Amp Camp Amp
A Beautiful "Class A" Amplifier Kit
Stereo chassis or monoblocks. Easy to Build. Everything included.
Parts Kit $129 - Power Supply $49 - Chassis $159
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
It's not just a kit, it's an education - here's why everyone is falling in love with the Amp Camp Amp:
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 ItWe'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 SkillsDon'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 SoundIf 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 ChoiceThe 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 MakersAs 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.
Watch TekThing build the ACA
What's In The Complete Kit?
- 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
- 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)
- 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
This project requires some tools.
- A good Soldering Iron and good Solder
- Digital Multi-Meter (DMM)
- Philips Screwdriver
- Needle-Nosed Pliers
- Diagonal Cutters
Nice to have
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
|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|
|Output noise||100 uV|
|Power supply input||Universal 86-264VAC 47-63HZ|
|Power supply output||24V 5A|
|Heat dissipation||20 Watts per Channel|
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
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.
If you feel demoted to build them in the thinking this is a minor pass, leave this on the back and prepare yourself for the good. I had classic aleph in the past but i dont recall such a great sounding bass like the aca has in parallel mono. Really!
The build was easy and it worked first time right. I changed some resistors just for the sake of a fancy flavour but i am sure it would sound great in stock form. I am so happy of them i dont feel any need for a new amp build. Thanxs and hope new kits will come up in complete form as i am not an expert builder and without this clear instructions will never make it. A big thanxs!
To make it short, it's a great project.
Shipping was relative fast from the US to Belgium. The case that came direct from the supplier in Italy took a bit longer, but still reasonable. Parts are all high quality, and nothing mssing (i had parts to much i think).
Building it was relative easy (a friend who has experience with building electronics did most of the work, while i was assisting her), but some details in the guide are not clear for the 1.8 version i have or not the best practice. Twisting leads like explained in the guide is not that good, it's better to bind them toghetter as example (and so we did). Also the biasing process is not fully clear explained. But with a little experience and logic thinking it's easy resolved. But i would clear that out even if it's a very minor issue. And the person who did the soldering and assembly for me did a great job so it look very good on the inside also.
On sound i can absolutly not complain, it's a great sounding amplifier that does not sound worse as the class A amps i heared in the past (Sugden, Pass Labs, Musical Fidelity) that costed way more as far as i can remember. I also use a commercial tube amp (Prima Luna Prologue 4) that is not better but it has a slightly different sound (due to the different topology). But the sound is open and detailed and the harmonic distortion that is inherent on this topology is never an issue, it's rather subtile and only an advantage. I now use it with 89dB sensitive diy speakers, and for normal listening volumes that +/- 8W is enough (altough i plan to build higher sensitive speakers for it). A great project after all, and i'm sure i'll get an other one in the near future to run them as monoblocks.
This was a first build for my niece (12) and nephew (14). They are both quite smart and adept with their hands. The suggested build time is 3 to 6 hours. That time covered stuffing and soldering the PCBs. Building the wire harnesses and getting everything assembled took several more hours. Something that helped was that I created a spreadsheet listing each resistor value and made the rows tall enough to tape the matched resistors. We had 3 kits, and 2 of the 3 kits had extras of some resistors and not enough of others. Fortunately, I had spare parts on-hand. (I took one star off for this.) All capacitors and transistors were accounted for.
All channels worked correctly first try! Changes I would make to the kit include better component checks on the resistors before shipping and clearer pictures of the back panel wiring. The sound is really nice and louder than I would have expected for 15W. Highly recommended.
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 🙂
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
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.
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.
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
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