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Mini pre-amp/headphone amplifier with tube buffer stage.

iPar 1023a hybrid tube headphone amp

  • Mini pre-amp/headphone amplifier with tube buffer stage.

Recent Reviews

  1. Mobiustereo
    A lot of bang for the buck
    Written by Mobiustereo
    Published Mar 4, 2016
    Pros - - relatively quiet background - fast, neutral presentation - very powerful for it's size
    Cons - non at this price
    A quick background - I actually purchased this for my 'travel' system when i'm out of town on business and also for vacations, etc. In this application, it is used with a classic iPod and Audio-Technica M50 cans. Always worked and sounded great, but hadn't actually had it out in-use for a while. Enter the 're-do' of my current home set-up, where I recently pulled the trigger on a pair of HiFiMan HE-1000's. Since my prior set up was a pair of Stax SR-007's and an electrostatic amp, I didn't have anything to drive the HE-1000's with, except for....hmmm, I wonder if....
    Would the little iPar be up to snuff and adequately drive the vaunted HE-1000's?? Should I even TRY this? More importantly, would the HE-1000's 'puke' it's connector back out of the iPar's 1/4" jack every time I tried to plug them in?!? Well, obviously, being an impatient person, I wasn't about to wait until I purchased a better amp, so had to at least give it a try. And this is where the surprise really came in - I was genuinely shocked at how good this little hybrid amp sounded. Maybe because I was expecting so little? but in this case, it really was the 'little amp that could'. Frequency extremes were well rendered, good solid bass, soundstaging was very good. Nice speed, detail and pace. Had plenty of power to drive the 1000's to ear-bleeding levels, with no break up or distortion that I could detect. Vocals were reproduced in a very natural manner, with no noticeable sibilance or other aberration. 
    What areas could be better, and most likely would be with a better amp? Probably a slightly lower noise floor, though i never felt like the amp was injecting any noise into the signal. Also, probably wouldn't match that that relaxed presentation that you usually get from a top-flight amp, and the highest frequencies, while present, were perhaps not as 'organic' as I suspect a notch amp would do.
    Again, overall, this is one little giant-killer if there ever was one. Hooking them up to something as revealing as the HE-1000's was indeed an acid test, which it passed in flying colors. I can't imagine anyone being disappointed - especially given the relatively low cost of entry. If you're looking for a spare amp for your office, to travel with, or are just on a budget, I strongly urge you to give this one a try.


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