Design & Build quality
The Headonia has the same look and feel as the HA2-SE headphone amplifier and all of the other Auris Audio units. I don’t know who the designer at the Auris company is, but he/she deserves a medal. The beautiful Headonia not only is an amplifier, it’s a piece of art. I am using it in my main living room setup where it’s visible for everyone to see. A beautiful and well sounding amp of this kind deserves the center piece spot, it’s that simple. Personally I prefer the black version over the white one, but my wife doesn’t agree.
The wood, leather, buttons, switches and connectors: everything is beautiful and perfectly built. There are no crooked lines, no glue, no loose leather, moving switches or whatever: the build quality is perfect. I don’t have a list of components used on the inside of the amplifier, but I’m sure they’re top quality brands again. The Headonia weighs a hefty 24kgs and it’s built like a tank. You’ll immediately experience that when you’re unboxing it. One tip to not get the misses angry: don’t put it on your table before putting the spike plates under it. I found out too late.
The nice thing also is that it doesn’t matter to Auris of you’re buying an entry level unit or the reference level one: it has to be perfect, both in looks and build. The Headonia comes arrived in a really big box and it’s extremely well protected so the DHL shipping doesn’t damage the unit. Unboxing it took quite some time but because of the careful and precise packing but the amplifier made it here from Serbia without a dent or scratch. There actually was a nice surprise once the amplifier was unpacked. As you can see in the pictures, the Headonia name is engraved in the top wooden plate. On our version however the top plate says “Headonia for Headfonia”. It’s a small touch, but it makes the Headonia even more special to me.
Lay-out wise the amplifier is very simple, but that’s exactly what makes it so beautiful. A thick wooden plate on top and at the bottom, with in between the gorgeous leather finish. Be aware, the Headonia amp is one big piece of art and it measures 450 x 400 x 270mm, and that’s without the space needed for an optimal cooling down air flow.
On the front panel you from left to right have the 4-pin XLR balanced output, in the middle is the main volume control and right next to it, the 6.3mm single ended headphone output. On the bottom of the unit you’ll find the air vents and the main power button, together with the four feet/spikes. As with the HA2-SE (I’m repeating myself) a blue LED turns on, as soon as you power up the amp.
On the top of the unit you have the impedance selectors for both of the separate outputs, as well as the line-in selector switch. The four tube are centered in the design and they’re protected with a little grill, separating them from the before mentioned controls.
On the back of the unit you from left to right find the four RCA inputs, the tube balancing controls and the power connector.
Simple but perfectly implemented and beautiful, you can’t ask for more.
|Tubes||2x ECC81 , 2 x 2A3|
|Amplifier Configuration||Single Ended|
|Power output: max||3W|
|Output Impedance||32 Ohm/80 Ohm/150 Ohm/300 Ohm & 600 Ohm|
|Analog Inputs||4 x Line|
|Dimensions (WxDxH) mm||450 x 400 x 270|
The DACs used with the Headonia in this review are the Chord Electronics Hugo 2 and the Violectric V850. The analog source was the Project Audio 1Xpression Carbon Classic turntable in combination with the Project Audio Phono Box S. Other sources used are the Astell&Kern SP1000 and AK70/AK70II as well as the Sony NW-WM1Z. The tube configuration used for the review is the EH 2A3 Gold in combination with the Mullard CV4024.
After a good burn in of the tube sets, the Headonia made it clear from the beginning it is a high level amplifier. The overall sound signature is neutral for a tube amplifier but I mean this in a positive way. Warmth-wise, if my Lafigaro 339 is 80°C, the Audiovalve Solaris would be 40°C and this would be like 15°C, if that makes any sense.
Headonia’s level of detail is very high and this goes for the bass and mids as well as the treble. Everything from top to bottom is excellently layered and you get both a very wide as well as a seriously deep sound signature. The separation is spot on and the spaciousness is right on the money: you get a nice airy sound but not overly so that it becomes holistic and it’s in no way concentrated. The level of clarity is very high and the sound is always presented in a clean way.
The part on Sound continues on Page 3 of this review, click HERE