March 22, 2008
by: jovial_cynic

Knowing that I'm able to cram a 9v audio amp circuit into a small container, I've been thinking about what kinds of things would make good amps. The coconut amp and the cigarette box amp have been made by other clever folks, and instead of building an amp enclosure that's already been done, I've decided to make an amp out of a tin can.

I had a lot of cans from which to choose, and I also had some speakers that I scavenged from some old PC speakers.

Fortunately, I had a speaker that fit one of my cans perfectly.

Like my previous amp, this one is based on the LM386 chip. The LM386 is an easy-to-use audio amplifier, as the controls for the gain are a matter of sticking a resistor between two pins. I had considered making the Ruby or the Little Gem Mk2, but since my real goal was just to make a clever enclosure, I stuck with the original Little Gem, just to keep it simple.

Here's a video clip of my mandolin coming through the tin-can.

np category: audio


subliminal said:
wonder what long term magnetism effects that will have between the speaker and can...

but you should see my 9v amp in my guitar mod... :D look up "smokey guitar amp" online to see which amp i shoved into the front of my les paul. doubles as a rad ripping preamp!

March 22, 2008

Robby said:
Sounds good :)
March 24, 2008

jovial_cynic said:
Sub - I haven't noticed real difference between having the speaker and circuit attached to the can or out of it, except that it resonates a bit better in the can. Of course, it kind of sounds like it's in a can... but I suppose that can't be avoided, considering. And yeah - I'm familiar with the smokey amp. I referenced it in my post. :)

Robby - thanks! I've played through this amp with my electric violin, going through a wah-pedal. It's sounds pretty awesome; I think I might soon post a video of that, too.

March 24, 2008

Lucaso said:
I wish I had broadband so I could listen to it. Great work though!

I'm surprised you haven't written anything about the persecution of Tibetians by the Chinese Gov't lately. Just seems like something you'd have something to say about.

March 24, 2008

jovial_cynic said:
Hrm. That is interesting. I guess it's just been on the back of my mind; I haven't felt particularly moved to write anything about it.

I will say, however, that the timing seems a little... motivated. That is, the protests are carried out by people who know full well that the Olympics are coming, and what better way to create a stir than to force China's hand. Nothing wrong with that -- just an observation.

I'll be honest, though - I haven't done any studying on the China/Tibet issue lately, and I don't want to just copy/paste articles pulled from the mainstream media. I'll look into it, and see what turns up.

March 24, 2008

Brian said:
I love it! I'm curious enough to try placing the speaker facing in to the can. After I use a can opener or other punch to open several holes in a pattern similar to what is found on the metal parts of resonator guitars. Maybe I could get a cool blues sound from my acoustic electric played through it. Anyway, making an opening in your can, or stuffing some fiberglass insulation in it would alter, and maybe improve, it's sound. If you place it in or near a corner of the room, you'll get some sound "enlargement" and reinforcement.
March 25, 2008

Jeane Zekowski said:
I have been making amps out of cans for 7 years now. I make them out of beer can soup cans coffee cans...I also make bamboo amps called "Bamps" and a wide variety of other 9volt battery powered amps.
They are fun to make and they sound amazing.

April 09, 2008

SJ said:
Currently doing this kind of idea with kids in schools as a part of an electronic and design technology course...i think its great, wish i seen this site a while ago tho as we trialled the idea with a coke can and now pringles tubes. One question.....maintenance of the amp....How do u get inside to change anything once finished? i.e. with the pupils project they need to get into the casing to change the battry etc. Also don't know if u have tried it already but try turning the speaker upside down and even sliding it further into the can....if u have no sounds control this projects the sound even louder...worth a try to fiddle about with if your interested.
November 29, 2008

jovial_cynic said:
Hey SJ -

Getting inside the can isn't a problem, because *both* sides of the can are opened up. The bottom of the can has the board exposed. I believe I found a plastic can lid that I may have placed on the bottom to prevent sharp objects from getting into the can...

November 30, 2008

john said:
whats the best speaker that you could use with the tin can amp thingy. specifications please
March 18, 2009

jovial_cynic said:
john -

I don't have any specifications available. I didn't search for speakers that would meet my needs. I had a bunch of speakers sitting around, and found a soup can that happened to fit. I don't think there is a "best speaker" option. I scavenged my speakers from some old PC speakers that somebody gave me.

March 18, 2009

Yackobo Issack said:
Hi mamabo vipi nahitaji kujua bei ya amplifear ya wtt 2500 HMZ 1000

February 08, 2010

jovial_cynic said:
Yackobo -


February 08, 2010

Beckster said:
The magnet will never be a problem as long as you keep using aluminium can and containers.
December 10, 2011

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