Sparkos Labs Aries Headphone Amplifier
The Aries is a true audiophile standalone headphone amplifier. Build quality is great and volume and balance control are really exceptional. Provides more than enough power to get the best out of my headphones in an unbalanced out. No distortion and great transparency and clarity and has worked great with demanding planars or IEMs I have. The biggest compliment I can give it is that makes you want to listen more to your headphones and get the best pair possible as a complement to speaker sessions (or live events when one will be able to attend them again). I have the full model as that was what was easiest to try and buy in these difficult times (I use an unbalanced RCA connection) but unless you really want the balanced inputs, I would go for the base model.
Try it for audition, and like me, whatever the hole it burns in your pocket, you won't want to send it back.
What I really like: Easy to use, the front 3.5mm input connector (great for DAPs), the volume and balance knobs and the small click when you move up and down, the Sound
What I miss: A remote (I know not that important for a headphone amplifier and an issue with the top spec volume and balance control design), a screen "off" mode"
Top marks to Mark and the Audiocom team who were most professional and helpful to a new customer in difficult circumstances.