T.H.E. Show 2022: Dethonray SG-1 Bluetooth Headphone Amplifier
Affordable high-end audio was not exactly on the menu this weekend at T.H.E. Show 2022; the vast majority of products fell into the “if you have to ask…” category which was somewhat discouraging. Attracting new music listeners has to be the goal going forward and with so many affordable high-end components available from such a wide range of manufacturers — it was definitely shocking that everyone went with the “shock and awe” approach this weekend. Products like the Dethonray SG-1 Bluetooth Headphone Amplifier were rare; it will be in the $250 to $500 USD range when released.
Saturday was very busy at the show and eCoustics Sr. Headphone Editor, Will Jennings and I stopped by Awedyo Audio for a listen to a new TinHiFi model (release TBD) and a prototype of the Dethonray SG-1 Bluetooth amplifier.
We are both huge fans of Dethonray; both of us own the original DTR1. Anson Tse has treated the personal audio community well, providing a simple, straightforward service for customers who want simple, straightforward gear that happens to sound great.
I promoted the DTR1 as a DAP for those who don’t want or need a touchscreen and don’t require all of the bells and whistles. I still use mine weekly, and would put it up against many comers to the DAP world priced beyond its level.
The Dethonray SG-1 is a Bluetooth headphone amplifier, which Awedyo Audio provided to us, and I was told is quite powerful. So powerful that we carefully hooked my iPhone 13 Pro Max, playing through my DDHiFi Janus2 IEMs, before placing them back in for a good listen.
They are right to be cautious. The SG-1 is powerful, and well worth the cautionary note. Build quality is solid, and I love the purple color. The switches are easily accessible on the sides, and easy to use as well. Highlighted in gold along with the rings around the jack, the volume wheel is triangular, with a good tactile feel as well. The unit may be used while charging. The manufacturer did not share the power specifications of the battery so I can’t comment yet based on the show model how long it will last with normal listening.
I spent some time listening to Peter Frampton using TIDAL at rather conservative volume levels and was quite impressed with the prototype. I already have the excellent HA-1 and I was quite surprised that a Bluetooth headphone amplifier could deliver such impressive sonic performance; the segment is dominated by Dongle DACs and TWS earbuds. Those who don’t think that a Bluetooth headphone amplifier can deliver sonically — you might be quite impressed by the Dethonray SG-1.
The ergonomic design worked for me and I found it rather easy to use; the unit offers both 3.5mm single ended and 4.4mm balanced connections.The production version will offer slightly less power to improve battery life and will be available in purple and black finishes.
For more information: dethonray.nl/en
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