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.
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.
- 525mW into 16Ω
- 1440mW into 32Ω
- 1050mW into 150Ω
- 540mW into 300Ω
- 270mW into 600Ω
- 810mW into 16Ω
- 940mW into 32Ω
- 270mW into 150Ω
- 135mW into 300Ω
- 68mW into 600Ω
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
- USB Audio (Type B Connection)
- Optical (TOSLINK) •
- RCA Analog Audio
- Balanced XLR-4
- Unbalanced 1/4”
- RCA Analog Audio (Fixed/Variable)
The review continues on page two of this article, click HERE or below