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WHAMMY Headphone Amplifier

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The WHAMMY Class-A headphone amplifier

Wayne Colburn, the genius at Pass Labs who for the last 25 years has designed essentially all the things that aren't speaker amplifiers, wanted to make a fun, high-performance, fantastic-sounding, Class-A, DIY headphone amp for this community. We call it:

Wayne's Headphone Amp Must Make Yourself

Yes, it's a silly name. But it's cute. And it explains a lot about it. So it stuck. 

Given the explosion in the popularity of headphones, as well as the unbelievable amount of choice and variety in the market, it seemed that a simple and great-sounding headphone amp would be a great addition to the DIY community. 

Because there are so many choices of headphones, from Planars to IEM's, high impedance or low, this amp will drive any headphone you want to throw at it (Well, not electrostatic headphones directly, no amp like this will, but it will happily drive a step-up transformer like Stax).

Wayne wanted a universal headphone amp for his desk. This is the fruit of that idea. It’s made to be made in an afternoon or an evening and it has no builder adjustments, so it’s going to have a high likelihood of success and completion for beginners and experienced DIYers

It's an all in one PCB, just wire the AC & fuse, input and output jacks. Add a selector switch if you like.

Class-A output stage with enough current to drive anything. It also makes a wonderful line stage with about 14db of gain.

Your choice - PCB or PCB plus parts kit

We are now selling both the a WHAMMY PCB by itself, as well as a parts kit that includes the PCB, and everything else you need to build the WHAMMY other than a chassis.

  • We are working on a chassis for the future and will definitely release one, but we aren't going to rush it
  • 6L6 has done a great WHAMMY build guide and the supplied parts will match the build guide, more or less
  • We have now seen multiple successful builds of this new kit, and are now opening pre-orders for the kit, shipping January 11th 2019

PCB Details

  • 218mm x 160mm (8 5/8" x 6 5/16") 
  • Black with gold immersion traces
  • 70oz Copper

Kit Details

The kit includes everything to make the amp except the PCB and chassis. All components are of the highest quality.

  • Dale RN55 milspec resistors
  • Panasonic FC & FR series capacitors
  • Elna SILMIC II capacitors
  • Solid aluminum anodized volume knob
  • Alps "Blue Velvet" potentiometer
  • Neutrik RCA connectors
  • Schurter filtered power entry module with spare fuse
  • TRS Headphone Jack
  • IRF610/9610 Power MOSFETs
  • Texas Instruments RC4580 op amp
  • Teflon insulated silver plated copper milspec wire for I/O connections
  • Silver bearing eutectic Kester 44 solder for I/O connections
  • All nuts, bolts and standoffs to attach external connectors and the PCB to a chassis

Illustrated build guide

Most of the info you need to complete this project can be found in the first 6 posts this thread, a well-illustrated guide showing how everything goes together.


Here's a video of Wayne talking about the Whammy at Burning Amplifier Festival 2017 -- Wayne Colburn at BAF '17

Customer Reviews

Based on 46 reviews
Outstanding an I would recommend this to any serious Headphone Listener.

I have built two of these and in both cases outstanding results, one the second one for my son I put the 15v transformer in to make it run cooler, there is no sound difference in the two units. The other has a 22v transformer in it. Used 833 Op amps tried various found that I liked these the best. I love the sound through both my SennHeisers 600, and really love it through the HiFiMan Sundara. I would have to say its the best result I have had with a DYI build and also with any commercial Headphone amp. Build it you will not be sorry. The front panel is miss spelled but that's the beauty of a DYI you can do what you want to it.

Headphone "Whammy"

The PCB arrived bang on time in England (Even with the Corona virus!) and well packed, I have never seen a PCB of this quality before, really well made in Black and gold, The 'Whammy' built into a headphone amp that sounds like a professional amp really easily and I would recommend this project for anybody with a little soldering ability. Thanks guys I would buy it again if somebody borrowed it and wouldn't bring it back! My version is 18V Trans, 20k Alps, MV2 case, Nichicon Caps, Dale Res, Bur Brown Op amp. Everything else as the instructions (which are very good).
P.s Did these guys design an amp as well? If so I want it.

Whammy 1st DIY project - Good quality kit with pleasing results

I wanted a high-quality HPA and didn’t wish to pay over-the-odds for sub-par consumer designs. As it was designed by a pro from a proper hi-fi company, I saw it as a bit of a no-brainer decision. The build took me about six days to complete with cutting chassis etc and making a few mistakes along the way. As it was my first time I wanted everything to be correct and my fussiness paid off this time - On Power up all was perfect and I was pleasantly surprised. Would definitely recommend this build to those who appreciate real hifi and music-lovers who don’t want to break the bank. I am a music-lover not an Audiophool.

Excellent piece

It was a very helpfull guide and I spent a nice time building the WHAMMY preamp.

Nice design, fun build - dead quiet

A very nice design. Enjoyed the build, was straight forward and not too pricey of a BOM. Excellent sound. Going to play around with a couple different OpAmp (almost like tube rolling).

Great sound and easy to build!

I bought the both the PCB and parts from DIYaudiostore, and soldered all the parts during two evenings. The instructions were easy to follow. I acquired a suitable aluminium enclosure, which required some metalworking (drilling holes and making threads). The amplifier is driving my 600 Ohm Beyerdynamic headphones with ease. Very satisfied with the sound, and it was fun to build!

Excellent headamp and parts kit

Wayne's design of the headamp is simple but excellent and so is the parts kit provided by diyaudiostore. Only high-quality-parts. Fast shipping. I only changed two parts: the headphone-jack (I used a Neutrik which is isolated from the Chassis) and the opamp (the red part, it's the burson V6 vivid). Chassis is Hammond. It perfectly fits the PCB.
Al in all an outstanding headamp.

A great Headphone Amp

I bought the PCB from DIYaudiostore and manually selected the parts from Digikey/Mouser etc.
PCB is of high quality and once assembled, the amp worked right away.
Sound quality is great, clearly above my JDS Atom, but I advise to play with input coupling caps and Op Amp to get the best synergy with your other gears.
I went for a slightly bigger chassis (Hifi 2000 Galaxy GX283 80x230x230), and it gives plenty of space to play around.
Be aware of the extra cost due to customs (shipped from US to EU, +33E in my case).
Highly recommended!

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