Pros: Nice looking, Sounds great with matching headphones, 4x input (one balanced), 2x line out bypass (one balanced)
Cons: Not enough power for hard-to-drive headphones, no balanced headphone output jack
This is not a comparison between this amp and other amps, rather it will be a short summary on how this amp performs with a handful of high quality headphones. I own the Pathos Aurium amp and today I headed over to the local HIFI-shop with one goal in mind; Finding the best headphone for this amp. For the session, which lasted for about three hours, I mainly listened to the last John Grant album and Bjørk's Homogenic record.
Couple of months ago I tested HifiMan 6, Audeze LCD-2 and Sennheiser HD800, but not on this amp. Hifiman was hard to compare with the others because they was so hard to drive (Had to adjust the volume a lot). But certainly Hifiman 6 and LCD-2 sounded more similar, compared to HD800, which are to analytical for my taste.
So I had more or less decided to buy the LCD-2 when I went to the shop today. However, I ended up with something else. Following are my impressions from today:
Audeze LCD-2: I think these pair extremely badly with this amp. The sound was not coming out at all, it nearly sounded like it was a wall between me and the phones. The worst pairing I heard.
Sennheiser HD800: Really great headphones, but to analytical for me. I think they pair well with the amp, so if my music taste was classical, I would not hesitate to buy these.
HiFiMAN HE-500: A little better than the LCD-2, but they are far from the best match. It seems like this amp is not strong enough for LCD-2 and HE-500, which are a little disappointing.
Shure SRH1840, AKG K812: and Beyer Dynamic T1: Well what can I say, they sound really good, but they do nothing for me. I doubt that the Aurium is to blame, its probably just my personal taste.
Grado PS 1000: I liked it. A very good match.
FORSTEX TH 900: Very detailed and clear. The runner up today.
Audeze LCD-X: The best match I think. They sound spectacular. A lot of detail, great punch without overdoing it. The only thing putting me off was that the ear pads was not big enough! My left ear touched the inside of the phone. It was a bit surprising since I have never experienced this before, and the ear pads seems massive.
So to summarize: I bought the Audeze LCD-X. I felt they were in a class above the Sennheiser, Grado and FOSTEX phones. LCD-2 and HE-500 should be avoided on this amp!