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15 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Ideal for classical music on quality headphones, August 18, 2011
This review is from: Musical Fidelity - M1HPAP (Black) (Electronics)
The Musical Fidelity M1-HPA headphone amp is a Class A amplifier/pre-amplifier and works with practically any headphones via the two front sockets (for up to two sets of headphones). If you use it as a pre-amp, it provides a clear, audiophile signal, although not terribly powerful. It also has a "pass-through" connection so that you can include it in a system but don't have to turn it on if you are listening via loudspeakers.

I bought this headphone amp after my Lehmann Audio Black Cube Linear gave up the ghost. A German-language hifi magazine recommended the M1-HPA for listeners to classical music because of its moderately warm sound, which is particularly advantageous for strings and for the human voice. After buying the amp and installing it (that was delightfully easy, no problems at all!), I found that my listening experience corroborates the magazine article in every way. In fact, I have scarcely been able to stop using the amp right up to now! I find it offers better sound than even my NAD C 165BEE pre-amp both via headphone and loudspeakers (I use Dynaudio Contour compacts and headphones by AKG Austria [K 701] and by Philips). The large round volume control is not only visually attractive but is also designed to allow step-less increments in volume, depending on the listener's needs and also on the type of headphone used. With my AKGs I usually turn the volume up to around 11 o'clock, which is more than enough. It could get a lot louder but would then damage my hearing.

The M1-HPA also has a USB input, but it is NOT suitable for playing high-resolution music files such as the .FLAC files offered by some sites. Nor can it reproduce the additional frequencies of SuperAudio CDs. When I tried the USB port on my rather old-fashioned Windows computer, the volume was way too low, but that may well be a problem with my antiquated USB 1.1 ports. Used with good RCA cable (I prefer Kimber Cable's Timbre TG), this headphone amp will provide no end of sheer enoyment for lovers of good music and good recordings. Needless to say, if a recording is not good, you will hear that, too.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Bang for the buck - superb headphone amp for HD800, January 18, 2012
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This review is from: Musical Fidelity - M1HPAP (Black) (Electronics)
I have a long history with Hi-Fi and in the past I have had a $25k system in my house. Recently I started to get back into the hobby but instead of spending crazy insane money that I no longer have on high end speakers, source, etc I decided to buy a set of headphones and an amp/dac combo to stream FLAC files from my iMac while I work. I work at home and sit at my desk 6-10 hours a day. So I decided to invest up to $3000 in a nice headphone system that will last me for the rest of my days.

I bought the Sennheiser HD800's and thought they were awful...until I bought this amp. I tried out a couple of lower priced amps with them and the sound was flat, harsh, lacking in BASS quality and quantity and lots of sibilance. I decided to try this amp after hearing from a fellow HD800 user who bought it and loved it.

As soon as I plugged it the difference between this and the lower end amps was immediately apparent with the HD800's. I now had a full bodied sound, deep bass that yes, actually rattled my head a bit and a silky smooth top end without any harshness. I added a cambridge DacMagic and the two are a match made in heaven with the HD800's. Plenty of volume that can make you go deaf if you are not careful but NO DISTORTION whatsoever.

Just beautiful sound with plenty of meat. Can these headphones be better? Yes, but to do so I would have to spend about $2500 on a much higher end tube amp. If you own a pair of HD800's and feel they are lacking, they are not. You just need a better amp. This amp along with a decent DAC will make your headphones sing. BUT do not use the USB input on this amp. The sound quality lacks using it. I use a digital toslink from my iMac to the DacMagic and RCA's to the amp.

For the price this is a great quality amp in build, feel, and sound quality. It's smooth, detailed, rich and brings life to the HD800's.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars, July 13, 2014
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This review is from: Musical Fidelity - M1HPAP (Black) (Electronics)
A great sounding headphone amp! I am using it with my HD800's and Grado ps1000's. Makes them great.
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Musical Fidelity - M1HPAP (Black)
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