Originally Posted by audio snob
I need a new headphone amp and it looks like it would be really fun to build one but I know next to nothing on how to read schematics and most of the knowledge required to build an amp. Is this an easy enough project that I could pick it up on the way or is there an easier one I should look in to?
I would not recommend starting with this amplifier if you can't even read a schematic. I'd recommend it only if you can find one of the original kits with the PCB, but from what I know, these are not available anymore. To build this amplifier now, one only has the schematic to work with. You have to acquire all the components and then either construct your own circuit board or build the amplifier with point-to-point wiring. Sure you learn a lot of things along the way, but it might be too steep of a learning curve if you start from nil.
If you search on ebay for "headphone amp* kit" you will find hundreds of complete kits ranging from 10$ to 200$. At around 20$ you can buy a RA1/Cmoy kit, which can be built quite easily. If you never assembled electronics, I would recommend you buy such a kit and assemble it just to gain the experience. If you find it enjoyable, then you can get a Project Sunrise II for 200$. Don't forget the enclosure when considering these kits. Some of them come with pre-machined cases, which makes things a lot easier and often allow for a cleaner finish. Buying an enclosure separately add to the final cost and complexity, since you have to machine it yourself.
Either way, you will need the same tools: a soldering iron, solder, solder paste... a multimeter, pliers, wire cutter, flush cutter... If you don't have the tools, you'll have to acquire them before you start any electronic projects. I also recommend you read forum threads and web pages related to the kit before committing to them. These are good resources that can makes things clearer, or simply conclude that a particular kit is to be avoided.
As for my Starving Student, I started the final assembly today. Here's a picture of what my desk looked like this morning:
I think the paint job turned out alright. Sad I don't have a camera good enough to give it justice. Can anyone guess the one thing that's missing in this picture?