Sources & Amplification
Beyerdynamic says the Amiron Home is the ideal partner for a high-quality hi-fi system or headphone amplifier. However, because their 250-ohm transducers still deliver a sufficiently high output level even on a tablet, you can enjoy the high-fidelity sound anywhere around the home. I mostly used the Amiron with a dedicated (portable) amp but even straight out of the AK380 and Cayin i5, it sound remarkably good for a 250Ohm headphone.
From my favorite portable DAP, the Astell&Kern AK70, the Amiron sounds good but not best. Bass is a little bigger and not the tightest but all in all it’s an enjoyable experience. The Amiron can sound a lot better though. The Cayin i5 (one of next week’s reviews) has full bodied and good bass and mids and it makes the Amiron a little heavier in the lower regions but in a musical way. Bass isn’t the tightest and body-wise it isn’t over the top, there’s just more. What I’m missing most with the i5 are some spaciousness and treble extension.
Straight out of the AK380 the Amiron plays reasonably well too but you feel there’s some power missing to make the Amiron Home really shine. Bass comes in a little lighter (like everything else) but the overall sound actually is pretty enjoyable. Hook up the Bakoon International to that and you get great, powerful sound. The HPA-01M was one of our favorite amps for the T90 as well and it scores good with the Amiron Home as well. On the current output bass becomes a lot bigger and sounds more bloated, on the voltage output you get a more balanced sound with tight bass and good clarity. This amp really transforms the Amiron in opposite directions. I myself prefer the balanced sounding voltage output with tight bass, transparency, better clearness and good speed. The current output gives everything more body where especially bass rules.
On the Cypherlabs Duet (balanced from source to amp and with lowest gain), the Amiron Home sounds very spacious with excellent separation. Bass is perfectly under control (tight and fast, with gorgeous rich mids and lively yet never harsh treble. The Duet sounds a lot cleaner and clearer than the Bakoon and in the end you get a more reference sound tuning. A great combination and I for one think this combination sounded best.
With the AK70 USB out to the Mojo, the Amiron Home sounds very dynamic and more like the Duet makes it sound: clean and clear. Bass (tight and fast) and mid body is a bit lighter but music is very balanced and precise, also a great combo but I still give the edge to the Duet. With the ALO Audio CV5, the Amiron is like the Duet, but with a hint of added tube smoothness. Good layered bass that never is overly present, very rich and sweet mids and lively yet smoothed out treble. A very relaxed sound that’s easy on the ears and that’s detailed at the same time.
The Violectric V281 (with the V850) as DAC has more than enough power to drive the Amiron Home to its full potential. Unfortunately I could only try the single ended output as none of my balanced cables have a double 3.5mm termination. Sound stage width and depth are good and bass is great. There’s a very high level of detail but the warmer character of the V281 makes me miss the clarity and cleanness of the Duet. I’m pretty sure it in balanced configuration would sound even better. Don’t get me wrong, the V281 and Amiron sound really good, detailed and musical but the clarity could be a little better.
On Cayin’s HA-1A mkII tube amp the Amiron really shines and the big advantage here is that you can slightly influence its sound by switching to another impedance setting. The Amiron here is musical and tube smooth, yet detailed and clear at the same time. Bass is just right while the mids are very rich with good and lively tube treble. Detail, depth and layering are very good overall. Next to the portable Cypherlabs’ Duet, the desktop sized Cayin amp is my other favorite for this headphone.
With the Amiron Home, Beyerdynamic has launched yet another great headphone in a very short time. Beyerdynamic wanted this headphone to be easygoing, musical (open – concert) and smooth for use at home, for watching movies and for listening to music and I think the Amiron is exactly that. It’s an easy to listen to headphone and it’s quite different from the T90 which I don’t think anyone sees as a warmer smooth headphone for relaxed listening. That does make it a bit weird to see the Amiron Home as the T90 successor, so I’d rather say they’re complimentary headphones.
It’s true that the Amiron Home doesn’t need a big amplifier to sound good but with one, it logically sounds better and/or different . The Amiron is a headphone that displays vocals in a very natural and realistic way and with the spacious sound and good sound stage it does make for a good “concert” headphone at home if you want to call it that. A while ago I said the DT1990PRO was my favorite open headphone (T90 vs DT1990PRO) and now the Amiron Home is here making that more difficult. I still like the DT1990PRO a lot but depending on my mood, location (office/home), the music I’m listening to or the movie I’m watching, I can see myself picking up the Amiron more often than the DT1990PRO. For some it might be a little soft, especially for those coming from the T90 and expecting the same sound signature, but I’m convinced the general crowd and especially the non-audiophiles will prefer the smoother Amiron Home for their use at, well, home.