The Swabian manufacturer Makroaudio is launching a class A headphone amplifier, which is also available with a built-in DAC on request: the whole thing is available at a pleasantly down-to-earth price.
Makroaudio Steinberg headphone amplifier
When developing this amp, the aim was to drive almost any dynamic headphone with enough power and to sound as true to the original as possible, according to the Makroaudio press release.
The amplifier unit, which runs in Class A operation, was built entirely with discrete components. For the input stage, Makroaudio relies on low-noise JFET transistors, while fast and load-stable MOSFETs work in the driver or output stage. Three different gain levels (6 dB, 14 dB and 22 dB) can be set on the underside of the device. A 50 VA toroidal transformer is responsible for the power supply; high-quality Wima and Nichicon capacitors are located in the signal path. The volume is controlled via an RK27 potentiometer from the well-known manufacturer Alps.
In addition to a 6.3 mm jack connection from Neutrik, the Makroaudio Steinberg also has a low-impedance preamplifier output for controlling a separate power amplifier.
As mentioned, the Makroaudio Steinberg can be equipped with a DAC module for an additional charge. Here you can find digital sources via S / PDIF (optical and coaxial) as well as via USB connection. The converter is the well-reputed ES9038Q2M from ESS-Saber – a 32-bit converter chip that supports up to 768 kHz via USB and up to 192 kHz sampling frequency via S / PDIF as well as DSD512 (Windows) or DSD256 (MacOS).
Macroaudio Steinberg headphone amplifier price: 795 euros
Surcharge for the DAC module: 200 euros