A new level in our understanding
Most headphone amplifiers use standard IC Opamps in their designs. Such opamps are very cheap and easy to apply, however they are inferior (learn more). This is because they are not tailored for a particular audio circuitry, and they contain many low quality and unnecessary components (learn more) which degrade audio signals.
Three years ago we developed the HA-160 headphone amplifier. Instead of using standard IC opamps on the signal path, we designed tailor made circuitry using high quality discrete components. Because of this, we were able to reduce components on the signal path to optimise its operation. It offered higher resolution and superior dynamics to any IC based design, and yet presented a mid range intonation that many thought only possible from top-tier tube amps. It was good, like a properly designed solid state should, and many in the industry saw it as a benchmark.
Instead of celebrating and introducing "newer" versions each year with small refinements, we have been studying and developing circuitries that can realise more of our ideals. Now, our dream of an even more idealistic circuitry, with even less components on the signal path is realised. And it sounds more beautiful than any of us could have conceptualised at the beginning of this project. We named this new headphone amp Soloist!
The New FET input stage
The input stage of the Soloist is a symmetrical current feedback circuit with only 21 components on its signal path (compare that to a typical IC Opamp of over 50). It's signal path is so short and with so little blockage on it, that it can achieve amazing sound. Also because we only had to select and match 21 components, the Soloist sounds absolutely amazing.
The Soloist features a new Variable Output Stage (VOS). It enables the Soloist to match well with any type of headphone. Be it easy to drive high sensitivity in ear monitors or open back moving-coil designs. It can drive anything including the latest planar magnetic headphones with ease.
Combining the VOS with our new generation of step attenuator, volume control is always smooth and synergy is always perfect.
At the time when an audio signal is passing through the volume control, it is still at its weakest. At this stage, the audio signal is very vulnerable to noise pollution and interference. A major source of such distortion is the commonly used remote volume control adopted by most manufactures.
An athlete needs clean air to perform at an optimum standard – audio equipment needs clean power to reproduce transparent and natural music.
The Soloist is housed in a 6mm case, constructed from high precision machined aluminium. This enclosure allows the Soloist, to achieve a very high mechanical damping factor, which reduces any microphonic effects, that may degrade the clarity of sonic performance.
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Before buying, please visit our retailers page. If there is an authorised Burson Retailer near you then please complete your order there. Buying from an authorised Burson retailer in your area could save you transit cost and taxes such as the VAT in Europe. Buying locally will also ensure better after sells services.
Australian customers should contact our distributor to finalise your order: www.ultrasone.com.au
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Your order will be sent via TNT Express / Fedex unless advice otherwise with 3-5 days transit to most major cities. Tracking number will be provide automatically.
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With the wrong equipment, a violin performance often sounds thin, constrained and boring. But not with the Soloist. Reproducing a 1992 recording of Zigeunerweisen Op. 20 by the legendary Erick Friedman, and his staggering virtuosity can be fully appreciated. With eyes closed and minds eased, we arrive at a different time and space. Bold and determined, his six foot figure beside the conductor's podium. The composition was performed perfectly down to the most subtle detail. The way he lifted his solder to balance the bow, the bounce, the sounding points, they were all sustaining, all accurate and emotionally intense. His passages executed with fine-tuned precision. A great Soloist of our time whose spirit lives on through his music and his students.
Throughout the performance, the only thing that reminded us of where we were was the inherent tape hiss from this pre digital, pre Dolby era of recording. But precisely due to this lack of digital mastery and lack of noise reduction editing, that a fuller frequency content was preserved and it sounded more organic and mesmerising. It was a performance to soothe the soul, and diverted minds from everyday worries to the beauty and magic of masterfully performed music.
Soloist Review & Feedbacks