. Config. Conn. Supply Power
      4 2 Single-ended stereo RCA 19V 5W
      4 2 Single-ended stereo RCA 24V 5W
      8 2 Single-ended stereo RCA 19V 5W
      8 2 Single-ended stereo RCA 24V 8W
      8 1 Balanced monoblock XLR 19V 15W
      8 1 Balanced monoblock XLR 24V 15W
      16 1 Balanced monoblock XLR 19V 10W
      16 1 Balanced monoblock XLR 24V 15W

      More specifications found in the original ACA V1.0 article, and power and distortion graphs are hereSee ACA operation modes for more details on monoblock operation.

      Speaker Recommendations

      The ACA is a minimalist, low power amp that's easy to build and the perfect choice for your first amp building project. It's the "fixie bike" of Class A amplifiers; no gears, no brakes; zen and the art of amplifier maintenance.

      It likes efficient speakers that present an easy load to the amplifier. The right pairing will give you great sound full of audiophile buzz-words, and more than adequate volume for everyday listening or to annoy your neighbours (8W with 91db speakers gives 93db at the couch). Double the power per channel with monoblocks.

      If you have a particular pair of speakers in mind, ask about them in the ACA discussion thread.

      You're In Good Company

      The Amp Camp Amp Kit has received coverage in these publications

       

       

      The reviews speak for themselves

      "Insane amount of detail, deep bass and crystal highs! Tried few old restored amps with 4000M's, ACA's are perfect match so far. So, thanks Mr.Pass for this eye-opening experience..."

      Starbender
      diyAudio Member
      "I have it my office and it blows away the Yamaha AV receiver I have been using (until today). I am very surprised by the difference. Definition and sound stage are so much better. This with low end bookshelf speakers...I am hooked!"

      Bnorrish
      diyAudio Member
      "The amp sounds great....great power, bass and massive detail...Amazing amp for the build cost. The amp is dead silent between tracks."

      Waam68
      diyAudio Member

       

      "I am using 4 x ACA's kits to drive 8 ohm Selenium D405 midrange and BMS 4540 high frequency compression drivers in a Digital XO tri-amp set up... I am impressed with the sound quality - highly detailed, yet smooth and sweet."

      Mitchba
      diyAudio Member
      "Amps go together so easily! Really a great initiation!...absolutely massive, dense, fluid, sharp as a knife sound. Played a few tracks I'm familiar with and the hairs on the back of my head nearly lifted me off the floor!!"

      JKRO

      diyAudio Member
      "Spent 2 nights assembling the kit and volia now it is singing. Source is a old niam cd2 > BA3 FE > ACA > Markaudio Alpair 6 floorstander. I am amazed by the sound quality. Once again, thank you Papa Pass."

      Neoinc
      diyAudio Member

       

      This is the Best "First" Amplifier Kit You Can Buy

      A beautiful class A amplifier design from the master of the art with all the parts, instructions and help you need.

       

       

       

      Customer Reviews

      Based on 190 reviews
      95%
      (180)
      5%
      (9)
      1%
      (1)
      0%
      (0)
      0%
      (0)
      P
      P.
      Great sound

      Very happy with my amp camp.
      I bought the aca 1.6 kit as my first project, it was straight forward to put together.
      It sounds fantastic, very smooth. I use it with 8ohm 88db 3 way speakers, the sound good but miss tight bass, nevertheless the midrange and highs are fantastic and non-fatiguing.
      I am going to build the M2X to have some more power.
      The aca is definitely a keeper, also it dissipates 40watt vs the 160watt of the m2x, so useful for the hot summers.

      C
      C.B.

      Coming from the Heathkit, Dynaco and Hafler kits generation, building this kit was an easy and fun project. The build instructions and step by step layout was easy to follow. For the diy person there's no better enjoyment than to build your own great sounding audio gear. This Amp Camp Amp is a very clean sounding amp, you will not be disappointed

      W
      W.J.
      ACA v1.6 build

      Went together beautifully, instructions were great, sounds wonderful.

      J
      J.L.
      Easy to build, sounds great!

      I've more than 30 years experience listening to Hi-End equipment, but I hardly found a solid state amplifier that's cheap enough and sound that good, the greatest part of this amplifier is simple, though the output just 5W (24V power supply, stereo), but it can drive my Totem Rainmaker (4 Ohm) with quality sound, and less than 10 hours after I finished the construction! I'm no good in circuit reading and complex wiring, but I'd manage to make this within one day and the bias adjust is easy! Highly recommend for anyone love quality sound!

      R
      R.
      I love this little amp that could!

      At long last, and after 3 iterations, I’m reviewing my ACA 1.6.

      I bought one complete kit plus an additional kit not including the chassis and power supply. Being new to DIY audio, I built the first kit exactly per 6L6’s excellent instructions. It went without a hitch and was a ton of fun to build. Any downsides? I wasn’t happy with my (really) old speakers with the ACA and I went shopping for something that would work better.

      I ended up with (to my own surprise) a set of B&W CM5 S2’s and wow! What an amazing little amp! Such a lively, fun, clean sound! After years with music as a sideline affair, I’ve finally re-discovered my passion!

      It had been my plan to use the second ACA kit (and much more heatsink) to create a bridged (approx) 15 watt amp. After living with the “Stock” amp for a couple of months and reading some of Nelson Pass’s writing on the subject, I decided to to use the second kit to bi-amp my speakers instead.

      So, another power supply, much more heatsink, and 2 iterations later, I’m thrilled to say that my 4 individual amplifiers, in a cabinet of my own making, are powering a pair of bookshelf speakers in a way that I never dreamed possible from such low power and such small speakers.

      It really is the first watt that matters most!

      And the support here at DIYAudio is amazing! So much knowledge…

      I can’t thank you all enough for helping me experience music again this way!

      L
      L.M.
      Nelson Pass Amp Camp Amp kit

      I bought this amp to test Paul Klipsch statement that all he needed was a great 5 watt amplifier to drive his Klipschorns. I will attest that this amplifier does to job extremely well. Great kit. This is my second build of a Nelson Pass amp. I built a First Watt F5 several years ago to compare it to my Harmon Kardon Citation II. All three amps are sound fantastic.

      B
      B.W.
      Giant killer

      What a fantastic amp! Easy to build (the trickiest part was prepping the chassis - I didn't purchase the diyaudiostore chassis, see NZ import duty legislation, but that's another story). The sound with a B1 buffer preamp and a pair of full range Markaudio Alpair 7s is magical. A perfect balance between detail and ease of listening - a very well mannered amp. With said speakers the amp runs out of steam a bit; I'll purchase another kit and convert to a pair of mono blocks.

      I have listened to very expensive systems that don't afford any more listening pleasure than this.

      m
      m.
      lovely experience

      It was my first try as a DIY amp builder and it was a thrill. The set up you guys ( diyaudio ) have put up here is just perfect. From the available literature, the forum and members inputs, the anticipation, the neat package, even the little plastic bags where the parts were shipped in; quality stuff. And what to say about the build guide put up by 6L6, that made assembling this kit a breeze.
      I really enjoyed it.
      The kit resulted in a quality amplifier ( I have bought two ) with a sound to match.
      They are still under "trial" because, I must admit, my system is not easy for them. They are kind of struggling to power up my 4 Ohm SMGA maggies... my TL12 tube LEAKs were more at ease.
      For reference I am using a Benchmark DAC1 HDR as pre amp, and the ACA with a parallel input and a Y cable.
      As I said I really enjoyed the whole process and seriously considering building another. Maybe the Aleph J!
      Thank you guys very much
      Cheers
      mmoleiro


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