Anode Acoustics Solid State HP Amplifier (HP Amp #2)

General Information

After receiving a great response to our ECL82/PCL82 tube headphone amplifier, it was time to build something new- a solid state headphone amplifier. Why not offer both options to our users, the tubes and the transistors. As a result we have developed this compact HP amp with dual mono design. It is a very neutral sounding amplifier with a slight hint of warmth.

DSC_00113-1024x683.jpg

  • Full class A operation. Long term, sustained 1500mW output before clipping. This amp would rarely go into clipping.
  • Dual mono design: Both channels have their own dedicated PCB.
  • TO220 type output transistors mounted on heat sinks. The amplifier can easily drive difficult loads as low as 8ohms. Most planar headphones will work very well with this amp. (90 db and above sensitivity).
  • High current linear power supply. With 25 watts built in power transformer and regulated linear power supply this amp amp will not run out of steam even with difficult to drive headphones.
  • Very low harmonic distortion: less that 0.005% throughout the audible frequency range.
  • Frequency response (-0.5db): 15hz to 40khz.
  • Gain can be customized between 15 to 20db.
  • Dimensions: 200x200x60mm (height)
  • Net weight 3.2kg. Packaged weight 4kg.
Price: INR 25000 excluding GST and shipping. link

Latest reviews

aramico

New Head-Fier
Anode Acoustics SS#2 Headphone Amp - Very good solid state HPA
Pros: 1. Very good build quality.
2. Smooth and bit warmish sound signature with more nice treble response and mid forward sound
3. Very good power which can drive most of the HP out there except some vintage cans.
4. One of the great options in that price range.
Cons: 1. The treble response is very good, but lack that sparkle at the top.
2. As its little warm does not pair well with warm HP's
3. Mid-forward signature tends to give the impression of lesser staging.
4. Balanced connections would have been nice. May I be I am asking too much at this price point.
Disclaimer:
This HPA was sent to us for a review from @anodeacoustics and to share unbiased impressions of this nice little HPA.
Product Link
http://anodeacoustics.in/index.php/solid-state-hp-amplifier/

Price – INR 25K

Build
The amp is pretty nicely built for the price range, with full metal body and all the connectors are good. The volume pot is nice one too. But there is slight play at both ends. Overall, it is pretty well-built amp.

20210219_220630.jpg

20210219_220459.jpg

20210219_220641.jpg

Sound impressions
Gears used – PC > Q5 (modded) / TDA1387 DAC > Anode SS2 > AKG K240 Sextette (M) / AKG K712 Pro / Sennheiser HD540 / HD 600 / HD6xx (KISS mod) / HD800 stock / Beyerdynamic DT480 (with pad stacking).
Unfortunately, could not use my go to DAC mimby in the combo (they gave up on me).
The amp was warmed for 4-5hrs at least before any listening session and most of the listening was done in quiet hours by burning the midnight oil.
AKG 240 Sextette (M) – vintage can
This is a slightly warm sounding HP. Overall smooth sound with bit more warmish tinge. This HPA can drive these HP to very good levels. I did not go beyond 9pm on the volume. The Bass had good definition but not much rumble. Mids were sweet and felt little laid back. The top end was Ok, but lacking bit of sparkle which I felt with Sapphire. The staging and imaging were pretty damn good as is the case with most of vintage AKG’s. Overall, I felt this pairing though good but bit on the warm side for my liking.
AKG K712 pro
These are pretty hard to drive. They sound bloated and thin if it is not driven properly. But to my surprise, this amp can drive them beyond satisfactory levels. The bass sounds nice again with good definition, mids were really sweet. The treble is good too. The staging was awesome too as these are generally awesome with staging. Overall, I was very happy with this combo.
Sennheiser HD540 – vintage can
The poor man’s HD800. One of my favourite too. These sound really great with Sapphire. With this amp they sound pretty darn close to Sapphire. The Sennheiser mids were coming forward. The bass is pretty light on these but there is enough oomph and the sweet treble, all were present. Only thing is again its neutral with wee bit warm tinge. This is very nice combo too.
Senn HD600
These are real favourite of mine at the price they sell at (used or otherwise). I could certainly feel bit more bass and sweeter mids, but highs were tad bit smoother for my liking. Overall good for long listening with smoother sound.
HD6XX (KISS mod)
Again, here too I like how this amp drives them, the mids sound sweet. But the bass is slightly loose (this is generally the case with the except the tubes). The veil was there but not to the bothering levels. Pretty good combo.
HD800 stock
This was a surprising combo. The HD800 in stock form can sound pretty shouty on certain recordings with their notorious peaks. But with this amp they sounded really nice without too much of peaks or glary. The humongous staging was toned down a bit, which is not a too much of concern. If you want HD800 to sound easy and not too clinical without breaking the bank pick this amp.
Beyerdynamic DT480 (with pad stacks) – vintage can
These are very unlike current Beyers. With double pad stacking they sound damn good almost to life like sound. I love these with Sapphire. This amp makes it sound more natural and smoother. The treble is sweet too without any fatigue. This is darn good combo.

20210219_222344.jpg

Comparison with Sapphire
You must have seen me keep referring to the Sapphire amp. For me this is the benchmark amp in this price range and above.
When compared to Sapphire this go toe to toe most of the times. But for me Sapphire sound very neutral without any coloration. Also, I felt the staging and both ends felt bit wider and cleaner on Sapphire. That’s a pretty good thing on SS#2’s part, as these click most of the boxes.
Conclusion
I would like to thank Nitin Kaushik for letting me try this amp. This amp checks lot of boxes at pretty sweet price point. I feel It works for most people out there with sounding good with most of the music genres.
Had I not heard / been using Sapphire, I would have definitely picked it. Along with Sapphire, this is a really nice amp to recommend.
#anodeacoustics #headphoneamp #SS2
Last edited:

abheybir

New Head-Fier
Anode Acoustics SS Amp - Simplicity at its best
Pros: 1) Solid Build Quality
2) Warmish Musical Sound Signature
3) Deep bass response with Detailed Treble and Forward Mids
4) Versatile with different Sources and Headphones/IEM/Earbuds
5) Powerful yet quite Low Noise Floor
6) Best Price to Performance Ratio
Cons: 1) Soundstage capabilities are above average, lower than expected
Introduction
Anode Acoustics is rather a new name in the Audiophile Industry, but they have won many hearts with their quality products like El34 based tube power amplifiers, 300b power amplifiers, ECC82 based tube preamplifiers, tube headphone amplifiers and solid state power amplifiers. Anode Acoustics have their headquarters at New Delhi, India and as their tag line on website says all their products are meticulously Hand Crafted and proudly Made in India.

The Solid-State HP Amplifier (HP Amp #2) is a compact neutral sounding amplifier with a slight hint of warmth. The front is machined from solid aluminium, brushed and anodized for an attractive finish. The enclosure is made of 1.2mm thick powder coated steel. It offers a full Class A amplification and a sustained 1500mW output before clipping. For more details on product you can visit the website. On front there is one Volume Know and one quarter inch headphone jack along with brand logo, and on the rear, there is RCA input along with 3Pin Power in. On/Off Switch have been provided at the left panel with some air vents on both sides and bottom of the amp. The amp can be tuned to a specific gain levels from 15 to 20db as per requirement during production only thus no gain switch is there on the body.

IMG_20210311_224519.jpg


Disclaimer:
I have received Anode Acoustic HP Amp #2 as part of review circle by brand itself in exchange of honest reviews and was so impressed by it that finally got myself a unit. All impressions of sound are subjective to my own listening and my sources and is based on my experience with rig of similar hardware configurations and price range.

Sources:
For this review the unit has been paired to A&K SE100 (ES9038 Pro), Fiio Q5 (AK4490) and Dragonfly Red (MQA Rendering)

Test Rig:
Headphones:
Focal Clear, Beyerdynamic T1 gen2, Beyerdynamic DT880 pro 250ohm
IEMs: Tin Audio P2
Earbuds: Moonbuds Nightshade

IMG_20210312_105554.jpg


Impressions: The overall signature irrespective of the source is bit warmish and musical in nature. The noise floor I would say is very impressive. It’s a Class A amplifier with a dual mono design i.e. both channels have their own dedicated PCB. Let’s see in detail how it performed during my testing.

Highs:
Anode SS Amp#2 has sparkly highs which are sweetly tamed giving a relaxed and melodious impact. At this price point I would say it is one of the best amps that has so much refined treble. There is no sibilance or harsh tones at any point of time and an overall airiness all around the headroom. I have used it more than 8 hours straight while working from home these days, and not any point of time there is any treble fatigue, or I could complain loss of details. The cymbals, trumpets, saxophones, electric guitars and all other bells, whistles and chimes felt so lively, detailed and yet relaxing. I would say I have enjoyed the highs on this amp better than on any other sources I own at this point of time. Best example would be the highs of “Rehna Tu from Delhi-6” or “Quartet 1 by John Cage” these tracks sounded so much fun using this amp, irrespective of the transducers used.

Mids:
There is uniformity throughput the mids section and a feel of airiness. Overall, the mid-section is bit forward. All the instruments sound natural and relaxing; the vocals have this sweet melodious touch that it takes you far away in the dreamland. Acoustic guitars, mandolins, drums, flutes and all other instruments in this region shine very well. The lower mids does also have a nice presentation giving the overall presence factor a nice boost. A perfect example if it I would say would be listening to “Mark Knopfler & Emmylou Harris - Romeo And Juliet” track, the vocals were so crisp and lively with all the instruments easily distinguishable. Same was the impact with “Eric Clapton - Wonderful Tonight” specially the female vocals in 2005 remastered live version of the song.

Lows:
Bass response is punchy and is quite detailed and textured. The whole bass presentation feel bit elevated giving a very musical presentation. At no point I feel its bleeding to mids or congested, it’s just perfect as it should be for my taste I would say. The overall warm nature compliments the elevation in bass region. It is fun listening to country, classic rock and EDM on it. The sub bass rumbles come out quite textured and immediately gives a mood elevation. There is a new life in all my cans in bass region I must say and immediately sets me to groove mode when paired to this. Tracks like “Bass Rani by Nucleya” or my favorite “Tokyo Drift remix by KVSH” had such an amazing feel when listened using this amp irrespective of any source giving detailed highs forward mids and thumping bass drops in a warm presentation. “Infinity (Dubdogz & Bhaskar Edit)” is another track that I have had on frequent replays on it and enjoyed every bass drop.

Detailing/Imaging/Soundstage:
The dynamics, micro detailing are exceptional as per price point of view and I think are kind of hard to find in this price bracket as well. It brings out all the technicality nicely. The soundstage is also very wide but somehow lacks the depth I would say, but still one of the best presentations I have heard at this price range. There is no holographic feel to it but the transitions were very smooth and intimate, and best example can be seen in “Mind Tricks by Bassnectar”, the overall presentation was very very good but it was not the best in terms of staging I would say. Talking about detailing I would say that I have not noticed any compromise at all during all my listening experience.

IMG_20210311_223927.jpg


Final Verdict:
This is the toughest review for me to write up till date, I have spent hours writing it because the moment I put on my cans/IEM/earbuds, I just started enjoying it thus losing the track of time. It is a very musical amp indeed, and very well implemented single ended output. Even watching movies and playing games is another level of fun apart from listening to music on it. The sound is very intimating I would say and with the genre I listen to, it was a mesmerizing experience. This amp is pure gold in price to performance ratio and the versatility with difference sources and transducers makes it quite an interesting piece of equipment to own. The minimal noise floor is also one of the best aspects of it along with amazing power output, it has efficiently played all power hungry transducers that were paired to it from planar Tin audio P2 to Beyerdynamic T1 gen2. So, if you are looking for a warmish laid-back kind of signature without compromise in details to have a musical experience then this is the one for you.
Last edited:
  • Like
Reactions: machinegod

Comments

There are no comments to display.
Top