Solid State Home Headphone Amplifier Reviews

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John Grandberg Posted: Jun 14, 2016 15 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 19 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 11 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 10 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: Feb 21, 2014 2 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.

Skylab Posted: 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.

John Grandberg Posted: Feb 07, 2014 31 comments

Should a reference-quality headphone amplifier cost more than a slightly used jet ski? Because that seems to be the trend. AURALiC goes in another direction with their statement amp, the stunning TAURUS MKII.

John Grandberg Posted: 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.

John Grandberg Posted: 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.

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