Red Wine Audio Audez'e Edition Headphone System Page 3
I've listened to Rosanne Cash's 10 Song Demo on countless hi-fis and headphones, but the Red Wine Audez'e took me to another place. The recording's stripped down aesthetic reveals more about Cash's artistry than any of her other more produced efforts. Still, 10 Song Demo is no audiophile record, it has unnatural reverb on her vocals and the other instruments, and there's a hardness to the music. That's the way it sounded with the Wolfson DAC. Switching over to the N.O.S. DAC banished those concerns; its more forgiving and rounder sound took the edge off. It's nice to have two DACs, and one or the other will get you closer to the sound of music. The Simon record was also a much better listen with the N.O.S. DAC.
The amp is really amazing and once you've acclimated to it, the Burson/Audez'e headphone combination sounds harder, brighter, with a closer perspective, and feels spatially compressed. The Burson sound is 2-D, compared with the Red Wine's more 3-D presentation. That voluptuous quality is the most addicting part of the Red Wine Audez'e sound.
I spent some time at my computer (Mac Mini) listening through the Red Wine Audez'e's USB input and the LCD-2. That combination rearranged my brain, it was such a huge step up from my everyday computer audio fare. Used just as a DAC feeding my Topping TP-30 amp and Audioengine P4 speakers, the Red Wine's added weight, dynamics, dimensionality and power were truly astonishing.
Next, I plugged-in my Hifiman HE-500 planar magnetic headphones, and the perspective seemed closer, with a more prominent midbass fullness. The Red Wine amp definitely brought out the best from the HE-500, but the LCD-2 is a faster and more revealing design. I like both headphones for different reasons.
The Red Wine Audez'e amp is sold direct with a 30 day return policy and a five-year warranty (the battery isn't covered). Rossi is committed to offering updates for all of his designs, so if you already have an Isabellina HPA he can retrofit it with the Audez'e Edition's balanced output stage and high-resolution Wolfson 24-bit/192-kHz DAC. I think that's great. So when you buy a Red Wine component you never have to worry that it will be out of date in a few years.
If you already own a set of LCD-2s or another compatible headphone the Audez'e Edition amp and ALO balanced cable combo runs $3,950, direct from Red Wine. If you don't have the LCD-2 the complete headphone/amp system goes for $4,900, and is sold by ALO and Audez'e.
Editors Note- I just wanted to take a moment to thank Steve for his help here at InnerFidelity, and echo his regard for the Audez'e LCD-2: A truly world-class headphone. Were I to travel to a desert island, these are the cans I'd take. It's good to know there's now a battery powered amp to take along as well. Nice job, Steve, thanks! (All I need now is some solar cells, and I'm outta here.)