For the last few years i have been putting together diy battery powered amps to go with ready made speakers. I wanted tone control, Treble, Mid, Bass and Balance. Light weight lithium battery power and low voltage protection, and i clear idea of time remaining. Cheaper than car amps was also another attraction. LED lighting too but thats for another post :)

Its been hard as a newbie, i have leant more than i knew before i started. It’s taken a few years to get this far. So i hope any posts i make on this blog, making a recorded of my journey is of help to you and speeds up the time it takes for you to get a better setup by helping you to find the better things than the first search results point you to.

I think ive been around 3years or maybe more!

It started. at peakcamp, which was a home ed informal camp and meetup in the peak district in the uk. There was a little cave rave, which was a lot of fun. I enjoyed the dancing and social a lot but i could see there was room for improvement on the sound system. It was a car batt + inverter + old home hmm mid-largeish portable home stereo + laptop. it was noisy due to inverter foo-fa.

I had always been interested as a kid in speakers and audio but now i had a goal to aim for each year. So i got busy researching china amp boards and modules.

By now i feel tired and want to more on. My conclusions are: While car amps are more expensive, they are ready made, which saves a lot of effort and large amounts of time. This year i see the high end class-d car camps have gotten a lot cheaper than i remember them being around hmm 2014 was it? There now under £400. When i think high end ones used to be £700~ :/. For around £200 i can make a cutting edge tpa3255 amp + dc power supply setup. with tone control, in 2rd hand peli case.

One of the things that annoys me about car amps is the lack of doc. even with high end products. There is little tech detail. I’ve been buying amp boards, which are just the amplifier to drive the speakers. They are sold by which amp chip/IC they use. This means you can look up the datasheet of the amp IC and read about its pros and cons. fine technical details and study and compare graphs. which makes it a lot easier to have an idea of which amp IC is better than others and so your able to narrow down your choices when searching for which amp board to buy.

In my builds, i like features like control board, amp board, power supply, volt meter, audio isolator, vu meter, usb power supply for gadgets. How to fit or put them together?

If you want to have a all in one build with everthing in one box and want it compact, its a lot of work. working out where and how to fit things into a small space. a oversized box would be easier but then a lot more bulky and heavy. which for portable use is unwanted.

Another option is to put each function (tone, vu meter, power supply, etc) into it’s own little box for each thing. Then strap each little module box together into the configuration you want. which is what i first did. Snags are: wires poking out loose, bulk potential, less sturdy. quicker to get something working but external wiring complications the more features you add, like having to wire together tone board and maybe even a vu meter. all those jack or phone connections get messy/bulky and if jacks then delicate to bashes and impacts.

I feel tired of doing all this. So in future i think i will just buy a ready made amp in box. Get a boost converter to power it and put it into a box. Strap the two parts together. For the pre-amp: nice little ready headphone amp, That’s portable with built-in battery and with tone control.

Else maybe a diy separate tone + vu meter box with wiring and power for the bits inside it. as i already have those bits but if i was starting for first time/from scratch. i would just get and use the portable headphone amp.

Hope this helps. See other posts for "what to buy?" info.