EXTENDED REVIEW: At Tupperwav, we like to test the headphone amplifiers. We like this because it is always something that we expect a lot but unfortunately I must admit, often gives us very little.Even the most discerning music lover is often a lot of confusion when it comes to the choice because it is saturated with products mostly from Asia (some of which are quite excellent), and among whom some UFOs float manufactured in Europe or the United States. Both say that when we had the opportunity to test a Slovakian amp, from a rather confidential brand, it greatly aroused our curiosity and we do not hide our pleasure!
Reflections on the market for headphone amps
Before talking about the Canor TP10 to itself and to deliver our conclusions about him, it seems interesting to make a quick inventory of the market which ultimately relates more music lovers as it seems.
When it is desired to integrate the headphone in a stereo environment, regardless of the level of demand, two scenarios are possible:
- - No headphone jack is available on any of the elements that make up the installation.
- - One of the things we already have has a headphone jack (source, amplifier ...)
In the first case no doubt will require the acquisition of a dedicated headphone amp, and then the debate will focus on the level range that is to be acquired, and this according to his expectations, headset etc ...
In the second case however, if the trend is the systematic recommendation of a dedicated headphone amp, the arguments will be more worked to convince the contribution of this specialised element vs.integrated outputs, reads often "are not always so bad as that," which is perfectly true, no offense to some.
Aware of this two-speed problem, many manufacturers have stepped in this market niche but certainly real, and offer all products at least on paper, to revolutionise the headphones compared to the miserable integrated source of all evils in the solar system output (at least).
It is clear that unfortunately, for trying and owned many amps and different helmets, especially from the Asian scene seemingly "cheap", the reality is quite different. We mean by grinding teeth (in F minor please), but it is a fact:
Many helmets strictly amplifiers bring anything in terms of sound quality, and are content to be taken helmets, neither better nor worse than those included when available (and whose quality varies greatly from an electronics brand to another, of course). It is said.
Far be it from us to cast aspersions on the Asian market as a whole, there are brands and products quite remarkable, we have also tested a recently but it must still be recognised that many devices are strictly useless.
Returning to our initial hypothesis, this fact can satisfy people who want ultimately a "connector to plug in the headphones." It will however highly discouraging for those seeking a real contribution in addition to simple connections with a view to get the best out of his helmet and / or its source.
Yet most music lovers and people who are interested in hi-fi and more particularly to headphone listening, repeating insistently: a dedicated amp is a definite plus and can significantly magnify many common helmets of the market.
So who is right and who is wrong? Are audiophiles once again victims of dubious concept like ionic air pulsation tuner lateralised?
Yes, a headphone amplifier, it is useful
For our part, we are fully convinced that a headphone amplifier is actually essential to exploit the potential of his equipment, the only condition not to succumb to the siren song of mercantile us are drinking messages with smooth-talking in superlatives all kinds, but trying instead to find products that bring some real thing ... That is, for example by reading Tupperwav.
Because, yes, there are good products, serious, developed by passionate teams who love music and who know their craft. But it turns out that products that meet this level of qualities often pose two major constraints:
- - Their price (often -très- high)
- - The fact that they work well with some helmets and no or less well with others.
But bad experiences with any hardware will quickly discourage the most enthusiastic, which will quickly say "we do not repeat it."
Five minute break and resume. The toilet is down the hall on the right.
The highly complex issue of pairing
Let us leave aside for the moment the financial issues. The problem of association is a classic hi-fi and concerns all links in the chain, but is particularly fraught with consequences in the field of headphone listening, primarily because the sanction of an error can be severe, but mostly because we may have to change quite frequently helmet if you have chosen this type of listener. Thus many people are not willing to spend the money (sometimes significant) required for a high-end amp, since they are not insured just the right choice today with some headphones will always be the right choice tomorrow with another helmet.
Electrodynamic, orthodynamiques, open, closed, high impedance, low impedance, tend to "hot" or conversely "analytical", the helmet market is more bloated than ever. Let us go to some playful caricatures by listing the most common urban legends:
- - A tube amp is ideal for "warm" and "round" slightly dry sounds in the upper frequency and / or considered in the severe anemia.
- - A transistor amp is perfect where clarity is required and when dealing with headphones rather "round", which wants to "energise" a little.
If the idea is deliberately a tad cartoonish, yet we see flourish an important offer "small" amps, have a lamp or two (or more ...) that no exactly measure the contribution given the overall scheme of the device, but that will be a pledge of "warmth" to the beloved Grado that we just bought, "but we would like still down a bit the top of the spectrum". The result will unfortunately often not up to the hopes and amounts committed badly invested.
Conversely, some amplifiers originally intended for the professional market transistors (Lake People and range Gxxx for example), see audiophile vocation (Burson Audio random) see themselves dressed with a label amp "neutral", gold this concept seems to be almost ineffable too often confused with that of drought. Finally, if one believes the large current thinking, we have the choice between the tubes to end the round the upper midrange and low end or transistors to the contrary tend towards this "pseudo-neutrality" that person knows exactly what it is, but that seems often hide excessive degreasing wish more than anything.
Unfortunately, all this is extremely gear because when we consider well-designed models in two families, one finds for example that the interest of the tubes feels much on providing a dynamic and a "grain" more or less sensitive to the overall range, as possible "heat" that will artificially often as the result of a biased implementation, and in which the role of the unfortunate tube will be difficult to identify. Similarly, our unfortunate transistors dressed in a military-righteousness are often capable of sweetness and musicality without necessarily going through dry sounds like the desert, again far too artificial.
You will therefore understand, the sound of a serious and thoughtful amp relies less on being lamps or transistors on how the components of any kind are implemented. C ' is this and this alone that need attention.
Canor TP10: hybrid, you said hybrid?
The Canor TP10 is an amp-called "hybrid". This means that it is based on a transistor-based scheme and an input tube (12AT7 a double triode Electro Harmonix). With what we just were talking about above, you will be tempted to say "in fact, we do not care!" And you'd be right! The TP10 is an amp that has a signature sound and data performance, and as it is part of the category of products designed for the music lover with a true research is the result that we will pay attention, mocking the rest ! That being said, it is clear that the tube provides a field of special opportunities, like the transistor, and the fact of combining the two makes some really interesting combinations.
You are probably wondering why we bother to do this lengthy discussion of the theoretical approach that often accompanies the acquisition of a headphone amp? The answer is obvious:
Because the Canor TP10 totally confuses the issue by offering a truly original product, its main feature being to be good, very good to see, with all the headsets we tested.
And believe us, it does not happen often, if not ever! Whether it is "small" entry level headphones or real superstars, our TP10 escaped with honors. Maryse and yes, it's quite incredible.
In our plays different sessions, we were able to implement it with a Shure SRH-940, an AKG Q701, the Beyerdynamic DT880 & T70p, the Grado PS 500 & PS1000, a Sennheiser HD800, a Ultrasone Edition 10, a Denon 7100 and even a Audeze LCD3 and Fostex TH900 - both reputedly rather complicated to driver. All these helmets offer different personalities, are at varied range of levels, yet the result was good in all the cases, including for Audeze and TH900.
Let's be clear, this does not absolutely mean that other amps specifically chosen for a particular model of headphones can not go further, but it means instead that the versatility of the TP10 makes it virtually able to function and provide something with virtually any headphones. We certainly did not tested all models in the market, but our panel already seems very representative of much of what is done now. "Operate", what does that mean?
This is a great question, thank you for asking. Overall, we believe that a quality amp must address a gain in at least three areas:
- - Keep the low and medium registers low to avoid resonance effects so fashionable in recent years on hardware (sometimes deliberately) flawed. We look here voltage and material. The result will be weighted by the nature and capacity of course helmet, but it is healthy that the amp does not provide a stain on this point.
- - To sing the high midrange and treble registers, avoiding the effects of excessive brightness that are as revealing details of fireworks at the expense of musicality. A challenge to be very close link with the headset used.
- - Offering a refined sound stage (if registration is up, of course) and detailed, but do not do too much.
And it is there that the TP10 has greatly surprised us because it offers it all. It certainly does not reach the level of excellence of some other more expensive amplifiers in particular areas, but it remains perfectly coherent.
- The low end is tight, genuine, very well kept (the TH-900 has proven to us!) Without taking precedence over the rest. This is not a "Basseux" amp. He "mastering" the register to great effect by bringing out lots of details often hidden by weakness at this level. Perhaps we could enjoy with a few really "dry" helmets a little more punch.
- The upper medium and high end are singing, rich and articulated without ever creating any squeaking effect, while the stamps are rich in material and details. Again, it is a master's dominant impression. The details are present, without being obsessive.
- The scene is rendered perfectly laterally and on the front-back axis, but without overdoing it, which is very suitable for a little too generous helmets on the subject, such as the K701 or HD800.
Ok, so this is the perfect amp ...?
Everyone will have to equip, can be closed ...? Absolutely not.
What we want to highlight, however, is that this is an amp that is extremely versatile - and if you were to retain only one thing, whether that. A model 100% or 100% tubes transistor equivalent tariff (or even more expensive) give more with such a helmet in a particular area, it is very likely, but he will be able to receive another helmet and just after to do as well? Nothing is less certain.
It really is this versatility that has seduced us with the TP10, because we are nice to finally recommend a material that must not be systematically resold to change each helmet, though, we repeat, the approach "amp = a helmet" is obviously an ideal solution for enthusiasts who want to go to the end of the end of the process.
An exemplary build quality
Canor designs and manufactures its amplifiers so hand in Slovakia. Given the rate at which the TP10 is proposed, there is a serious contender for the Asian market equivalent range, especially as manufacturing quality suffers no default, yet you can trust us, we searched !
The housing is made of fine quality metal granita, while the facade is thick and perfectly machined. But more significant still, the commissioning button does not have the slightest millimeter of game, like the outside of the volume knob (a K27 ALPS, by the way ...). These are often revealing details of the care taken in the realisation of a device of this type, and here is faultless.
The connectors on the back are also of good quality, and present them either no play, while being perfectly aligned. Only the electrical connections is slightly upset the overall impression, since food is separated and that therefore there is to connect an external transformer. That said, this is also an advantage since it avoids proximity of an integrated block with the rest of the assembly, thus avoiding many of Interference Problems. Furthermore, the transformer supplied may also be replaced by a more powerful model. It's the same inside where all welds are clean, and the pool is well appointed.The tube is carefully placed at the end to not broadcast its heat to the center.
The device is a great achievement that sit proudly and unashamedly among other hi-fi elements of the house.
Jack finally taken, provides a solid and exemplary maintenance, that do not fear a premature wear.The attention to detail goes into the four lovely quality rubber feet that avoid uncontrolled slippage, while significantly reducing vibration, always harmful particularly in electronic involving tubes.
A service support height
Concerned about the sustainability of our purchases and seriousness of the actors involved in the distribution of the products we test and recommend if any, we wanted to obtain information about the potential service on TP10, given its unusual provenance. When asked about this, Pierre Paya, SiteHelmets Headphones-assured us that the importer proves to be quite responsive and efficient, so here we are reassured.
Furthermore, we draw your attention to a very important point: compliance with the safety standards of the European Community. These stringent criteria have been established to ensure consumer safety for all products manufactured or imported in the member states. It is not a question of an "option" but a requirement which, if not met, may result in sometimes dramatic consequences. The physical risks to people, of course, with no support for claims by insurance companies but also and especially the extended responsibility of the person who brought the nonconforming product in France EVEN IF RESALE .
The Canor TP10 is manufactured in Europe and found to comply with these standards as evidenced by the letters "CE" mark on its back. In this regard, China operates a logo very similar in design but which means "China Export" ... However, all with CE devices actually do not use the official logo, probably by omission, which makes them things sometimes complicated. An information taken from the importer if in doubt remains the best solution.
To say that the TP10 is a heart stroke is an understatement. All those who tested it in writing have been seduced by its performance and versatility. During our listening session we had several online systems, including a Stax together a Beyerdynamic A1 ... He never disappointed us.
The only small regret envisaged may lie in the closed mode chosen, and that makes it not easy-rolling tube. On the other hand, even with the original tube, performance is such that it is ultimately a half regret.
Marketed around € 850, the TP10 proudly hoisted pole position of our recommendations in terms of headphone amp to less than € 1,000. If the sum may still seem high, for example in the context of a first acquisition, it must be understood that we are not dealing here with a simple "headphone" more or less decorated as is all too often the case, but a stereo camera that will enter the ground floor in high-end and take full advantage of its source and his helmet while being able to follow future developments (and c 'This is probably the most important).
As we mentioned at the beginning of this post, finding the right headphone amp that accords with good headphones, often the responsibility of an insoluble quest and very expensive. Canor provides a solution by offering material that passes the near-miracle to know magnify "small" headphones, such as a K701 or Beyerdynamic DT880, but also to be able to tame monsters such as Audeze LCD3 or Fostex TH900, through intermediaries such as headphones Sennheiser HD800 Beyerdynamic T1 or for example! Few products on the market can boast of this, and some we know the price of TP10! It will always be possible to find an amp that will go further with a particular helmet, but it will then be ready to put often much more expensive for a gain which will not be provided proportional.