Chiarra Headphone Amp & Andante PSU


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With so many mass produced, sonically inadequate, headphone amps on the market which cost an arm and a leg I thought I'd have a go at building the highly regarded John Linsley Hood Chiarra Class A single ended headphone amp which is available from Williams Hart Electronics

The kits proved relatively straightforward to construct thanks to a good manual and an even more helpful Shaun Williams who guided me through the sections of the manual that I found a bit hard to understand.

I managed to construct both units within a week (including spray painting the cabinets) so if you're good with a soldering iron and have some electronic experience then you could have your very own exotic headphone amp up and running in a relatively short space of time. I dread to think what a manufacturer would charge for a completed Chiarra what with all the overheads, labour costs, design costs, middlemans cut, VAT and marketing costs etc. but I'd imagnine it would be a considerable sum.   The kit may "seem" a reasonable price but remember "you" have got to build it so make sure you've got all the necessary tools and the spare time!

The enclosures are pretty basic but some people will like their minimalist appearance. The components supplied with the kit are of a high standard but I have replaced some of them with more exotic variants such as ELNA Silmic capacitors, Burr Brown OPA 627 BP op amps on a Browndog adaptor, Teflon coated silver hook up cable etc.

I aim to make this page a useful reference point for anybody who is contemplating constructing the Andante & Chiarra kits and will provide pictures, tips and any tweaks I come across on my travels. I shall soon be uploading a review of the amp once it has fully burnt in. Preliminary listening sessions have proved extremely favourable and I expect the review to highly recommend the Chiarra headphone amp.

I shall be trying a variety of different Op Amps in the circuit and will review each one of them on the Chiarra Op Amp page. In the meantime here are a few pictures but keep checking back as this page will constantly be updated.

250 hour review here
Burn in facts and figures here
Tweaks and tips here
Hi resolution standard Chiarra PCB here (will help constructors with component placement)
Headphone amp hobby page here
Key features and specifications (Standard kit) here

Chiarra under the Bonnet


Chiarra rear panel with high quality Gold plated Teflon insulated RCA sockets

Andante fully regulated PSU

Panasonic FC capacitors, fully encapsulated toroidal transformer

Chiarra & Andante