I joined this forum specifically to ask a question about this product. Please pardon my ignorance.
I currently live in an apartment setting and my love is high quality FM tuners. I am looking for the
best bang for the buck headphone amplifier for late night FM bliss from our local classical station.
At first I was looking at headphone amplifier only. When I was in college I owned a Kenwood KA-9100
dual mono beast with a headphone output, and the sound was clear, detailed, fast, and very transparent,
to the point poorly recorded material sounded very bad and a good station sounded terrific. I wound up
selling the unit a few years later due to a weak channel.
Thinking back to this, I wondered if the audio quality off the headphone output in a discrete, no opamp
vintage integrated amplifier would be sonically superior to that of a "modern" opamp or tube based dedicated
headphone amplifier. The other plus being that with patience I could score a recapped vintage integrated
with the "bonus" that when my finances allow for a more private dwelling situation, I would have the ability
to once again use speakers.
From studying this thread and a few others, it seems that many integrated amplifiers, especially the vintage
Kenwoods, do indeed run their headphone sockets directly off the main part of the amplifier. Again, I apologize
for lacking the finer vocabulary in this hobby.
While staying up late reading headphone reviews, I found a reference to this amplifier, and read this thread.
With apologies for the background information, here are my questions:
1) Is the consensus that the headphone section on this amplifier would exceed that as compared to a dual mono
vintage Kenwood? This design does indeed have two transformers. I think it was stated one per channel.
This is important to me, as I have found the dual mono to provide superior power and isolation between channels.
2) Or, do you think for the same money a vintage, perhaps recapped/refurbished integrated would provide a superior headphone output?
3) My primary concern is that with aging equipment, something else could go wrong, there are many pots and switches in need of cleaning, etc. With the exception of the transformer hum some have been reporting, these (admittedly potential) issues would hopefully not be present in a modern product. I am intrigued the the OP sold off the Belari HA540 which gets many respected reviews in favor of this integrated amplifier.
Thank you for your time, especially the OP.
Edited by LEDAdd1ct - 11/20/13 at 2:51am