Amps & DACs
SPL Phonitor Headphone Amp
The SPL Phonitor headphone amp is designed for the world's best studios and most demanding pro audio monitoring applications, but it also functions as an exquisite home/office head-amp for truly discerning headphone audiophiles. Employing the most advanced and shapeable crossfeed circuitry we have ever seen in any amp, the Phonitor offers tons of headroom (!), dead-accurate resolution power and precise musical linearity that digs deep into the hidden essence of any recording. The Phonitor unique feature set includes Speaker Angle imaging 'toe-in', Mono/Stereo and Center Level control, plus 6-position crossfeed stage. XRL connectivity. Made in Germany.
Black finish. Also available in Silver finish direct from Germany as a HeadRoom 'special-order'.
- 6-position crossfeed stage control
- 6-position 'speaker angle' control
- 6-position center level control
- Mono or stereo operation
- Solo 'instrument-only' monitoring capability
- True stereo VU or PPM metering with full calibration control
- Balanced XLR input/output connectivity
- 120VAC (North American) built-in power supply
- Engineered & manufactured exclusively in Germany
What's In The Box:
- SPL Phonitor owner's operation manual
A huge breakaway hit at the 2011 Rocky Mountain Audio Festival, the SPL Phonitor amp is a marvel of headphone achievement. Eschewing an internal DAC, the Phonitor presents a dedicated audio monitoring solution for any professional headphone mixing/mastering application or recording engineering work with accuracy on par -- if not vastly superior -- to traditional studio loudspeaker monitoring. Employing unique SPL-patented op-amps called 'SUPRA', the Phonitor topology allows for extremely loud "speaker-like" headphone monitoring levels without listening stress or fatigue due to the massive signal handling capacity of the SUPRA design, which permits the amplifier to sound relaxed with perfect musical detail and spacious room sound texture recovery. In addition to standard monitoring functions, the Phonitor offers built-in controls dedicated to the recordist or serious audiophile intent on producing and/or listening to the best music reproduction quality possible. The 6-position discrete Crossfeed, Speaker Angle, and Center Level controls create the width, balance and overall space within a listening field that precisely mimics your current loudspeaker set-up's spatiality and 'room sound' dimension, so your Phonitor headphone cues are identical to that of your present mixing console or room speaker system. In tandem with the ability to remove vocals from the center channel to check for incorrect phase issues or low-level instrumental imaging detail, the SPL Phonitor headphone amp can also operate in true mono or stereo mode and fully adjusts for interaural time alignment correction. Now headphone audiophiles can really enjoy music as it was originally mixed for playback over loudspeakers without cheesy headphone "surround sound" or spatial simulacrums.
Many thanks to SPL-Germany for making such a wonderful product ready to blow away pro audio workers and audiophiles alike!
NOTE: SPL headphone amps are fabricated in Germany. North American customers may need to purchase a common [IEC; 3-prong type] AC power cord if not included in the SPL Phonitor amp.
Frequency Response: ‹10Hz to ›200kHz (-3dB)
CMR:-80dBu (@1kHz, 0dBu input level and unity gain)
Crosstalk: -67dB (@1kHz)
THD: 0,005% (@ 1kHz, 0dBu input level and unity gain)
Noise: -97dBu (A-weighted)
Dynamic Range: 129,5dB(@ 600 Ohms Impedance)
Balanced XLR Inputs electronically balanced
Impedance: ca. 20 Ohms balanced/ca. 10 Ohms unbalanced
Maximum Input Level: +24dBu
Headphone Output: 6,3 mm stereo TRS connection
Pin Wiring Tip = left, Ring = right, Shaft = GND, Impedance: 9 Ohms
Max. Output Performance:
1,7W (+32,2dBm) @ 1 kHz and 600 Ohms connection
360mW (+25,6dBm) @ 1 kHz and 30 Ohms connection
VU Meter: Input levels from -20dB to +5dB
Signal LED: Input signals from -22dBu
Overload LED: Displays input overload from +21dBu
- Home Use: yes
- DAC option: no
- Amplifier Type: Home-use
- THD at 1V output: <0.005%
- Frequency Response: 5-200 kHz, +/-1dB)
- Dimensions: 360 mm X 215 mm X 106 mm
- Weight: 8.93 lbs
- Amplifier Group: Other Amps
- DAC: no
- Warranty: 2 years
Posted by proton from Ormond Beach, Fl on 2012-06-03
Recommend Product: Yes
Pros: Beautiful Sound and Looks
1) Phonitor Studio Amp
2) Headroom UDAC
3) DiMarzio XLR Balanced Interconnects (1.5ft)
4) Beyerdynamic DT 990 - 250 ohm Headphones
Music Source- Optical output from PC at 96 khz
Since I am not an Audio Engineer I can not comment on how well the Phonitor performs in that role. I bought it solely as a headphone amp and my review will be based on its use for that purpose.
Since SPL designed this device for professional recording studios it is assumed to be a top notch amplifier.
And it is.
Simply put, it will sound as good as the source being fed into it. I can not envision any combination of components ( regardless of price ) that would make the Phonitor the “Weakest Link” in any audio setup. As far as an amp is concerned this is the “top of the heap”.
Since I am using Headroom’s top of the line (UDAC) as well it is impossible for me to tell where the DAC stops and the Phonitor starts. All I can say is the combination is awe inspiring in its clarity, soundstage, and fidelity. Bass is deep without a hint of distortion and the mid and highs are rich and clear.
The word “crystalline” comes to mind.
Amazingly, while this combination gives a whole new meaning to the term “ Audio Clarity” it is also forgiving of poorer recordings. But I have no way of knowing if that is due to the UDAC or the Phonitor itself.
But I can say this setup is probably as close to perfection as you can get.
Most of the things it can do are probably not necessary for the average headphone listener. Being able to play only the left or right channel or switch to mono is not something I think I would ever use.
The main functions I was interested in were the cross feed and center adjustments. They do simulate loud speakers and the effect is very impressive.
Build Quality and Appearance:
In this respect you definitely get your moneys worth, the quality is incredible.
Put it this way- if BMW made audio equipment they would build it like this.
Granted the Phonitor is overkill as a Headphone Amp so the obvious question is whether it is worth the money for that purpose?
Speaking for myself- absolutely.
The crossfeed and center functions are in my opinion the most useful and they do improve the listening experience. The combination of the UDAC and Phonitor sounds so good it is difficult to believe anything could sound better.
Different maybe- but not better.
Now for the whole truth:
I wanted a top notch Headphone amplifier and the Phonitor met that requirement, but that was not why I bought it. After all, there are other high end amps which cost less.
I chose it primarily for how it looks.
This is one of the most impressive pieces of equipment I have ever seen. I found myself going back to this page over and over again “ just to look at it”.
After about two weeks I decided I simply had to have it.
The pictures do not come close to doing it justice. It is absolutely stunning and has to be seen in person to fully appreciate. It just reeks of quality and the way it looks on my desk makes it worth every cent. But make no mistake- as impressive as it is on the outside what is inside is even better.
If all you want is a high quality Headphone amp the Phonitor may be overkill. The Phonitor, Headroom UDAC, and the DiMarzio XLR Balanced Interconnects were around $3300.00 total.
That is not a cheap setup.
But if you want the best I would recommend duplicating what I bought with the headphones you prefer. If you look around you could probably spend more but I doubt you could get better.
Note: There are several YouTube reviews on the Phonitor that are very informative.
I have now had the Phonitor a little over a month and decided to update my initial review.
The longer I have it the more I love it and the more impressed I am with its phenomenal quality. I wish I had bought it years ago.
But I was wrong about one thing which prompted me to do this update. The Phonitor and Headroom UDAC are NOT FORGIVING OF POOR RECORDINGS.
My initial conclusion was based on only a few sessions with the combination. As I have used it more I have discovered poor recordings will shriek at you like a little girl you stepped on her doll or something.
This is not surprising since if you buy high quality equipment you need to feed it high quality recordings. Well engineered recordings will simply blow you away with all the things in a song you never knew were there. But that same trait will make poor recordings or low quality mp3’s grate on you.
This is how accurate this equipment is.
I was listening to Daydream Believer by the Monkees and I can hear them taking a breath while they are singing.
That is about as accurate as you can get
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