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WHAMMY Headphone Amplifier

  • 2900


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 50 reviews
Balanced / differential edition

Very good service regarding shipping, communication and documentation.
Built several SE - regular - and my flaggship combining 2 Whammy to a differential headamp.
I used 2x 2 OPA627 with amazing results. Anyway, the concept offers many different options or you stick with the standard, which is also great. Highly recommended!
I use the differential Whammy with Sennheiser HD800S. The SE with Focal Clear.
Thank you Wayne Colburn for the concept, 6l6 for the build guide and the diyaudio community for the inspiring infos!

Whammy Circuit Board

What can I say the PCB is of excellent quality, quite unusual these days. Heavy, welll printed and easy to read. Everything fitted like a dream. Followed the instructions and build method and everything worked first time with no drama's.
Everything on the original build thread works. I did purchase my materials from my usual suppliers and did not avail myself of the full kit options. If I had a critisism, and it would only be a minor one, the shipping was both expensive and slow for these days, and whilst there was no actual import tax to pay (I live in the UK) buy the time royal mail (UK handlers) had their "pound of flesh"and then charged tax on top the shipping and handling charges cost more than the board. I wonder if an alternative shipping method could not be used, I don't remember this issue with items from Mouser which I believe originate in the US.
Anyway as I said a minor gripe.
In use I have found the Whammy both pleasing and detailed to listen to, and perfectly at home with various sets of headphones I have kicking around, even some B&W's which I find quite challenging to listen to .
Totally recommend this item, it is an easy first project, just take your time and check everything twice and you should be fine, ending up with a very creditable self built headphone amp that stands very well against others costing much more whilst out performing others.

Nice design headphone amp l quality printed circuit board

Another great project brought to us by the generosity of Wayne Colburn and Diy Audio store. The layout is open enough for less experienced builders and 6l6 (Jim) has taken the time to write up a excellent build guide. If the builder ops to socket the single opamps he/she has the added benefit to “roll “ opamps and choose their personal favorite. My only wish was that they had a little more room around the opamp so the builder could more easily fit one the discrete opamps such as Burston, however it is still doable.

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).

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