Headphone Amps

Our headphone amplifiers are the truest expression of our mission to bring tested designs and minimalist values to personal audio. We have chosen to utilize only single-ended, zero feedback tube designs to bring back warmth and musicality to personal audio. Each model balances the desire for power, the need for quite operation and the desire for wide bandwidth. The ampsandsound sonic signature closely approximates the best aspects of the classic tube sound of the 50s (maximum midrange bloom), supplementing it with a modern bass signature and transient speed. We have chosen a few of our favorite designs to bring to market.
In general our amps pair exceedingly well with all over ear headphone designs. Headphones driven successfully include, Mr. Speaker Ethers, Mr. Speaker Ether Cs, Audeze LCD-2.2F, Audeze LCD-XC, AKG240, AKG701, Sony MDRV6, Sennheiser HD650, Sennheiser HD800, Beyerdynamic T1-600ohm, HIFIMAN HE400i.

Kenzie Headphone Amp

The Kenzie Headphone Amp is a wonderful adaptation of the Darling circuit and named after my daughter; spit fire that she is. It’s a DHT/SET headphone amp that provides more than enough power to be paired with modern planars and inefficient monitors alike. This is the selection for the tube purest who wants that familiar sound paired with headphones’ remarkable imaging.

After numerous requests and tons of positive feedback from the SE-84s headphone section we decided to build our 1st dedicated headphone amp. After some research, we came to the conclusion that the Kenzie amp using the much loved darling circuit was the right choice for us. The Kenzie Headphone Amp is made possible with custom wound ultra-high quality output transformers with frequency extension from 10hz to 30hz at full power.

Kenzie Headphone Amp
Kenzie Headphone Amp
Kenzie Headphone Amp
Kenzie Headphone Amp
Like many of our products, the Mogwai evolved from our earlier designs, borrowing from the Bigger Ben and Classic Wonder, while embracing the form factor of the Kenzie. The Mogwai offers more than an entry point for tube amps, but a hybrid product, meant for serious headphone and speaker use.

Mogwai
Mogwai
Mogwai
Mogwai

The name Agartha used to describe a city in the center of the world. The ampsandsound Agartha brings the legendary 300b to personal audio. We chose the 300b for its long history as the king of triodes. Combining a single gain stage, zero feedback and careful attention to grounding techniques we are able to use a 300b with headphones without hum or noise. For those with headphone, horns or single driver speakers who are seeking audio nirvana, the Agartha is built with exacting attention to parts selection and implementation.

Agartha
Agartha
Agartha
Agartha

The Leeloo was cheeckily named after the main character in the movie The 5th Element… Love! Leeloo is a unique amplifier combining headphone amp and stereo with dedicated taps for each and a volume control to provide easy integration with any source. Leeloo is the best of single-ended bliss, ultra linear power and mild feedback for improved frequency extension and noise floor. Paring a single 12ax7 in the preamp section with a pair of EL84s, the SE-84 doesn’t require an external preamp and can be driven to full output with an iPod or smartphone.

Leeloo
Leeloo

Important Factors common to all ampsandsound amps:

Non-boutique approach
ampsandsound believes in the non-boutique approach to manufacturing. Resistors are 2% or better and over spec’d, Caps are made by industry leaders with 5% or better ratings, wiring is Teflon, and output transformers include large core to resist saturation and provide a minimum 20hz to 20khz on a bench. Ultra wide frequency response, rock steady RMS provides a non-fatiguing sound.
Minimal Deflection
All ampsandsound amplifiers are built on a thick plate of anodized aluminum which is 10”x14” and placed into a hard wood plinth/chassis made of solid ¾” thick Eastern Walnut. The plate is 1/8” thick and has nearly no deflection. We don’t outsource our work at ampsandsound. We have the depth of the chassis large enough to allow for full sized chokes to be used without cluttering the clean look up top.
Ample Power Supply
All ampsandsound amps employ an extremely stiff power supply. The power supply chosen exceeds specified capacitance and always includes robust choke filtering. We recognize the importance of reducing DC ripple in creating life-like sound stages.
High Quality Transformers
Output transformers are over spec’d and ultra high quality. We consider the output transformer as important as any other design choice. When buying any tube amp, the weight of output transformer can be directly proportional to the quality of sound. In general, larger outputs have larger cores which are less prone to saturation and have higher inductance. Larger cores and greater inductance allows the transformer to carry a low-end signal with minimal distortion. These transformers are bench tested to perform down to 20hz to up to 20khz. Even if your speakers only go to 50hz like a LS3/5a having an amp with can drive that low impedance signal is pivotal in creating the whole sound stage.
Wiring Detail
Internal wiring is done with silver plated Teflon and silver solder. All wiring is held down and tied neatly with obsessive detail. We prefer never to see a loose wire… always tied down with a service loop and always dressed with function dictating form.
Handmade Products
Our products are handmade. Parts selection matters deeply to us, sourcing the highest quality parts that can be found without getting distracted by esoteric or misleading specs. We have chosen parts with preference to domestic suppliers including our signature top plates, chassis, transformers, and PCBs.
Quality, not Quantity
We do not want to sell these in large quantity. We seek to build something worth passing down and demanding use. We believe each of our amps are statement pieces, each design choice was made with care. Our design esthetic was masculine and purposeful… nothing by accident.
Easily Upgradeable
We have specifically chosen to build based on the best practices of production. Switches, fuses, IEC sockets and binding posts are common and replaceable with off the shelf parts should a need ever arise. Tube Sockets are high temp ceramic, PCB is super thick with through hole construction, resistors, and capacitors are all over spec’d intended with long trouble free use.
Dramatically Smooth Sound
The sound is smooth, liquid without sacrificing detail. We recently demonstrated the final production version at a small listening party paired with our Cornscalas’ and everyone was awestruck with the size and depth of the sound-stage.
Semi-Custom Design
The Aluminum top-plates and hardwood chassis were made large enough to allow appropriate component layout with specific attention to grounding and signal wire location. We chose to use domestic hardwoods, Eastern walnut, Mahogany, and other exotics to provide the solid foundation to build excellent sound. Exotic hardwoods can be chosen at additional costs.
Special Attention to Grounding
Each amspandsound amp is built with attention to grounding schemes/ star grounding and use of common ground contributing to its ultra-low noise floor and wide bandwidth.
Tube Rolling
Tube Rolling is a great way of getting to know your amp as each tube has its own sonic signature. The reality is we are here to enjoy music… if rolling, try 1 type at a time… driver or power and allow several weeks to really hear the tube before changing it again. So often we chase a different sound, rather than a better sound. A great amp or speakers are meant to be transformative, so let the music play!