Making Headphone Amps (Nothing To Do With Arduino)

Well, I am building a headboard (And alot of otehr furniture…), and I would like to integrate some headphone ports (6 in total.). I am going to have 3 sources, and I want both 3.5mm and 1/4" jacks for each source. It also needs to be able to switch between the surround sound and the headphone jack based on if there is a cable plugged into the jack or not. I would like the larger jack to be about twice as powerful as the smaller jack. What power do you recommend these to be? I also want to have volume knobs for each source. Can someone give me an idea of where to start?


I also want to have volume knobs for each source. Can someone give me an idea of where to start?

Start at the amplifier.
Always have volume controlled at the amplifier.

Tell us what sources you have, what sorts of outputs they have, why you think you need so many sockets and what it is you want to do.

Sockets are usually quite dumb, and can only switch a single circuit.

This is going into a custom headboard that I am making. It will have an integrated iPod dock, and an integrated iPad dock. I also want to tie another port to my T.V. / Surrond Sound. I am thinking about some modified verson of the “Mint Tin Amp”. I’m thinking 0.5 amps for the 3.5mm jack and 1 amp for the 1/4" jack. Would those powers be good, too much, or too little?

I’m thinking 0.5 amps for the 3.5mm jack and 1 amp for the 1/4" jack.

Are you confusing amperes with amplifiers?

OOPS! Well, amps is slang for like mA, A, ect. But I meant wattage. As in the power rating of speakers and such.

1/2 watt max for the 3.5mm and 1 watt max for the 1/4". Do you think these would be to much, too little, or about right?

I don’t know why headphones that plug into a quarter inch jack would be any less sensitive/efficient than those plugged into a 3.5mm jack.

However, even a half watt is likely to result in permanent ear damage if played through even a quite insensitive headset.

Please, if you don’t know what you’re doing, just don’t - loss/impairment of any sense just isn’t worth the intellectual curiosity.

@AWOL; wouldn’t it be a better idea to give Jeremy a clue about where to get the right information? Just saying he shouldn’t do it because he doesn’t know how to doesn’t seem like the right advice on a (somewhat) DIY forum ;).

Ah, you changed your reply ;). Gaining some new knowledge is never worth damaging your ears for ;).

Yeah, I’m fully aware of the hearing risk. I only listen to music to the point that is sounds good. If 1/2 watt is to powerful, what do you recommed, and how the heck to I do it?

I would actually use 1/4" jacks for everything, and use an adapter to reduce down the the 1/8" (3.5mm) jacks…


This somehow reminds me of the famous Dr. Phibes movies :wink:

It’s either ‘The Abominable Dr. Phibes’ or ‘Dr. Phibes Rises Again’. It could have been ‘Theater of Blood’ as well, No Dr. Phibes in there, but the bad guy is more or less the same character.

One victim was killed while accepting a phone call. An oblong object, hidden in the receiver’s cord, was forcibly inserted into his right ear and appeared - with great speed - on the other side of his (now air conditioned) brain container.

Pumping 1/2W into your ears will have a similar effect. I’ve repeatedly suffered from erroneous ‘click/pop’ sounds while listening to music on my laptop. I swear the earbuds moved outwards a tiny bit when it happened.


Any suggestions?

First off just because an amp can produce so much power does not mean it will always put that out. You could run your headphones on a 1000watt amp and still be fine if you set the gain to a safe level. The extra power is just headroom. To get an idea of what power levels you need take a look at the specks of your headphones. Most important to amp specks are sensitivity and impedance. For the most part almost any audio amp will have plenty of power to drive headphones.

Also do you want to drive several headphones at once? If so you will need to use gainged potentiometers that can handle the power needed. For the muting use switching jacks that trigger a mute.

Or you could just get a headphone distribution amp.

Well, I only plan on running one pari of headphone per jack. I would like a “Comfortable” volume at about 3/4 volume. Also, can you point me to some good switching jacks? A google search gave me alot of results, but I don’t know what ones are good quality. :stuck_out_tongue: