SPL Phonitor X / Phonitor E impressions and Discussion thread
Dec 2, 2016 at 3:59 PM Thread Starter Post #1 of 1,043


My name is grizzlybeast and I'm an audioholic.
Dec 26, 2012

SPL Phonitor X / Phonitor E

SPL has recently launched these two new amplifiers. The sonic performance of these two units are identical but the features vary between the two units.
I have personally reached out to SPL in an effort to find some more impressions of them and possibly test a unit and share impressions. This interest came about when while researching for my next solid state amplifier I was recommended the SPL Phonitor 2. Upon visiting their website I noticed these new releases as well as a thread about these amplifiers but with no impressions. 
I was put in contact with a representative of http://www.plurison.com who is the US / Canada distributor for SPL and has them for sale. They expressed interest in my idea of starting a tour for these two units and are sending both to me so we can get a tour going and some healthy impressions about these amplifiers. The SPL 2 has a good reputation so I am expecting these to sound good as well. 
I will post impressions soon. 


SPL Phonitor X $2,499.00

headphone amplifier and preamplifier 

  1. 120V rail headphone amplifier and preamplifier
  2. Separate connections and power amplifiers for headphone driven balanced and unbalanced 
  3. Suited for all headphones with impedances >10 ohms
  4. Balanced and unbalanced analog inputs (XLR and RCA)
  5. Optional digital inputs: USB, coaxial and optical
  6. Optional DAC: 192 kHz and 24 Bit, Win driver supplied, Apple Class compliant
  7. Balanced and unbalanced analog outputs (XLR and RCA)
  8. Innovative Phonitor Matrix: speaker-equivalent listening on headphones
  9. Laterality control: super-fine balance control
  10. Mono switch function
  11. Volume remotely adjustable (learns any IR remote control)
  12. Maximum output power: 2 x 3.7 W (into 120 ohms)
  13. Frequency response: 10 Hz - 300 kHz (-3 dB)
  14. THD+N: 0.00091 % (HP), 0.00085 % (Line)
  15. Dynamic range: 135.5 dB (HP), 136.3 dB (Line)
  16. AMP CTR connection with Performer power amplifier for coupled On/Off switching 
  17. Standby/power on switch
  18. Linear power supply with toroidal transformer
  19. Front and Lid made from aluminum, housing made from sheet metal
  20. Made in Germany


SPL Phonitor e $1,499.00

headphone amplifier

  1. 120 V Rail headphone amplifier
  2. Separate connections for headphones driven balanced and unbalanced 
  3. Suited for all headphones with impedances >10 ohms
  4. Balanced and unbalanced analog inputs (XLR and RCA)
  5. Optional digital inputs: USB, coaxial and optical
  6. Optional DAC: 192 kHz and 24 Bit, Win driver supplied, Apple Class compliant
  7. Phonitor Matrix with two presets for speaker-equivalent listening
  8. Volume remotely adjustable (learns any IR remote control)
  9. Maximum output power: 2 x 3.7 W (into 120 ohms)
  10. Frequency response: 10 Hz - 300 kHz
  11. THD+N: 0.00091 % 
  12. Dynamic range: 135.5 dB
  13. Standby/power on switch
  14. Linear power supply with toroidal transformer
  15. Front and Lid made from aluminum, housing made from sheet metal
  16. Made in Germany
    Tour sign up and rules below 

Dec 2, 2016 at 4:10 PM Post #2 of 1,043
Big thanks to http://www.plurison.com for getting this going. I had no idea they would be so enthused to share this amp. They have them in stock ready to ship so if you end up liking the amp feel free to contact them. 
To avoid any theft and these getting into the hands of the careless below are some rules for the tour. The tour can start soon since they are already being shipped. 
  1. Each person has a week (7 days from receipt of the amplifier) maximum to spend with the headphones. Please plan on shipping/passing the amplifier on the 7th day. 
  1. Each tour member is responsible for paying the shipping and insurance costs to the next tour member with registered post requiring signature.
  2. NO Ground shipping - Only air unless the next tour member is close enough for it to take less than 3 days. The list below will have the names and you will ship to next person after you
  3. Tour will be arranged by location. 
  1. by signing up you are agreeing to post at least some general impressions. A review is preferred. 

Since there are two units ten members signing up is easy. 
Dec 2, 2016 at 6:25 PM Post #3 of 1,043
Following. I've yet to hear any SPL amp, but curious about the newer models, and how they stack up against the iCan Pro. Closest comparison I can think of.
Dec 3, 2016 at 1:57 AM Post #4 of 1,043
Bloomington, MN

Sample reviews on Enjoy the Music
Example of some HF Impressions:
Abyss AB-1266
Hifiman HE500
Metrum Musette
I'll do either. If get the Phonitor X, I'll do additional testing with the ELAC UB-5 and some various studio monitors. 

Dec 3, 2016 at 8:49 AM Post #5 of 1,043
Heck yeah these look pretty sweet.


Charlotte/ NC

Link to previous impressions or review:
I've quite a few reviews done so here's a link to my YouTube channel & Head-Fi profiile page if you're interested.

Gear amps will be used with:
Senn. HD650
B&W P7
Schiit Bifrost 4490
Luxury & Precision L3
iFi Nano iUSB3.0


Whether you would like to audition the X or E version:
Preferably the X model but I'd be content with either.
Dec 3, 2016 at 6:00 PM Post #6 of 1,043
I would like to hear the X if possible.

Seattle, WA
Holo Audio Spring DAC Level 3
Chord Hugo

Speaker rig using it as a preamp (possibly):
ATI Amplifier
KEF Reference 105.2 Vintage Speakers
Dec 4, 2016 at 8:56 PM Post #8 of 1,043
Portland, OR

Phonitor e
Abyss 1266, Kennerton Odin, Ether flow, Ether c flow in a few weeks, He6 stock, Hd800s
Stockholm v2, starting point systems dac, ifi dsd micro.
Vs audio gd nfb-1 amp, sa31se both with similar power ember ii
I can at least do impressions. Headfier since 2005.
Dec 5, 2016 at 6:59 PM Post #9 of 1,043
  1. Username WNBC
  2. City/State  Maple Valley, WA 
  3. Link to previous impressions or review http://www.head-fi.org/users/166200/reviews
  4. Gear amps will be used with SOURCE:  Currently Schiit Gumby, but likely Holo Audio KTE Spring DAC and iFi Micro iDSD Black by the time the amp arrives.  HEADPHONES:  Incoming HD800S and my current Elear.  AMPS:  MicroZ2.0, Liquid Carbon 2. 
  5. Whether you would like to audition the X or E version.  E, but would take X if needed :wink:
Dec 7, 2016 at 6:53 AM Post #10 of 1,043
First and foremost, thank you very much grizzlybeast for reaching out to SPL and getting the tour rolling! I used to own the first generation SPL Phonitor, and I missed its sound signature after it was sold. I feel grateful that SPL and plurison are allowing this opportunity; I would love to participate in providing impressions!
  1. Username gzone3Lement
  2. City/State Santa Barbara/CA
  3. Link to previous impressions or review Modded Soundmagic HP-100
    1. Follow up post
  4. Gear amps will be used with
    1. Source: Chord Hugo
    2. Amp: Luxman P-1 (not Luxman P-1u)
      1. Note: Will attempt and compare with the original SPL Phonitor based on my written notes before it was sold
      2. Maybe Schiit Audio Ragnarok
    3. Headphones:
      1. Denon AH-D7000
      2. Sony MDR-CD3000
      3. JH-5
  5. Whether you would like to audition the X or E version Version X because I am very interested in purchasing this particular version and its rackmount accessory
Other Notes: Not only do I have about 20 feedbacks from Head-Fi, I also have about 80 positive feedbacks from eBay. I hope I will be considered as a tour member!
Dec 10, 2016 at 5:18 AM Post #11 of 1,043
I own the Phonitor X (PX for short). It's incredible. No hyperbole. It does everything right; all strengths, no weaknesses. 
My choice of headphone with it is the HD800 via Sonarworks Reference 3 (SWR3). I do not understand why anyone with these cans would not use SWR3, it transforms them entirely (for the better). If you've not heard of SWR3, it's a plugin that calibrates speakers and headphones for optimal, flat output. It's aimed at producers and mix/master engineers (the kind who master the records you listen to) who need accurate sound. The change you get from that alone is far more than any amp will do for you. It supports a raft of headphones.
For reference, I have a top-grade headphone setup; Moon 600i, Lumin A1 and Abyss AB-1266 cans. That combo is a dream setup.
So is PX + SWR3 + HD800.
So is PX + SWR3 + LCD-2.
So is PX + LCD-2.
You see my point and the common denominator? 

(All going through Prism DAC with Uptone Regen + linear PSU.)
The game changer for me is the Matrix system. I thought this would be a gimmick at first—I was more interested in the dual 120v power system—but it's proven to be invaluable. The Abyss are a different class of headphone, they simply don't sound like any other headphone. The Matrix system on the PX (and other models) gets closer to that kind of sound with the HD800 (thanks to its already large soundstage).

HD800 with Matrix on, using 55 degrees and 4 crossfade takes the sound out of the 2 channel stereo field and widens/deepens it. It really does work - the sound is much more like that from speakers. Naturally too, better than software.

I upgraded to the PX from the previous P2 (defective - loud hum) as I need the rear 3-pin XLR outs for studio monitors and a dedicated 4-pin XLR for balanced headphones. The PX now has a linear PSU which tightens things up somewhat. This new unit isn't burnt in either, only been playing it a few hours and it's already improving.
TL;DR - straight to the top of the 'prosumer' list for me. While it doesn't replace the Lumin+600i setup, it's a dream machine in its own right. TOTL performance wise.

+ Incredibly transparent
+ 120v dual rail system is genius (see next point)
+ Powers the most demanding headphones with aplomb, with room to spare
+ Perfect production/studio preamp if you use speakers + headphones
+ Gets the most out your DAC/cans with no colouration
+ Bang for buck is off the charts. Best dedicated HP amp I've heard.
+ Matrix system is a game changer 
+ Internal linear PSU
+ Build, feel and ergonomics are top notch
+ Versatile

- Quite literally, nothing

TL;DR for the TL;DR - It gets the most out of your gear. Buy this amp :¬)
Dec 10, 2016 at 1:48 PM Post #12 of 1,043
Indianapolis, IN
LFF Code-X
HiFiman HE-1000 v1
Audeze LCD-X (2014)
MrSpeakers Ether
Sennheiser HD800 (unmodded)
ZMF Eikons (if received in time)
Chord Mojo
PS Audio Nuwave DSD
SPL Phonitor X
Dec 13, 2016 at 11:13 PM Post #13 of 1,043
I definitely think we have enough interest.. 
Just an update: 
I have not received the amp(s) yet  though they have my shipping information but the rep responded to my checking up as follows
"Hi lee
..... Definitely going forward with this "
As soon as I receive the amp and post some first impressions or pics I will post the order of the tour by member location. 
Dec 14, 2016 at 6:36 PM Post #15 of 1,043
The Phonitor 2 has been one of the few amps I still have a lot of interest in trying, but just never got around to. Now with the improvements on the X, I'm more interested than ever and it would be awesome to get an extended test.
  1. earthpeople
  2. Seattle, WA
  3. I don't have any recent reviews/impressions, but I have several from many years back (a couple reviews and many impressions spread around the forums -- I used to be much more active 
    ) http://www.head-fi.org/users/102353/reviews
  4. I've pared my gear down to basically (balanced) HD800 and TH900 for dynamic headphones, Yggdrasil DAC. Will probably try as pre-amp for my speakers/monitors and STAX rig as well (KGSSHV and SR-007). 
  5. Interested in X 

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