It 2020 will be remembered as the year in which we introduced a whole new family of products: headphones. We develop a range of extremely innovative headphones and headphone amplifiers, evincing the same consistently systematic approach and commitment which we have always adopted in the development of our audio systems and loudspeakers. Our first model of headphone amplifier is the HA 200, and it benefits from our extensive expertise and several decades of experience in the development and manufacture of amplifiers and transducers.
This principle was the obvious choice for our first headphones, based on the exceptional qualities of this type of planar transducer and our thirty-five years of experience in the development and manufacture of film transducers. Planar-magnetic transducers are very similar to electrostatic devices, as their diaphragm also consists of a thin film driven by a strong magnetic field. For that reason it was therefore natural to develop an open planar system for our first headphones, and build them here in Herford. The decision to start by developing a planar-magnetostat, and only then an electrostatic device, was based on the realisation that a magnetostat has a wider field of application, since it does not require a power supply voltage – as is the case with an electrostatic device. Both fundamental designs are ideally suited to High-End headphones, and are inherently superior to dynamic alternatives.
We insist that our headphone amplifiers should be capable of optimum sound quality, and for this reason we are developing them in a focussed manner, matching either dynamic and magnetostatic or electrostatic headphones. This decision obliges us to consider the completely different requirements regarding the output stages. The HA 200 is conceived to handle dynamic and magnetostatic headphones, and its entire circuit topology and technology are designed to fulfil the special requirements of these types of transducer. This is the only means of obtaining truly unique results in terms of sound quality. Compared with loudspeakers, the impedance bandwidth of headphones is substantially wider, and this presents a genuine challenge to the amplifier design. Low-impedance types require high currents, whereas high-impedance alternatives draw low currents, but require an extremely stable voltage.
The last few years have brought a very significant change in the field of application of headphone amplifiers. In the past they were usually connected to the analogue output of a stereo system, utilising the system’s sources, but nowadays we frequently find a preference for dedicated stand-alone devices. That is why we have not only furnished our headphone amplifier with very high-quality analogue inputs, but also installed digital inputs and converters of the highest quality, which make it possible to exploit a vast range of digital sources whilst maintaining very high standards of quality. The analogue and digital sections are completely galvanically isolated, and each features its own mains power supply. Our aim was to build a headphone amplifier which completely satisfied our very high requirements in terms of sound quality. The outcome of our efforts is a true thoroughbred: an exceptional device which eschews integral digital sources completely, thereby eliminating even the tiniest of adverse influences in the analogue section of the amplifier.
The HA 200 offers a wide range of high-quality connection facilities on the input and output side, making the amplifier a superb choice for music-enthusiasts and professionals alike.
DSD: T+A True 1-Bit Converter, native Bitstream up to DSD 1024 (49,2 MHz)
USB Receiver conforming to UAC2 and UAC3 standards
Additional „Non Oversampling“ DAC mode (NOS-DAC)
Pure Class A power stage
3 separately switchable outputs (Pentaconn, XLR, 6.3 barrel socket)
Adjustable output impedance