Picture Wednesday – Week Two – My favourite knob

This is week two of an ongoing column at Headfonia. By all means, read Week One.

As self-serving as it may be to revisit a product I reviewed last week, I will. My in-laws suddenly busted in for pizza and a giggle with my new-born daughter. I enjoy free pizza like the next 30-something desktop audio potato. But truth be told, I’m at the end of my pepperoni.

It’s not just a time thing – that’s always been a thing in short demand. It’s also a pot thing. I love pot, have loved it since I was in my late teens. And, since enjoying it here in Asia could get you killed, I get off now by calling attenuators, volume knobs, well-formed bolts- anything., pots. And the best volume pot I’ve used on any amp, at any price, is PHAntasy‘s.

So perfectly is it weighted that I can lay a heavy finger on it and it won’t grind in its niche. It rotates smoother than the smoothest Leica helicoid I’ve used, approaching Linhof territory. It’s the kind of pot whose perfect engineering makes the dearth of the other somewhat palatable. And, it’s the kind of pot that ruins a man for other knobs and switches.

The pot on PHAntasy’s smaller sibling, Sassy, which, acting completely normal for its price range, is, by way of comparison, rude. It grinds a bit, and friction stops rather than gliding butter-ily to inertia. And, not that it needs the diamond studs wrapping it ’round, but it sports them anyway – for good measure.

Even if you don’t like valve amps, and even if you prefer a warmer sound, have a play with PHAntasy. Its genuine form-follows-function engineering is a simple, pleasurable, marvel that plays wondrously with today’s big-Ω headphones. The amp, too, comes with my full (though proviso-laden) recommendations.

Puff puff twist.

Useful links: 

Phatlab Audio: PHAntasy review
 – Phatlab Audio: ergonomic PHAntasy
– Phatlab Audio: RMAA PHAntasy

Phatlab Audio: Sassy review

Beyerdynamic: T1 V2 review

Beyerdynamic: DT880 review

Sennheiser: HD800 review


5/5 - (13 votes)

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.


  • Reply April 13, 2016


    European stockist! No import duties/charges! That knob!
    I’m getting one!

  • Reply June 10, 2016

    ghost2031 S23

    The Volume Knob on the Garage 1217 Project Ember 2.0 amp is really something special too.
    Smooth and Precise and somehow weighty.
    That was like the first thing that came to my mind when using the amp. Soundwise it’s also something special i have to say.


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