The German Shapeshifter: VorzAMPduo

 

End Words

Fantastic sound.  Similar to the appraised Continental V2, but much better bass. Too much gain. Why not a high/low-gain control? The EQ should definitely be revised.  I might be interpreted as very critical to this amp, but it’s only because with some minor changes this would have been the best single-ended portable amp I’ve heard. So please Vorzüge, fix them.

Versatile. Get a pocket-friendly cable (i.e. a shortened right-angled one) and an (modded) iDevice (e.g. iPod Touch, Nano or Classic) + IEMs and you can use it everywhere. For a walk. At the gym. Add a CLAS and you have a transportable stack than can drive Orthos quite well. Don’t try to use it in any other way until Vorzüge do something about the fixed gain though. Fixed gain. Less fun.

When I’m writing these final words. All amps used during this extensive review have been sold, except for The Pan Am and the VorzAMPduo. Draw your own conclusions

 

Equipment used in this review
VorzAMPduo, ALO Audio The National, The Continental V2, The Pan Am + The Passport (with various tubes), Triad Audio L3 + LisaLabPower PSU, Audio Research SP16L, CyperLabs Algorhythm Solo, iPod Touch 4th gen, Custom “Grado” Magnum v4, Audez’e LCD-2 rev 1 w/ LCD-3 pads and LCD-3, Unique Melody Merlin, Toxic-Cables and Whiplash Audio headphone cables and interconnects, Vorz-cable.

vorzuge_vorzamp_duo_01 vorzuge_vorzamp_duo_03 vorzuge_vorzamp_duo_04 vorzuge_vorzamp_duo_05 vorzuge_vorzamp_duo_02

 

 

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR Valentin is a mid-20’s multi-tasker. Played a lot of instruments from the age of 5-6 and onward. Grew his hair, experimented with 4x12” Mesa Boogies whilst growling in front of a mic. Cut his hair and DJ’d electro beats at clubs. Grew a moustache and people started calling him Dr. Hogea. Has ravaged through all genres you could imagine. A playlist with Warren Zevon, Dissection and Dead Prez is the daily diet. Preferably in a transportable manner. Life is too short for a desk.

    39 Comments

    • Reply November 24, 2012

      Julius

      A Buddy of mine emailed me about a week ago and asked if I wanted to take a listen to this amp. I ultimately passed on it and am thoroughly regretting it. Gosh, I really enjoy your writing style. What a great review! I get so excited when other authors use certain words and phrases that don’t really go togther in the portable amplifier world, such as “Soundstage” and “Big”. When I see those terms near each other, I usually end up getting it. Welcome to the Guest Spot Family. Ed and I serve drinks and cookies on Friday nights.

      • Reply November 24, 2012

        L.

        What do mike and me get? :p

        • Reply November 25, 2012

          Trent_D

          Increased review output and possibly an increase in readership?

          • Reply November 25, 2012

            L.

            But i want cookies too!

            • Reply November 25, 2012

              Trent_D

              Well, Julius didn’t say you couldn’t attend.

              • Reply November 25, 2012

                L.

                😉

                • Reply November 25, 2012

                  Trent_D

                  get my last email?

                  • Reply November 25, 2012

                    L.

                    Who is this and what email? 🙂

                    • Reply November 26, 2012

                      Trent_D

                      Yeah, for all I tell my daughter she needs to learn patience, I need to learn some myself. Since it is actually happening, I’m actually getting a little nervous.

              • Reply November 25, 2012

                Julius

                Aww! Of Course they can attend. Anyone can! Free Cookies for all! All I need is your social security and credit card number and verification.

                • Reply November 25, 2012

                  Trent_D

                  Oh sure. I will mail them to you, complete with a money order containing my whole bank account. Will that be enough?

      • Reply November 25, 2012

        Valentin

        Do you have any Leffe? Or is that L’s role? 😉

        Great you liked it. Hope we all will find a niche in this good ol’ family.

        • Reply November 25, 2012

          Edd_N

          As Julius already said – welcome to the family Valentin! That was a superb review! Full of detail and very balanced. I haven’t heard of this one and yet it’s another that makes my wallet want to cry ;). I will bring white russians and Doritos next Friday 🙂

          • Reply November 26, 2012

            Valentin

            There’s a Vorzamp Pure FS on the head-fi. Pick it up before the Vorzüge-frenzy starts? 😉

            Thanks a million for the kind words. I do my best. It took a while to write, hopefully the next ones goes a bit faster.

            Looking forward to reading new stuff from you guys!

            White russians? Maaaaaanly! Bring out the Stroh-rum 160-proof!

    • Reply November 24, 2012

      Trent_D

      This review was fun. I could never quite tell if this was a positive or negative review. I know how you feel though. When I saw the film Prometheus last summer, it was maddening. So close to utter brilliance, but a few forehead slapping decisions really shot it in the foot. Seems to be the same here. Here is hoping they take feedback.

      I am loving these guest reviews. Hope to see another one from you.

      • Reply November 25, 2012

        Valentin

        When perfection is so close, someone just has to mess it up. I just can understand it. Vorzüge are skilled engineers/designers. Who/when/why?… decided to add that moronic EQ? And then non-existant gain-control? It makes baby Jesus cry.

        • Reply November 25, 2012

          Trent_D

          It really is a head-scratcher. Those are basics in this age of digital audio. Although, if I ever see someone walking town with the LCD-3 around their head, I will make sure to recommend this to them. And before you say that is crazy, a co-worker of mine, who I have awoken to the world of headphones, says he sees people walking around the university of Minnesota with HD700’s on their head… Connected to ipods… I hope baby Jesus likes to cry, cause it isn’t going to stop.

          • Reply November 26, 2012

            Valentin

            And I thought that a dude yesterday in downtown-Stockholm w/ Denon D5000’s was weird. Especially considering all the rain and humidity. Poor phones…

            HD700?! Hah.. Beam me up Scotty!

            • Reply November 26, 2012

              Trent_D

              I should find this guy. Trade him my HD202 for the HD700. The HD202’s will sound better connected straight to his ipod, so he might go for it.

    • Reply November 24, 2012

      Gorboman

      Wow! Almost the perfect one. Now that’s something I have to try listening to.

    • Reply November 24, 2012

      Mike

      I like his writing style. 🙂

      • Reply November 25, 2012

        Valentin

        Thx Mike! More coming. And you know it! 😉

    • Reply November 24, 2012

      Captain Spaulding

      I’m new here, so maybe I don’t yet get the joke — but is English a second language to the reviewers here? I’ve noticed that many reviews posted here are so poorly written (or translated) that it would take Talmudic scholar to figure out what the writer is trying to say.

      Take this gem (from above review) as an example:

      “Huge soundstage, but a bit fuzzy/non-analytical when it comes to imaging and instrument separation. Compared to The National and Leckerton Audio UHA-4, they’re however not even in the same viscinity. [sic] It’s a “luxury problem”. ”

      Huh? What does the word “they’re” refer to? Depending on the reference, this could either be a positive or negative statement. Does the reviewer care whether we can tell the difference?

      I sympathize with the person below that commented “I could never quite tell if this was a positive or negative review.” Maybe if the writer was less interested in verbal masturbation and more interested in stringing together a few, coherent sentences, we would know.

    • Reply November 24, 2012

      Spencer Chan

      Nice to see the ‘con’s with the ‘pro’s. I was looking for something to drive my LCD2s while walking around the house. Seem like this may fit the bill. Esp with 20+ hour battery life!

      • Reply November 25, 2012

        Valentin

        Highly recommended! Add a CLAS and you got some hi-quality sound. I’d pick up the Pure though… Or pay 90 USD for a treble-sparkle-lever. 😉

    • Reply November 25, 2012

      Julius

      Two questions. Despite the low end EQs odd placement, how does it affect headphones or sources you might consider lacking bass quantity? Also, would you consider the low end more analytic or edging more towards the warmer end?

      • Reply November 26, 2012

        Valentin

        In my honest opinion. It adds a mid-bass hump. Which I really don’t like. It might work with very dry phones, like K701/Q701-ish. However, they’ll probably end up like a muddy HD650. It’s simply too much. I can’t picture one headphone that would really shine with that amount.

        The low end is warmish, but very good layering. W/o the EQ-bass on that is.

      • Reply November 26, 2012

        Valentin

        I would pick up the Pure. However I think a lot of potential buyers think “better safe than sorry”. Which, well… 90 USD for a treble-sparkle-lever. 😉

    • Reply November 26, 2012

      L.

      Valentin, could you please put the prices of both in the review somewhere? 😉

      • Reply November 26, 2012

        Valentin

        Look again… 😉

        “These solid little works of art sets one back 430 and 520 USD respectively.”

        • Reply November 27, 2012

          L.

          Someone asked to add it. of course I didn’t double check 😀

          • Reply November 27, 2012

            Valentin

            I can understand that a quick-reader might miss it. However, I don’t like just busting out facts. I tried to incorporate the traditional details so it becomes more fluent. 🙂

    • Reply November 26, 2012

      Yago

      Hi Valentin, I’m Yago (previous owner of this VorzAmpDuo for just a few time) but I agree with you in all that you say about this amp.
      For me, apart from the too much gain maybe it’s the best portable amp to drive full size headphones,

      Congratulations for your fantastic review!

      Yago.

      • Reply November 26, 2012

        Valentin

        Thx Yago!

        It sure is a keeper! 🙂

        • Reply December 13, 2013

          Nik

          Hello Valentin
          I read your thorough review and are interested to Vorzüge amp.
          I wanted to use it for the reader to use AK120 with headphones as K701 or HD650. But also for driving better a IEM as Etymotic ER-4S.
          You’ve got to use the AK120? What do you think of the synergy?
          I was thinking of buying the new model Vorzamp Pure II that should have the same sound signature, but that allows to adjust the gain.
          Do you have any other advice for a truly portable amp?
          Thanks in advance for your answers.

          • Reply December 13, 2013

            Mike

            I think the Vorzuges are good for 650s. For a thin IEM like the ER4S I’d go for something warmer and fuller on the mids like the ALO International or RSA Intruder.
            The K701… I don’t have any recommendation for it.

    • Reply April 20, 2013

      Christoph Seufert

      I really doubt the integrity of this manufacturer: Why you think they are german? For sure they aren’t (why should shipping to germany then be more expensive than to the US). And what are surprise: Shipping to China is even less.

      On the website there is no address, no names, no country, no phone number, no email address.

      Very poor review because of that: When you recommend a product to at least a bit of background research to protect the readers.

      • Reply April 21, 2013

        L.

        I can’t comment on the Vorzamp but I know of several German brands who are actually manufactured in Asia (with high end components). Coming from Asia doesn’t always mean it’s no good 🙂

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