Pathos Acoustics Aurium - listening impressions
Oct 28, 2017 at 11:00 AM Thread Starter Post #1 of 114


1000+ Head-Fier
Dec 16, 2013
Back from the future
As I just ordered one a few days ago, I am interested in collecting listening impressions of this class A hybrid headphone amp which is still in the Innerfidelity Wall of Fame after a few years from its launch!

If possible please always post the source and headphones you use (or used) with it, any tube rolling experience and which other amps you can compare it with.
I will do the same soon enough...

In the meantime I can post a couple of links to online reviews:
- Innerfidelity
- What HiFi
- SoundstageXperience
- HeadFi

A couple of specs:
Output power: 3,6W @ 32 Ohm, Class A zero feedback
Output Impedance: < 0,5 Ohm
Output level: 7V RMS max
Frequency response: 10Hz - 80KHz
THD: < 0,1 %
Analogue inputs: 1 stereo balanced XLR, 3 stereo unbalanced RCA line
Analogue outputs: 1 - XRL TAPE, 1 - RCA line TAPE
Max inpult level: 6,4 V RMS unbalanced, 3,2+3,2 V RMS balanced
Main voltage: 90-250 V 50 / 60 Hz
Power consumption: 30 W

And a couple of pictures:


Oct 29, 2017 at 3:43 AM Post #2 of 114
In THIS review of the Audeze LCD-X, Arnie Nudell chose the Aurium as preferred headphone amp for the test.
For those who don't know him, Arnie Nudell is the co-founder of Infinity Systems and one of the true legends of high-end loudspeaker design. His Infinity Reference Standard (IRS) pushed the boundaries of what was possible, and remains to this day one of high-end audio’s most iconic products.

He writes:
"...I also auditioned many headphone amplifiers and found that the best audio seemed to be derived from those using a vacuum-tube front end for voltage, and a zero-feedback MOSFET design for current. The headphone amplifier that I ultimately selected was made by an Italian company called Pathos, and its headphone amplifier went by the name of Aurium. This amplifier had an output of just under 2W into 32 ohms and easily drove the LCD-X to a sound that I thought was nearly as good as it gets."
Nov 27, 2017 at 9:37 AM Post #4 of 114

Did you get the amp and do you like it?
The Aurium arrived in the wrong colour and I sent it back... (arrrrrr!)
The replacement should ship today or tomorrow so I need another week.

In the meantime I spent another fortune in upgrade tubes. I found two fantastically matched Telefunken E88CC (6922).
You can imagine how I am waiting my Aurium...
Nov 27, 2017 at 10:08 AM Post #5 of 114
The Aurium arrived in the wrong colour and I sent it back... (arrrrrr!)
The replacement should ship today or tomorrow so I need another week.

In the meantime I spent another fortune in upgrade tubes. I found two fantastically matched Telefunken E88CC (6922).
You can imagine how I am waiting my Aurium...

Thank you for your reply.

When you get the new one set up I would be very interested in your initial impressions.

Thank you.
Dec 1, 2017 at 8:19 PM Post #7 of 114
After an endless wait my replacement unit has shipped yesterday!
So it looks like next weekend I’ll be able to post my first impressions.
I will try to refrain from plugging in the two Telefunken NOS tubes and my Sbooster power supply and let the Aurium have some brake-in period with its standard tubes and PS.
This way I will be able to tell if the two upgrades bring any noticeable difference...
Dec 8, 2017 at 6:47 PM Post #9 of 114
@Robert777 Update on the Aurium: unbelievably the replacement unit came in the right colour but this time with a dent (small scratch) on the front panel. Not acceptable so even this one is going back today...
So I’ll have to wait another week or two to get the third unit!
I’m speechless!
Dec 29, 2017 at 10:41 AM Post #11 of 114
The third Aurium arrived yesterday after an unbelievable series of delays.
I will try to forget the frustration for this series of bad luck events and listen to the amp with a free mind.
Hooked up now to my system, I promise I will work soon on a small review.
First impressions are very, very positive but let's not rush it...
Jan 20, 2018 at 6:22 AM Post #13 of 114
Today I took my Aurium with my Focal Clear and Hugo 2 DAC to a shop where I spent almost 2h comparing A/B against the Violectric V281.
The Hugo 2 was feeding the V281 (RCA) and from there two XLR cables fed the untouched signal to the Aurium. This chain connection allowed for a real time A/B just switching the headphone cable from one amp to the other.

With my big surprise at the end of the session the clerk agreed with me that the V281 was no improvement over the Aurium, at list in the conditions of the test.
While the V281 displayed a more extended, deep bass (at the verge of being too much for my personal taste), the Aurium sounded more detailed and and airy.
Other than these minor differences both amps were very neutral sounding (no emphasis on any frequency), fantastically refined and handled even the "busiest" tracks effortlessly.
For the records, the source was my Onkyo DP-CMX1 player/phone connected to the Hugo 2 via USB.
Another important note is that my Aurium was upgraded with two NOS 1962 Telefunken E88CC tubes and powered by my Sbooster power supply.
Test tracks were various Tidal HiFi quality songs of various genres (Classical, Electronic, Pop, Rock) and some hi-res FLAC tracks (96/24, 192/24) mainly Folk.

I will update my review of the Aurium with this brief experience. I hope it can help.
Last edited:
Apr 28, 2018 at 8:51 AM Post #14 of 114
After putting all-in for a Chord Dave now I am broke and before my wife finds out the plunge in the bank account I need to sell my pristine Aurium!
Considering the level of the headphone amp in the Dave keeping the Aurium would be a luxury I can't afford!
If you are interested you can check HERE.
Oct 10, 2018 at 6:15 PM Post #15 of 114
That's it? No one else has any impressions to offer 5 years after it's release?

Users who are viewing this thread