Headphone Amplifiers Cupertino CA

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Best Buy
760 E El Camino Real
Sunnyvale, CA
 
New Century Audio/Video Inc.
(408) 341-1950
450 El Paseo De Saratoga
San Jose, CA
 
Fry\'s Electronics-Campbell
(408) 364-3718
600 East Hamilton Ave
Campbell, CA
 
Magnolia Audio Video
(408) 423-5100
52 N. Winchester Blvd
Santa Clara, CA
Services
Home Audio

Best Buy
3090 Stevens Creek Blvd
San Jose, CA
 
Fry\'s Electronics - Sunnyvale
(408) 617-1300
1077 East Arques Ave
Sunnyvale, CA
 
Century Stereo
(408) 341-1950
450 El Paseo De Saratoga
San Jose, CA
Services
Home Audio, Design & Installation

Home Cinema Solutions
(408) 288-7872
891 Laurelwood Rd #106
Santa Clara, CA
Services
Acoustical Design, Home Automation / Systems Integration / Home Networking, Home Theater, Multi-Room Audio, Multi-Room Video
Brands
Control4, Parasound, Denon, Yamaha, Triad Loudspeakers, Noble Fidelity Loudspeakers, Definitive Technology, NHT, Niles Audio, Middle Atlantic, Pioneer, Panasonic, Samsung
Certifications
One or more employees at this company have achieved CEDIA Professional Certification status:- John McCann, CEDIA Certified Professional Designer

Best Buy
2460 E Charleston Rd
Mountain View, CA
 
Cinemaffect
(877) 426-9511
51 North Willard Ave.
San Jose, CA
Services
Acoustical Design, Audio / Video, Designing for Individuals with Special Needs, Furnishings, Home Automation / Systems Integration / Home Networking, Home Theater, Lighting Control, Motorized Window Treatments / Home Theater Curtains, Multi-Room Audio, Multi-Room Video, Security / Access Control / Surveillance / Gate Access, Telephone Systems, Energy Management / LEED, Home Health, Service Repair, Preventative Maintenance, iPhone / iPad integration
Brands
Cinemaffect offers a wide variety of top-performing products at competitive prices.
Certifications
One or more employees at this company have achieved CEDIA Professional Certification status:- John White, CEDIA Certified Professional Designer, CEDIA Certified Professional EST II

headroommax

POSITIVE FEEDBACK ONLINE - ISSUE 5

headroom

the Max and Little headphone amplifiers

as reviewed by Carlo Flores

max.jpg (20532 bytes)

   

The Max

Many audiophiles view headphone listening as playing with toys or trying to get the most from portable fidelity. Others believe that a well-designed transducer powered by quality amplification can yield good results regardless of the type of system. Headphones offer a choice to those who are limited in space. If you can live with a soundstage that exists within two inches of your skull, you can, with proper care, assemble a system that rivals similarly priced speakers. There are headphones and amps to power them in just about every price bracket. In the case of Headroom, a complete line of headphone products is available from one manufacturer, including the Blockhead, a fully balanced amp that can only be used with a specially terminated Grado RS-1 or Sennheiser. For those (like me) who like other headphones, the Max is Headroom's best offering, so I view it as their statement product, and the one I decided to review.

The Max has some nice features that allow for great flexibility. It can be used as a two-input active preamp, a one-box solution for those looking to incorporate a headphone amp with a speaker system. One of its inputs can be changed to a loop out, so the user can use the amp between a preamp/integrated's tape output and a recording device, with minimal influence on the sound. The Max's class AB circuitry is encased in a long rectangular chassis that is about half the width of most stereo components, with the simple, nondescript faceplate allowing for easy integration into a living environment. The Max's front panel is covered with user controls: toggle switches control gain (a welcome addition for better control of the stepped attenuator), Headroom's patented Crossfeed Circuit, and their filter settings. Two headphone jacks that lock in theory, but not in reality, allow for shared listening, and a toggle switch allows the user to float ground. Missing from the front panel is source selection; instead, it's on the rear plate, which will make the Max unpractical for many people. On the back, the IEC receptacle, fuse, and power switch are a one-piece unit, which means that that the large IECs on some power cords may get in the way when trying to turn the unit on or off. The Max is surprisingly lightweight—I had to place books on its top lid to use aftermarket power cords.

After the obligatory interconnect and power cord changes, I settled on the Tara Labs Air 3 for its soundstage and the Tek-Line PC12W for its top end linearity. I set the Max's crossfeed circuit and filters to their off positions (more on what they do later), and hardly fiddled with the amp again. I had the opportunity to borrow Grado HP-1s, Audio Technica w2002s, and Sennheiser HD600s during my time with the Max, along with the Grado SR225s and Sennheiser HD580s (with Cardas upgrade...

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