I'm putting together a typical Audiologica CMoy Altoids Mint Tin headphone amp. The electronic components needed for the amp are less than $40. I hope this gives me great performance when I install it between my iPod and my Ultimate Ears Super.fi 3 in-ear headphones.
But what if money were no object? How much would it cost to build the ultimate audiophile CMoy amp? Find out below.
All the audiophile/exotic grade components listed below are from Michael Percy Audio (except the Vishay resistors). I rediscovered Percy Audio yesterday while looking up an old invoice to figure out what fancy silver solder I bought a few years ago to mod an old Pioneer DVD/Laserdisc player. The solder is WBT 4% Silver and I still have a good length for many headphone amp projects. I had forgotten about Percy as I haven't been into modding and tweaking since I ruined the afore mentioned Pioneer player. Michael Percy is easy to deal with and if you're serious about modding existing electronic components, DIY cables, or damping materials you should check out his often updated catalog [PDF].
The Ultimate Audiophile CMoy Headphone Amplifier
- 2x 1.0 UFD 100V Exotica TFT Cap by Reliable Capacitor = $175.50 ea.
- 2x 470 UFD 50V Black Gate Standard Elect Radial Cap = $6.50 ea.
- 9x Vishay Resistors (from Parts Connexion) = $6.00 ea.
- Total of other parts Percy doesn't sell (same opamp, headphone jacks, etc. as normal CMoy) = $24.24
Total = $442.24
So, this version of the CMoy only (heh) costs 11 times the amount of my current project. Would the sonic benefit of these high priced parts really give your iPod and headphones the audiophile push they need? I can't afford to build one, but maybe you can. I'm sure members of the Headwize and Head-Fi forums have already tried these exotic parts and can weigh in. I'm just
What other extravagances can you think of to improve the performance of our lowly Altoids Headphone Amplifier? Are there more modestly priced components that will give you a better bang for your mega-buck?