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10 of 12 people found the following review helpful
on December 15, 2010
Since discovering Grado Headphones, I find that I HAVE to keep mine with me when I am out on the road. I find this unit to be the only way to travel with my power hungry cans.

This little mahogany wood unit does a great job substituting for my home set up. It does not alter the sonics nor does it skimp on providing the power of my home setup. In short, it keeps me happy and looks good doing it. Highly recommended.
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31 of 42 people found the following review helpful
on May 9, 2010
This sounds similar to some of the Altoids amps that hobbyist began making in the 1990s. It is made up of cheap opamps in a fancy wooden cigar box but it's still better than the headphone jack of most components. The hobbyists that made those Altoids amps (literally in little tin Altoids mints boxes) continued to revise, improve, use newer opamp chips, and better components... so this headphone amp is not nearly as good as those are. Avoid.
[spelling corrected - Thanks, internet! -ed]
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13 of 18 people found the following review helpful
on December 5, 2010
I think most of the negative press comes from those using the Grado RA1 with phones other than Grado, and I'm not going to say they're wrong. The RA1 is an excellent choice with Grado phones. I'm using one with the GS1000 and it's a great match. It's pretty much common knowledge in the audio community that Grado headphone amps are optimized for Grado headphones, just as Grado phono preamps are best suited for Grado cartridges.
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12 of 18 people found the following review helpful
on June 5, 2009
I wired this to my imac to listen to my Grado headphones. There is a fullness, not volume, but full sound. I also have a pricey set of B&Ws to compare. I dont regret the purchase. Not to mention the mahogany amp looks good on my desk.
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16 of 25 people found the following review helpful
on October 31, 2010
Ok, this is a little better than the sound card in my macbook pro. My apogee one audio interface is almost as good. But neither one is made for powering headphones like AKG K702 or DT990 Pro which are my 2 favorites. I bought this knowing Grado is a good, well respected brand. Sadly, I had to return it. It seems whatever you spend on a headphone, you have to spend at least double on amps to get good sound out of them. Honestly if you are spending 350 on this, move up to the NuForce HDP for 450. It is the absolute best value for the buck. I got one of those because my budget was under $500 for headphone amps, and the good thing is the NuForce HDP gives you preamp, amp, and DAC all in one. If you are buying any headphone over $100, be prepared to spend at least $500 to get the best sound out of them.
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2 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on May 26, 2012
Straight a/b between iPhone output & iPhone through this amp. Worth every penny - to the kind of person who owns Grado 325's. There may be better / cheaper ways to achieve the same improvement, but I don't have a ton of time to experiment. This amp sounds fantastic with Grado 325's. Ignore the haters about the look. It's a good conversation starter on planes. No one ever says 'I don't understand why you carry all this gear around' - they ask you how much it cost, because they want it.
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1 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on July 19, 2012
Bought this full expecting to return it due to the bad reviews talking about the build cost. Well, 1st things 1st..the amp is GORGEOUS looking and feeling. Well made on the outside. It looked gorgeous on my desk. Small but solid and doesn't slide around like I thought it would. It has enough heft to sit and stay. I am listening right now as I type this with Grado PS-500's and the sound is liquid, compelling, full, sexy, sweet, dripping with goo and so so so drawing me into the music.

I have a history with high end audio as my old home system was a $25,000 setup for stereo only. An amp, CD player and speakers. I sold that 2 years ago and now have been trying to find a perfect headphone setup. So far I have tried HD800's, HD598's, T1's, and MANY lower end Apple store and Best buy cans (which all were awful).

I found the PS-500's which I love and they have THE sound I was looking for. I was running them with a dacmagic dec and a Fiio amp. They sounded good. I added the RA-1 and the sound jumped from a bit etchy and trebly to smooth, liquid, full and gorgeous. This little box may have been made with cheap innards but there is a reason it has been selling for a LONG time as is. It works amazingly well with GRADO cans. Period. Can you get better for $350? Im sure you could but right now I do not care as the sound I am getting is magical and EXACTLY what I like, and the RA1 is a beautiful and SIMPLE amp. I like it but wish I bought the AC version as I see myself going through batteries quickly.

$350 is not bad for what you get sound wise, if you are using Grado headphones. I've had high end head amps as well, but this is basic and simple and it works.
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4 of 9 people found the following review helpful
on March 25, 2010
The headphone output on my Emu 1616M seems to have better transient response. mids are definitely cleaner on the Emu, as is the LF production. Highs are fairly equal. YMMV based on the impedance of your cans though obviously. older Sennheiser 600s, JVC HARX900s.

In all fairness, the Emu 1616M has a rather good headphone driver section.
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10 of 30 people found the following review helpful
on December 30, 2010
Yeah it works. It looks like it was made by a third grader though in the 1950's lol. Some people have way too much money for useless stuff. I was thinking my headphones would be transformed. They sound pretty much the same just coming out of my receiver.

Buy it if you want a slab of wood with 'GRADO' printed on it.
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