Like many of our products, the Encore headphone amplifier/pre-evolved from our earlier designs – in this case… it came from the feedback regarding the Kenzie Headphone amp. As well thought out as the Kenize was, we didn’t know the features that most resonated with the personal audio community. To answer the call given, the Encore, grew in size and features while remaining true to the original Darling circuit.
The Encore is meant to provide the most common request; move the headphone jacks up front. By moving the headphone jacks, we were able to squeeze in 2 inputs and 1 variable out to be used as a preamp.
The Encore went from being a single ended triode without feedback to including a transformer coupled output cable of driving long cable runs without issue.
The Encore continues without a voltage network, and has more than enough power to drive even the most difficult headphones. With 32 ohms and 600-ohm output taps to allow use with the widest variety of headphones.
The Encore mutes the pre-out function when headphones are introduced for a true monitoring experience. We have continued to use an ALPS volume pot to allow attenuation and simplify the signal path.
The Encore is one of the sweetest-sounding headphone amplifiers on the market. The 1626 is commonly referred to as the “Poor Man’s 300B”. The Encore expands on this by bringing the same tonal balance and sonic signature to power amps in a 2ch system. By coupling the Encore as the pre, you can breath new life into SS powerhouse amps.
The heart of the Encore is the 1626 triode which is a WWII-era transmitter tube in radar installations. The design is shy on pure output, but offers layers of texture and drive. We have paired the 1626 power tubes with custom transformer made specifically for use by a US partner. The Encore's massive choke provides increased DC power filtering increase from 1.5H to 8H with sonic dividends. The output transformers are only ½ of the magic. They account for the wide and flat frequency response. The other ½ is the option of including input transformers. Input transformers help clean up incoming signals which may have sonic garbage and help to add definition and slam. The Encore can be optioned as a base model without input transformers or couple cap upgrades or with either of this upgrades selected. Each upgrade provides a tangible improvement to an already fantastic sound.
Supplied Tubes: Input tube: 12SL7 or equivalent Output tubes: 1626 or VT-137
Cathode Bias/automatic bias allows for easy tube changes without adjustment. Compatible with 32 ohm-300 ohm headphones using the 32 ohm 1/4″ jack. Headphones above 300 ohms will benefit from using the 600 ohm 1/4″ jack.
Headphones driven successfully or tested with the amp include, MrSpeakers Ethers, MrSpeakers Ether Cs, Audeze LCD-2.2F, Audeze LCD-XC, AKG240, AKG701, Sony MDRV6, Sennheiser HD650, Sennheiser HD800, Beyerdynamic T1-600 ohm, HIFIMAN HE400i, HIFIMAN HE-400, HE-400S, Grado Labs SR-60, RS1i
The Encore is handmade in Southern California with custom hand-wound output transformers and U.S. sourced parts.