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A.N.T. Amber headphone amp impressions

Discussion in 'Headphones, Earphones & Portable Music' started by WhyAyeMan, Apr 16, 2005.

  1. WhyAyeMan

    WhyAyeMan
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    Thanks to Alex who is kindly loaning me this amp for my auditioning.

    I received the A.N.T. Amber yesterday, and have been listening to it since first thing this morning, and I've been listening to it for a few hours and have formed some impressions.

    First things first, the appearance of the amp is one of no-nonsense design, solidly built, but nothing flashy really - it could quite easily be any other DIY design to look at.

    To be honest, after my past history of headphone amps, I wasnt really expecting a great deal to be honest, but as this is my only method of listening from now on I must have a headphone amp.

    The Amber is the interface between my EMU 0404 soundcard and my Beyerdynamic DT531 headphones. Let me just say, that after listening to various music for the last few hours, this is a wonderful combo. The first thing that surprises me is the bass - I am used to hearing weak, lifeless bass from most headphone amps, but not so with this one, which is clearly up there, or even better than my integrated amp was in terms of sheer quantity, but its the quality of the bass that is winning me over so far. The DT531 can have quite soft bass if not driven properly, lacking in conviction. With the Amber powering these cans, the bass slams hard, and is perfectly agile and well timed, with a fast bass that responds to every change immediately.

    Not only is the bass well timed, but so is the rest of the music, and this gives it a really fun sound to listen to, this is an amp you flat earthers will love, its just so musical :eek:

    There is plenty of detail here, more than I've ever heard in the past, but this is no analytical amp, its certainly not what I would call a cold amp, it definitely has some nice warmth to its sound, but make no mistake, this isnt like a Perreaux, this has an upfront sound that injects life and vitality into the music.

    Surprisingly for an amp with so much detail, it never sounds ragged or rough, it always sounds very smooth - my biggest surprise is bad recordings - for the first time, I can listen to some recordings without wincing. Yet nothing is rolled off, the treble is all there.

    This thing also throws out a big soundstage, possibly one of the biggest I've yet heard on these DT531's.

    The Amber certainly looks like being the final piece in the jigsaw, and I have to say, with it in the system, this rig I am listening to easily qualifies as the most lively, engaging, and just plain fun headphone combination I have EVER heard. Considering I was expecting little, I am finding myself VERY surprised at what I am hearing on this rig - its dynamic, detailed, smooth, engaging and it really, really boogies! There is no sign of the harsh treble that can sometimes affect the DT531 with many amps, which was my main worry, but make no mistake this is a very clear and extended sounding amplifier. I can imagine it being a wonderful amp for Sennheisers and Beyerdynamics, but I cant comment on Grado's... perhaps with those it might be too much of a good thing, but I dunno, but for slightly more laid back headphones, if you need energy pumping into them, this is a good amp to do it with!
     
  2. lordgibbness

    lordgibbness
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    Hi, I was wondering how it compares to the Rega Ear that you also reviewed?

    In the end I guess how good it sounds also comes down to the synergy with your other components as much as how good each component is.

    I can't imagine there'd be much of an improvement with my HD600s by using a different amp - the Ear drives them so well with good impacting bass and a forward midrange.
     
  3. WhyAyeMan

    WhyAyeMan
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    The Ear was a decent amp indeed for the price. In some ways this sounds similar, but it has a smoother sound, and sounds more forward, more detailed, bigger soundstage and a much more dynamic, clear, dramatic, impacting sound.

    So while I rate the Ear for the price, this is clearly better by a significant margin. But then it is £220, so it should be better.
     
  4. StevieDvd

    StevieDvd
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    Welcome to the ANT owners club!

    I know you say you have it on loan but I think even those who returned the ANTafter the loan period ended up buying it.

    If I had to some up the ANT in a few words it would be Soundstage, detail and verve.

    Steve
     
  5. WhyAyeMan

    WhyAyeMan
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    Yep, I dont think I will be returning it. I cant see any other amp really being able to live with this one at the price it costs. One things for sure, if you like your music lively, this amp should be on anyones shopping list :)
     
  6. Leporello

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    Perhaps I need to think about my choice of fragrances for men. I am an ANT owner but nobody told me about any owners' club! ;-(
     
  7. StevieDvd

    StevieDvd
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    We meet every 500 years, next one is due 21/12/2504! Make a note in your diary.

    Pity you missed the last one, only Alex and I turned up in a cafe in Kings Cross Mainline Station. I though he was sending the invites and vice versa.

    TEAM xxxx is used over at head-fi.org to show your allegiance/favourites/wealth in equipment.
     
  8. Leporello

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