Elemental Watson Class-A Valve/Mosfet Hybrid Headphone Amplifier (Review added)

Discussion in 'Headphone Amps (full-size)' started by ostewart, Oct 15, 2016.
2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11
Next
 
Last
  1. ostewart
    Anyone got one?
     
    One is making it's way to me from Jaben, be interesting to hear it and it seems quite powerful compared to OTL offerings like my Feliks Audio Espressivo.
     
    http://www.jaben.co.th/shopping/Elemental-Watson.html
     
    Specification
    1. Frequency Response : 10 Hz – 100 kHz (-3dB)
    2. Output power :
      1. 250 mW + 250 mW (300 ohm)
      2. 2000 mW + 2000 mW (30 ohm)
    3. Headphone impedance : 30 – 600 ohm
    4. Power supply ; 26V/0.8A DC adaptor
    5. Dimensions : 140 x 90 x 130 mm
    6. Net weight : 320 grams

     
    elemental-1-0ff7cacdda.jpg
     
    elemental-5-aebca6527c.jpg
     
    Review:
     
    Firstly I would like to thank Jaben Singapore for this sample, I always try to write honest reviews. This unit received over 50hrs of burn-in to let the tubes settle.
     
    Gear used:
    HP Laptop > JDS Labs OL DAC > Elemental Watson > Hifiman HE-500
     
    [​IMG]
     
    Tech Specs:
    1. Frequency Response : 10 Hz – 100 kHz (-3dB)
    2. Output power :
      1. 250 mW + 250 mW (300 ohm)
      2. 2000 mW + 2000 mW (30 ohm)
    3. Headphone impedance : 30 – 600 ohm
    4. Power supply ; 26V/0.8A DC adaptor
    5. Dimensions : 140 x 90 x 130 mm
    6. Net weight : 320 grams
     
    Packaging, Accessories and Build Quality:
    The packaging is nothing special, it comes in a simple brown card box, but it does its job in protecting the amp during shipping. All it has on the box is a sticker with very basic specification. Overall no fancy packaging, but then again, most boxes end up in a cupboard or thrown out so I am not too worried about this.
     
    Accessory wise all it comes with is a very brief user manual and the power supply. Again nothing else is really needed but some companies include interconnects and jack adaptors. Again not worried about the lack of accessories as they are not required and this is a fairly budget amp.
     
    Build quality is good, the sockets all feel solid, and the design is very simplistic and open. Nothing remarkable about the build, but I like the look and it helps it stay cool. The heatsinks at the side get quite warm, but the valves don’t get very hot and this amp tends to stay fairly cool compared to some tube amps, you wouldn’t burn yourself on this amp.
     
    [​IMG]
     
    Features:
    The valves are GE JAN 5654WE and are rollable, with other 5654/6AK5 equivalent valves.
    The amp uses a dual-mono design, the valves are used on the gain stage, and the output is class-A mosfet powered.
    It has a pair of RCA inputs, a 3.5mm line-input and a 6.3mm headphone output, this is an amp suited for hard to drive headphones, as the gain is high and there is channel imbalance at very low volumes.
     
    [​IMG]
     
    Sound:
    This amp may not be the best looking, have the best packaging but this is what matters, and it does not disappoint. It may look unassuming, but hook up the HE-500 and it drives them with ease, the lows are full and articulate, the mids ooze emotion and the highs are not aggressive, they are delicate with excellent definition and extension. I find this amp to play well with all genres, slower music tends to sound more delicate and you get hear a little more warmth, but it can keep up with faster music too.
     
    This amp is smooth, slightly warm and full, it has incredible power too. Most of my listening on the HE-500 was done with the volume pot at just below 9 O’clock. My Feliks Audio Espressivo doesn’t sound quite right with the HE-500, it doesn’t have enough power to really control the low end and they sound a little thin with it, my Matrix Quattro II has a powerful headphone amp but it is too linear for casual listening. This amp for under £200 powers them really well and sounds excellent in doing so.
     
    It would pair well with most flat to slightly bright headphones, it is small and sits nicely on a desktop set up, and is perfect for those that want a slightly more fun sounding amp.
    The sound is not ruler flat, it has some warmth to it, but it is a very easy to listen to amp. It does not have the refinement of high-end valve amps, but it is a lot better than the cheaper Bravo Audio amps.
     
    [​IMG]
     
    Conclusion: If you have some hard to drive headphones and are looking for a budget amp, you should take a look at this. It works really well with the HE-500, and has a very easy to listen to sound, for the price I am very impressed, you can valve roll too which will change the sound to some extent.
     
    Sound Perfection Rating: 9/10 (Excellent value for money, just not suitable for sensitive headphones)
     
    http://www.jaben.co.th/shopping/Elemental-Watson.html
     
  2. Wyd4
    Had a listen to this today.

    Mojo + Watson into Mr speakers ether c.

    I was very impressed.

    Currently debating buying the exact combo I tried. Though it's hard when I have the alo cdm.
     
  3. ostewart
    I have mine now, and it powers my HE-500 fine, sounds really good too. It has a smooth sound, slightly warm but airy with authority too, an enjoyable listen.
     
  4. Wyd4
    Listening to mine at work as we speak at work with my Ether C.
    I was a little worried upon firing it up as it sounded harsh and brittle.
     
    Starting to settle down now and resemble more what I auditioned.  Very happy.
     
  5. circlecrystal
    Some background information I gathered from internet, about this amp:

    1) It's made by Phatlab:
    https://www.cool3c.com/article/110836/term/111276

    2) Previously, they have released two portable tube amps:

    Phantasy (~$1700):
    http://www.headfonia.com/review-phatlabs-phantasy/

    Sassy (~$700):
    http://www.headfonia.com/review-phatlab-audio-sassy-not-sassy/

    -----

    Personally, I really want to know how this one (Phatlab Walson) sounds, when compared to Phantasy and Sassy, especially in terms of the soundstage and instruments separation.
     
    alphanumerix1 likes this.
  6. circlecrystal
    I'm considering to get one for a listen.
     
  7. ostewart
    Review added
     
  8. Wyd4
    Using mine with my ether c and man I love it.

    Though I run -20db pre amp on my laptop into dac 2v line out into Watson just so I have done volume play Lol. This has some grunt
     
  9. Wyd4
    I am curious about tube rolling but a complete tube noob so for fear of buying the wrong tubes or getting ripped off I will just leave it as is For Now
     
  10. ostewart
    I have some Mullard valves on the way for mine, M8100 Millard's, any 6AK5 / 5654 / CV4010 type valve will work
     
  11. ostewart
    Also one thing I hate about amps like this is LED's below the tubes to make it look like they glow, yes the tubes don't glow a lot on their own, but still I dislike LED's under valves.
     
    So I replaced them with non light emiting Diodes, turns out you can't simply remove them from the circuit.
     
    EDIT: LED's are probably the best choice to stick with, as they seem to serve a function in the circuit and their specs were probably chosen for a reason. So I have taken the diodes out and put the LED's back but on the underside of the board as the diodes were, and I painted them so the light doesn't show through.
     
    IMG_20161204_133332.jpg
     
    alphanumerix1 likes this.
  12. circlecrystal
    Hope some more people can give this one a review.
     
  13. DoctaCosmos
    How's much is this in US currency
     
  14. circlecrystal
    The price of it in Taiwan is 160 usd.

    UPDATE: The price of this amp increased to 220 usd in Taiwan recently... Maybe the early price is a welcome price period.
     
    alphanumerix1 and DoctaCosmos like this.
  15. circlecrystal
    IMG_7119.jpg
    IMG_7120.jpg
    IMG_7151.png
    IMG_7152.png
    IMG_7153.png
     
2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11
Next
 
Last

Share This Page