Hard times ahead for Audio DIY?

It’s no secret that as mass-market electronics become increasingly compact and integrated, the availability of parts that are DIY’er friendly is shrinking rapidly. Most of Toshiba’s audio transistors (bipolar and JFETs) have disappeared, most of the high-voltage parts used for Stax amps have gone as well (together with the CRT TVs they were intended for), Onsemi killed a load of small-signal transistors not long ago and more and more semiconductors are disappearing in their through-hole versions and moving to SMD-only.

This has been going on for at least a decade, but I think a recent diyaudio thread highlights the issue and deals another crushing blow: A while ago Texas Instruments (TI) acquired National Semiconductor, and now TI has decided to discontinue a large chunk of audio-grade parts. You can see the whole list at Mouser here but among the “highlights” for the audio DIY’er are:

  • The LM3875 – discontinued with no replacement (!!)
  • The LM4780 – discontinued with no replacement (the listed LM4766 isn’t really comparable and will not fit the many LM4780-designs already out there)
  • The LM4562 – DIP-package discontinued, but SMD still available.
  • The LME497x0-series and many other LME49xxx opamps – all DIP-packages discontinued. In some cases the SMD-package stays available but some devices are going completely (like the LME49990)
  • The LME498x0 power amplifier drivers – discontinued with no replacement.
  • The LME496x0 buffers – discontinued with no replacement.
  • etc.

Now, according to the PCN the last order date isn’t until September next year and last delivery is in March 2017, but there is no doubt to me that this isn’t the last notice we’ll see of this type in the coming years. Also, there is a risk that some distributors will drop the parts earlier to avoid building up excess stock making parts difficult to source even before the official deadline, and in any case many designers will be reluctant to use parts that are marked EOL.

Certainly, my next Mouser-order will include a few spares of some of these parts and I can only advise you to do the same 😦


2 Responses to Hard times ahead for Audio DIY?

  1. Pingback: Project files: The Muffsy RIAA clone | theslowdiyer

  2. Pingback: Blogpost – Good news from TI… | theslowdiyer

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