SPL Phonitor X / Phonitor E impressions and Discussion thread

Discussion in 'Headphone Amps (full-size)' started by grizzlybeast, Dec 2, 2016.
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  1. MutaraNebula
    Im new in the audiophile sector, but I bought a Phonitor X and a Sennheiser HD800S a few days ago. To me it sounds very good, but i dont have any comparison. Im not sure if wether or not i should keep it. If not, i think about a tube amp like EternalArts OTL or maybe something different like RME ADI-2 Pro.
  2. grizzlybeast
    The phonitor X sounds great for solid state but the thin timbre of the 800 likes and responds well to the rich sou ding tube amps out there
  3. Edric Li
    I am using the phonitor e + HD800S combo, and I have tried the Manley 300B, some Eddie Current and Schiit tube amps before. To me tube amps do have a more punchy, bouncy bass, but the HD800S is not the right headphones for that. HD800S has a really distorted, muddy subbass response compared to other TOTL. More bass from the amps = more distortion from HD800S, from my experience.
    Last edited: Jun 10, 2017
  4. grizzlybeast
    ^def disagree with that.
    BIG POPPA likes this.
  5. ToTo Man
    Can you explain this in more detail please?
  6. Edric Li
    Low quantity, low quality bass: https://www.innerfidelity.com/images/SonyMDRVSA5000.pdf / https://www.innerfidelity.com/images/AudioTechnicaATHW5000.pdf
    Medium quantity, low quality bass: https://www.innerfidelity.com/images/SennheiserHD800S.pdf / https://www.innerfidelity.com/images/AKGK812SN001130.pdf / https://www.innerfidelity.com/images/BeyerdynamicT1SN3964.pdf
    High quantity, low quality bass: https://www.innerfidelity.com/images/SonyMDRXB300.pdf

    Low quantity, high quality bass: https://www.innerfidelity.com/images/StaxSR009.pdf
    Medium quantity, high quality bass: https://www.innerfidelity.com/images/HiFiMANHE1000.pdf
    High quantity, high quality bass: https://www.innerfidelity.com/images/FostexTH900.pdf

    Btw my experience with these headphones agree with these measurements.
    Last edited: Jun 16, 2017
  7. borrego
    According to the Phonitor X User's Manual (https://spl.info/fileadmin/user_upload/produkte-w/Phonitor_x/Phonitor_x_BA_EN.pdf), the balanced headphone output actually has worse noise and dynamic range specification compares to the single-ended headphone output:

    Balanced headphone output:

    Neutrik 4-pin XLR connector
    Pin wiring: 1 = L (+), 2 = L (-), 3 = R (+), 4 = R (-)
    Impedance: 0.36 ohms
    Damping factor: 180 @ 40 ohms
    Frequency range: 10 Hz to 300 kHz ( -3 dB)
    Crosstalk at 1 kHz: -90 dB
    THD & N: 0.00091 % (at 0 dBu, 1 kHz, 100 kohms load)
    Noise (A-weighted): -98 dBu
    Dynamic range: 130.5 dB

    Single-ended headphone output:
    6.35 mm TRS connector
    Pin wiring: Tip = Left, ring = right, sleeve = GND
    Impedance: 0.18 ohm
    Attenuation factor: 180 @ 40 ohms
    Frequency range: 10 Hz to 300 kHz ( -3 dB)
    Crosstalk at 1 kHz: -90 dB
    THD & N: 0.00091% (at 0 dBu, 1 kHz, 100 kohms load)
    Noise (A-weighted): -103 dB
    Dynamic range: 135.5 dB

    The Phonitor 2 only has a 2 channel Alps volume pot, I wonder if it is actually a "dual mono" design rather than full differential balanced output. Not sure if the Phonitor X having 2 channel or 4 channel volume pot.

    I am seriously considering the Phonitor 2/X recently for a "studio/dry sounding amp", then I found some treak with my Metrum Aurix and decided sticking with it.
    Last edited: Jun 17, 2017
  8. Edric Li
    I don't know about dry but my Phonitor E does sound very "correct". And my ears can confirm that the balanced output has more distortion than the unbalanced.
  9. BearMonster
    Can anyone tell me the difference between the Phonitor 2 and the Phonitor X/E. Are they the exact same sounding?
  10. lissimore
    I just picked up the Phonitor x (with the optional DAC) which I'm using primarily with a pair of Utopias. I can't seem to find much info on the DAC (aside from 192/24). Anyone have any opinions on it or are you using another DAC with the Phonitor?
    Last edited: Nov 8, 2017
  11. fzman Contributor
    I have samples of both the X and the E right now. They have the built-in dacs, but I am am running xlr cables from my Directsream Jr. Dac into the E. These might even be theGrizzlybeast tour pieces--silver E and red X. I have not tried the X yet, and have only used the E without the crossfeed engaged. Qucik switch-flips produced no immediate diff, so I am ignoring it for now. I am going to get a Luxman P-750u soon, also for audition, but I am liking the E so far.
  12. EDN80
    I made that mistake too at first. Ignoring the CROSSFEED function. In fact, I initially thought Crossfeed detracted from the original sound as there initially appears to be a slight loss of volume and dynamics with it on. BIG MISTAKE! I was very satisfied with the sound without the crossfeed, but only a few months in, really did my research and started fiddling with the dials. Needless to say, the crossfeed function, after getting used to it, I feel took my headphones to another level, adding more 3D imaging, headroom, and overall spatial depth to the sound. I would say SPL's speaker room arrangement headphone implementation is probably one of the best in the business and one of the prime attractions here. My Matrix settings are firmly locked on Crossfeed 4/ -0.9 Center/ 30 degree Angle and not likely to change anytime soon.

  13. fzman Contributor
    I have not yet hooked up the X. I will at some point, when I return the E to work so my coworkers can hear it as well. (The samples both have built-in dacs, but I will probably not use them, so if I bought one for myself-a real possibility at this point, I'd get one without the dac-probably an E in red, but I owe it to myself to warm up and try the X while it's here... Thanks,. btw, for your suggestion on the crossfeed..
  14. bfmcosta
    Did you have a chance to explore the X? How does it compare to the E?
  15. fzman Contributor
    I did get a chance to listen to the X as well. I thought it might have sounded a tiny bit better than the E, but I did find, much to mu surprise, that the cross-feed was quite good, and usable, even for a crotchety purist audiophile like me. I've returned both samples to the distributor, but I would have been happy to have either as my main or only headphone amp.
    bfmcosta likes this.
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