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HeadRoom Total AirHead

Posted

Pros: Great sound!

Cons: Crackling in inputs to headphones and physically too big.

The sound from my iPod Classic via The Total Airhead into my Shure SR440 headphones are truly great, and with four AAA-batteries it's an acceptable playing time too. The only problem I have experienced is contact problems both into the amplifier from the player and from the amplifier to the headphones. Apart from that I have no problems to reccomend this product to anyone with more than average interest of music. 

Posted

Pros: Compact

Cons: Construction

I own the earlier version of the AirHead portable amp.  Different packaging, and  uses 2 AA batteries.  I purchased it used after I had my Benchmark HPA2 stolen.  The HPA2 is a headphone amp on a little PC board mounted to a 1/4" jack, and I believe it is now out of production.  I had mounted it in a small box with a DC/DC converter to provide the required supply voltages from a 9V battery.  So, technically, it wasn't a "portable" amp, but I made it into one. 

 

I mention all of that because this might not be a fair comparison.  The HPA2 was simply a glorious sounding headphone amp, and I miss it still.  I got the TotalAirHead to replace its loss.  While the TAH is nice, it doesn't come close to the HPA2.  Even with the rather interesting "processor" switched in (designed to get the sound out of the inside of your head), it has lower impact, less dynamics, and less bass than the HPA2. 

 

I still use the TAH occasionally, but frankly, the concept of a portable headphone amp is just too cumbersome.  My portable use is either iPhone or iPod, and usually stuffed in a pocket.  Another box is just a pain, and though an audible improvement, the convenience isn't there.  However, I do use an amp when stationary using the same sources.  My current favorite is a custom amp I made, and it does make the TAH pale by comparison. 

 

So, this is a luke-warm review.  Perhaps the current version is better, hopefully worth the hassle of porting it around.  One feature I wish I had on the TAH is auto shut off with silence.  I almost always forget and leave it on to eat its batteries. 

HeadRoom Total AirHead
Description:

Your music will meet your mind when you bridge the gap between your portable player and good headphones with our basic portable headphone amp. Unlike what's behind most headphone jacks, the AirHead is a true miniature power amplifier for headphones; it drives your headphones with the authority and finesse of quality power amplification, and acts as a buffer between your player and the complex load of the headphones. It makes your headphones and your player sound better! Controlling your Total AirHead is easy: simply connect the included mini-mini cable from the source of your choice, to the back of the amp; then plug your headphones into the amp. The two parallel headphone jacks in the corners let you and a friend plug in simultaneously (headphones with similar impedances/efficiencies will generally play at about the same volume). The switch on the left is the on-off switch, then the power-on LED, volume control, clipping/battery low indicator, and crossfeed switch. The AirHead also has a Gain switch inside the oval hole of the battery door. Simply use the low volume setting unless your headphones won't reach a reasonable listening level with the main volume control, then switch to the high gain setting. This switch allows you to get the very best performance out of your headphone system regardless of efficiency & impedance ratings. On the rear left-hand side of the AirHead is a jack for the optionally-available AC adaptor. Also available is a power supply needed for 230vac overseas/international currents: 230 Total AirHead Power Supply. The AirHead is powered by four AAA batteries (not included), and will run for 25-40 hours depending on your headphones. The amp does not charge your batteries. The AirHead has a molded rubber battery door. Simply lift the cover from the rear and it releases its soft detent nub to reveal the battery compartment. The rubber door also acts as a non-skid 'foot' when the AirHead is attached to the back of a portable player. Along with the mini-mini cable, we also include Velcro hook "dots", called Vel-Coins that you can stick on the Total AirHead's feet and the back of an iPod or other MP3 player and easily mate them back-to-back. Dimensions: The HeadRoom AirHead headphone amp measures approximately 3" wide X 4.5" long X .75" thick and weighs about 7.5 ounces with its four AAA batteries inside.

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