Feliks Audio Envy Review

Sound Intro

 

If you have read our previous Feliks Audio Reviews, and especially those of the Euforia and the Euforia AE (the TOTL until Envy arrived), then you know that the Feliks Audio sound quality already is very high. The Envy costs more than double than the Euforia AE amplifier does, and as such our hopes for an even better sound were extremely high. Don’t forget the Envy is a single-ended Class A amplifier, and not an OTL one like the Euforia models.

After a long burn-in period (Feliks Audio recommends +150h) and a couple of months of using the Envy, I can wholeheartedly say that the Envy delivers what we hoped for and it fulfils all our expectations, if not more.

For the part on sound we have used the Envy in combination with a whole series of headphones as you will see later on. The DAC in the setup were the EarMen Tradutto and the Musician Pegasus R2R  DAC. My DELL laptop with ROON is feeding the DAC. All connections are balanced from the DAC to AMP to headphone, and I fully recommend you follow that route as well.

Let’s dive in!

Feliks Audio Envy

Sound General

Like most high-end tube amps, you get a more neutral tuning, but there always is that typical tube smoothness, romanticism and softness in the delivery. The Feliks Audio Envy doesn’t have the typical analytic neutral kind of tuning which you would get from a solid-state design.

The Envy is very balanced from top to bottom and nicely linear with nothing being pushed forward or getting boosted in amplitude. The Envy has a good and natural amount of body presence. It never exaggerates but it is not lacking in body in anyway. Envy’s impact is good and realistic, never light.

The Feliks Envy amplifier is extremely natural and dynamic sounding. It displays an effortless musical reproduction with a powerful presence, yet it never sounds forced or “off” in any way.

Musicality is what the Envy is all about but it at the same time also technically incredibly strong. Of the course the amplifier is always dead silent, even with the most sensitive headphones. Some colleagues warned us of the possibility of the Lundahl’s being noisy, but none if this is so in Feliks Audio’s implementation.

So yes, the Envy is technically super strong. The PRaT, transparency, clarity, detail retrieval and note extension as well as the separation is super good. The Envy is always in control and it effortlessly manages to do/process anything you throw at it. At the same time the presentation is airy and spacious, but it all feels so natural and easy.

Envy’s stereo image and soundstage is exemplary in both depth and width. Just like its layering and precision, which is nothing short of jaw dropping. I’ve had the pleasure to listen to many high-end amps, but the Envy is among the very best. The only amplifier in the office that plays at the same level is the Auris Headonia and we’ll compare both amps later in this article.

But the Envy isn’t only technically strong. It’s also energetic and natural with tube softness in its delivery, making it extremely musical. You get a very engaging sound which really brings the best out of your headphones. Envy doesn’t force them to sound differently from how they were intended to sound. It’s a transparent amp with great clarity but that with light tube smoothness added in the presentation.

So far for the Envy, I haven’t found any negative points whatsoever. It’s a truly sublime amplifier.

Feliks Audio Envy

Sound Basics

Bass

Bass comes in powerful and deep and the Envy displays an impressive low end with excellent sub presence. Bass is not overly present though, but it has the perfect amount to keep things natural and to make it engaging. The bass control, its dept, extension and layering is exemplary. Same goes for the bass detail. Of all the headphone tube amps on the market, the Envy simply has one of the best bass presentations/renderings of all.

Mids

The mids are spacious and airy and the separation at the very highest level. The mids have that tube smoothness in the presentation but don’t mistaken this for warmth. Vocals are perfectly natural and then blend in perfectly. The mids section natural and realistic, but most of all pleasing to the ear. It’s a perfect mix of technicalities and musicality, making it very engaging and addictive. Could you as for something more?

Treble

Envy’s treble is clean, energetic, and nicely extended. It is sparkling, yet slightly soft in the delivery. It’s easy on the ears and as such it’s non-fatiguing. Like the bas and mids, the treble section is technically strong, but it’s perhaps a bit softer and smoother in the delivery. The strong technical level and tube softness combined with great energy and musicality make the upper region a pleasure the ear.

Sound – Headphones

For this part of the testing we used the Envy in combination with the Tradutto in balanced mode. Unless specifically mentioned, all headphones were used in balanced mode as well.

The Envy was developed to drive the most demanding and high-end headphones on the market, and the first headphone everyone mentions in that case is the Hifiman Susvara. For me the Susvara when properly driven is one of the very best headphones on the market and the Envy drives it without any issue (use setting high). But it’s not only about driveability here, the synergy between the amplifier and headphone is magic and the combo is very good.

Feliks Audio Envy

The Envy’s tuning and the 6W output really make the Susvara shine. You get an engaging, powerful and fast sound. The sound stage is huge in all directions and the spaciousness, separation and precision are spot on. This is an authoritive combo which is technically hyper strong, but it at the same time is also musical. If you like the Susvara, then the Envy will not disappoint in any way. It together with the Headonia 2A3 for me is the best tube amp to drive the Susvara with.

If you’re talking about high end planar magnetic headphones, it’s impossible not to mention Audeze. Their latest creation, the LCD-5, is getting mixed press but I personally like it a lot (as you might have read in my review). You just need to find the right amplifier for it. The Audeze LCD-5 with the Envy amplifier shines, it’s as simple as that. The LCD-5 is a more neutral and studio tuned headphone, so don’t expect it to have big bass and body.

The Envy shows what the LCD-5 is so good it but it’s not the amp that will make the LCD-5 sound fuller, warmer and smoother. Instead you get a very precise, clear and fast sound with great speed, superb lows, excellent control and more forward presented vocals. Next to the awesome 3-dimensioanlity and top-level positioning, clarity, transparency and dynamics are the top keywords here. It’s very easy for the Envy to drive the LCD-5, there’s no need to worry about that. I really dig the combo, but

Even thought he two previous mentioned headphones have great synergy with the Envy, my absolute favorite headphone with Envy, is the Meze Audio Empyrean. The Envy has an extremely easy job driving the Empyrean, and I actually recommend using “low mode” with this headphone. In the higher modes, the Empyrean is not 100% silent.

The Empyrean is a heavier, slower and fuller sounding headphone with a bigger bass presentation and a very good amount of warmth. With the Envy the Empyreans transforms is a more clear, fast and balanced headphone. You get a lighter amount of presence but with excellent bass, soft treble, natural mids and smooth vocals. This combo perfectly balances technical excellence and musical smoothness. It’s a pleasure to listen to, and it works for all types of music and movies. The Meze Empyrean ELITE is known as the more balanced, clear, faster and neutral version of the Empyrean. I really do like the synergy with the Envy as well and I use the combo a lot. The Envy enhances the ELITE’s strongest points and it really makes the ELITE shine, but the magic is not at the same level as with the Empyrean.

The article continues on the next page. Click here or use the jumps below.

Page 1: Feliks Audio, Envy, Features & Options, Driving capabilities & Impedance settings, Tube Galore

Page 2: Envy Design, Box & Packaging, Lay-out, Full Specs

Page 3: Sound – Intro, General, Basics, Headphones Pt.1

Page 4: Sound – Headphones Pt. 2, Comparisons, Conclusion

4.4/5 - (98 votes)
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Lieven is living in Europe and he's the leader of the gang. He's running Headfonia as a side project next to his full time day job in Digital Marketing & Consultancy. He's a big fan of tube amps and custom inear monitors and has published hundreds of product reviews over the years.

5 Comments

  • Reply May 30, 2022

    LioS-12

    What you can say about this amp with the Susvara?
    The vocals and midrange are still intimate and lifelike you think?
    and with the ability to breath and so on.. or that is not put too much focus on this regard?

    Also about the LCD-5 – what you think about the midrange/vocals with this amp?

    Thanks.

  • Reply June 3, 2022

    Mohit jain

    Thanks for an excellent review!!

    I was thinking of just one question in mind that if Auris Headonia and Feliks Envy are more or less on same level then what about Auris Nirvana, does Feliks Envy surpass the Auris Nirvana, especially in pairing with Susvara by a mile ?

    • Reply June 5, 2022

      Lieven

      In pure power it does not, but technically it does. It’s more refined

  • Reply September 3, 2022

    Aldo

    Which impedance selector position do you recommend placing when paired with the Audeze LCD-5?
    Thank you for your attention !!!

    • Reply September 3, 2022

      Lieven

      In general I would recommend low gain, but it depends on the combo and how you “like” your LCD-5 to sound. Just use whatyou feel sounds best

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