About this project
The Sicphones Amplifier
The Sicphones headphone amplifier is the best sounding headphone amplifier you will find without spending many times more. Based on a solid class A circuit design using a newly available Silicon Carbide transistor, it offers unprecedented quality and clarity in a headphone amplifier. Every part has been carefully selected to offer uncompromising quality at a reasonable cost. To compliment the electronics, we designed a heavy duty case that is sure to impress with top notch aesthetics. Not only does it sound amazing, but it looks amazing too!
We really need your help gearing up for a production run large enough to bring the price down. With your support you can have our awesome Sicphones headphone amplifier for a fraction of what a similar quality headphone amplifier would cost!
Who Needs One?
Short answer: Anybody who loves audio and demands quality.
Whether you are a musician, a producer, listening at home or at the office - heck, even if you are translating foreign language and have to listen closely all day long - the Sicphones headphone amplifier will significantly improve your experience by offering greater detail and clarity without fatigue. Whether you are using ear buds or large studio headphones, the limiting point generally is the amplifier. No matter what headphones you use, from ear buds to big cans, the Sicphones headphone amplifier can dramatically improve your listening experience.
What Makes It So Great?
It's all in the details:
- Silicon Carbide class A gain stage
- Big ALPS potentiometer
- Cardas RCA jacks and solder
- Nichicon Muse capacitors throughout
- Mills and PRP resistors
- Neutrik headphone jack
- Solid 2 ounce copper PC board
- External power supply
- 11 gauge steel chassis
- Stunning aesthetics
If you know what any of that means, you will easily recognize that you are getting an amazing value with your commitment to the Sicphones headphone amplifier.
This Sicphones headphone amplifier is compatible with most headphones with 1/4" stereo termination. We have made sure that it works well with everything from earbuds to high impedance studio headphones. Here is a brief list of headphones that we have tested: Apple Earbuds, AKG K240, Grado SR80i and Beyerdynamic DT-880 (600 ohm), just to name a few.
Tell Me The Story
Darren Crisp of Crisp Recording Studios interviewed me at his studio about the story of Sicphones:
What People Are Saying About It
- Tyll Hertsens at Inner Fidelity has slated the Sicphones headphone amplifier among some other extraordinary products for developing new specification tests: http://www.innerfidelity.com/content/innerfidelity-september-2012-update
- Srajan Ebaen at 6moons has been extremely supportive of the Sicphones headphone amplifier by providing a wonderful write-up of the story of our project: http://www.6moons.com/industryfeatures/sicphones/1.html
- Steve Guttenberg, The Audiophiliac at CNET, had the following to say about his experience with the Sicphones headphone amplifier: http://news.cnet.com/8301-13645_3-57504427-47/an-awesome-sounding-headphone-amplifier-kickstarter-project/
Production and Delivery
The Sicphones headphone amplifier uses 2 ounce copper on a double sided PC board featuring soldermask, silkscreening and hot air solder leveling to make for a high quality and easy to assemble product. All of the parts are high quality (just look at the list in the previous section!) and are sourced from the most cost effective vendors. The chassis is a three piece design using 11 gauge laser cut steel on the top and bottom, and 14 gauge steel on the back panel. After cutting, breaking and deburring, the chassis is powder coated to give it a durable, attractive finish. The external power supply is compatible with most worldwide electrical systems from 120 - 240 VAC, though comes standard with a US grounded, three-pronged plug.
The Sicphones headphone amplifier uses a novel Silicon Carbide transistor in the gain stage that we were fortunate enough to have been able to sample right after it was introduced. As of our launch, this transistor has just been introduced commercially and has a reasonable supply lead time. We have made our best effort to estimate delivery based on information available to us, and will keep you updated as as more information comes to our attention. We are just two guys assembling these by hand in our garage, so depending on the response to our project it may take some time to assemble all of the amplifiers. We will do our very best to keep to the time frame, and will definitely keep everyone posted. Our intention is to be able to have these ready before the holiday season.
Please note that our prices include shipping in the continental United States. For international shipping the simplest solution for single amplifiers and kits is flat rate USPS international and will incur a $40 added shipping fee. The double amplifier package (or an assembled and a kit) will not fit in the flat rate box and is more expensive. The typical international cost is an additional $70 beyond what we are including for domestic shipping. PCB, PCB + transistors, and the shirt can be shipped internationally in a large padded flat rate envelope. This will incur an additional $30. No, that is not a very good value, but there is nothing I can do about the rate of postage. Canadian shipping is a little cheaper than the overseas shipping. An amp is $30 additional, PCB or PCB + transistors is $20 additional.
I have inquired of Kickstarter about how international shipping payments are reconciled. Kickstarter does not have the means of adding the shipping on at the end of the project. The simplest thing is to make sure when you pledge to add in the relevant additional cost to your contribution. Please do this, as it will eliminate difficulties in reconciling the shipping later. Sorry about any confusion this has caused.
Fun Custom Colors!
The Sicphones headphone amplifier can be fabricated in your choice of powder coat colors. The below rendering card illustrates some of the possibilities, from variations on the elegant look, to classic Chevy colors, to the truly boutique. You just have to use your imagination!
We would like to thank the following people who made our Kickstarter campaign possible. Our thanks to Seth Baldwin, Andrew Beekman, Sam Friday, Ben Hundley, Jessica Keahey and Spencer Lee for starring in our video. Special thanks to Darren Crisp at Crisp Recording Studios for auditioning our amplifier and providing testimony in the video, as well as interviewing me about our story; to Tyll Hertsens at Inner Fidelity for taking the time to listen to our headphone amplifier and provide feedback both on the amplifier as well as the product launch; to Steve Guttenberg, The Audiophiliac at CNET, for taking the time to listen to our amplifier and discuss the evolution and aims of the project; and to Srajan Ebaen at 6moons for consideration of the how our project fits into the audio community and introducing this project to the 6moons community. Our profound gratitude to Jon Earls for writing an original score for the video. A special thanks to our friends and families who have supported our spending countless nights working tirelessly to bring this great amplifier into being. Without all of you we wouldn't be able to do what we are doing. A final after-the-launch thanks to all of the people who have seen this project, taken an interest in it, and asked good questions or made good comments. It is humbling from how far and wide the support has come. Thank you all.
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