Vorzüge VorzAMP PURE II - review and impressions

Discussion in 'Portable Headphone Amps' started by shigzeo, Jan 6, 2014.

  1. shigzeo Contributor
    Vorzuge-PUREII-iso-AX60-shuffle.jpg
     
    PURE II+ is now available. I have written about it at ohm image.
     
     
    I've had this on my desk and plugged somewhat indirectly into my ears since November. I took my precious time to finish reviewing it. Now I'm done. I put up a review at headfi, too, but because we don't have a place for PURE II yet, it is up under PURE I reviews. Oh well. I think reviews should pour in soon enough. My comparatively short one will have to suffice for now. 
     
    ohmage: sound
     
    This thing is the best portable headphone amp I've heard to date. It does nothing wrong, nothing. Industry-leading noise floor. Industry-leading stereo image. Industry-leading drive-to-low-impedance resolution and fidelity. There are no earphones/portable headphones that stymie this amp. Its lowest levels of performance (when under intense load) equal or better many amps' best performance when driving no load. Yesterday's PURE and DUO were chained to gain stages that buggered sensitive-eared listeners. Pair a W4 or worse, a Shure SE500 or Sleek Audio CT7 with the old PURE or DUO and at lowest L/R balance volume settings, sensitive-eared people had to listen to their music at 5-8dB above their comfort levels. I am one of those. PURE II does away with that. The new gain stage not only fractionates the PURE II's output into low, medium, and high gain settings, control over each setting is better spread over the course of the volume-pot's throw. Today's PURE II has the best spread of gain I've seen yet in a portable amp. Because noise floor is so low, the noise of your source can be almost completely eliminated. 
     
    And this badboy's output is easily able to keep up with the likes of the best portable sources out there. It will never be the bottleneck in your system that other, lesser, amps can become. 
     
    If you want me to effuse, I'll do it in the responses to this thread. This thing is amazing. I loved the old VorzAMPs. I am addicted to the new PURE II. 
     
    ohmage: polish
     
    For the most part, PURE II is built as well as its forebears. Countersunk everything, single-bolt sizes, nice paint job and great box. Accessories are clever and Vorzüge are keen on environmental standards. Bettering the PURE II will be hard or impossible for most companies out there.
     
    porridge: polish
     
    The gotcha to all of this is that there has been a bit of cost cutting. The old channel-marked volume pot is replaced by a thin, easily-rubbed-out line of paint. The insides still jiggle a bit. The lamp is much too bright. All of these are easy to address. I'm very surprised that that bastard lamp is still so blinding, even in daylight settings. This amp is not friendly for nightstand use unless you gaffer tape over the lamp. After that, battery life has dropped to plus 25 hours to less than 12. For a portable amp, that is a stark and divisive mark. For the performance and sound you get from this badboy, however, I think it is a fair trade off. The size of this amp precludes a large-capacity battery. Oh well. I'm down with the current form factor and 9-11 hours is more than enough for a day of listening. 
     
    conclusion
     
    This isn't merely the best VorzAMP yet, it is the best single-ended portable amp I've ever tested or happened upon in headfi/headphone show meets. Tradeoffs are minimal. What rocks about it really really rocks. I think that will become hot knowledge once this thing gets off of its backorder status. 
     
  2. Cotnijoe
    Been interested in this since seeing it on musica acoustics! Lve to see what others think of it as well. Nice short in sweet review :)
     
  3. shigzeo Contributor
    I've got enough cop for writing too much. Time to curtail the verbiage and leave what matters. I also can't wait to hear what others say.
     
  4. audionewbi
    how would this pair with T5p? Thanks for the review :)
     
  5. shigzeo Contributor
    Well, pairing is a personal thing. In terms of driving power and control, the T5P is chicken soup for the PURE II. This amp doesn't excite high frequency aberrations from tilted headphones. It is the smoothest-sounding high resolution portable amp I've yet used. Smooth, but not at all dark or veiled. Velvety, rich, supple. If that signature jives with your preferences, it should do well with the T5P. I have no idea of your preferences so I cannot say that it pairs well with the T5P or not. 
     
  6. audionewbi
    That is a fair point, I am interested to compare it against 627x. 
     
  7. feverfive
    My Pure II is supposed ship on the 13th. I ordered directly from Vorzuge. I have been curious about this amp for awhile & this new & improved version made me jump (looking for an alternative to my Rx MK-III-b, which is a beast btw).
     
  8. shigzeo Contributor
    The MKIII-B has more power for low and high current high-ohm headphones. But low current high ohm and portable/IEMs... PURE II all the way. 
     
  9. feverfive
    My Pure II was delivered yesterday.  I've only had a chance to charge** once, and use it for ~3 hours.  I am struck by how small it is.  Finish is impeccable.  I won't comment on sound because my DAP (RWAK100) is on its way back to me (sent it back to Vinnie for the S mod...almost a year after I had him do the output stage mod), and I am reduced to using my iPod Classic in the meantime (no CLAS or anything).
     
    **Re: charging-- I had it plugged in (using the included AC adapter) for >3.5 hours out of the box.  The red LED on the box alternated bright red, then dim red, then off, repeatedly.  I kept waiting for the light to turn off completely as the charging instructions on Vorzuge's site said it would once done charging.  I also plugged directly into USB port of my Macbook Pro retina, and the same rear panel LED lighting scheme occurred:  bright red>dim red>off, repeat.  :shrug:  I'm logging time in use right now (just don't have time to listen for long stretches this week), and will attempt another charge when the initial charge runs down.
     
    Early impressions are very favorable.  I also own the ALO Rx-MKIII-B & Headstage Arrow 4G.  Once I get my RWAK100-S back, I'll listen more critically.
     
    audionewbi likes this.
  10. feverfive
    So I'm spending some time w/ the Pure II today.  I'm using it w/ my RWAK100-S that I just got back today (had Vinnie do the S mod) & my Shure SRH1540 (these don't seem to get much love here, but oh well...I like them).
     
    I'm still having issues charging my Pure II.  Initial charge wouldn't complete, light kept alternating between bright>dim> off, rinse & repeat the whole time I tried charging the first night I had it.  Over two nights, it lasted only 5 hours & 45 minutes total when the amp just died.  I tried re-charging while I slept last night, same thing:  light kept alternating bright>dim>off, and was still doing it when I woke up this morning, ~7 hours later. I unplugged, and plugged into the USB port of my Macbook Pro retina, and same thing: light kept alternating.  I then unplugged, switched amp on then off, re-plugged into USB port, and the red LED stayed lit, and finally turned off after a little over an hour.
     
    I am listening again now, and logging usage time to see how long the battery lasts.
     
    I am playing mostly 16/44 ALAC out of my RWAK100-S, and I do have some higher res 24/96 flac that I'll try as I listen more.
     
    I think the RWAK100-S might need a little bit of burn-in as well....  Initially?  WOW!!!  The bass.  Dynamic.  Impactful.  This little amp brings the goods when it comes to dynamics for sure, going from quiet passages, to crescendos w/ zero problem.  I am also a bit amazed that I am hearing treble response that I hadn't quite heard previously on the SRH1540.  The top end has a bit more presence to me.
     
    Hopefully my issues with charging are sorted out.  Time will tell as I log how long the second charge lasts.  I've already sent an inquiry to Vorzuge about this, so I guess I'll get to test their customer service now.
     
    photo.jpg
     
    EDIT:  Vorzuge customer service responded pretty quickly.  They seemed to want to blame the limited voltage of my Macbook Pro retina's USB port, but I only tried that for a short time; the bulk of time trying to charge was from a wall outlet.  Anyway, they are sending me a new charger.  I hope that fixes things, because I love how this little beast sounds.
     
  11. shigzeo Contributor
    Thanks for the update. I hope your charging problems get fixed. I love this amp, too.
     
  12. Mimouille
    I wonder how this would pair with my ZX1...*devil of temptation appears on shoulder*.
     
  13. feverfive
    I've now got ~40 hours on my Pure II, and the charging problems were sorted out simply by using a different charging cable (the one that shipped w/ the amp is defective somehow).  I am also re-charging by using an external battery pack (just testing it out before a long trip I am taking in a couple months); it's this one--> http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00D5VAYRU/ref=oh_details_o00_s00_i00?ie=UTF8&psc=1
     
    I am now getting 8.5 - 9 hours in my RWAK-100-S > Pure II > Earsonics SM64 or Shure SRH1540 rig.  I am still very impressed by sound quality, and I actually prefer the Pure II over my Rx MKIII-b on that basis.  Oh, and correct:  the front panel (white) LED is BRIGHT.  I literally used it as a small flashlight last night.  LMAO, they might be able to gain an extra 30 minutes of play time if they lowered the brightness of this front light!  I am seriously thinking of taking a black Sharpie to it.
     
  14. nazrin313
    Subscribed... Any comparisons to the portaphile 627x? As ive narrowed down these 2 as my next upgrade portable amp...
     
  15. shigzeo Contributor
    I don't have the 627 but heard it briefly at a recent event. That's not good enough to opine about it versus the PURE II. But everyone I've met loves the PURE II.
     

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