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SPL Phonitor X *Updated* Review (DAC & Headphone Amp)

pseudoid

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If this didn't have the VU meter's, I'd behead a panther.
It is funny that @amirm did not say a single thing about the VU meters.
Especially since the Douk VU3 @$140 got its own ASR review.
Buy it for the VU meters, and feel happy that you gotta a bargain [?] price on the SPL Phonitor for only $2859.
That way, PETA don't come after you for animal cruelty or sumsuch!

The test results show increased noise-floor activity, correlated or otherwise.
Are these noise spikes related to weak power supply design/regulation/isolation?
 
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maverickronin

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I have not used crossfeed. This unit was dropshipped directly to Amir. I may or may not have him send it to me. I am still thinking about it...

Thanks. The adjustability of the crossfeed is really the killer feature of the SPL line. Despite its powerful DSP and intricate menus, even the ADI-2 DAC only has 5 hard coded presets which I find a little disappointing.

If your not someone like me who essentially requires crossfeed for headphone listening then I think this would lose a lot of its appeal. Amir doesn't use crossfeed either so he never bothers to evaluate it when something with that option crosses his test bench.
 

Killingbeans

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I'm starting to think that I should try some sort of crossfeed solution. Closed headphones often gives me headaches, and now I can't help wondering whether the natural crossfeed, you get from open headphones, is what makes them more tolerable for me.
 

Chrispy

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If this didn't have the VU meter's, I'd behead a panther.
My thought was more the opposite, the vu meters are fugly and deserve some marks down for it. $3k for this sort of "styling"? Yuk. Looks cheap.
 

Inner Space

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I'm starting to think that I should try some sort of crossfeed solution. Closed headphones often gives me headaches, and now I can't help wondering whether the natural crossfeed, you get from open headphones, is what makes them more tolerable for me.

Is there enough natural crossfeed to matter, though? I'm not denying your reaction to closed headphones, because I share it, but I think it must be for a different reason. I wonder if it's that the sealed-off feeling is unnatural, and the brain is straining to make sense of it?
 

Skinner001

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"Considering how much you are paying for this unit, you want to have much better performance than a unique niche." I read a recent review that stated that price is never a consideration in your reviews?
As far as I understand, it does not affect the recommendation section - which is mostly about how stuff measures and probably somewhat about the subjective tests.

That doesn't mean that he should never be able to mention price at all.
 

Killingbeans

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Is there enough natural crossfeed to matter, though?

Really good question. It's definitely a tiny amount compared to what you get from a set of speakers.
EDIT: I've given it some thought, an "tiny" seems to be an understatement. I was on a wild-goose chase with that one.

I'm not denying your reaction to closed headphones, because I share it, but I think it must be for a different reason. I wonder if it's that the sealed-off feeling is unnatural, and the brain is straining to make sense of it?

That could very well be it. Sort of loosely related to that eerie unnatural feeling you get when you walk into an anechoic chamber.
 
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amirm

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I remeasured at 32 ohm and results are extremely poor:

index.php


No wonder I could easily hear distortion with my Dan Clark Headphone. The very high voltage rails it is using causes this penalty for delivering current.
 
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amirm

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"Considering how much you are paying for this unit, you want to have much better performance than a unique niche." I read a recent review that stated that price is never a consideration in your reviews?
It does and doesn't. If I review a superb product, I don't care how much it costs. I will give it a strong recommendation. If the results are poor, then I do think about the cost sometimes.
 
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amirm

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It is funny that @amirm did not say a single thing about the VU meters.
I had in the previous review. This was really an update so didn't want to type a lot of text there....
 

TOR

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Looks like Phonitor X suffer similar low impedance issue as Zen Can. But the Zen Can has overall better performance with one less digit in price.
 

brandall10

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I heard of the company back in the day through this video
This was the beginning of my audiophool years, before I took a more objective approach to the hobby. Those were the days.

But anyways, the thing looks gorgeous, and that alone with the VU meters and such subjectively wants me to have it on my desk.

My issue with this product is it didn't seem to exist in the traditional audiophile space but in high-end pro audio. As marketed I always assumed it existed in the same arena as Benchmark, which is clearly not the case.

Seeing these revelations years later is sort of like being told there is no Santa Claus all over again.
 

SIY

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I remeasured at 32 ohm and results are extremely poor:

index.php


No wonder I could easily hear distortion with my Dan Clark Headphone. The very high voltage rails it is using causes this penalty for delivering current.
Source impedance?
 

3125b

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Source impedance?
Manufacturer spec is 0.36 ohms balanced and 0.18 ohms unbalanced.
Their power spec is 0.7W @32 ohms for balanced and 1W for unbalanced.
 

SIY

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Manufacturer spec is 0.36 ohms balanced and 0.18 ohms unbalanced.
Their power spec is 0.7W @32 ohms for balanced and 1W for unbalanced.
Yes, I saw the spec, but would like to know if that's real or not. If you see my measurements of the Phonitor One d in AudioXpress, you'll see why I'm asking that question.
 

3125b

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If you see my measurements of the Phonitor One d in AudioXpress
Can't apparently.

Are they that far off? In this sort of price bracket I would at least expect accurate specs.
 

EJ3

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TBH, I wanted this one so much for quite a long time. Only because it does look so cool (even more in red finish).

Never meet your heroes, they said...
If only it was as good as it looks...(for me, it looks like it should be in the blue area of our ratings in all categories: Sadly it's not even close...
 

VintageFlanker

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for me, it looks like it should be in the blue area of our ratings in all categories
Especially when SPL means Sound Performance Lab (something of a misnomer, unlike Benchmark)...
 
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