Audiophile DIY and the low cost myth.

So you want a cool portable headphone amplifier and have no money to buy it, maybe you’ll go the DIY route and build one, because many audio enthusiasts say it’s cheaper that way.

Have no illusions my friend, audiophile DIY is not cheap if you start calculating some factors like the next ones:

Finding the materials can be time consuming if you don’t have huge stores near your area. Because of that you will need to source electronic stuff from many places, and it’s no fun spending extra money on the trips.

Buying tools can be expensive on the long run and you will need to build many things to have that cash returned. You can always build with cheap tools but you’ll lose time and patience, because cheap tools are problem magnets.

DOA aka Dead On Arrival can be another cash pit, some integrated circuits can be expensive to buy and imagine that they arrive dead from a no refund/return seller, you are now stuck with a dead IC and lost money.

Now you start building, that’s the fun part for most audio enthusiasts but you need practice, study and lots of time to be good on DIY. Building time is an expense also, because you can only afford to give some of your free time to a hobby before you start having time management problems related to family and work.

Expensive little parts might look cheap but if you calculate the combined value of handpicked resistors and capacitors for audio, they’ll be very expensive. Mostly because you need to buy that stuff on 10 unit packs and to find a good matching pair you’ll need to buy many packs.

So you think you made a great deal with 4 inexpensive German audiophile capacitors for half price, only to learn that you bought 4 counterfeited caps that blow up as soon as you use them. You lost money and probably ruined your project.

You want your project to look beautiful and many brands will give you a helping hand for a price, plastic ABS project boxes can be cheap but the more professional looking metal ones are overpriced to milk you from your hard earned money. The same goes for quality knobs and panel connectors.

Factory made stuff is no fun but can be cheap on the short term!
Go for DIY if you enjoy making fun stuff, that’s my advice for you.