This thread will grow into a review of the Headroom "Ultra Desktop Amp" with the Max amp module and Max dac. Mine is a just aquired 2008 model, with the no longer available stepped attenuator as well. Mine also includes the Desktop Power Supply. For the record, I will likely never audition it with the standard power supply.
This is a used unit that I just aquired from Audiogon. It arrived in virtually new condition - I have recieved a couple of items over the years in condition this fine, and nothing better, new or used. Awesome!
Just a few brief comments for now. Wow! Outstanding detail, nice bass control over my Dennon D7000's. Much better control than my DacMagic Dynalo combination. A bit less air and soundstage than the DacMagic, but more detailed and more accurately musical. I really wanted to keep my DacMagic / Dynalo rig for side by side comparisons, but I needed the cashflow...
A brief comparison before I forget - The Dacmagic had 3 filter slope settings that allowed for a bit of sound tailoring, though the differences were minimal. I think the DacMagic has some sort of mild DSP, though I could have misunderstood. It also has a crappy stock power supply that may hold it back a bit. It seemed to have a bit more air and soundstage, but both sounded just a bit artificial. The Headroom unit is much more detailed and accurate, and much more controlled. I suspect the ESS Sabre 9008 chip in the Headroom unit
for DAC info.
is superior to the Wolfson chip. I also suspect there are legions who will disagree, and legions who will agree... Consider my comments on my previous Dynalo / Dacmagic with a grain of salt - I haven't heard them in 3 days, and the memory grows dim. I can't really make reliable comparisons about the amps, as both were tied to different sources. The Dynalo seemed to be a wire with gain, the Headroom unit seems to add a bit of warmth.
This is my first experience with crossfeed, and one of the reasons I wanted to try Headroom. I like it! Much less fatiguing, much more realistic. The downside is added warmth in an already warm setup. There is a "Brightness" filter switch that adds a bit of boost in the treble (setting 1) or upper mids and treble (setting 2). I've been experimenting, and setting 2 seems to be the best offset for the warmth added via the crossfeed, but both are just a bit heavy handed. ***EDIT*** I have since settled in with setting 1 about 50% of the time, setting 2 maybe 20% of the time, and no filter maybe 30% of the time.
So far, a brilliant set up. If time ever permits, I'll try for a bit more extensive and objective review with music preferences, and whatever else I can add that might help someone considering a used amp like mine, or the identical save for the no longer available stepped attenuator "Ultra Desktop Amp" that Headroom currently sells.
Very Breifly - A stunningly good and versatile setup in a perfect form factor with over the top form, fit and finish, sold by some of the nicest (still, even post "shake-up") guys and gals in headphonedom.
Edited by aamefford - 9/21/10 at 2:21pm