Menu
Cart 0

Amp Camp Amp

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

Buy the Complete ACA Kit Now
(Click here to be guided through your choices)

Description

Updates

April 30th 2021

We have a small number of units now back in stock, once these sell out we expect to have more stock in June 2021.

April 3rd 2021

The ACA is now sold out again. Restocking in Q3 2021.

Jan 22 2021 Update

The ACA is now back in stock.

September 10th 2020 Update

All current production batches have now sold out. The next batch to be produced will be shipping January 2021, and is available for pre-ordering now. Please ensure you are familiar with how our pre-orders work.

September 5th 2020 Update

We have now sold out of kits due to ship on the 7th. Following batch is due to ship on the 20th September SOLD OUT.

August 31st 2020 Update

Welcome Steve Guttenberg Audiophiliac viewers! Current batch is due to ship on September 7th SOLD OUT.

June 29th 2020 Update

After a long wait, the new and improved version of the ACA, the ACA V1.8, is now in stock.

Stuff you'll want to know about:

  • V1.8 wiring diagram
  • V1.8 build guide (currently under construction see note below)
  • V1.8 parts kit contains a new rear mode selector switch allowing you to use regular stereo single ended RCA, or switch between
    • Balanced Mono
    • Parallel Mono
    • Bridged Mono
  •  V1.8 chassis has two new features

Please note: The official V1.8 build guide has not yet been released. Please wire your ACA according to the V1.8 wiring diagram. There are some minor but important wiring changes compared to V1.6. These changes are shown clearly on the V1.8 build guide temporary page. We are slowly updating the site and build guides with V1.8 information. The official V1.8 build guide with new photos, will be released in the coming weeks.


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 229 reviews
      95%
      (218)
      4%
      (9)
      1%
      (2)
      0%
      (0)
      0%
      (0)
      E
      Eelco R.
      Whoa

      This is such a surprising good amp. I had build it to have a taste for class A amplification and it really is super.
      I have connected it to a pair of diy speakers from Parts Express (Samba MT) but also had it connected to Amiga MT (Paul Carmody design). The latter is really not sensitive enough, so you run out of oempf. But whatever is there is really enjoyable. The Samba is more sensitive and has more treble. That combination rocks but doesn’t reach as deep. But he, you can’t blame the amp for that 🙂

      R
      Robert M.
      Very happy

      I got two kits they were easy to build with very good online instructions all in all I’m very happy with the finished amps

      E
      Eelco R.
      Found the sound that I was looking for

      I have been building my own speakers since Corona grounded me behind the home office desk. I have build 6 pairs in the meantime. Mostly designs from Paul Carmody. I like the Amiga most because of it's controlled and low base (used premium filter components).

      But that became truly audible once I connected it with the ACA Amp that I have build recently. The sound is crisp and clear but dynamic and engaging at the same time. Unfortunately, the Amiga is far from sensitive so it won't go loud. But since I play it in the study, the SPL is sufficient and neighbors and wife/kids are not complaining either.

      So very happy with the Amp and VERY happy with the sound. This is as much high-end sound you can get on a shoestring.

      D
      Daniele f.M.
      Great experience

      I wasn't sure I could do it, I know nothing about electronics, never solder anything before, but I succeeded and the amp sounds very well.

      D
      David A.
      As two mono blocks they simply sound amazing

      I have enjoyed one aca as stereo but after using it as monoblock I decide to get the second one

      As 2 mono blocks they sound fantastic, amazingly transparent, better bass but yet very pleasing

      Surpassing the level of these couple of class A will defiantly be very costly

      Amazing design so simple with such amazing results

      D
      DAVID A.
      A real surprise!

      It was worth to wait, the ACA sounds amazing with my monitor audio Bronze 2
      Comparing it to my LM3875 based previous Amp you get much more details and much better staging

      B
      Buddy S.
      Excellent kit / Excellent Overall Experience

      As a new DIY audio builder, this was a perfect kit for me. I worked in the electronics contract manufacturing world for decades, but never made any of my own gear. The PCB was very high quality, well designed and well made. The parts kit was complete and organized. The build guide was excellent and well thought out (I built version 1.8). Combined with he support of the DIYAudio forum and the many articles available from Nelson Pass online, I learned a tremendous amount about DIY Audio and gained a lot of confidence for future builds. That combination really makes this kit stand out among other beginner DIY projects; It was a perfect combination of great product and quality education, not unlike an engineering lab class at the college level.

      The final product sounds absolutely fantastic. I have a nice Yamaha receiver as my main system at home and had a small Lepai Class D amp in my office. This ACA Amp replaced the Lepai in my office and it was a tremendous step up in sound quality (I couldn't possibly go back to the Lepai, it made my ears tired after a couple of hours). It also surpasses my Yamaha receiver in sound quality. I have it connected to some Klipsch RB51 bookshelf speakers and fed by a DAC connected to my laptop and the system is wonderful in my office and gets louder than I would ever want. I find that myself getting lost in the music a bit to much these days and staying late at the office just to listen on many evenings.

      The DIYAudio store has top notch customer service. From the time I placed the oder till the time I was enjoying music they were prompt, timely, communicative and have performance standards that rival the very best online stores. I will go out of my way to do business with them in the future.

      g
      glenn
      Very good

      I'm EU based, so only ordered the parts kit from DIY Audio, the chassis is from the EU in any case. I've been building Eurorack modules for several years now, which means I have familiarity with getting a bag of parts, a circuit board, and some kind of a build guide-- that's part of what I'll be comparing to.

      PCBs and components. All top quality. Very nice sturdy boards, Bournes trimmer pots, .... the baseline standard is "very good to excellent". You'll have to work hard find better components.

      Board spacing is quite generous. My biggest learning issue was bending the resistors 1/4 inch out from their ends; my habit from Eurorack is to bend right where the wire leaves the ceramic. Soldering was simple and fast. I did have to raise the temperature for one or two joins where the contract traces were larger; this is expected as the larger traces pipe away the heat faster. I mentioned that I have experience, I want to add that yes, I still use the printed circuit diagram and check off each part as I add it to the board. I find this really satisfying, like crossing items off your to=do list, and a key to any successful build is parts management.

      Eurorack usually doesn't require a wiring harness (it is usually etched into the top PCB, and you solder the jacks/pots/switches/LEDS directly into the PCB), so making the harness was more mental energy than expected. However, the amount of supplied wire is very generous and forgiving, and the instructions clear and straightforward. I enjoyed learning how the author(s) structured and present the information.

      The instruction manual is very good. It is clearly designed for a motivated novice, i.e. small steps with lots of detail. It is also evident that the authors have walked many people through this, and iterated the build guide as they did so.

      I work slowly, because this is a hobby not a job, and spend way too much time on each design decision. I'm about 5 hours in and just finishing the wire harness. I think I could build it in half the time next time.


      We Also Recommend

      * For non-contiguous US states please contact us directly for a quotation.