Rogue Audio Pharaoh II integrated amplifier $3995 Review

January 25, 2023 Comments Off on Rogue Audio Pharaoh II integrated amplifier $3995 Review

The headphone the Pharaoh liked best was Meze Audio’s new $4000 Elite—an open-back, planar-magnetic design. Powered by the Pharaoh, the 32 ohm, 101dB/mW Elite delivered music with relaxed, pristine clarity. The Rogue–Elite pairing played Ledbetter live in Austin with an air of well-structured authority that said, “Who cares if the headphones cost as much as the amp? The sound is dang near perfect.”

The headphone the Pharaoh II liked almost as much was Sony’s $1799 MDR-Z1R, the closed-back I have used more than any other headphone since I reviewed it in GD16. Because they are so comfortable, durable, natural-sounding, and easy to drive, the 64 ohm, 100dB/mW Z1Rs have never stopped being my paint-splattered daily headset. They employ fast, 70mm magnesium domes that never hint that they’re made of metal. Powered by the Pharaoh II, those domes sounded like they were made of paper: not too soft or hard, space and detail displayed with an appealing tube-like sheen. A recommendable match.


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