Just saw this while browsing Eddie Current's website. Does anybody know anything about this? How long as it been out?
A different headphone site.
There is not really much you can do with OPA541 (same chip as in the commercial joke) so the rumors seem to follow logic...
The option of input transformers is incredibly cool upgrade, BTW. Ignoring the cost I would much rather have this, just for that. Considering the difference in cost, its no contest.
Yes, that is the amp. Thousands of dollars for a gainclone in a fancy box with dodgy anodizing.
Anyways, transformers are fricken awesome. They do all sorts of neat things. Some of them are similar to coupling caps, others totally pwn.
So on the similar things: a transformer WILL block DC from the source from hitting the amp and blowing up your junk. This is kind of a 50/50 point, because the kinds of transformers you would use here are not designed specifically to do that, but in an unusual gear failure they should save your butt.
Now, for what they do every day that is sooooooo cool.
Transformers make it VERY easy to make your system ground loop proof. Coupling caps don't help you here.
Transformers don't require a power supply. This is not an issue when you will be building them into something that already has a power supply for the active bits further down the chain, but you could easily build a little box to *just* convert SE to balanced (or the other way, or whatever) that sits on your desk all alone and will do its thing for 50 years or more with no intervention or complaints.
Transformers convert single ended or balanced inputs to single ended or balanced outputs. There are opamp-looking chips that do this, but they require power supplies and don't do anything for ground loops or accidents like a transformer does.
Transformers add (basically) no noise to the system. Even quiet op amps have more random noise than a nicely shielded transformer.
And finally: Although it is quite subjective there are people who just prefer the sound of transformers to the sound of caps.
Since this kind of diverged to include op amp based phase splitter chips:
The downside of the transformer compared to those op amp thingies is that the transformers are an order of magnitude more expensive - particularly when you will be putting them into something that already has a power supply. The little op amp thingies are also likely to measure better under ideal conditions, which makes the measurements first brigade very happy, but when you get into the real world what happens is anyone's guess. Considering that the difference between 0.1%THD and 0.0001%THD is inaudible but a ground loop is not, um, yea.