Audio Valve Solaris Headphone amplifier $4,600 Review

October 13, 2019 § Leave a comment


“Going to the back of the Audio Valve Solaris you’ll find a set of speaker binding post for very efficient speakers as the Audio Valve Solaris will push an average of 8 to 12 Watt maximum. So, if you have some speaker with a sensitivity of 94dB or higher, you’ll love this unit. If not there’s are a pair of XLR and RCA outputs for your amplifier, a USB for your Computer, a pair of RCA’s for your Turntable and two pair of XLR and RCA inputs. So I heard two people call this the Swiss knife of headphone amps but I’d say it was more a kin to the kitchen sink.

For fun I started out a generic USB cord to my Apple MacBook Air and plugged in my Nordost Valhalla into my Audio Valve Baldur 70’s monoblocks. Those power a pair of Avance Century 100 loudspeakers and the sound was like nothing I have ever heard in my system. it was much more detailed which in no way meant the preamplifier section is analytical, cause it is not. Think musicality over pure analytics, but always with great clarity. If female vocals are your thing (they are for me), then you will love the Audio Valve Solaris as preamp DAC combination. In general the voices are exceptionally good, natural, sweet and romantic. The Solaris does everything so effortless, it is a pure pleasure to listen to. It’s musicality, and richness completely took me over, there was a passion, persuasiveness in ever instrument.”



October 12, 2019 § Leave a comment


“So this was a remarkable journey testing this great piece of equipment out. My notes put it as one of the best sounding amplifiers under $1,000. I found that acoustic songs are very detailed and intimate. The detail of the music is exceptional, even at higher volumes. While the soundstage may not be vast like some other mid-range amplifiers, it was more than adequate, I’d say…just right. When you listen to songs with emotion, this amp really does “amplify” those emotions and brings it home. I found that when playing high-resolution files the vocals were forward, the bass was vibrant and foot-tapping good, but the mids were on the recessed side.”

HoloAudio Azure Headphone Amp Review

October 8, 2019 § Leave a comment


October 3, 2019 § Leave a comment

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“The quality factor is pure enough for me to consider the bass tonality and texture as rock-solid in terms of physicality. It never feels loose, lacking or irregular. I’ve a few other amps in this price tier that do feel “watery” by comparison. Right now, the only dedicated amplifier that can match and exceed it that I’ve on hand is my personally owned Heron 5 by Airist Audio, which retailed for $1000 or so when I purchased it years ago.

That is really saying something in the way of physicality and tactility of the bass experience as a whole. Our ears can pick up on the subtle varying inabilities of amps and headphones to cope with more or less bass in our tracks than what is offered on a neutral setting. By that, I mean responsiveness to EQ. I can add more in and rock all the way up to an insane +7dB before I noticed anything problematic. That is a hell of a feat for an amp of this price.”


September 28, 2019 § Leave a comment

Auris Audio Euterpe

September 24, 2019 § Leave a comment

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“The volume pot also doubles up as a power-on resistance-based switch and you will have to wait a few seconds after turning it on for it to activate. A small safety precaution if you will. There is no stepped attenuation design to the pot here, this is a custom Alps potentiometer design with a very smooth turn. Also, thank you so very much Auris for putting in some white markers to judge volume levels accurately.

The level of potential functionality of the Euterpe seems excellent though our primary review focus will be on the built-in DAC and amp all-in-one performance. That being said, the pre-amp and analog inputs as a pure amp combined with a higher-end DAC such as the Qutest and even an M-Scaler behind that will be intriguing to see just how good the SET amp inside really is.”

Chord Electronics Hugo TT 2 DAC/Preamp/Headphone Amp Review

September 15, 2019 § Leave a comment

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“The M Scaler provides two BNC digital inputs, two optical digital inputs, and one galvanically isolated USB Type-B input. Digital outputs include one optical output, one coaxial SPDIF via a single BNC connector, and one dual BNC, which is the output of choice for best performance. While the Hugo M Scaler can conceivably be used with any DAC, the manufacturer makes it clear it is really optimized for use with Chord Electronics DACs that provide high-bandwidth dual-BNC inputs able to take full advantage of the Scaler’s capabilities. Once I heard the M Scaler in action I thought that its sonic benefits were both transformative and profound.

Using a group of very high-performance reference headphones from Final, HiFiMan, Meze, and MrSpeakers, I listened to the Hugo TT 2 both with and without the M Scaler and here is what I learned. Heard in isolation, the Hugo TT 2 sounds exactly like what it is: one of the finest headphone amp/DACs available today. While it is not quite on a par with the more than twice as expensive DAVE, the Hugo TT 2 takes worthwhile steps forward relative to its predecessor in resolution, clarity, focus, and coherency, while also offering quieter backgrounds and more dynamic muscle. In short, the Hugo TT 2 can more than hold its own in comparison to like-priced competition. However, fold the M Scaler into the equation, and the picture changes dramatically for the better.

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