Discrete Op Amps

Hairball has recordings made with some of their products, including the JE-990 and the BA512. Sound Skulptor also has a "listen" menu option. They all sound good, but they bring their own sound with them, and in some cases the difference is not subtle at all. If you are trying to build a HiFi preamp, you should probably stick with op amps that try to be clean and clear, and not those trying to recapture the "classic 70's sound".

They are in no particular order, other than my favorite one is first. If you know of more, please send me a URL from the contact page.

Op Amp Maker ~Price Power Supply Comments
990C+ John Hardy Co. $49.95 ±15V to ±24V Improved Jensen 990, Ein -133.7dBu, THD 0.005% @20kHz @+24dBu, Class A with RL ≥15kΩ
SL-2520 Red Dot Scott Liebers Labs $65.00 ±24V Matches the sound of the 1970's era API® 2520.
SL-2520 Blue Dot Scott Liebers Labs $65.00 ±24V Clean, like the newer API® 2520.
DIY-990 Op Amp Kit Hairball Audio $32.00 ±12V to ±24V Jensen 990 DIY kit w/SSM2212, caps and pins soldered
JE-990 Hairball Audio $60.00 ±12V to ±24V Improved Jensen 990
BA512 Hairball Audio $50.00 ±12V to ±20V Upgraded BBC BA440
DOA-17 Five Fish Audio $22.00 ±18V Kit, remake of an old design, THD+N less than 0.0034%
995FET-Ticha Sonic Imagery Labs $69.00 ±10V to ±24V 0.00048 THD+N @ 1kHz, 1.1nV/√Hz, Class-A output
990Enh-Ticha Sonic Imagery Labs $69.00 ±9V to ±24V 0.00045 THD+N @1kHz, 0.89nV/√Hz, Class-A output
SK25/SK99* Sound Skulptor $24.87 Kit ($95.05 assembled) ±15V to ±24V Kit, DC to 290KHz, Ein -131dBu, 100% Class A with RL ≥ 600Ω
990A+ JLM Audio $45.16 ±12V to ±28V Improved Jensen 990, THD 0.00205%. Has the "A" modification, doesn't need the "C" modification.
Hybrid SMDv2** JLM Audio $33.28 ±12V to ±30V FET input IC op-amp with high current output drive transistors. Class A or A/B selectable.
Twenty 5 Twenty JLM Audio $30.56 ±12V to ±25V Extreme precision version of the old original 2520 opamp, THD 0.0019%
FLICK535 SMD JLM Audio $33.52 ±15V to ±28V Their modern take on the FLICKinger op-amp
RED-25 Kit DIY Recording Equipment $25.00 ±12V to ±18V Mostly SMD kit (SMD soldered) '70s 2520 sound alike
M2 Iron Age Audioworks $25.00 ±12V to ±24V Cascode amp stage and quasi-complimentary outputs
Flick Iron Age Audioworks $25.00 ±12V to ±24V Inspired by the Flickinger 290-3 pre card
ROGUE FIVE louderthanliftoff $39.00 ±12V to ±18V "Mid-forward with low-end transient punch"
ROGUE SIX louderthanliftoff $45.00 ±12V to ±18V "Slightly slower and darker top end than the FIVE"
GAR AM10 Barnett Industries $49.75 ±12V to ±28V AM10 clone in 2520 footprint

* The SK25 and SK99 are the same kit. You get the parts and docs to build either one.
** The JLM Hybrid SMD op-amp may be used as a headphone amplifier if the load is ≥50Ω.

You can get pin sockets for these from Sonic Imagery Labs, or from Mouser.com.

Modified: 2024-06-27

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