One of the best parts of the high-end headphone revolution has been the cottage industry that emerged to support it; brands like Ampsandsound have proven to be more than a one-trick pony and delivered quality headphone amplifiers and power amplifiers for almost 6 years.
Justin Weber is beyond passionate and knowledgeable when it comes to his own designs and his products deserve the accolades that have been awarded. EIC Ian White has had extensive experience with most of the products and considers them to be his benchmark when it comes to headphone amplifiers.
When I first rekindled my portable experience about six years ago, I was lucky enough to audition for about two weeks the ampsandsound Kenzie through Todd The Vinyl Junkie (TTVJ) on another site (please excuse the crudeness in that review, I am not finished revising my site after a huge stutter to it a year ago).
It was literally my reintroduction into high-end portables. As such, I will admit that I became too much of a fanboy at the time; not that I have any regrets in regard to my review because the Kenzie is a superb headphone amplifier.
I was completely thrilled with the Kenzie no matter what I threw its way. I imagined the Kenzie in my home portable system, listening to fine music while drinking an even finer single malt. The Kenzie really did throw me into the realm of what could occur at the upper echelons of the “portable” market.
Fast forward five years, and proprietor Justin Weber had a fully filled booth at T.H.E. Show. As luck would have it, another acquaintance was in the booth helping the brand. Sebastien kindly introduced me to Justin, and we had a brief talk during the show.
Known for stellar headphone amplifiers, ampsandsound produce many models from a revamped Kenzie (Kenzie Ovation Rev 2, $4,200) to the Red October (in blue! Integrated amplifier, $12,000) to the impeccable Zion Monos amplifier ($12,000) for the speaker market.
The Nautilus ($9,200) is yet another integrated amplifier, along with the Bigger Ben Rev 2 headphone amplifier ($5,600). As Justin himself describes it on the website, their heart still lies in the two-channel market. I am thankful the headphone amplifiers follow suit. I was lucky enough to hear the Red October drive the excellent Rosson Audio Rad at T.H.E. Show. The combination was superb, even if my listen was only about five minutes.
Following that, I listened to the Bigger Ben Rev 2 through the excellent ZMF Atticus, and my findings were the same; superb sound, coupled with excellent detail and a very organic sounding presentation that did something very special with the human voice.
The entire Ampsandsound lineup is built to last; the parts selection is excellent and Weber does extensive testing on every unit before it ships. Weber is also somewhat fanatical about the build quality of each amplifier and the internal boards and wiring are a masterclass in organization and finishing.
The booth saw plenty of traffic during T.H.E. Show, with many lingering for a good long listen. Ampsandsound is here to stay and for good reason; word has begun to traverse the global Head-Fi community that they make some of the best products in the industry.
For more information: ampsandsound.com
Continue reading: Show Reports from T.H.E. Show 2022
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