Angstrom Stella Headphone Amplifier
May 5, 2017 at 9:00 PM Post #16 of 25

Dillan

Headphoneus Supremus
Joined
Dec 8, 2012
Posts
2,238
Likes
592
Location
Nashville
Just in case anyone was interested:

The added xlr input I got them to put for me has Partridge custom wound transformers.

Once I do get it in then I do plan to be pretty rigorous and aggressive with my testing and listening. I'd like to test distortion levels and try to drive some power hungry cans like LCD4 in hopes of clean silent listening levels. This will be my end game personal amp and I set high standards so while I do think it will be an amazing sounding amplifier.. I won't settle if it can't do the tasks I need it for almost perfectly. Build time should be about a month I think.
 
May 30, 2017 at 5:13 AM Post #17 of 25

britneedadvice

100+ Head-Fier
Joined
Aug 28, 2012
Posts
234
Likes
35
Location
UK
Dillon, Am I right in thinking you're buying this Amp without audition?
Also, looking through your posts, it seems your also having a Headtrip (Reference?) built too.(a total of $28K !!??)
Are others thinking what I am???
 
May 30, 2017 at 9:52 AM Post #18 of 25

Matez

Member of the Trade: Forza Audio Works
Joined
Nov 3, 2005
Posts
1,099
Likes
531


New Angstrom Stella Headphone Amplifier
February 24, 2017


Angstrom Audio Laboratories is back at it again with a statement level Headphone Amplifier of uncompromising standards. MSRP $13,750.

Power Output 3,5 watt per channel

Dual Mono Power Supply

weight 35 Kg

Full Regulated Power Supply 12 Tubes( 6 x channel)

2 ECC802S input/driver stage per channel

2 6CG7 double triode in triode composite Circlotron operating

Response Frequency 12 hz to 150 Khz

Output is in Current

Output impedance 10 Ohm to 3 Kohm

Distorsion 1% @ 20 Hz to 20 Khz

I've seen Angstrom stuff one year ago in Munich. These things looked very serious. And two years ago, along with Italian Albedo speakers they made a really nice sound.
 
May 30, 2017 at 10:24 AM Post #19 of 25

Sil3nce

Lives in Liebesträume No. 3
Moderator
Joined
Jan 30, 2009
Posts
2,459
Likes
416
Let me clarify for the sake of everyone: This thread doesn't belong to a single individual.

If you guys can't respect each other, it will be locked.

Let's be cordial and play nice. :)
 
Jun 1, 2017 at 1:17 AM Post #20 of 25

Dillan

Headphoneus Supremus
Joined
Dec 8, 2012
Posts
2,238
Likes
592
Location
Nashville
I've seen Angstrom stuff one year ago in Munich. These things looked very serious. And two years ago, along with Italian Albedo speakers they made a really nice sound.

I am very curious to try this product out. They seem to be getting close to finished with my build. To the poster above you- even if I did audition, I am adding circuitry and different tubes totally so I think there wouldn't be a point in auditioning a stock or someone else's custom amp. I am hoping these sound as good as they look and as good as their customer service is haha.

But that's cool you were able to see their stuff twice Matez.. I cant wait for my experience with them soon. Heard nothing but good things. Actually Italian companies have really been impressing me a lot here lately in the audio world, they have some amazing and world class components coming out of their boutiques over there!
 
Jun 2, 2017 at 8:10 AM Post #21 of 25

Matez

Member of the Trade: Forza Audio Works
Joined
Nov 3, 2005
Posts
1,099
Likes
531
I am very curious to try this product out. They seem to be getting close to finished with my build. To the poster above you- even if I did audition, I am adding circuitry and different tubes totally so I think there wouldn't be a point in auditioning a stock or someone else's custom amp. I am hoping these sound as good as they look and as good as their customer service is haha.

But that's cool you were able to see their stuff twice Matez.. I cant wait for my experience with them soon. Heard nothing but good things. Actually Italian companies have really been impressing me a lot here lately in the audio world, they have some amazing and world class components coming out of their boutiques over there!

Yes, Angstrom is a boutique manufacture all the way. And that's admirable in today's world. My only concern is the amount of valves inside a headphone amp. Angstrom people know what they are doing, hence everything will turn out fabulous. But you know, the amount of glass under the hood of that beast... holy cow.
 
Last edited:
Oct 9, 2017 at 4:50 PM Post #22 of 25

Algaeuer

New Head-Fier
Joined
Oct 8, 2017
Posts
1
Likes
1
Location
Germany
Haven't been here for a while, but is this the state of high-end audio today?? Nearly $14k for something that isn't even built on proper PCBs?? And plywood side panels to disguise that the enclosure is something you can buy for a DIY-project for around $100 from modushop.biz? Equally amazed and disgusted to be honest...

Hello Nisbeth,

I was looking for information on Angstrom's headphone amplifier and I ran into this forum. For transparency's sake I need to say that I just ordered Angstrom's Stella integrated amp after comparing it sonically with other amps... but that's another story. I would like to address some of your remarks as I believe they don't make a good service to interested music lovers.

1. As I believe you are aware of, many hi-end valve amplifiers are point-to-point wired. Angstrom amps are no exception. In this case military grade teflon-insulated wires of the highest quality are used, that is a virtue when compared to PCB tracks, not a vice. Besides, the time it takes to masterfully solder and organize cabling is not comparable to a machine-populated PCB, hence a partial justification for the higher cost. About the use of perforated boards as support, I find that to be a brilliant idea because of its simplicity and I wonder why other manufacturer didn't think of it. I honestly find it impossible to look inside an Angstrom machine and say that it looks cheap, on the contrary i believe it looks outstanding.

2. Given that you commented on the plywood, let me address your criticism there, but it would be enough to look at the list of chosen components (e.g. Vishay) to quickly come to the conclusion that we are not in 100$ territory. Back to the plywood issue, two considerations:
i. Using plywood is a sound choice from a functional point of view. Compared to a solid slab of wood, ply provides increased mechanical resistance, it's not prone to bending as natural wood is, and (to my eyes at least) provides a more aesthetically pleasing profile (cut)
ii. Not all plywoods are born equal. Upon enquiring Angstrom's designer I was informed that the inner layers of side panels are made of birch whilst the outer veneer is made out of Italian olive tree. The finishing and painting is made at a local artisan's shop owned by a lutist. I also learnt that the top cover is cnc machined according to Angstrom's specification and painted in an oven like a car's bodywork. All of that adds to the price of the product, I challenge you to come up with an enclosure like that for 100$.

3. This comment addresses remarks from other posts in this thread but I write here for convenience:
i. as far as I know there is no trace of opAmps in Angstrom's designs, and the headphone amp is no exception
ii. At the Indulgence audio show in London just a couple of weeks ago this amp was driving Audizee and HiFiMan headphones without breaking a sweat. Glorious sound with the volume knob that couldn't be turned past one third of the full scale without causing permanent damage to the eardrum. I learned that the Stella Mk2 outputs 15W, no wonder driving the headphones was a non-issue.

Ultimately, 14K$ is an awful lot of money and the manufacturer has certainly a hefty profit margin, but that's audiophile's world. You can also find headphone amplifiers that cost multiples of Angstrom's and we all know that the rule of diminishing returns applies. Having said that, if one has the passion and the money I think Angstrom is well worth considering because of its design, craftsmanship, sonic performance and niche clientele. Certainly not in the category of "value" products, but a fair proposition in the premium segment.

Always enjoy the music,
Algaeuer

PS: @Dillan: did you get the amplifier? Your feedback?
 
Last edited:
Oct 13, 2017 at 12:02 AM Post #23 of 25

Dillan

Headphoneus Supremus
Joined
Dec 8, 2012
Posts
2,238
Likes
592
Location
Nashville
Hello Nisbeth,

I was looking for information on Angstrom's headphone amplifier and I ran into this forum. For transparency's sake I need to say that I just ordered Angstrom's Stella integrated amp after comparing it sonically with other amps... but that's another story. I would like to address some of your remarks as I believe they don't make a good service to interested music lovers.

1. As I believe you are aware of, many hi-end valve amplifiers are point-to-point wired. Angstrom amps are no exception. In this case military grade teflon-insulated wires of the highest quality are used, that is a virtue when compared to PCB tracks, not a vice. Besides, the time it takes to masterfully solder and organize cabling is not comparable to a machine-populated PCB, hence a partial justification for the higher cost. About the use of perforated boards as support, I find that to be a brilliant idea because of its simplicity and I wonder why other manufacturer didn't think of it. I honestly find it impossible to look inside an Angstrom machine and say that it looks cheap, on the contrary i believe it looks outstanding.

2. Given that you commented on the plywood, let me address your criticism there, but it would be enough to look at the list of chosen components (e.g. Vishay) to quickly come to the conclusion that we are not in 100$ territory. Back to the plywood issue, two considerations:
i. Using plywood is a sound choice from a functional point of view. Compared to a solid slab of wood, ply provides increased mechanical resistance, it's not prone to bending as natural wood is, and (to my eyes at least) provides a more aesthetically pleasing profile (cut)
ii. Not all plywoods are born equal. Upon enquiring Angstrom's designer I was informed that the inner layers of side panels are made of birch whilst the outer veneer is made out of Italian olive tree. The finishing and painting is made at a local artisan's shop owned by a lutist. I also learnt that the top cover is cnc machined according to Angstrom's specification and painted in an oven like a car's bodywork. All of that adds to the price of the product, I challenge you to come up with an enclosure like that for 100$.

3. This comment addresses remarks from other posts in this thread but I write here for convenience:
i. as far as I know there is no trace of opAmps in Angstrom's designs, and the headphone amp is no exception
ii. At the Indulgence audio show in London just a couple of weeks ago this amp was driving Audizee and HiFiMan headphones without breaking a sweat. Glorious sound with the volume knob that couldn't be turned past one third of the full scale without causing permanent damage to the eardrum. I learned that the Stella Mk2 outputs 15W, no wonder driving the headphones was a non-issue.

Ultimately, 14K$ is an awful lot of money and the manufacturer has certainly a hefty profit margin, but that's audiophile's world. You can also find headphone amplifiers that cost multiples of Angstrom's and we all know that the rule of diminishing returns applies. Having said that, if one has the passion and the money I think Angstrom is well worth considering because of its design, craftsmanship, sonic performance and niche clientele. Certainly not in the category of "value" products, but a fair proposition in the premium segment.

Always enjoy the music,
Algaeuer

PS: @Dillan: did you get the amplifier? Your feedback?

Absolutely brilliant and much needed post @Algaeuer .. I have noticed as well that search engines are putting this thread pretty high up when searching for keywords about Angstroms Stella amplifier. This puts even more importance on making sure the information we share is accurate and not just blatant trolling or nonsense. I agree with basically your entire post and it is a good way of explaining the high cost and also a good way of giving some compliments to a well built product.

I did receive this Stella Headphone MK2 Amplifier a few months ago and I can confidently say that from the first time I laid my eyes on the packaging, I knew this was a huge step ahead of anything I was used to in the audio world. The presentation was incredible, unpacking it left me gasping. The red silk draping over the big wooden box, the perfectly customized packing with everything perfectly packaged to prevent any damage. I was blown away from the beginning without even pressing play yet.

I am not one to exaggerate and I won't tell you that I cried tears of joy when doing my listening sessions but I will simply say that *I* feel like you get what you pay for. (You may even be able to work with them on the price some if you really try.. who knows). To me the sound is very reminiscent of a hybrid instead of a full tube based amp. It sounds very very clean, there are absolutely zero artifacts or unwanted noise.. That is actually one of the most impressive aspects, with that many vintage tubes and the background is absolutely pitch black silent. I am going to be writing a full review of this thing literally just because it is relatively unknown and underrated.. so I will be doing that just as a favor to Angstrom and the community and I plan to really sink some time and effort into it. So i wont go too much into detail here, but I will comment lastly here about the sound signature. I feel the Stella provides a softness to the music. And yes, it will power ANYTHING you throw at it. I mostly listen to my LCD4 and I do feel like it is an excellent pairing. I was a little worried beforehand that the combination would be too warm, but there isn't too much warmth in the Stellas sound, just a blissful software that kind of rounds off the sharp edges in things like bright treble or crisp drums. There is a very real clarity to your sound and I will say that with a proper setup behind the Stella.. It is extraordinarily transparent and without a quality recording you won't be enjoying it at all. So yea, I will stop here but I am very happy with the purchase and will not ever be selling this unit. It is beautiful, provides sufficient power & doesn't shape the music in any significant way.. It instead lets you hear what the artist intended while putting a softness to some of the unpleasant extremities that we don't particularly enjoy hearing. So 3 words for the sounds signature - clarity, softness and accuracy.

I wouldn't personally suggest someone going in debt for the Stella, but I would highly recommend to someone who has some extra money to spare and wants an absolute end-game amplifier that will almost certainly cure your upgrade-itis forever. It also may be worth waiting another month or so for my full length review as well. I realize it's almost impossible for people here in the US to test it before purchasing, so I want to contribute as much as I can for those researching.

Thanks again Algaeuer.
 
Oct 17, 2017 at 8:58 AM Post #24 of 25

Matez

Member of the Trade: Forza Audio Works
Joined
Nov 3, 2005
Posts
1,099
Likes
531
Some nice feedback in here, that's a given. Perhaps one day I'll try this Italian beast for myself.
 
Nov 12, 2017 at 8:22 AM Post #25 of 25

pedalhead

Headphoneus Supremus
Joined
Oct 6, 2005
Posts
1,908
Likes
580
Location
Oxford
I'm looking after one of these for a while (this is the unit recently used at the London Indulgence show and is the new 10.5wpc version). I'd only heard the Stella under show conditions so it's interesting to get some quiet time with it. My first impressions (with HEK v2) are that it's quite smooth, very friendly with hot recordings (even Oasis are pretty listenable), at least partly due to some HF rolloff. Noise floor is virtually non-existent, impressive for tubes in my experience. There's a bit of transformer hum from the unit itself (not via headphones), but not a problem unless you sit on top of the amp. There's a lot of body to the sound, some tubey bloom for sure, but dynamics are still very good. I'll set up some other amps for comparison soon, but so far the Stella makes Jotunheim sound thin, forward and bright (which it is a bit anyway).

I dread to think how much electricity this is drawing. I'd guess around 800w - 1kw (turns out I was way off, it's more like 100w - 150w according to Angstrom...far lower than I thought for a circlotron design).

ps...this is using ECC81 drivers. HEK v2 are at good volume level with gain -4db, volume -10db

stella.jpg
 
Last edited:

Users who are viewing this thread

Top