Solid State Home Headphone Amplifier Reviews

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John Grandberg  |  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...

Skylab  |  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.

Steve Guttenberg  |  Oct 13, 2011  |  9 comments
I have to admit I didn't quite understand the logic of making an AC powered device for iPods, iPhones or iPads, so I asked NuForce's Jason Lim about the iDo's raison d'être. He explained it was designed for people who bring their Apple devices to work and want the best possible sound, but don't have access to music on their computers.

That sounds cool ...

Skylab  |  Feb 12, 2014  |  6 comments

I was approached by MiniWatt to review their current USB DAC/AMP combo, the n4. I had not really heard much about this company before but they have had several previous products that were well received, including a very compact vacuum tube headphone amp. I hadn't reviewed an "inexpensive" product ($349 MSRP in this case) here on InnerFidelity for a while, so I decided to give it a try.

Wes Phillips  |  Oct 23, 2005  |  0 comments
Back in March, I wrote a reviewlet of Channel Islands Audio's VHP•1 headphone amplifier for the Stereophile eNewsletter. (What—you aren't receiving that free download yet? Well, log on to www.stereophile.com and opt in.) The VHP•1 has continued to enchant me—reason enough to examine it in greater detail, I reckoned. But the real reason I returned to the VHP•1 ($349) is that CIA's Dusty Vawter recently sent me his new VAC•1 ($159), a replacement power supply for the VHP•1's stock wall-wart supply. Could a new power supply really offer a substantial improvement in performance?
John Grandberg  |  Aug 09, 2013  |  11 comments

Firestone Audio moves upscale—known for their products in the $200-300 range, they release a flagship headphone amp. Fully balanced, plenty potent, and innovative in several ways, the Bobby proves Firestone is worthy of competing with the big boys.

John Atkinson  |  Jan 18, 2008  |  3 comments
In his July 2005 "The Fifth Element" column, John Marks enthusiastically wrote about the Benchmark Media Systems DAC1 D/A processor and headphone amplifier. Comparing its sound playing CDs with that of a three-times-more-expensive Marantz SA-14 SACD player, he concluded that the DAC 1's "Red Book" performance was at least as good as that of the Marantz, being "slightly more articulate in the musical line, and slightly more detailed in spatial nuances, particularly the localization of individual images in space, and in soundstage depth."
John Grandberg  |  Mar 15, 2013  |  13 comments

Parasound hasn't released a DAC in nearly 2 decades. That streak is now broken thanks to their new Zdac. Was it worth the wait?

jon iverson  |  Jun 21, 2010  |  0 comments
YBA Design's new WD202 D/A processor and headphone amplifier showed up while I was turning the pages of Don and Jeff Breithaupt's Precious and Few: Pop Music of the Early '70s, recommended by John Marks in his October 2009 "Fifth Element" column. Each page drips with great examples of why the 1970s often wind up on the wrong end of the culture stick (the Osmonds, anyone? Terry Jacks?).
Tyll Hertsens  |  Dec 25, 2012  |  51 comments

With just a few phone calls and emails, I've managed to get my hands on the amazing Stax SR-009 headphones, and some of the world's best electrostatic headphone amps and the gear to make use of them, and set them up my demo room for a week of comparative listening.

Quite the ear opening experience!

John Grandberg  |  Oct 25, 2012  |  17 comments

Electrostatic headphones. Just mentioning to term conjures thoughts of supremely expensive systems and frustratingly confusing naming conventions. Example: the Stax SRS-4170 system is comprised of the SR-407 headphones and the SRM-006tS amplifier. But the official name is "earspeaker" instead of headphones, and "driver unit" rather than amplifier. And at $2,000 this is merely a mid-range system, with the top models selling for significantly higher prices.

Woo Audio aims to help make 'stats more accessible with their WEE transformer box. Read on to find out why this thing might just be your ticket to electrostatic goodness at a reasonable price.

John Grandberg  |  Jul 09, 2012  |  41 comments

Germany's Lake People refreshes their entire lineup of G-series headphone amps, with a focus shifted towards home users rather than just studios. I check out the lowest and the highest cost models in the series to see how they compare.

Wait, back up a second - Lake People who?

John Grandberg  |  Feb 21, 2014  |  4 comments

I love relatively compact devices packed with features. Unfortunately many of them involve significant compromise to achieve their size or price point.

Here's one that doesn't.

Tyll Hertsens  |  Jun 23, 2011  |  2 comments

My good buddy Todd the Vinyl Junkie (TTVJ) had donned his Hawaiian shirt in my honor my little visit to sample his new Pete Millett designed FET output amp.

It was a lovely 35 mile motorcycle jaunt on the interstate through flooded pastureland to Three Forks, Montana; and lovelier still to hear the Arête when I arrived at TTVJ HQ. Let's have a quick look at this new product ....

John Grandberg  |  Dec 04, 2013  |  22 comments

Resonessence Labs, the wizards behind the ESS Sabre DAC chips and the exceptional Invicta DAC, release their first product aimed solely at headphone users. And it's a doozy.

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