I recently had the opportunity to audition the Aune B1s amp. Thanks to a tour that @MSheney put together. I had the Aune along with a number of other amps over the Easter holiday. I plan to write up a whole Easter Amp Shootout thread, but for now, I’m just going to discuss the Aune B1s.
Equipment and Methodology:
Let me talk a little bit about the usual suspects, and my methodology. I used a Shanling M2s in Line Out mode. The Aune B1s in Class A – High gain mode. My music is FLAC L5 16/44 accurate rip from my own CDs. The headphones I used for the shootout were the AKG 702 – Austrian version (stock), LCD-XC with WyWires Red Cable, and a stock Fostex TH-900 v1. I evaluated 3 songs from the same album. From Steely Dan’s “Can’t Buy a Thrill” album, I listened to the first three cuts. “Do it Again.” “Dirty Work.” “Kings.”
I used a TACKlife SLM01 Sound Level Meter to try to level adjust as closely as I could. In the song Do it Again, I used the 2nd Verse as my standard. I used the left ear cup for each headphone and I leveled as closely to 80 dBA peak as I could. Starting around 1:55 seconds into the song is where the 2nd verse starts. The instruments and vocals tend to culminate with a peak around the words “Climber” and “Timer” in the second verse. I tried to get those two areas to hit between 80 dBA and 81 dBA peak. This allowed most of the songs energy to live in the 70-75 dBA range with it not peaking much over 81 dBA.
Now three songs may not sound like much of an evaluation, but those 3 songs total over 13 minutes of music. Add into that level setting for four amps and three headphones and this eval lasted around 5 and a half hours for all amps and headphones. I have to admit, by the time I was done, I was exhausted and really tired of hearing the same 3 songs over and over again. But I did learn some things by listening closely to those songs over and over and over and over and over…
B1s and TH-900 Synergy:
The first thing I would like to say about the Aune B1s is that the engineers must have a pair of Foxtex Th-900 in the lab. This was a truly incredible pairing and terrific synergy. The TH-900 have the reputation for having recessed mids and strident highs. With the Aune B1s, I found that it brought the mids forward and was nice on the top end. While listening to the solo for Steely Dan’s “Do It Again” I felt that the B1s provided a wonderfully full presentation with all the instruments presenting exactly where they were supposed to be.
On the day I had to ship it out, I spent the entire morning listening to the Aune B1s & Fostex TH-900 with Elton John’s Madman Across the Water and Goodbye Yellow Brick road. I have to say that I was sad to have to box it up and send it away.
“What about the other headphones mentioned,” you ask. Well, I have to say that I did not love the pairing with the AKG 702 and the Audeze LCD-XC. I felt that it was lacking in energy and heft with those two headphones. At this time, I’m just going to have to chalk it up to my preferences and I would need to spend more time with the Aune B1s and other headphones and different music. The experiment I conducted on Easter was a little limited due to the sheer number of amps and headphones I cycled through. So I can’t really want to say anything disparaging about the B1s.
The Aune B1s is an extremely solid piece of equipment. And the window looking in at the components is a very nice touch. If anyone asked my opinion, I would suggest a different volume knob. I don’t feel like the current knob pays justice to the rest of the amp. The knob feels like plastic to me, and I sometimes had problems gripping and adjusting the volume. A nice knurled metal knob would knock the physical aspects out of the park. But that is just a small comment on a fantastically built amp.
If you get a chance to try out the Aune B1s, definitely do. With my TH-900, it sounded simply sublime. I know that this is a good amp and depending on the situation, can sound wonderful. As always, this is my opinion and everyone hears differently. So go and try the Aune B1s for yourself.