Amplifier Chassis options for DIY projects

Market research

Abstract

In this article, I share the result of my research looking for a large amplifier chassis for my modular amplifier system. Finding large chassis was especially difficult. It is much easier to find smaller ones.

Large Chassis options

5U Deluxe Chassis from DIY Audio Store

Sells for 399 USD and is shipping from the USA. The chassis looks very much like the offering from "HiFi 2000" and I believe it actually is. The equivalent model seems to be offered by Hifi 2000 for 231€. Height is 5U and depth is 400mm. Heat sinks are split in two, hindering good heat sinking in case the heat is applied to only one of them. The bottom plate follows the idea of having a regular mounting hole grid, which is in this case 10x10mm.

HiFi 2000 Dissipante chassis

A 19" chassis 4U high and 400mm deep Sells for 209 € and is shipping from Italy. This a comparably affordable option plus shipping inside the EU is an advantage for me. Downside is that the radiators are split in two. For chassis that are only 300mm deep, the heat sinks are made of one piece. The bottom plate features a mounting hole grid as well, but this has an awkward spacing of 12x10.5mm.

19 Zoll DSK series in 3 units height and 500mm depth

Daub CNC Technik offers fully CNC machined chassis. I expect outstanding craftsmanship and precision. Available only up to 3U height, but up to 500mm depth. The huge depth of the housing is welcomed, but the low height is an issue for me since I can't fit any of my output stage modules inside. With the largest variant selling for roughly 360€ including VAT and shipping, the chassis is even affordable. The only drawback of the 500mm deep chassis is that each heat sink is made of two pieces. The chassis with a depth of 300mm don't have split heat sinks. Made in Germany by Daub CNC Technik GmbH und Co. KG.

Chassis "WA68" from China

This type of chassis can be found on Aliexpress offered by many different vendors. Height is 150mm, width is 430mm and depth is 400mm. Sheet metal is at least 3mm thick. This looks like the most attractive chassis overall so far. Cost of the chassis varies. I believe none of the vendors are manufacturer of the chassis, but some offer to machine openings. I had lengthy negotiations about custom openings with some vendors that failed in the end due to high complexity and effort of what I envisioned. Below are some images of the chassis inside.

Overall, the chassis looks way better than I expected from something made in China. I must say I'm pleasantly surprised. The only let down are the plastic feet. Some nicely machined ones (also from China of course) would be a real upgrade. And I would prefer not to have any holes machined for the feet since one strong point for the chassis is that it doesn't have any holes machined.