Jump to content

So who's heard the new HeadaAmp AE-2?


Recommended Posts

Just looking for some impressions, particularly with E500's. I'm currently making do with a Go-Vibe 5 but I'm looking to upgrade on that. So far the contenders are the Xenos 1HA-EPC, the AE-2 and the new Millett Hybrid portable. Sound quality of course is important but budget, or lack thereof, will probably end up being a big determining factor.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Just looking for some impressions, particularly with E500's. I'm currently making do with a Go-Vibe 5 but I'm looking to upgrade on that. So far the contenders are the Xenos 1HA-EPC, the AE-2 and the new Millett Hybrid portable. Sound quality of course is important but budget, or lack thereof, will probably end up being a big determining factor.

The Xenos really isn't particularly good (it's not 'bad' though), and it's bulky. The crossfeed 'works', but that's as far as it goes. I got a free one that's having its gain lowered to the now standard settings (after I pestered them over and over again - what kind of idiot builds a headphone amp with 29dB of gain?) and it might sound a bit better -I'll report back when it gets here.

Based on the previous quality of Justin's work, I'd say the AE-2 is a good place to be looking, but I haven't heard it yet. I can't live without crossfeed, especially with IEM's so I'm holding out for the new HeadRoom Mobile line (no, I don't know anything about it or when it should be coming out - all I know is that there is one in the works).

Link to post
Share on other sites

I absolutely loved my GS-1 when I owned one, it paired with MiniMax CD player was blissful. I think adding the tubes of the MiniMax's nice output stage took things to another level. Unfortunately I couldn't afford to keep both and after I lost my job couldn't afford even to keep the GS-1 :( So that does leave me thinking the AE-2 should get special consideration, but also the Millett Hybrid because it adds tubes to the mix. The Millett's probably more of a dream at this point though, finances are still pretty tight so even an AE-2 might be a stretch.

We're having a meet here next month and Xenos is supposed to be sending a couple of amps for that, I wonder if Justin might send one along as well? I guess there's no harm in asking, I'll have to send him an email.

Link to post
Share on other sites
  • 3 weeks later...

Yeah, I did listen to it for a nice while. I thought it performed quite close to the Gilmore Lite, the only deviation I noticed was a slight rise in the upper midrange. However, I might have been overly sensitive to this, since the W5000 is a bit more pronounced in that area than many other headphones. Overall the AE-2 had the most impressive sound I've heard from a portable amp (granted I've not heard the LaRocco, which seems to be quite highly thought of). There was no hiss, hum, or otherwise. Extension to both ends, detail, and smoothness were all very good. Of course the casework, fit, and finish of the AE2 is top-notch, as if I'd expect any less from Justin. The trade-off of the AE2 is that it isn't super-tiny, but it sounds better and has much better usability (large volume knob, RCA inputs, loop-out, etc.)

Link to post
Share on other sites

I heard a prototype. Used a hd580 fyi. If I could describe it in one word because I don't really remember specifics, is that it had ease. Passages come through without any trouble compared to say my portaphile which begins to sound congested in the midrange during parts of music where a lot is going on. Reminds me of the sr71, but without the limited depth. The best part is that I have a hard time trying to find it's particular flavor- which is exactly what a well designed amp should be- hard to discern, yet, indispensable. I bet the final version would be even better. Priced below the sr71 too, with switches to boot. My bank account just twitched. :P

Link to post
Share on other sites
  • 2 weeks later...

It's here!!!! Unfortunately it didn't quite make it in time for the meet yesterday and me being a dumbass I forgot my dock cable at home so I'm haven't actually been able to listen to it. All I can say right now is it's tiny and downright gorgeous!

Link to post
Share on other sites

Filburt brought his loaner AE-2 and his DIY PINT yesterday, and I had a chance to hear the two back to back for an extended period of time. Both are sourced by Filburt's DIY Technics PCDP, which is no slouch itself. I feel that his modified PCDP can easily go up against a "real" cd-player in the under-$1000 range. Yes, it's THAT good.

Anyways, my experience was that the AE-2 is generally a very good portable amp, but in comparison to the PINT, it had a slightly exaggerated, forward sound. It's not aggressive per se, since I didn't hear any harshness, but it does not have the same soundstage depth as the PINT. Also, there's something slightly artificial about the AE-2's timbre. The AE-2 also did not go as deep in the bass as the PINT. Finally, the AE-2 was slightly less transparent than the PINT. But it's still the best commercially-available portable amp I've heard. The build quality is also top-notch, as Justin's products always are. I still can't believe he does the chassis by hand--that's just fucking insane.

Overall I'd say the AE-2 has a nice energetic sound that made every recording, good or bad, enjoyable to listen to. It had no trouble driving everything I used, which includes the HD650s, ER-4Ps, the Denon D5000, and the K701s. It's pretty dynamic, and although the bass doesn't plumb the depths, it has nice impact and speed. Don't take my words that the AE-2 is not as good as the DIY PINT as a bad thing, since the two really aren't an apples-to-apples comparison, since Filburt pretty much modded his PINT to the MAXXX.

I'll let him chime in on what the technological specs of his amp and source, because I didn't understand it anyways lol.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

×
×
  • Create New...