Manley Labs Absolute Headphone Amplifier $4500 Review

January 14, 2020 § Leave a comment

https://positive-feedback.com/reviews/hardware-reviews/manley-labs-absolute-headphone-amplifier/

“The all-important test is how this thing sounds, and for the most part this amp delivers on so many levels. I switched between multiple sets of headphones, such as Audeze LCD 3, XC, EL-8, Grado customs, and even some IEMs just to see what it would be like. I settled mainly with my trusty LCD 3s, but rest assured that this amp can handle many different headphones with aplomb (varying the impedance allows for multiple headphones to be compatible). Listening to Hi Res digital tracks for this review, I cued up the song “Chitlins and Gefiltefish” from Christain McBride featuring Gina Gershon. The playful song tests the ability of the amp to produce human voice, pace, and reproducing the bass. I enjoyed this track in push pull mode at 10dB negative feedback to give the bass a plucky deep sound coupled with a hop and bounce to induce the prerequisite toe tapping on my part. The recording session was brought to life, and the joy of creating music together was reproduced in great detail without ruining the overall improvising and pace. The second track was Amy Winehouse’s “You Know I’m No Good.” That soulful voice was never lost in this quintessential Winehouse track. Winehouse is in fully fleshed form. The back beat with the bass track and melodic instruments was well rendered in the background. Switching to single ended mode, and turning down the negative feedback, I put on an old but new track in Jennifer Hudson’s “Memory,” from the newly released Cats Motion Picture Soundtrack. Although the film itself has been getting mixed reviews to say the least, the song and Hudson’s voice is beautiful and raw with emotion. The amp in single-ended mode rendered her voice with intimacy and a hint of added warmth left out of push pull mode. “

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