The Stella Amp!

A picture of the Stella amp in its kit packaging

The Stella Amp is a portable battery powered guitar amplifier! Perfect for making your own mini-practice amp, cigar box amplifier, headphone amplifier, or any other kind of battery powered amplifier you can think of.

Engineered for a good clean tone, the Stella amp uses a TBA820M for the back end, with a rail-to-rail opamp on the front end for maximum headroom. But unlike other amps, you don't have to crank it to get it to sound good! The Stella amp was designed in an apartment late at night while my kids were sleeping. Anything that didn't sound good at low volume levels got fixed early in the process.

Many mini-amps use an LM386 for the power stage. The LM386 has a... shall we say, characteristic sound. If you love that sound, then great! If you're not a fan of the LM386, or if you just want a little versatility, then check this amp out.

I have kits available for sale in the store if you want to build one. If you want to buy one already made, I do make some available on the store from time to time.

UPDATE: Sadly, the manufacturers of several different stella amp parts have all stopped making the parts that I need to make the kits. Some parts are available only in surface mount now, other parts I could get replacements for, but the new parts would no longer match the PCB, and one part has been completely discontinued (although there are still some surplus sites that have those parts available.)

If I bring the Stella back it will require some extensive rework. I might have to do it, because I dig the Stella as a harmonica amplifier SO MUCH.


  • Great clean tone; sounds good at low volume levels
  • Versatile controls, with Gain, Trim, and Level pots
  • Works with a wide range of supply voltages (from 3-12 volts; up to 16 volts if you replace the opamp)
  • 1-2 watt amplifier, depending on supply voltage and output speaker (no heatsink necessary!)
  • Extra "Hacks" output! Turn the Stella amp into a stompbox, add headphones, a line output, or whatever strikes your fancy
  • Small foot print will fit in nearly any enclosure
  • 100 percent Open Source Hardware