SPL PHONITOR X & E

Discussion in 'Headphone Amplifiers and Combo (DAC/Amp) Units' started by gbeast, Dec 24, 2016.

  1. gbeast

    gbeast Mighty Moral Power Ranger

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    SPL PHONITOR X

    [​IMG]
    Here on my desk for review is the Phonitor X and E (same but without crossfeed, preamp, and vu meters)

    It is solid state and is rather expensive at 2499 USD the E version with the same exact sound quality but stripped of the extras is 1499

    I have been listening to it with the 650 today and have to say that tonally it is a much better pairing for the 650 than the Pro iCan as well as my Trafomatic head 2 so far.

    I can't really get deep into the sound yet but what I will do is quote my mothers perspective when blind A/B/C ing between my Trafomatic Head 2, iHA6, and Phonitor X.
    A. Phonitor
    B. Cayin iHA6
    B(pt2). Trafomatic Head 2


    Me underestimating my mother:
    " Mom, I don't know if you will be able to hear the differences between these amps. Headphones yes but these amps can be harder" Then I listened really quick and thought... Nah she won't know the differences. Stupid me.

    My mom:
    "A. It sounds as if there is air being pushed and the music is coming through that air. The music sounds more realistic than 'B' When the music pans back to my right ear it does it with more vibrance and realism.... 'B' sounds clear but like I am listening more from a machine kind of. 'B' sounds more realistic and natural.... This is easy 'A' sound a lot better to me. I can tell the differences easy"

    Me:
    "So mom, dynamics are the differences in loudness in the music. You have an audible wave signal with peaks and troughs and if an amp is dynamic you can hear those contrasts better. Which sounds more dynamic to you?"

    Mom:
    'A'

    Me:
    "Okay listen for separation...Just close your eyes and tell me which amp sounds like its easier to hone in on the individual sounds"

    Mom:

    '"A' without question"

    Me:
    "Now time for the next AB vs my tube amp I won't tell you which amp is which." ( I kept A the same but she couldn't see that)
    A. Phonitor B. Trafomatic

    Mom:
    "I really like this headphone (650)... Anyway I like A (she didn't know which amp it was) but these amps sound a lot closer to eachother. For some reason I have yet to figure out, I like 'A' more. They both sound really good but 'A' just sounds better to me. Now which amp was 'A'?"

    Me:
    "What I hear mom is that 'A' is still more natural sounding than even my tube amp so far but my trafomatic sounds a little wider. I like the midrange better on 'A' (Phonitor). Actually I didn't expect it to do better tonally... Well thanks for nerding out with me mom. "

    I would like to start a tour here for the E if I am allowed but before hopes arise I need to contact the vendor who has been enthused to share this gear but a little busy.
     
    Last edited: Dec 24, 2016
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  2. purr1n

    purr1n Finding his inner redneck

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    I had a chance to listen to the Phonitor 2 a few years and quite liked it even at the asking price. That says a lot. The experience doesn't compare to the "big-boy" tube amps, but the sound quality was solid and refined without any treble weirdness. The crossfeed implementation is fantastic. People who bitch about headstage should seriously look into this.
     
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  3. gbeast

    gbeast Mighty Moral Power Ranger

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    Can I be honest... I am very apprehensive about being overly enthusiastic here but literally everything you mentioned is what I am hearing with this amp already but was going to wait to share it.

    The crossfeed is without the peakiness in the upper mids of the Pro and the extra sharpness I heard.
     
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  4. k4rstar

    k4rstar Sad on the inside

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    Curious, did you have any of the extra features of the Phonitor (crossfeed) enabled during the Mom mini AB session?
     
    Last edited: Dec 24, 2016
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  5. purr1n

    purr1n Finding his inner redneck

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    Please be willing to be enthusiastic. If you said this is one of the best solid-state amps that you have heard, I would have a hard time not believing. I have not heard the X, only the 2. The best aspect was of the 2 was that it didn't do anything in particular to draw attention to itself. I also found it acceptable with the HD800. Few solid-state amps can achieve this while still maintaining a neutral sound. I'm sort of glad that you have brought this up because SPL has sort of been long forgotten.
     
  6. gbeast

    gbeast Mighty Moral Power Ranger

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    ^Well I need to test it with other hps to make that statement but with the 650 it is the best solid state I have heard.

    @k4rstar No features were enabled. I played w/them after.
     
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  7. Thenewerguy009

    Thenewerguy009 Friend

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    What headphones do you have other than the 650 to test with?
     
  8. gbeast

    gbeast Mighty Moral Power Ranger

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    I was pissed because the amp arrived late and I had to ship my he6 that I sold.

    Edit: Odin will be later on...
    Modded HD800, Atticus/Eikon, and modded HRM_7, some ortho (don't know yet)
     
    Last edited: Dec 25, 2016
  9. TheIceman93

    TheIceman93 El pato-zorro

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    Excited to hear your Phonitor E impression gbeast. Unless the reviews are less than positive, I think I might buy it as my reference solid state amp. Also, I might be in the minority but that red is sexy as hell. It doesn't match any of my other components but I think I'll regret to if I don't go for the red, it too unique.

    I seem to recall reading that the Phonitor E has the same topology and components as the X. The X is more expensive because it has the added crossfeed tuning options and meters, where the E just has two factory crossfeed presets. If the crossfeed is disabled on both, they should theoretically sound identical or near identical. I'm curious to hear from you if this is the case.
     
    Last edited: Dec 25, 2016
  10. pedalhead

    pedalhead Friend

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    Good to see some Phonitor love. First HF meet I did back in 2009 SPL came along with an early version of the original Phonitor. I recall liking it and have had a Phonitor itch since then. That red does look rather posh.
     
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  11. TheIceman93

    TheIceman93 El pato-zorro

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    [​IMG]

    I think I've found my next amp. Man, this thing is sexy.
     
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  12. Rthomas

    Rthomas Friend

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    All I want to know is if this thing is more dynamic with better slam than the Mjolnir 2 with the HD650.
     
  13. Scubadude

    Scubadude Almost "Made"

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    As far as I know very little have changed from the original Phonitor in terms of circuit design ... very German ... if you did it right first time why change? I have one of those first generation Phonitors and it remains my absolute favourite SS reference amp. Would love the opportunity to compare with the newest incarnations but that is unlikely to happen at the southern tip of Africa ...
     
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  14. Riotvan

    Riotvan Got lost for three weeks at Delft City Hall

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  15. gbeast

    gbeast Mighty Moral Power Ranger

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    Based on the spider charts I have seen I doubt it.
     
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  16. JK47

    JK47 The Beer Houdini

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    The ability to program any remote to control the volume is bad ass. Works with both the X and E models.

     
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  17. purr1n

    purr1n Finding his inner redneck

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    Phonitor E might be interesting as a loaner. We have several things out right now so I need to check status of funds.
     
  18. sphinxvc

    sphinxvc Gear Master East

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    Elear's ready for sale.
     
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  19. gbeast

    gbeast Mighty Moral Power Ranger

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    [​IMG]
    Both E and X
    I want to ask the rep if I can send the E on tour here. I don't need to have both for review. I edited this post because it was a bit hasty and gain settings were the cause of me hearing differences because both gain switches were were accidentally tipped up on the E. Sorry for the being misleading... Best to wait for a thorough write up.

    Just to throw some firm impressions out there.

    • Solid bass that is a bit round but full and textured. The sub bass has very good sustain
    • The midrange is very even and full with a tiny bulge in the middle mids for natures sake
    • The treble is even, clean and balanced, non fatiguing.
    • The soundstage is good, realistically spread out without being diffuse with a good center image.
    • The dynamics are good, not super engaging but realistic enough keep me from thinking its a laid back sound.
    • good body
    • Some may want a more dry and clinical sound to sound more impressive and technical but whatever you listen for seems there and even more defined than the other amps I have here. There is no sterility to trick you into thinking you are hearing more details.
    • Not sure if a NOS DAC, the 650, and this amp would be too 'organic' sounding for some. For me its wonderful. I would love to hear the Yggdrasil with this amp. To me (maybe uniquely so) the Yggdrasil had more of a lean sound compared to my Pavane and I think that pairing may sound better to some. Also I would love to hear these amps with orthos.
     
    Last edited: Dec 27, 2016
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  20. TheIceman93

    TheIceman93 El pato-zorro

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    Thanks for the feedback gbeast. Minus the crossfeed tuning options, I really hope that the differences sound wise between these two amps is really rather minimal. With Matrix disabled, these two amps should sound identical (that is what SPL told me when I asked) so I'm ever so slightly concerned that you are hearing differences.
     

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