My buddy Questa sent me an old vintage HeadRoom amplifier. It doesn’t even have HeadRoom’s new logo on it. On the front faceplate, it says “Headphone Amplifier & Audio Image Processor”. There is an on/off switch, a process/bypass switch (which sounds like a crossfeed filter), and a filter/off switch (which boosts the treble quantity). On the PCB, it does say “Headroom, Inc. Bozeman, MT 59715 (406) 587-9466.
It also uses a module-based design, and so you can’t really mod the amp section, and no op-amp changes either. My friend did change the input capacitors and the power capacitors. The PCB looks very sparse, unlike on the tiny amplifiers that we find these days. The amp has tons of gain and drives the HD800 at 9 O’clock. It’s virtually impossible to use this with an IEM, as the volume imbalance on the potentiometer is pretty bad on low volumes. The amplifier runs on four AA batteries, and the battery life lasts for a nice four hours.
Despite all the shortcomings, the amplifier does have a pretty sweet sound to it. Its sound signature is like a baby Zana Deux, with a romantic midrange and a smooth treble. I’m actually loving the sound of the amp, though bass performance is pretty sub-standard in comparison to the modern amplifiers. There is something about the sound that draws you into it. It’s like listening to a vintage turntable set up. Not the
best technicalities, but it draws you with its voice. I think this is one of Tyll’s creations, during the early Headroom days. Good stuff, Tyll. *thumbs up* Would love to try out your newer creations.
Thanks to Questa for the loaner!