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Beyerdynamic A20 Headphone Amplifier
This new headphone amplifier from beyerdynamic is perfect for all headphone applications and provides dual outputs for shared listening with a partner.
The circuit of the A20 is designed based on our legendary A 1 reference headphone amplifier. The discrete output stage provides plenty of power even for high-impedance headphones while the dynamic, open and precise sound sets the A 20 apart from what can be found in the normal output stages of regular amplifiers or receivers. This is confirmed by its first-class circuitry and excellent technical specifications that provide a balanced sound for long periods of comfortable listening.
Made of brushed aluminum, the housing of the A 20 is especially solid and resonance-free. Due to the innovative chassis design, no screws are visible on the external surfaces. Equipped with an original ALPS potentiometer for variable volume control, a knob turned from solid aluminum completes the attractive yet robust look of this amplifier.
With a high-gain RCA input, the A 20 works easily with most sources. The input signal can be looped through and is entirely free from signal-loss thanks to the hard-wired RCA output. Due to the built-in power supply, which is connected via a detachable power cord (supplied), no external power supply is needed avoiding disturbing background noise. Thanks to the dual headphone jacks on the front, two people can listen to the A 20 together without an adapter cable.
The A20 seems faithfully to let DAC and headphones do their jobs properly. Of course, its apparent performance depends on source and output components. I have tried it with, for example, Roksan Caspian M2, MF6 dac, AKG Q701s, Sennheiser hd650s and Beyerdynamic T90s. The A20 seems to go about its business quietly, unobtrusively delivering plenty of power with 300ohm 'phones. Volume unsurprisingly drops when powering two sets of the harder to drive, but barely with the less so, like AKt5ps. I prefer it for a more robust, some might say smoother sound than for the more crisp and analytical, but each to their own! Listening to The Ramones with the A20 and T90s is a real joy, driving the music with energy, alacrity and precision. If you want 'just' a headphone amp and do not want to spend £1k, the A20 is well worth trying, whatever your musical tastes (and equipment). At its discounted price, I think it is good value.
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