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Graham Slee Voyager Headphone Amplifier - Graham Slee Voyager Headphone Amplifier
But the real stars lie under the hood of the Voyager. Crack open the case and you'll find a wealth of top quality components inside, from premium through-hole Nichicon capacitors, to an Alps volume pot and Jalco input/output jacks. The Analog Devices OpAmp is a pretty decent component too.
That's all good, but where the Voyager truly excels is its sound quality. To be fair that's to be expected at a price of £179, but you'd probably be surprised at exactly how much difference adding such a seemingly simple box of tricks can make.
Sit down for a long journey on a train or aeroplane with the Voyager and all those concerns about practicality and looks will quickly fade away. Somehow it won't seem to matter how may cables or boxes you have to pack when the music is presented as effortlessly as this. It's simply breathtaking how it transforms the sound, adding warmth, sparkle and a sense of three-dimensionality that wouldn't be out of place in a separates system many, many times its value.
I hooked it up to the Treksor Vibez player I reviewed last autumn, connected my Grado SR325i headphones and I was instantly impressed. Stacey Kent's vocals took on such a creamy smooth texture that I thought I was listening to a valve amp. It's a very warm-sounding amp, but this is not the sort of warmth that obscures detail. The piano on Plaintive Rumba, played by the Peter Nordahl Trio, was as clear and sharp as shards of shattered glass - you almost hear fingers on the keys and hammers striking strings - while the rattle of the strings against the fretboard of the double bass was uncannily clear.
Moving on to something a little more modern, the opening to Biffy Clyro's Living Is A Problem... was delivered with the sort of head-pounding thwack that feels as if it would shake your specs off if you were wearing a pair. Take That's more clinical, yet well-engineered pop, on comeback album Beautiful World, took on a texture and atmosphere you just don't hear when you switch back to a plain, unamplified MP3 source.