Has anyone heard of this amp - MalValve Head Amp Three?
Apparently, MalValve is a respectable audio company based in Germany, and it seems they made inroads into the headphone industry with their new headphone amp, the Head Amp Three. According to Audez'e, their new LCD-3 was featured with this particular amp at an audio show held in Germany recently. MalValve hasn't posted info regarding the Head Amp Three on their official website yet, but you can contact them at email@example.com and ask them. They sent me a pdf file that has all the information I need.
As the company's name implies, it's a fully tube (a total of 10 tubes), fully balanced amp with two input and two output transformers, a digital display for input, mode, and volume, both RCA and XLR inputs, a remote control, two single-ended 1/4" outputs, two 4-pin balanced XLR outputs, and a special output for Stax electrostats. Not only can this amp drive all dynamic, magnetostatic (orthodynamic), and electrostatic headphones available in the market, you can actually plug, say... an HD800, a T1, an HE-6, an LCD-3, and an SR-009 into one amp at the same time altogether!
From a German review article which was translated into English at the courtesy of Google Translate, this amp is a high power amp that can drive virtually every headphone in the world (I guess with the exception of Sennheiser Orpheus which has its own unique headphone jack), in any range of impedance, and even orthodynamics with the lowest sensitivity such as those from Hifiman. Especially, the matching of this amp to the LCD-3 seems to be absolutely stunning.
Now I tend to take such reviews of new products with a grain of salt, but the fact that Audez'e chose this particular, relatively little known headphone amp to advertise their tour de force, the LCD-3, out of all those well-established amps out there is something worthy of note. I mean, I looked up "MalValve" and there was not a single thread in the entire Head-fi that mentioned it at all! I think I'm the first guy ever to bring this up here in the forums.
As for the price, it's (cough) 4,000 euros including VAT. Not as expensive as Apex Pinnacle or the new Woo monoblocks, but I think it's a bit too steep for my wallet now... Is there anyone brave enough to be the first Head-fi reviewer for this unexpected newcomer?
Edited by songmic - 11/17/11 at 7:40pm