Solid State Home Headphone Amplifier Reviews

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John Grandberg Posted: Feb 28, 2017 11 comments
A reference-caliber headphone amp with a plethora of unique features, the iFi Pro iCan has you covered...no matter what your preferences might be.
John Grandberg Posted: Oct 28, 2016 10 comments
Now, Arcam turns their attention to the headphone workd. Frankly, I'm surprised it took this long. The company seems very aware of industry trends—they've been doing relatively affordable USB DACs for a while now, as well as various wireless widgets like the miniBlink Bluetooth streamer. They even have an add-on DAC/amp/charging case for the iPhone 6/6S which I'd totally use if I was an iPhone guy. Yet somehow, despite all these personal audio offerings, a dedicated headphone amp wasn't in the cards until recently. Now, Arcam joins other notable audio firms such as Pass Labs, Bryston, and Simaudio in putting their amplifier expertise to work in the headphone space.
John Grandberg Posted: Jun 14, 2016 18 comments
The market for integrated DAC/headphone amp devices is surging. Is there still a place for separate components? Cayin makes a solid argument for independent components remaining relevant.
Tyll Hertsens Posted: Feb 19, 2016 20 comments

Some audiophile gear is like fine jewelry, but lacks technical competence. Some audiophile gear is butt-ugly, but gloriously competent in musical fidelity.

The HeadAmp GS-X does both insanely well.

Tyll Hertsens Posted: Dec 24, 2015 12 comments

If I were in this simply for personal listening pleasure it might be a different story. I might go with the lightning fast HeadAmp GS-X Mk2; or the meaty musicality of the Eddie Current Black Widow; or the tantalizingly clean yet euphonic Apex Teton. But I'm a headphone reviewer, and what I need in a headphone amp is to get the hell out of the way and let me hear the headphones at their level best. What I need is an amp that will drive any headphone, balanced and unbalanced. I need a no bullshit, competent headphone amp.

What I need, as a reviewer, is the Simaudio Moon NEO 430 HA.

John Grandberg Posted: Jun 30, 2015 4 comments

An updated version of the DAC I enjoyed so much a few years back—with several minor complaints addressed. What's not to like?

John Grandberg Posted: Jun 19, 2015 65 comments

Interested in a reference quality, powerhouse amplifier to drive any headphone in existence, from big cans to sensitive IEMs? Look no further than the Violectric V281.

n_maher Posted: Jun 16, 2015 23 comments

Ok, ok, so it's not a whole lot to look at but that's one of the things that makes me like it. And I really like it a lot.

Skylab Posted: Nov 03, 2014 22 comments
My previous review here on InnerFidelity was a large black box with a forest of vacuum tubes rising up from its surface, and nary a digital function to be found. Almost diametrically opposed to that, the Oppo HA-1 ($1199) took up residence immediately thereafter in my review cue—gleaming silver, LCD display, remote control, and as modern an integrated DAC/Headphone amp as one could imagine. And yet at the risk of spoiling the surprise, or lack thereof, I will tell you that the Oppo is also outstanding, and represents somewhat of a bargain.
John Grandberg Posted: Jul 18, 2014 9 comments

NuForce augments their Home Series lineup with a reasonably affordable and seemingly innocuous new model. Look closer, though, and you'll find the HA-200 has a trick up it's sleeve....

Skylab Posted: Jul 18, 2014 11 comments
I own British speakers. I love British speakers. My main speakers are B&W Nautilus 800's, and I LOVE them. What do I love about them? They sound very, very natural over the long haul, but they don't immediately hit you over the head with this or that. They are not flashy, but they provide superb musical satisfaction over the long haul. Nothing sticks out, and that's what provides the naturalness of the sound.

I have to think that the Tisbury fellows like this sort of British sound, because that's EXACTLY what I got from the CA-1. Nothing stuck out, but the music flowed in an remarkably natural way, and one that I would not have expected from a $600 solid state amp.

John Grandberg Posted: Dec 07, 2012 5 comments

I just love checking out previously unknown (to me) gear from Japan. They have quite a few high quality headphone-oriented brands that don't get much exposure anywhere else. Case in point - the Izmo M1. Check out the picture above: looks like a nice portable amp right? That was my first thought as well but it turns out I was wrong. Sort of. It's far more than just a portable amp but can impersonate one with the right accessories.

Confused yet? Allow me to explain...

Kalman Rubinson Posted: Nov 29, 2010 4 comments
I remember my first experience with headphones. In 1960, I bought a set of Trimm dual 'phones (less than $5) and rewired them for stereo. The experience was remarkable for several reasons. First, it brought the sounds into my head—I was thrilled with the impact. Second, stereo effects, especially with Enoch Light's ping-pong LPs (eg, Provocative Percussion, Command RS800SD), were striking. Third, I could play them really loud without bothering others. Of course, they had no bass, brittle treble, distorted at high levels, and their wire headband and Bakelite earpieces were uncomfortable. My fascination with this gimmick quickly faded.
Skylab Posted: Oct 04, 2012 14 comments

In what seems like a relatively short time, Burson Audio has developed a reputation for making good products, and they seem to have a pretty devoted and happy customer base. These are enviable things. I had read lots of good things about Burson's products, but never had the chance to hear one, until being sent this review loaner from Burson.

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