Review: Klipsch Heritage DAC/AMP

Disclaimer: The Klipsch Heritage DAC/AMP was sent to us by BELHiFi after I contacted Klipsch in the USA. This unit will be returned to BELHiFi after this review. Klipsch is not in any way related to Headfonia.

Klipsch

Of course we all know Klipsch as a speaker company but Klipsch actually has their own line-up of ear)- and headphones. Recently however Klipsch decided to launch a new headphone and desktop DAC/AMP aimed at the high end personal audio market: the Heritage series. In this review we’ll be looking at the Klipsch Heritage DAC/AMP combo. Klipsch’s product page can be found here: http://www.klipsch.com/products/heritage-headphone-amplifier

We are the Keepers of the Sound®

In 1946 Paul W. Klipsch, inventor, acoustics pioneer and maverick, founded Klipsch Audio with the sole purpose of bringing the power, detail and emotion of the live music experience into his living room. Through the use of highly efficient speaker designs, handcrafted cabinetry and a thirst for real engineering breakthroughs – Klipsch, the great American loudspeaker company, was born in Hope, AR. Today, our diverse range of quality audio products includes speakers and headphones for almost any consumer and professional application – including cinema, whole-house, wireless, home theater and portable offerings. Honoring our founder’s legacy, Klipsch continues to be the legendary high-performance brand of choice for audiophiles and aficionados around the world.

Heritage Headphone Amplifier

The Heritage is the typical DAC/Amp combo but first we’ll look at the amplification part. The Heritage unit has dual Class-AB TI TPA6120A2 amplifiers and the signal path minimizes cross-talk while increasing total system output. The Heritage is built to get the best signal to noise ratio possible and the chosen amplifiers had to be as quiet as the reference DAC. Klipsch also integrated a gain switch for a +10 dB boost in output to drive even the most demanding headphones.

The Heritage Headphone Amplifier is intended to work as a digital analog processor for USB audio, optical, and coaxial inputs. Beyond its primary use as a balanced headphone amplifier, it also works as a DAC for powered speakers. Toggle the output switch to “Line” and the amplifier will mute the headphone output and enable the line-out on the back of the amplifier. Flip the switch on the back of the unit from “Fixed” to “Variable” and you now have gain control through the volume knob on the front. Very straightforward, very easy, very nice.

As said, the Heritage Headphone Amplifier is designed to maintain the lowest distortion. To realize the full performance of the Sabre DAC, the signal path uses relays and an analog gain control. Klipsch coupled those elements with a highly customized circuit board layout and reference components. According to Klipsch this amplifier will enhance the quality of any headphone or audio system plugged into it.

Amplifier Power

Balanced XLR-4

  • 525mW into 16Ω
  • 1440mW into 32Ω
  • 1050mW into 150Ω
  • 540mW into 300Ω
  • 270mW into 600Ω

Unbalanced 1/4”

  • 810mW into 16Ω
  • 940mW into 32Ω
  • 270mW into 150Ω
  • 135mW into 300Ω
  • 68mW into 600Ω

DAC

The Heritage unit is driven at the core by the high-resolution ES9018K2M ESS Sabre32 Reference digital-to-analog (DAC) converter capable of 192kHz/24-bit sample rates. Featuring ESS 32-bit HyperStream® DAC architecture and Time Domain Jitter Eliminator, the amplifier delivers a clear sound and minimal distortion.

The Heritage unit uses the famous XMOS USB audio receiver platform, this allows the amplifier to lock the audio stream to its internal clock, keeping the audio stream as clean as possible. ASIO support is included for audio software that supports it. iOS (with Lighting™ to USB Camera Adapter, sold separately) and Android (5.0 Lollipop and newer) devices can also connect directly to the USB interface for lossless playback of content, bypassing your device’s digital-to-analog converter.

To ensure that all the settings on your input source are correct, the Heritage displays the sample rate which is being processed. The front-panel LEDs will illuminate in white for PCM sources and blue for DSD files. I really like this feature even though you probably know the quality of your files without having to look at the Heritage front panel.

Inputs & Outputs

The Heritage, even though it’s small in size comes, is nicely equipped with in- and outputs

Inputs

  • USB Audio (Type B Connection)
  • Optical (TOSLINK) •
  • Coaxial
  • RCA Analog Audio

Outputs

  • Balanced XLR-4
  • Unbalanced 1/4”
  • RCA Analog Audio (Fixed/Variable)

The review continues on page two of this article, click HERE or below

Review: Klipsch Heritage DAC/AMP
4.6 (92%) 15 votes

Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail

Lieven is living in Europe and he's the leader of the gang. Coming from a musical family he's always been interested in good sound. Unlike his family members the only musical instruments he plays are amps and DACs. He loves playing with old tubes and discovering new products while staying faithful to the good old Sennheiser HD650.

12 Comments

  • Reply February 1, 2018

    Eduardo

    How does this amp / dac behave with the HD650 in SE mode?
    You missed this comparison, as usual you always compare the product to the 650.
    To use with the PC, is it just to connect the USB output of the amp / DAC on the pc?
    Can you use both outputs at the same time (balanced and Unbalanced )?

    • Reply February 1, 2018

      Lieven

      The King is dead. Long live the King. People want to hear about the HD660s now 😉

      Plug it in and install the driver. That’s it.

      I didn’t try both outputs at the same time though. Sorry but the unit has been returned.

  • Reply February 1, 2018

    Eduardo

    in your personal opinion, do you prefer 660 now? What are the distinctive headphones (600/50/60)?
    does it even replace the 650?

    • Reply February 1, 2018

      Lieven

      Dedicated comparative review soon. The HD650 can’t be replaced, it’s iconic. The HD660s is there for those wanting something in between of the 600 and 650 imo

  • Reply February 1, 2018

    Eduardo

    Edited*
    in your personal opinion, do you prefer 660 now? does it even replace the 650?
    or are they different headphones (600/50/60)?

  • Reply February 1, 2018

    Eduardo

    I bought the HD650 in December.
    AHHHHH! because when you said that the King was dead, you almost killed me !! Because in December before buying one of the two (50/60) I asked you the difference between them, and according to the answer, I preferred the soft and romantic sound of the 650, and from this I bought the 650. I hope I have done the right choice: D

    • Reply February 1, 2018

      Lieven

      Oh you did if you like smooth

  • Reply February 1, 2018

    Eduardo

    You recommend the A20 because it is an amp that fits very well with the sennheiser, but it is just an amplifier and this already requires finding a dac that is compatible. It would be better for me to go for an AMP / DAC together. Would this match well with my headphones?

  • Reply February 1, 2018

    Steve

    I have a Parasound Z-dac V1 that I use for headphones now . I only stream from my laptop Deezer in high rez service. Been thinking about a upgrade under a grand,I do like smooth over bright extreme detailed. Any thoughts on comparison . I too like the look of this dac/amp

  • Reply February 2, 2018

    Mike I

    Intresting review as usual, Lieven, thank you.
    However:
    1) in Europe, this DAC/amp is much more expensive (699 Euros),
    2) with old ES9018K2M ESS, the DAC-technology is no longer up to date,
    3) for the eyes, the “kitsch” of Klipsch will not be the taste of everyone.

    • Reply February 3, 2018

      Eduardo

      for this amount in euros, but worth going to the A20 + DF?

  • Reply February 19, 2018

    Chris Baker

    I’m currently using a Music Streamer II+ dac and a Schit Asgard amp with my HD598’s. I’ve been looking to save some desktop space and upgrade my amplification (headphone upgrade will come later). Do you have any experience with those products and how they compare to this Klipsch Dac/amp combo?

Leave a Reply