Vorzüge PURE II – Single Ended Perfected

Disclaimer: Vorzüge graciously supplied the review units for this review. 

Vorzüge?

My love affair with Vorzüge began in 2012 with the original PURE and DUO. Both amps quickly became fixtures in my benchmark portable setup. And late last year, both were expelled from their position at the forefront by a better amp. The name of that amp? Vorzüge PURE II

The Marque

On the outside, differences between it and the original are minimal. (Keen HFN readers will notice a pattern shared with this week’s earlier review.) Of course, this time, PURE II comes in both white and black. And the new black is swankier, and harder to scratch, than ever.

Vorzüge have kept the cool STAR TOURS logo, the same legible typography, and the same Audi-inspired slogan. I’m wondering if clear typography is requisite to German brand-building. It certainly is a thoughtful detail that helps me appreciate audio devices.

Details don’t come cheap. PURE II runs 565$ USD via Vorzüge’s webpage. That’s more than the original PURE cost. Everything considered, I am convinced it is worthwhile.

The Chassis

PURE II is roughly the same size as the Portaphile Micro. Despite this, it fits a discrete power switch onto its front plate. As a consequence, the IN and OUT ports are crammed closer together than on the Micro. I don’t recommend plugging extra-fat connectors in both PURE II’s ports. That said, I can confirm that they can be used, albeit with caution. Both audio in and out ports sit in mildly countersunk wells. Both are reinforced and flush with the chassis’s outer edge. 

The micro USB charging port lies perfectly centered in its own niche. Metal tabs keep it anchored in place. When charging, a red LED lights up. When it is done, it goes out.

Case machining is precise. As with earlier models, a single-sized Allen key fits both the fastening hardware as well as the volume pot. PURE II is a very well thought-out amplifier. Its singular fault is the same as ever: its million candle-power power indication LED that relegates PURE II to daytime use. If used in a bedside rig, your partner will complain.

Are you an AK100 owner? PURE II is only slightly larger than your player. The two make a handsome pair. Ditto the iPod 5G (Video). Amps larger than the PURE II are hard to pocket. Even the PURE II, lashed to an iPod, is quite the brick. I manage easily in cargo trousers, but in skinny jeans, it’s iPod nano/PURE II or nothing.

Sound impressions on the following page.

Vorzüge PURE II – Single Ended Perfected
4.4 (88%) 10 votes

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Back before he became the main photographer for bunches of audio magazines and stuff, Nathan was fiddling with pretty cool audio gear all day long at TouchMyApps. He loves Depeche Mode, trance, colonial hip-hop, and raisins. Sometimes, he gets to listening. Sometimes, he gets to shooting. Usually he's got a smile on his face. Always, he's got a whisky in his prehensile grip.

49 Comments

  • Reply July 18, 2014

    Creator Viktor

    Great review – I’m kind of intrigued. You mentioned its mostly for light to medium loads, how well does it drive heavier stuff like such as LCD-3 or HD800 compared to fx. an ALO Rx Mk3b?

    • Reply July 18, 2014

      ohm image

      PURE II packs its strongest/stablest punch in the low-mid gain section. Rx can spit out a stabler high-voltage signal to headphones like the HD800. That said, at listening levels that I am comfortable with, you may not find much difference in terms of stability.

      In which case, it is a case of which sounds better to you. PURE II is velvetier than the Rx is, but not aggressively more so. If you want velvety, check out Fostex HP-V1.

      Both the size and the drive of the Vorzüge are really tailored for portable phones. Yes, power is good enough for a number of large headphones, but it isn’t optimal for those that listen at loud levels.

  • Reply July 18, 2014

    Steven

    Hey Shig. (i) Versus Pico Power?
    (ii) versus analog paper squared? (left field I know)
    Tnx

  • Reply July 19, 2014

    Marc

    How’s the treble and overall clarity in comparison to the Cypher Labs Duet? Also, have you heard the Pure II with a FAD Heaven VI (if possible, your iPod Video as the source)?

    • Reply July 19, 2014

      ohm image

      DUET is a little less silken, but both have somewhat similar boasting points. Personally, the slightly smoother personality of the PURE II returns incredibly dividends. With Final’s non-dynamic headphones, I prefer the PURE II.

  • Reply July 19, 2014

    reks19

    Can anyone please tell why a DAC/Amp with a 16-bit USB controller can upsample to 24/96 in Windows via Foobar and can’t do the same in OS X? It only works natively 16/44 in OS X, as the USB controller allows. It’s a plug and play unit – no drivers, no nothing.
    Thanks

  • Reply July 19, 2014

    gagetbOy

    have you tried them with the dita answer? how do they compare with the ortofon e-Q8+ pure 2 combo?

    • Reply July 20, 2014

      ohm image

      The Dita Answer is a surprisingly easy to drive earphone. PURE II is over the top for it. That said, the e-Q8 is somewhat more top-level energetic than The Answer, and is harder to drive to-resolution; you will have a harder time determining the sound of the e-Q8 without a good amplifier than you will an e-Q8. If your source is up to snuff, The Answer is as good as it gets. But if you have a great system, the e-Q8 is second to none in the universal world.

  • Reply August 25, 2014

    Cotnijoe

    Hey! I’m considering this amp or buying the RSA intruder (or SR-71B). I’m using the noble 6 which is a slightly warm iem and I’ve debating whether to get the pure II or to go intruder balanced. any suggestions or feedbacks?

    • Reply August 26, 2014

      ohm image

      I’ve not used the Intruder for longer than about 30 minutes. I wish I had.

  • Reply August 27, 2014

    Andy Kurniawan

    I’m wondering about the use of amplifier on in ears heaphones. If we connect it to the headphone out of smartphones (ie: iphones and galaxy) or dap, the amp will only amplify the amplifier inside the phones isn’t it? How will this makes the sound better on low impedances headphones?

    I can understand something like theorem which bypass the dac and amplifier from iphones will better the sound. But an analog amp via headphone out?

    • Reply August 27, 2014

      L.

      Good question. and yes, you are right. while the amp will of course improve the sound, results are less apparent.

    • Reply August 27, 2014

      Vaibhav Pisal

      clean power to drivers?

    • Reply August 28, 2014

      ohm image

      Andy, many earphones today have very low impedance requirements. If they are fed signals higher than 2Ω (some even less than that), their signals out whack. They can lose bass, or gain a LOT of crosstalk and distortion, both harmonic and IMD. Today, most smartphones are pretty good, but not one will really be able to drive an earphone for more than loudness/volume.

      Loaded outputs always incur loss. Sometimes to great effect. An amp acts as a null device, so that the source component can spit out as clean a signal as possible. If the amp is any good (and the PURE II is very good), the cleanest possible signal from the source will feed the amp and the amp will power the earphone or headphone. Typically, current-hungry earphones incur the most negative effect on the output of smartphones and players. Some players: DX50/90/100 have nearly perfect outputs for earphones, and some high-voltage players are great for headphones.

      But they are somewhat in the minority.

      That said, I don’t listen through a smartphone. The reason? I prefer to have it cable free and I prefer the battery not to drain overmuch. I listen through portable devices that have very good or perfect outputs for earphones.

      • Reply September 24, 2014

        Tibor

        Hi. Could you recommend a very good dap to 500 euro or another to 1000? I really don’t know which one to choose that will be at least as good as Meridian Explorer (this is the only DAC/amp to which I can compare other devices), I have tried Fiio X5 and didn’t like it. Thank you

        • Reply September 24, 2014

          Headfonia_L.

          ipod + Cypherlabs?
          The Calyx M sounds good but battery life sucks
          AK100ii or a secondhand 120

          • Reply September 24, 2014

            Tibor

            🙁 ipod ee, all my music is in flac format. I will wait probably for some reviews of AK100ii or for Geek Wave. That could be interesting device. If you just have more reviews here of something like International+ or adl A1. Thanks 🙂

  • Reply September 11, 2014

    Fabian Peter Blache IV

    So from reading this I take this thing beats the RX-Mk3-B+ in treble and mids, but what about bass ?

    • Reply October 3, 2014

      ohm image

      Bass force obviously the MK3 will give more, especially with the bass knob. The PURE II resolves more stereo detail in bass than the Rx, but the feeling of power is greater in the ALO.

  • Reply September 26, 2014

    Zeppie

    I am really eye-ing on this but still cant think what to get. Im also looking on the Duet and portatube +. Pairing it with my dx90 and 1964ears V6-Stage amd soon maybe the alpha dogs. Any suggestion what amp would be the best for me? Other amp suggestion will be appreciated.. Thanks!

    • Reply October 3, 2014

      ohm image

      Well, you have a wide range of phones to use. I don’t know what you need in terms of voltage. I listen to safe volumes, but my mate doesn’t. He gets on with phones that need more voltage and owns Alpha Dogs. Porta Tube is better suited to that ilk, but when it comes to earphones, the PURE II is eminently better suited. But type of sound, again, is completely different.

      • Reply October 19, 2014

        Patrick Michael Graf Murray

        So do not buy this for T50RP modded phones? (ZMF x Vibro) and or the HE-560? THe portatube would make a better pairing most likely? I was looking at a SR-71B amp but I do not know if it has enough juice for orthos

        • Reply October 20, 2014

          ohm image

          It heavily depends on how loudly you play your music. I find the PURE II gets too loud with the ZMF and Vibro headphones, but I am positive that a heavy voltage listener would find it nice to have more blood leaking form his/her ears.

          I don’t condone listening at higher volumes than I do, but I realise that some people do. For people that want more volume (and I hope you are not one), the Porta Pro adds more volume at stable levels. The PURE II keeps the same basic volume, but with some low sensitivity/high resistance headphones, it can clip.

  • Reply October 13, 2014

    Goggs

    All other factors aside: Vorzuge Pure II vs Portaphile 627 Micro (and consequently 627 X), how would you compare them and which would be your personal preference? Cheers!

    I’m considering getting either, but might get both if it’s worthwhile owning both at the same time

    • Reply November 27, 2014

      ohm image

      Goggs: you too, I missed. Apologies. I will be finishing a comparo review of the larger 627 and the PURE II very soon. The Micro was returned to Portaphile a while ago. However, it is awesome. Sorry.

      • Reply November 27, 2014

        Goggs

        Hey man, you don’t need to apologize for late replies. It’s amazing that you maintain this site while taking the effort to try and reply most comments. Kudos to you!

        I’ll definitely be looking out for your comparisons once you publish them. Cheers!

  • Reply October 28, 2014

    George Lai

    I’ve always wondered about amps with gain switches especially as I begin to listen to more CIEMs. They should either be recessed and need a paper clip to switch it but if they are like the Pure II, they should be stiff and have some kind of flip cover (like trigger buttons on a fighter jet). Is the gain switch easy to switch? And if you use it on low gain will the battery life be significantly improved? It’s a pity the Pure II’s battery life is half that of its predecessor.

    • Reply November 27, 2014

      ohm image

      George, sorry for the late reply. The switched are difficult to accidentally switch. While not flush, they lie low against the amp faceplate. If you have earphones and input ports plugged, it is almost impossible to bump them, which is great for hearing safety.

      After enjoying the PURE II for months now, yes, I miss the bettery life (better battery life) of its predecessor, but not enough. This is THE one.

      • Reply November 27, 2014

        George Lai

        In this addiction, I mean hobby, of ours, never say this is THE one. Thanks, Nathan.

  • Reply December 10, 2014

    Vaibhav Pisal

    hi Nathan,

    can you compare pure 2 with graham slee solo srg2 with psu 1, only sound quality?

    I will use easy to drive dynamics like akg k550 with them. I see pure 2 is not so good with hard to drive cans but that should not be a problem.

    also which one will give more balanced presentation with dt880 (ie more mids and lesser emphasis on treble)?

    also which one is dry and which one is lush in comparison?

    thanks.

    • Reply January 22, 2015

      ohm image

      Hello Vaibhav: I’m sorry this is late. I didn’t see you there.

      Those are completely different amps: are you sure you want me to compare them? I can’t imagine deciding on one, or the other despite one being mains and the other being battery.

      But if your primary headphone is the DT880, the Solo it is, hands down. It was made for the Beyers. The Solo is a bit drier, but it is richly dry, not starchy. The PURE is a bit lusher.

  • Reply December 13, 2014

    Chris Vanaman

    Hey!
    Bought some T90’s cheap, apparently they are picky to pair up. Looking to add some warmth. I’ve been eyeballing this amp (pure II)to use with my iPod classic 7th gen and new T90’s. I’ve done research but not confident enough to throw down $500 yet on an amp but don’t wanna do cheap. I also fell in love with the Blackbird SR-71A (never listened with it) but the review here made me drool

    • Reply December 13, 2014

      Headfonia_L.

      The Duet and Vorzuge are great amps, but they won’t really add warmth to your T90. The T90 is one of my fav headphones but it needs a tube amp for the warmth or a warmer sounding ss like the V200 from Violectric

      • Reply December 13, 2014

        Chris Vanaman

        Thank you both! I’ll be sleeping alone on the patio if I shelled out $1000 for an amp right now. Any suggestions in the range of $500?

        • Reply January 22, 2015

          ohm image

          I hope you’re reading Headfonia this evening. Got one for you now: the Plus Sound Cloud Nine: 349$ USD.

    • Reply December 13, 2014

      dalethorn

      The T90 actually has pretty good bass warmth I found, but they are quite bright. Myself, I just reduce the treble a little and it sounds better that way.

  • Reply February 1, 2015

    chuck77

    Would this be an upgrade to the headstage arrow 3G? I actually am waiting for my arrow 5TX (has built-in DAC) too, but I am curious about this amp a lot.

    Even the Arrow 3G provided a substantial improvement in soundstage, detail, and clarity via line out on my iPad 3.

    I use mostly IEMs for this setup- AKG K3003i and pretty soon will have a Shure SE846 too.

    • Reply March 25, 2015

      ohm image

      I do not own the Headstage Arrow. I’ve not actually heard it outside of a headfi meet several years ago. I am sorry.

  • Reply February 2, 2015

    Ian

    Would this improve the sound of my Shure SE846s while using an AK120?

    • Reply March 25, 2015

      ohm image

      The PURE II has a better output stage than does the AK120. Technically, if offload its output to the PURE II, the AK120 will perform better, but it is up to you whether or not that will sound ‘better’.

  • Reply February 4, 2016

    Juan Luis Quiroz Guevara

    How compared with section amp of the chord mojo?

    • Reply March 24, 2016

      ohm image

      On most fronts it is up to the Chord Mojo. I need to update my Vorzüge measurements with a comparison.

  • Reply June 16, 2016

    Mateo Ocaña

    How is the performance with he400s/400i?

    • Reply June 17, 2016

      ohm image

      Again, I must disappoint you. I do not own those headphones, nor will I.

  • Reply May 23, 2017

    Iyamu

    Hey Shig,

    Can you please, if not already, review the Vorzuge DUO II.

  • Reply May 23, 2017

    Iyamu

    Hey Nathan please review the Vorzuge Duo II thanks

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