M3 Headphone Amp

If you’re serious about your headphone amps, you probably already know about the M3 headphone amplifier. Instead of going for the extra tiny, they’re going the ‘screw the size, it’s all about the sound’ route. Thsi thing needs a 24v .5amp power supply. Boards are available, and the discussion has gotten so long on headwize that they exceeded the maximum thread length.

I got busy with the laser last night and came up with something new: a custom etched track pad. It still works, with a bit of added texture where I introduced it to the warm glow of the laser. Hit the link for pics and a walk through.

11 thoughts on “M3 Headphone Amp

  1. I gotta say, your a little behind the times on this one. this was a big hit on Head-fi like two years ago.

    However I gotta say, this is a sweet project for anyone serious about headphones. be wary, what this post doesnt warn you about is the parts cost which frequently pushed $200 before you get to boutique black gates or other high end caps.

    I made one of these things and I cant say enough good about it. it made my DT880s sing! (the SA5k’s I got to try sounded superb as well)

    great project but its not a weekend affair.

  2. @peanut

    headphone amps are very popular among audiophiles, as the increased power output can increase the clarity and volume you can get out of large, over-the-ear headphones.

    like was mentioned in the post, a common objective for headphone amps is to make them very small, so as to be portable. this one is about sounding as nice as possible.

  3. I doubt the headphone amp craze. It seems that the sound quality of the amp is directly proportional to how much one costs, or the cost of parts + time it takes to make one.

    It’s in your head.

  4. @klintor

    isn’t the money – quality ratio a constant in the audiophile world? i don’t really put much stock in the things audiophiles tell us. I use whatever equipment i have laying around (musician/recording) and get results that are just fine.

  5. I like your trackpad. That’s a really cool idea, I probably wouldn’t have thought of putting stuff there. So can you describe what the “added texture” feels like? Do you think it will wear off with fingers sliding around on it all the time?

  6. In my opinion 90%+ of the quality improvement you get from a headphone amp comes from using a power-supply that isn’t shared with a motorized device (hard drives, fans, etc). Sure, you could spend $200+ on building one of these things, and it would be fun to do, but if you just want good sound you can spend a lot less. Most *externally powered* USB sound cards have perfectly good headphone amps on them. Just make sure they’re not powered over the USB.

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