Build Quality, Layout, Price, Looks & Accessories
Like the HP-3 headphone, the Klipsch designers did an excellent job with the DAC/Amp unit. Encased in formed aluminum with genuine walnut veneer, the Heritage breathes quality. All switches, knobs, and controls are weighted and anodized aluminum for great feel and tactile response. All the analog switches operate through relays for the cleanest signal while maintaining a vintage feel.
I actually expected the unit to be bigger in size as it’s a desktop unit but it actually only weighs 770g and it measures only 2.28” (58mm) in height, 7.87” (200mm) in width and 5.7” (145mm) in depth.
I really love the Heritage design and the unit actually perfectly matches my Auris Headonia amplifier with the wooden top/bottom and the black aluminum in between. The gold/copper colored details, switches and buttons make this a beautiful piece of gear that I’ll happily put on my desk for everyone to see. Great build quality, to the smallest detail.
On the front, you from left to right have: the 4-pin XLR balanced output, the 6.3mm Single Ended output, the sample rate indicator, the line out/headphone switch, the gain boost and finally the power and volume control. Flicking the switches and turning the dials is always smooth and easy. It’s not only a pleasure to look at but it works perfectly as well.
On the back of the unit you from left to right have: the USB-input, a service port, the optical input, the coaxial input, the RCA line input, the RCA line output, the variable/fixed output selector and the power connector. It’s almost a miracle that Klipsch managed to put all these connectors, buttons, outputs and inputs in such a little case.
The Klipsch Heritage is selling for only $499 and it comes with a 2.0m USB Type-B Cable, a universal power supply and US, EU, UK, and AU Plugs. I really expected the unit to be more expensive seeing it’s part of the Heritage series with a headphone that costs over $1K, but Klipsch clearly chose to made the unit available for a large public. And $499 just isn’t a lot of money at all for a beautiful, well working, perfectly built and good sounding unit.
The Klipsch DAC/AMP unit can be used in three different ways:
- as an amplifier only using the RCA line input
- as a DAC only using a digital input and the line-out
- as a DAC/AMP combo
By bypassing the ESS Sabre DAC inside the Heritage we get to test the amplifier only part of the unit. The source used for this is the original Astell&Kern AK70 using AK Connect to stream from my NAS drives, so take this into mind. As headphone output we’re using the single ended output. The balanced output will be discussed in the headphones section. As a solid state amplifier the Heritage is dead silent and it has a nice black, clean back ground.
I wouldn’t call the amplifier’s sound signature neutral as it is a bit smoother and warmer, but it is only so to a small degree. As we already mentioned in the HP-3 review, the Heritage series is all about musicality and we also find this in the amplifier. It’s musicality over analytic detail retrieval and smoothness over absolute precision. The amplifier part is a pleasure to listen to and it is very easy on the ear with a soft tone from bottom to top. The L/R balance and positioning is good.
It’s not the absolute fasted or most precise amplifier but the sound is clean and romantic. This amplifier reminds me a lot of the Beyerdynamic A20 amplifier, as they share the same full bodied sound with a warmer sound signature and a high musicality factor. (see later)
I honestly expected the bass to have bigger body but bass actually is rather civilized when you combine the Heritage with a series of dynamic and orthodynamic headphone (more on this later). So bass body as well as the impact for me is moderate. Bass isn’t loose but it isn’t the absolute tightest either. Bass speed, depending on the quality of your source, is quite nice though. Basically bass is fairly neutral regarding warmth and impact. With a good quality source, bass can go fairly low but the layering of the lower spectrum will never be the Heritage’s strongest point. That’s also something we concluded last week with the HP-3 review.
The mids are nicely rich and musical and to me the Heritage’s mids are the nicest and richest part of the amplifier. I do find the quality of the source (file) to be very important though. The Heritage is not the amp that covers up bad recordings, but feed it with good quality and the mids will absolutely shine. The treble section is energetic and musical but it isn’t the most extended. It’s soft and easy to like. For me it could be a little edgier and more extended, but it’s not this Heritage under-performs either.
Even more on SOUND can be found on Page Three of the review, click HERE or below