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HeadRoom Audio introduces (a drum roll, please) the brand-new HeadRoom Standard headphone amp. Engineered, designed and built in Montana USA by the same team responsible for the superior audio DNA of classic HeadRoom amps like the HeadRoom Max and HeadRoom BlockHead, the Standard Amp is our clear return to form. Who says you can’t put the old band back together?
Beginning in 1992, HeadRoom Audio has been the industry leader in headphone amp sound quality. We were the folks responsible for the first digital-USB portable headphone amp (The HeadRoom BitHead) and also the first balanced-drive headphone amp (The HeadRoom BlockHead) ever to be commercially manufactured. Since then, lots of other companies have jumped into the pool turning our small headphone pond into a massive ocean overflowing with of all kinds of headphone products and amps at prices and performance points all over the map.
The new HeadRoom Standard Amp was conceived with one simple goal in mind - Deliver the very best sound quality available in any headphone amp of this size and price. Our idea was to improve upon the audio lineage of our previous HeadRoom 'Micro Line' and HeadRoom 'Desktop Line' amplifier designs while shrinking the chassis footprint as much as possible at a direct-to-consumer price well below that of any competing products.
Of course, leave it to HeadRoom Audio to bring you a brand-new headphone amp that not only expands upon our long history for superb sound quality and extreme reliability, but also pushes the world of personal audio engineering forward a notch.
The new HeadRoom Audio Standard Amp employs a freshly juiced topology that mixes both integrated and discrete audio concepts to extract top performance from modern op amp technology. To just briefly get into some tech-speak, the Standard amp design has a hot-rodded JFET front-end with fully discrete Diamond Buffer Walt Jung-inspired bi-polar output stages using the best low-noise, high Ft transistors we could find. Total R-C decoupling on all op amps localize current loops and keeps any potential electrical hash totally off the rails.
For music lovers seeking maximum clarity, image depth and uncolored detail resolution, the high-performance OPA827 employed within the HeadRoom Audio Standard Amp is engineered to deliver extremely low harmonic distortion for a precise, uncluttered and vastly dynamic sound. The OPA827 is the excellent successor to the famed OPA627 (both manufactured by TI) and offers the same deep, well-controlled bass extension with no treble harshness, resulting in a cleanly transparent, quick sound full of tonal warmth and musical body.
The HeadRoom Audio Standard headphone amp feature set includes dual 1/4" stereo headphone jacks with a 2 position gain stage. Input connection is via rear panel stereo RCA inputs and the RCA outputs are controlled from a front panel switch. The RCA pre-outputs are a true 'active' design and will not function when the unit is off. The large front panel volume knob is an extra quiet, smooth operation rotary construction with infinite level adjustment. A tough extruded black aluminum casing ensures the Standard internals stay free of any induced extraneous noise and safe from travel bumps. The HeadRoom Audio Standard Amp employs a clean 16VAC external transformer for the power supply which is internally converted to +/- DC power using new super high-quality regulators and then neatly smoothed out with lots of capacitance.
In essence, we purposefully kept the new HeadRoom Audio Standard Amp bells and whistles to a minimum. Again, the overriding design goal was simply to cut to the chase and make a straight-forward analog headphone amp that could beautifully drive the best dynamic, planar magnetic or in-ear headphones available in the audiophile industry. We also wanted to create a new amp unit that could unquestionably stand alongside - if not even exceed - the sound quality performance of any other similarly priced headphone amp on the planet, including our own highly lauded HeadRoom designs of the past 25 years.
After many long months spent in the audio lab and more than a few sleepless nights, we really think our aspirational goals have finally been achieved. We would love for you to compare the HeadRoom Audio Standard Amp to any other headphone amp in its category and let us know what you think!
Pre-order the new HeadRoom Audio Standard headphone amp today and get it shipped to your door as soon as our first units roll off our Montana assembly lines in October 2016.