• WARNING: Tube/Valve amplifiers use potentially LETHAL HIGH VOLTAGES.
    Building, troubleshooting and testing of these amplifiers should only be
    performed by someone who is thoroughly familiar with
    the safety precautions around high voltages.

Looking for a starter diy project

Hey guys,

I am a student studying commercial music (this is my first post on this forum), and I am in a class where I need to do a diy project.

The project simply has 2 requirements:

-At least 75 soldering points, preferably thru-hole, as I am totally new to the realm of audio electronics and soldering.
-Obviously must produce or process sound

After doing a little bit of digging, I have started to like the idea of building a tube headphone amp. Know this is where you guys can possibly jump in and give me some advice, help, direction, etc.

I've found some simple kits on ebay/amazon/etsy (I'll link them below), but I'm wondering if y'all might have some links to other places for more ideas, or even other ideas for what I could potentially do with the simple requirements of the project. I'm looking for something ideally under $50. I'd like to be able to take this project a bit further in the future, and potentially make modifications to existing parts (i.e. adding higher quality matched tubes), because I don't just want this to be something I build and do nothing with.

I'd appreciate any advice/links on kits and making modifications that y'all can share!

Tube Amplifier AMP Audio Board Pre-Amp Mixer 6J1 Hifi Valve Headphone Diy Kit | eBay


Newest 6J1 tube preamp amplifier board Pre-amp Headphone amp 6J1 valve preamp | eBay

6J1 DC12V Valve Preamp Tube Board Headphone Amplifier Board+Acrylic Case DIY Kit 818692309840 | eBay
This one is nice and simple, and inexpensive.

DIY 6DJ8 (ECC88) Tube Hi-Fi Headphone Amplifier Project

Thank you all for the replies, this has been helpful in broadening my search. I have some concerns now with the 6J1 kits on ebay that are pushing me towards this ECC88 project. In looking through the descriptions there are some very strange power supplies. For example there is one with an AC 140V and an AC 6V, and another kit with an AC 6.3V and an AC 180-230V. There are kits with 12V DC power supplies, no problem, but they do not appear to come with schematics. This kind of ruins part of the learning aspect of the project for me, and really kills a lot of the ability to trouble shoot as well. On the other hand, the 6DJ8 ECC88 project has a full thread of trouble shooting, a parts list, schematics, etc. (and no Chinglish).

So now, I am leaning towards the start-from-scratch project. I'm still wondering however if anybody has any suggestions when it comes to the power supplies on the ebay kits, because some of them frankly just don't make any sense. Another question of mine is what I could do as a chassis for the ECC88 build, since that is up to user discretion.

Thanks again for the replies!

Francois G

Paid Member
2004-06-16 8:36 pm
The project simply has 2 requirements:

-At least 75 soldering points, preferably thru-hole, as I am totally new to the realm of audio electronics and soldering.
-Obviously must produce or process sound

Applause for your interest in building a tube something, however, I doubt that your plan for a simple vacuum tube headphone amplifier would meet one of your stated criteria - not enough solder joints. Unless your requirement for 75 solder joints is not a strict one.

You could look at something like the Group Buy currently on-going for the Baby Huey amplifier and power supply PCBs, but your preferred budget level could present a problem there, unless you have access to transformers from suitable used amplifiers. This approach would enable later transformer upgrades for really high performance tube amplification. See post #1157: GB for Baby Huey PCB

Overall I think your best bet is to buy a small, inexpensive used tube amplifier (EL84, 6V6, 6P1P output tubes ) in need of rebuilding, and replace and rewire as needed.

Best wishes with your project.


Paid Member
2008-06-03 5:18 am
Here's one that should get you close enough to your solder joint quota, and according to Pete, within your budget.
You can probably rustle up (you're Texan , right?) some donated parts from nearby friendlies, like a cake pan for chassis, used resistors from old hams who just can't bear to toss them outright. etc etc

Anyhow , it looks like a candidate so . . . . . Pete Millett's starving student amplifier