Amplifiers are tools used to make audio waves more audible. Basically, amplifiers (or amps) takes the electrical current from any sound system whether electronic or mechanical (acoustic guitar). The amplifiers, with its transistors or tubes, will make the electrical current more powerful. This enhances the quality and makes the sound louder than the parent appliance.
DIY Amp Construction
Amplifiers are an essential tool for the following:
- Band Members
- Studio Staff
- Orchestra Members
- Music lovers at home
- Events Organizers
- Rallyists on the streets
Amplifiers , at least the audio ones, can also be found almost anywhere. The following are places where you could find an amp in action:
- Gig in a restaurant
- Place of an orchestra
- Schools, especially ones where music is part of their tradition
- Your car!
Amplifiers are a must have for those who are in the music industry. Every series musician needs a high quality amp, without it it’s pretty difficult to appreciate music and play it on a scale that hundreds can enjoy.
Let’s look into how they are built.
The parts are the sum of the whole. Nothing could frame this better than the parts of the amplifiers. The first step of building an amplifier is gathering the parts and materials that will be meshed together into a working amplifier.
The parts and materials listed below are for a simple amplifier:
- Of course, some wires
- Battery Clip
- Stereo jack male and female
- Project Board
- Casing (may be wood or otherwise)
- Mini transformer
You can also make your own amplifier if you want. In fact, the components listed above can be bought in your everyday electronic stores. But don’t do that….
First Step: Diagram
One of the first few steps in every endeavor is planning. The same goes for amplifier making. In most instance, amp makers will create a diagram. Simple diagrams would show that both the amp itself and the power supply (gotta need something to power your amp) are inside the casing.
The diagram will show the location of each component in the amp. It is basically a map. Sample maps can be found in the internet if you are interested in building your own map although the diagrams themselves maybe a little hard to decipher especially for those who haven’t had any training in the electronics field.
Second Step: Placing the Inner Components
The next step of amp making maybe too technical especially for those who haven’t fiddled with electronics. The explanation that follows will be dumbed down so that you can understand.
- Most of the components are connected to the semiconductor. This will be the focal point of this step.
- The semiconductor will have a myriad of connectors to the other the other parts of amp. These are called “pins”.
- Join two of the semiconductor’s pins.
- Place one capacitor near the semiconductor. Use one of the semiconductor’s pins to connect with the adjacent capacitor.
- One of the capacitor’s pins must be joined with the Input.
- Place the resistors near semiconductor and use the pins to connect accordingly.
- Place another capacitor near the semiconductor and connect them.
- Connect a capacitor with a resistor.
- Connect the semiconductor with a capacitor as well as a resistor. The connection formed will serve as the volume controller.
- Input and Output
While the steps above may not make much sense to you, what is clear is that almostevery connection runs through the semiconductor. In a sense, the amplifier is like the semiconductor. As stated above, the amplifier does not create its own sound but only conducts the sound by another appliance (e.g. Guitars) and enhances the sound by making it louder and better.
Basically, the sounds goes through the amplifier and out of it but only better. Likewise, the almost all the processes inside the amplifier goes through the semiconductor. Living up to its name, the semiconductor “conducts” the audio electronic waves coming in and out of the amplifier.
Third Step: Casing
Just like any machine, the innards of the amplifier needs protection from the elements. This is the step where the casing comes in.
The casing is the structure that envelops the whole structures and its purpose is twofold.
- It serves as the armor (protection) for the innards of the amplifier.
- It serves as a chamber for the generated music enabling for better amplification and quality of music.
In most cases, the casing is mostly made out of wood. This keeps the amp light and easier to carry. The general availability and ease of modification makes wood a natural candidate as the material to be used in casing amplifiers. As stated, this step is a bit easier than the step that precedes this but this must not be overlooked. After all, the casing will be the exterior part of your amplifier. Even if the sound quality is good, you’d still want your amp to look good.
The steps for making the case and placing it are as follows:
- Cut six pieces of plywood. The sizes will depend on the size of the project board that you’ve utilized. The plywood pieces should be divided into 3 pairs with each pair having the same size and dimension. Imagine a rectangular cube.
- Place the project board at the base of the case. Leave one or two sides open to fit the project board. Cut a hole for the volume knob (near where the semiconductor, capacitor and resistor forming the “Volume” part).
- Close the casing.
- As for the power, you can also place the transformer within the casing or make another separate. As mentioned above, simpler forms of amps may opt for the all-in-one casing type while more sophisticated may have separate casings for the power supply
Fourth Step: Testing
A fully built amp will have to survive the rigors of testing. The sound quality will depend on the adjustments that will be made during the testing period. The power supply will also be scrutinized. You don’t want to be electrocuted while operating the amp. Once the testing period is over, the amp is finished and ready for usage.
If you want a more detailed look, check how these guys build Fender amps.
The steps explained above is give you a basic understanding of audio amplifier construction. Each step discussed here consists of more substeps and more explanation, especially the placing of the inner components.
For those who are planning to build their own amp, the steps above may help but it will not ensure success. My suggest would be to check out one of our guides and get a quality amp.