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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    Oh it does... okay thats right... thanks.. I dont have the pro loaner anymore. Its been a while.

    So I redact my statement the Pro may edge the X out in features to me just a little since it has tubes as well.

    @murphythecat the answer would largely depend on the headphone(s) I had.

    What headphones do you have?
     
  2. Armaegis

    Armaegis Friend

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    Is there any actual change in the sound/amp architecture from the 2 to the X or E? or is it mainly just a change in features?
    edit: aside from the new ones being "balanced" (are they actually fully balanced? or "just" another bridged amp)
    edit2: aw shucks, the 2 at least let you pump the matrix out through the preamp so you could use another headamp and get the crossfeed, but the X doesn't have that anymore.
     
    Last edited: Jan 29, 2017
  3. Thad E Ginathom

    Thad E Ginathom Friend

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    Notice: This is a bitching post. followers of this thread might prefer to just move on to the next post right now.

    I have an iCAN on the shelf. I like the 3D/Bass-boost effects where appropriate, on a track-by-track basis. I'm very prone to brand loyalty: could quite possibly have ended up with several of their nicely matching boxes pleasing my ears ifi themselves spoilt all this with a Head-Fi hype-marketing thread which was just ridiculous. Some might remember, others might guess. You wanted battery life; we gave you a nuclear power station. You wanted 24/192; we gave you infinity-times DSD. My enthusiasm for this company got drowned in brown stuff.

    I have already been answered by one member, yeah, but does that have anything to do with whether this box is any good or not. Maybe not, but I can buy from companies I have been caused, somehow, to like before even seeing one of their products; I can buy from companies that I have never heard of before (probably on trusted recommendation) but it's hard to buy from a company that has actually made me dislike it.

    I have another gripe. There are pro products and there are are "Pro" products. SPL was barely heard of outside of the professional world until recently. ifi?

    The Phonitor has been on my desired list, albeit subject to hearing, since I first read about it. ifi got removed.

    But yes, in the end, how it sounds matters. So apologies for wasting the readers' time. But hey, I did warn you, so you have no excuse for pressing the dislike button, but anyway, if you wish to, be my guest.

    @gbeast --- Thank you: will be reading your review :)

    Post Script: The explosion and its cause are worrying.
     
    Last edited: Jan 29, 2017
  4. murphythecat

    murphythecat Friend

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    I have hd800, hd650 + soon he1000 and lcd-3
     
    Last edited: Jan 29, 2017
  5. murphythecat

    murphythecat Friend

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    ifi is the parent branch of AMR. about ifi/amr, The designers at ifi audio have been designing gear for decades. you seem to have a superficial dislike of Ifi based on their marketing...
     
  6. Thad E Ginathom

    Thad E Ginathom Friend

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    AMR is the parent, isn't it? Expensive technology trickle-down claimed, and all that.
    Yep. Judging a person by the way they talk is quite often appropriate. Same with companies. There are all kinds of reasons for buying decisions: as well as good sound, we like to get some sort of warm and fuzzy about stuff too. Not possible for me on this one.

    But this is an SPL thread, I won't distract further. I'm interested in SPL.
     
  7. Clemmaster

    Clemmaster Friend

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    Can't blame him for that.

    Their marketing BS doesn't relate to the sound quality of their products, which is very subpar for most of them.

    Maybe their gen2 (or 3) got better, idk. Had few of their early micro stuff and they just didn't petform as advertised.
    Now, I couldn't live without the IEMatch.

    Alas, not every company can be humble like Schiit...
     
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  8. gbeast

    gbeast Mighty Moral Power Ranger

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    Id take the e for the 650
    toss up for the hd800
    pro for the he1000
    spl for the lcd-3
     
  9. purr1n

    purr1n Finding his inner redneck

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    But really, the differences aren't all that huge. I mean, we are not talking about a Vali 2 to Jotunheim kind of thing right?
     
  10. gbeast

    gbeast Mighty Moral Power Ranger

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    The differences are definitely notable. Not huge. They are the same level just different flavors.

    must add though that were I not testing other products out there and not so curious about the audio gd he-9 and Studio Jr the X would be my next amp.
     
    Last edited: Jan 30, 2017
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  11. sacredgates

    sacredgates Audio-Technica's high priest

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    A while ago I had some email conversation about the new Phonitors with one of the staff members at SPL.
    He confirmed what has been said here already that the X and E are not really balanced amps, the connection features are there for convenience.
    The optional DAC module is also more of an entry level convenience thing, and is not to be compared with their own high end offer (SPL Director with AD1955 dac chip). The optional dac module for the amps has an AKM 4396 dac chip. It can only be ordered at the time of purchasing the amp. Advantage versus cheap external dac would be that the module stays within the high voltage (ELF 120v) power set up of the amps.
     
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  12. Thad E Ginathom

    Thad E Ginathom Friend

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    With every intention of curtailing hifi spending (and it is disheartening that part of the reason for this is ears) I haven't been keeping up. Doubt that I've looked at the SPL site for a year.

    I see that the Phonitor-2 is still available. Could it be that this is the real pro headphone amp, with these added-function models being "consumerised" stuff?

    Just asking. Thinking out loud.
     
  13. Armaegis

    Armaegis Friend

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    And the Phonitor-2 is the only model that puts out the crossfeed matrix through the preamp outputs so you can use an external amp if desired (so basically this just makes it really expensive crossfeed module/preamp)
     
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  14. sacredgates

    sacredgates Audio-Technica's high priest

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    @Thad E Ginathom: yes, you can look at it this way. SPL has been mostly a pro studio oriented company. They have been observing the rising interest and growing market for headphone amplification by home hifi enthousiasts. So they created this new series which is aimed at a broader public (which also includes a high end dac, a power amplifier and a phono preamplifier). There are no huge differences between the big phonitors (not speaking about the Phonitor mini, which is hard to recommended). The upgrades between each generation have been of an incremental nature, and the new X and E build on the same design. In Europe you can find very good used or demo deals on the Phonitor 2 at the moment, and the price difference is not going to reflect the gain in SQ with the X imho.

    @gbeast: your earphiles.org homepage is just terrific! I love the presentation, the level of in depth review information, and the nicely structured review style. Looking forward for future reviews... the Trafomatic Head 2 and ZMF Eikon are on my review wish list!
     
    Last edited: Jan 30, 2017
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  15. zeissiez

    zeissiez Turn that Schiit down - acquaintance

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    [​IMG]

    I have the original Phonitor here with me. I like the cross-feed features, but while I do think it's a very decent amp, which betters the likes of Oppo HA-1, and comparable with some better Schiit amps. It doesn't play in the league of the ECBA. The EC amp has a much more open and transparent sound, imaging is more precised and more detailed. I am talking about driving dynamic cans like HD800 here. I haven't heard the Phonitor X nor the Phonitor 2, but I think that Studio JR is a much better choice. The HE-9 is also a killer amp.
     
  16. bengo

    bengo Friend

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    I also have an original model Phonitor (2730). IMO it is a fantastically capable and transparent amp - easy to hear differences between DACs - which is all you can ask of any amp, really. I use it with Modi Multibit and Audeze LCD-XC.

    If you get the opportunity to pick up a used one at a sensible price, I would jump on it.
    If you want mine... you can prize it from my cold, dead fingers :p
     
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  17. Armaegis

    Armaegis Friend

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  18. RedFuneral

    RedFuneral Facebook Friend

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    I took delivery of a Phonitor e a few days ago. Showed up damaged, going for return in place of replacement.

    In short I'm nodding along as I re-read the various reviews on this piece. Rounded is the word that keeps coming to mind, transients are weaker than I prefer. The Graham Slee Solo UL did this, shouldn't be confused for smoothness. Dissimilar to the stereotypical tube or solid-state sound. In headphone terms I'm picturing the Senn HD598. The HD700 may have had some of this too. Whatever is going on the Phonitor has removed all fatigue from my Beyerdynamic T70s without any overt moves away from neutrality. If I were less analytical with my listening habits it might just be a keeper.

    Matrix feature is a curiosity. Pushed to the left there's a pinch more roundness, to the right the stage width shrinks dramatically. Later can sound more upfront which is preferable with some songs. Wouldn't call this feature a selling point though I agree it could reduce fatigue if you can get over the subtle coloration.

    On believability I give it a 'no' on the sound tests (campfire, breaking glass, electronic glitch sounds) and a yes on vocals(Buster Poindexter, Ivan Rebroff.)

    For mastering, the units original purpose, I can see studio engineers buying this. You'd have no issue listening all day, positioning is competent, tonal balance is solid, human voice comes through well. Based on SPL's target market the Phonitor makes sense, for us audiophiles you have to weigh the pros and cons. Not for me.
     
  19. Armaegis

    Armaegis Friend

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  20. knackedupdude

    knackedupdude Rando

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    is there a difference in sound quality when comparing the X and the E to the 2?
     

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