CanJam NYC 2020: Auris Nirvana and Chord 2Go

Chord 2Go

I did not need a divining rod to find the other portable audio DAC superstar: Chord Electronic’s 2Go streamer/server module. The super-cute beautifully-proportioned, $1,295 USD 2Go was designed to dock elegantly to the popular $2,495 USD Hugo2 mobile DAC – making for an all-Chord portable streaming system to be used on the go or with your laptop, desktop, or floor-standing system.

The 2G0-to-Hugo2 pairing is the Darwinian evolution of Chord’s popular Mojo-Poly mating. Like the Chord Poly, the 2Go is a bolt-on module with a re-chargeable battery that enhances the Hugo2 by adding both Gigabit Ethernet connectivity and long range Wi-Fi (2.4GHz) streaming, plus, bit-perfect file playback from two 2TB microSD card slots. Features include: battery or desktop mode operation, Roon endpoint and server, DLNA streamer/server, Internet radio, up to 768Hz PCM and DSD 256.

If you don’t have a Hugo2 DAC, but you want all those 2Go features, you can mate the 2Go with Chord’s new 2YU digital interface; which, according to Chord, “...turns the 2Go streamer/server into multi-output standalone streamer” capable of working with the Hugo M Scaler and the digital converter of your choice.”

At CanJam NYC, this 2Go-Hugo2 setup was installed in several headphone manufacturer’s listening stations and sounded fresh, clean, and lively, in every one.

Auris Nirvana

Right now, in February 2020, I think headphone amplifiers (as a category) are only just beginning to catch up to the rapidly-improving sound quality of the best headphones. But lately, I have auditioned a few tube models, from Woo Audio, Ampandsound, and Feliks Audio, that made tube amplifiers seem like God created single-ended tubes just to drive the flat/high impedances of headphones. My latest discovery is the Auris Audio Nirvana EL-34 tube amplifier made in Serbia by Milomir Trosic (also of Earman Audio in America).

I first head the Nirvana at the 2019 Munich High End show, where it was driving the hard-to-drive 83dB/mW HiFiMan Susvara open-back planar-magnetics with a kind of deep scintillating magic. Music’s subtle inner vitality seemed better preserved than it had with any solid-state amp I had previously auditioned. Tone color and instrumental texture were the Nirvana’s strongest suits. And here I am again, less than a year later, auditioning the Auris Nirvana amp with the Susvara, and thinking, why haven’t I reviewed this beautiful little powerhouse for an American audience?

The stereo Nirvana integrated headphone amplifier uses a single ECC82 dual-triode (one section per channel) to drive two (one per channel) EL-34 power pentodes. It is rated at, “6.5Wpc max” into an unspecified load, but includes a headphone impedance selector switch for 32, 80, 150, 300, and 600 ohm headphones, and another for choosing one of three line-level (RCA) inputs.

At 11.8” W x 15.3” L and 7.5” H, and 26 pounds, the Nirvana is pretty big, but it also includes a separate 11.8” W x 15.3” L x 3.7” H power supply that weighs 16 pounds. That is a LOT of wood and metal and glass (tubes) headphone amp for only $5,799 USD.

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Simply Nobody's picture

Auris Nirvana would be a good one to compare with Manley Absolute tube headphone amplifier :-) .........

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