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Graham Slee Voyager Headphone Amplifier review




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Graham Slee Voyager Headphone Amplifier
  • Graham Slee Voyager Headphone Amplifier
  • Graham Slee Voyager Headphone Amplifier
  • Graham Slee Voyager Headphone Amplifier


Our Score:


If you're serious about your home music, you'll be accustomed to the notion that for the very best in sound quality, you have to invest in separates - a DVD player for video, a CD player for music, and a separate amp or multi-channel home theatre receiver to power a set of passive speakers.

High-end setups take this approach even further, separating the CD transport and digital to analogue processing, and the amplification stage into pre-amp and power amp modules, with the latter often split in two - one power amp per mono channel.

It's not, however, an approach that most of us are used to seeing applied to portable music. When most of us go out, we chuck our MP3 player and a pair of headphones in a pocket. If the headphones are good, it's quite remarkable how good a setup this compact can sound. But the humble MP3 player has the potential to be much more. With the addition of a decent pair of headphones and a portable headphone amplifier such as the new Graham Slee Voyager, almost any basic MP3 player goes from lo-fi music accessory to audiophile delight.

If this all sounds a little crazy, or too much like hard work, bear with me. Admittedly it's not the most convenient setup for on the move use - the amp itself isn't bulky per se, it's about the same size as a medium-sized smartphone at 125 x 67 x 28mm, and quite light at 180g. But coupled with an iPod Classic, for instance, or similar hard disk player it turns a just-about pocketable solution into, well, one that's not.

And it's not just the bulk. An extra cable (included in the box) is required to link the amp to the headphone output on your MP3 player, which I'm sure you don't need me to tell you is a pain when you're on the move. Even a single, straggly headphone cable is liable to snag on clothing as you stand up and walk around. Two require thought to stow in a practical way.

It's clear that this isn't a product that's intended for workout use. And neither is it one to draw admiring glances. The plain black box is more Maplin than design boutique, though it is highly practical. The box is both well-built and flexible: notably, you have a variety of ways in which you can power the device. It can be powered either by a supplied 9V alkaline or rechargeable battery, which is good for around 50 hours of continuous use, but it also comes with a plug top adaptor for connection to the mains at home or in a hotel room, and a mini-USB input, which allows you to draw power from a laptop or desktop PC.


August 22, 2008, 12:07 am

"Sounds" great, but I think it's priced too high. If it was 䀏, no question about it, I'd jump on it. But at 𧵫 with no discounts available anywhere, I'll pass.

Kevin Jewula

October 5, 2008, 3:22 am

I agree with Shaka's comment, but would prefer if this "Made in Barnsley" unit was not even 䀏, but closer to, say, 㿨. There are lots of similar - and dare I say - smarter-looking alternatives on Ebay and from Xenos(direct)in my desired priceband or even less.


December 13, 2008, 5:24 pm

Please do not slam a product just because of its 'looks'. Despite the looks it offers top-notch music, even comparable to the likes of household portable names like Ray Samuels Audio and Xin. And just FYI, the "cheap looking plastic" is ABS plastic - Graham apparently made the Voyager so that it suits its use : portability.

That you'll drop your portable rig, or slam it against some surface without knowing it. ABS is well known for its ruggedness and durability - and your "smarter-looking alternatives" metal casing may not save your money from going down the drain when you drop your 'alternative amplifier'

IMO you will *never* find an amplifier sounding even 50% of the Voyager's SQ @ 㿨. You can keep dreaming about it.

And I repeat, *never* slam a product based on looks alone. You might just lose out on a lot...

Aidan Wilson

May 20, 2009, 12:58 pm

I´ve just had a bit of a spending spree and bought a 120gb classic ipod a Graham Slee Voyager Headphone Amplifier and a pair of Shure se530 earphones connected with an Audio Elevation i-Lead for Graham Slee Voyager. I live in Spain and am waiting for it all to arrive in the post. Once it´s all here and been listened in i´ll get back to you with my thoughts if it´s money well spent. What i´d like to know is if there is any kind of case available to carry the ipod and GSV together. Or any other advice. This is my first foray into "quality" musical equipment and don´t know if this is a good set up or not for the money.


June 1, 2009, 5:05 pm

Aidan - very interested to hear your feedback on the Graham Slee when you get it. I have a pair of sennheiser hd650 hooked up to my PC and also to my Amp and they are stunning. However, I do want to take them on business to the UK (I also live in Spain) and they don't do anything special without the kind of power a pre amp can chuck at them when hooked up to my ipod. Regarding a case - I hear that an elastic band is best for keeping them together - substance over style I think.

Mark P

February 1, 2010, 2:37 am

You never did get back to us Aidan. Anyhow, I have the exact same set up, which I've had for over a year now. Breathtaking is how I would describe the whole package. Jawdroppingly good. I use Apple lossless as you DO notice the compression with this rig. I use the contour switch for more bassy tracks, like Kanye West's Love Lockdown. Swimming in bass. And Pendulum's Slam is another great track. Dire Straits' Love Over Gold album is utter magic. Switch the light off, light down in bed and prepare to be transported into world of total musical submersion.


July 10, 2010, 4:20 am

I have an 120gb ipod classic in a clear plastic case, attached to the Graham Slee Voyager using velcro coins. I rip CD's onto the ipod through i-tunes into Apple Lossless format. I use a SendStation Pocket Dock to bypass the ipod's EQ and take the signal straight into the Voyager with an Audio Elevation i-Lead. This bundle slides into a large Berghaus E-case which I attach to my belt, making the whole bundle about the size of an '80's Sony Walkman. Headphones are i-Grados. Sound is gobsmackingly good, as Aidan has no doubt discovered by now. Admittedly I'd like the music source bundle to be a little smaller, but the sound quality overrides the slight inconvenience of the belt pouch rig.


May 11, 2012, 2:45 pm

I like the http://www.headphoneedle.commonster headphones.. Don't know its price and type what...

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