2015 InnerFidelity Holiday Gift Guide Nate Maher
Up first this year on the DIY-side of the Holiday gift guide are a couple of things for the kiddos.
Kano DIY Computer ($99 until Dec 31 2015, pictured above)
The Kano DIY Computer originally launched as a highly-successful Kickstarter campaign (raising north of $1.5M!) the folks at Kano set out with a goal to create a computer that anyone could build. What they ended up with was a complete kit, designed to be simple and fun, that helps the builder learn not only about the parts and pieces of a basic computer but to how to start coding. How cool is that?!?!
Available for around $150 from multiple online vendors (Kano's, Amazon (Prime) and many others)(Ed Note: Available here for $99 until Dec 31, 2015) this is a great way to introduce kids and adults alike to the internals of computers that otherwise are far too often a closed box with no user-serviceable parts. Documentation for the build appears to be first rate, is available in multiple languages and there's an active online community to encourage your creativity.
Littlebits: DIY Electronics for Prototyping and Learning ($35 to $5000)
Founded on the basic premise that hardware should be accessible to everyone, Littlebits brings to the table a range of kits designed to allow kids to, "build, remix and hack their world for fun." With simple kits costing as little as $35 that allow you to build your own lighted holiday ornament (one will definitely be on my tree) all the way up to their $5,000 Pro Library there truly is something for everyone and the possibilities are endless.
The little kids shouldn't have all the fun, right!?
Millett Butte DIY Solid-State Headphone Amplifier (~&200)
All-in the Millett Butte will cost you around $200, take a few hours to build, and sound far better than that meager price tag would lead you to believe. The chassis is best-sourced from Pete's Ebay store and the remainder of the parts can be found at the usual online vendors (DigiKey, Mouser). A full bill of materials is available on Pete's site along with a truly comprehensive set of instructions. Beginner and budget friendly, what's not to like?
ECP Audio Torpedo III (~$730)
For those looking to step up their game and enter the world of vacuum tube based amplification ECP Audio and DIYForums have teamed up once again to bring back a new-and-improved version of their Torpedo headphone amp.
A high-voltage, parafeed based design with a transformer-coupled output the III improves significantly upon the original Torpedo while retaining it's beginner friendly, nearly no-wires-required build procedures. Parts, PCB and the enclosure are available exclusively from Beezar Audio and online resources include comprehensive build instructions and community-based trouble shooting support. Opt for the upgraded custom Cinemag output transformers and the full kit will set you back around $730 + some shipping. Not for the faint of wallet but for those wanting to build serious DIY headphone gear I can't give a higher recommendation.