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Friday, May 8, 2015

The Headphone Amplifier 2


Last month I showed the first headphone amp I ever built. That one was meant to be used with a preamplifier, hence it did not have input selector or volume control. This month I finished another version of that, this time with input selector switch and a volume attenuator at the input so sources can be connected directly to it.

It is based on the same circuit and component selection as the previous one, just with the selector added and a resistive ladder type volume control.

While the previous one had all the taps of the output transformers brought out to individual jacks, this only uses one of them to make room for the control switches.

Output tubes are triode wired E55L and the rectifier is the 6BY5.

Best regards



  1. Dear Thomas,

    Just out of curiosity but do you have any plans to make a headphone amp using a DHT like Woo WA234?


    1. Hi! As soon as someone orders a DHT headphone amp, I will build one


  2. Dear Thomas,

    I have a few questions, if you allow me (I am not technically minded person):

    1 - Have you tried the Ogonowski transformers?
    2 - If yes, how they compare with Tango and others?
    3 - Could you eventually make a DHT headphone amplifier using: 10Y or 801A, 816 rectifiers, 6N6P drivers, and (if needed) ECC40 input?
    4 - What kind of sound would be expected about headphone amp like that?

    Thank you.

    1. 1 - no
      3 - yes
      4 - that depends on many more factors than just the tubes. Why this particular tube line up?

    2. Thank you for your reply.

      I am think about to get a headamp (and a headphone, probably an Audeze) at some point later this year. I was considering an "LampizaOr Golden Gate Headamp" but I do not really need a DAC - here come the Ogonowski idea (he uses that transformer).

      10Y (and 801A per extension) is my prefered output valve (between the ones I was exposed), and I really like the 6N6P/6H6P, what I also think could have good complimentary sound to 10Y.

      ECC40 is another one I liked a lot (I am aware of the base problem). The 816 is more a cosmetics thing, but as the 10Y need high voltage I thought it should match electrically.

      For reference, I usually like AN UK products.

    3. Hi!
      It is important to choose the right transformer for the task. You are thinking too much in terms of brands. Only if a manufacturer has a suitable transformer for the task at hand it makes sense to talk about that. The same goes for the tubes. The two tubes you mention are very different. How they will 'complement' the output tube will also depend on the circuit. There is no such thing as a 'complementary' sound of tubes which is valid for all kinds of different circuits. You need to first determine the technical needs so that they match the headphone to be used and then select the input tubes according to the gain you need and the drive requirements of the output tubes

    4. Thank you for your reply. You really enlightened the things. Just in case, about the Ogonowski transformers, it seem he most do custom ones. However, from now, I think it would be better to contact you by the private ways pointed on the website, at the proper time. :-)