After recently having presented its first digital headphone amplifier, the audio specialist Sennheiser announces at IFA 2012 that it will also launch an analog version of the device, available in the U.S. later this fall. Both the digital HDVD 800 ($1,999.95) and the analog HDVA 600 ($1,599.95) have a fully symmetrical layout and promise a unique listening experience. They harmonize perfectly with the High-End headphone line HD 800, HD 700, HD 650 and HD 600.
The outstanding features of the new headphone amplifiers include a balanced sound image, maximum precision and impressive spatiality. The high-end devices have a fully symmetrical layout for operation with analog audio sources, thus ensuring absolutely symmetrical signal transmission from the source to the headphones. Especially designed for the use with digital sources, the HDVD 800 features an extra high-quality Burr-Brown digital/analog converter that converts digital audio data into analog signals with a resolution of 24 bits and a sampling rate of up to 192 kHz. This enables the HDVD 800 to transmit the entire frequency spectrum of high-end audio sources without any loss of frequencies.
“The search for perfect sound is a constant motivation for us to develop new ideas,” said Maurice Quarré, Director Product Lifecycle Management Sennheiser Consumer Electronics. “The best example is the legendary Orpheus. These electrostatic headphones with a vacuum tube amplifier, which came onto the market around 20 years ago, have become an icon in the audio world. With the new headphone amplifiers, Sennheiser is now taking up the tradition of the Orpheus, providing music lovers with the perfect combination of Sennheiser headphones and a specially matched amplifier.”
Cutting-edge technology, top-quality sound
Signal processing in the HiFi devices is fully symmetrical. That means that not only the signal input into the amplifier is symmetrical but also the signal output and therefore the connection to the headphones. “The fully symmetrical principle effectively compensates for interference and distortion. The sound therefore becomes much clearer as total harmonic distortion is minimized,” explained Axel Grell, Sennheiser’s High-End Product Manager at Sennheiser. However, the headphones can also be connected using a normal 6.3 mm jack plug. The amplifiers are also equipped with an asymmetrical input socket; when using this input, the incoming signals are symmetrised before further processing takes place. On the HDVD 800 digital sources are connected to the rear of the unit as an AES/EBU input or S/PDIF (optical and coaxial). The digital version is featured with an extra USB input, which offers 24 bit data transmission at 192 KHz*.
In order to fully exploit the sound potential of the HDVD 800 with any audio source, a rotary gain switch at the rear of the unit provides simple adaptation of the amplifier output to the audio input voltage. This ensures that the dynamic range can be used to its full extent.
Sophisticated materials for a premium touch
A glass panel embedded in the aluminium housing of the amplifier gives a clear view of the top-quality interior of the devices. Selected components and sophisticated circuitry promise the ultimate in listening pleasure. The rotary potentiometer is mechanically connected to the volume control by a 150mm long shaft. This unusually long potentiometer shaft allows the signal path between the audio source and the potentiometer to be kept very short, thus preventing possible interference of the signal. High-quality components (Alps RK 27 quad) ensure that the volume is controlled with maximum precision and a fine rotary ‘feel’. Also visible through the glass panel are the cooling element, the audio relay and countless MELF resistors for the amplifier. “The material selection has been thought through down to the finest detail in order to fully exploit the amplifier’s sound potential. The audio aspects of each individual component were evaluated in listening tests before the optimum combination was finally chosen,” said Maurice Quarré.
And such meticulous attention has also been applied to the exterior. Both, the housing and the potentiometer control as well as the rotary switch for selecting the source are made of anodised aluminium, while the front panel of the housing and the controls are milled from solid material. The HDVD 800 and the HDVA 600 were developed and designed in Germany, and the latest members of Sennheiser’s high-end series are also being manufactured there.
The new analog HDVA 600 and the digital HDVD 800, which are being introduced at IFA in Berlin today, will be available in the U.S. later this fall, and will also be on display at CanJam at the Rocky Mountain Audio Fest
in Denver, CO between October 12th and 14th.
The Sennheiser Group, with its headquarters in Wedemark near Hanover, Germany, is one of the world’s leading manufacturers of microphones, headphones and wireless transmission systems. The family-owned company, which was established in 1945, recorded sales of around €531 million in 2011. Sennheiser employs more than 2,100 people worldwide, and has manufacturing plants in Germany, Ireland and the USA. The company is represented worldwide by subsidiaries in France, Great Britain, Belgium, the Netherlands, Germany, Denmark (Nordic), Russia, Hong Kong, India, Singapore, Japan, China, Canada, Mexico and the USA, as well as by long-term trading partners in many other countries. Also part of the Sennheiser Group are Georg Neumann GmbH, Berlin (studio microphones and monitor loudspeakers), and the joint venture Sennheiser Communications A/S (headsets for PCs, offices and call centers).