Pros: KILLER headphone amp. Grabs you by the...
Cons: no balanced inputs
I just experienced one of the most incredible listening sessions I can remember with the ALO Studio Six! I'm still in a sort-of sonic shock.
I haven't experienced that sensation since I first heard the Genesis One Loudspeaker System (250k) in Harry Pearson's house (Founder of
The Absolute Sound magazine) for the first time.
This is a single-ended triode amplifier that utilizes 6SN7, 6V6, 5AR4 and OB2 (2) tubes with an over spec'd power supply. The beefy power supply is important here, as this amp delivers such velocity and authority that it's gestalt reminds me of some of the best in-room single-ended triode designs (like the OG Antique Sound Labs Hurricanes for example (but in smaller form).
I've driven my Audeze LCD3, an Audeze LCD1 on-loan, Sennheiser HD800, and V-MODA Crossfade M-100's at the same time without any noticeable loss in harmonic structure or overall gain!! I ran different lengths of cable so I could hear each headphone individually and not be interfered by the sound coming from the other cans.
My Audeze LCD3's were equipped w/ Moon Audio's latest Silver Dragon LCD3 cable w/ new Furutech connectors for this (formal review coming ASAP). This cable brings out the emotion in music playback like no other on the LCD3's that I've heard- and I've been using Cardas Clear as my reference (and have heard most ALO cables - which are also very good).
The ALO Studio Six is in a class all it's own. This from a proud owner of an E.A.R. HP4, which I considered THE reference for me in high end personal audio. The reason? Not the bass response, or clarity, coherence, and transparency (all the audiophile buzzwords it possesses). Nope. I loved (and still love) the E.A.R because it was the only headphone amp that brought me to tears when listening to music, until now... The Studio Six handles everything from Miles Davis to Daft Punk, Ella Fitzgerald, Aphex Twin, James Blake, Burial and Shlohmo with finesse and authority. It's quiet, allowing for the music to shine through. Even the tactile experience of the amplifier is satisfying, like your money really went to something substantial. Also: With this particular selection of tubes - I suspect Ken Ball and his team experimented on perfecting this design for as long as they deemed necessary to convey music transparently.
After nearly twenty years listening to high end audio I can say that using the ALO Studio Six headphone amp with these components (UPDATED): My Audeze LCD3 magnetic planar headphones - Studio Six - MYTEK Stereo192-DSD DAC - MacBook Pro SSD running Audirvana - is like experiencing my good friend Dan Meinwald's (importer of E.A.R, Marten Audio Loudspeakers, Townshend, and more) incredible high end, full-range in-room stereo system! The only difference? His system, in its current iteration, cost in upwards of 250k!!
I'd say this system has far more dynamic velocity than my room reference system, especially in terms of it's impact on all my senses. If I close my eyes while crankin' this amp and my Audeze LCD3's (or HD800's) I can imagine myself at club Twilo in New York in the mid-nineties (w/ the right underground DJ mix) or in the Hamptons rockin' to Bob Marley in the Summer with some of my best friends since the first grade. The system connects me to the music in ways I've only heard in stereo systems all costing over 100k!
Now, I know the headphones, wire, and amp are all contributing their own sonic characteristics, which is why I always describe the experience of the music with the addition of a new component. But here, in personal audio, with an amplifier this robust, I can say with confidence that old school high end stereo rules apply here: The amp is half the system. In that case, if you can afford this (in life some of the better things cost more money - my Beemer costs more than my Kia) I believe the ALO Studio Six provides the greatest musical experience in personal audio today - because it sounded terrific across all my cans!
That's something special indeed.
I am never giving this amplifier up. I haven't quite figured that out, YET.
A Class-Defining product! Nothing less.
MY LISTED PRICE MAY NOT BE ACCURATE - CURRENTLY ON-LOAN****