conrad-johnson hVA1 - $7000!

Discussion in 'Headphone Amplifiers and Combo (DAC/Amp) Units' started by AllanMarcus, May 20, 2019.

  1. AllanMarcus

    AllanMarcus Friend

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    [​IMG] Good lord, another ridiculously expensive amp! Makes the Manley look affordable and stylish.

    http://www.theabsolutesound.com/articles/conrad-johnson-announces-reference-headphone-amplifier/

    The following is a press release issued by Conrad-Johnson.

    May 20, 2019 - The conrad-johnson design team is particularly excited to announce the release of our latest product, a headphone amplifier that just sounds right. The HVA1 is a reference quality single-ended class A triode amplifier designed to power low-impedance headphones (around 20 to 32 Ohms). The HVA1 accommodates two line-level inputs. Power output is 3 Watts into 20 Ohms. The enhanced triode circuit (similar to that introduced in our flagship GAT preamplifier) employs two 6922 vacuum-tubes (one for each channel) for voltage gain coupled to a high-current FET buffer stage (source follower). Each of the two channels is powered by its own independent DC regulator. CJD Teflon capacitors and Vishay resistors are featured in the circuits. The level control is a discrete stepped attenuator constructed entirely with Vishay resistors. The circuitry is housed in a heavy, elegant aluminum chassis dressed with anodized brushed aluminum panels on front, sides, and top.

    The US suggested retail price for the HVA1 is $7500 (international prices are set by conrad-johnson importers and will vary depending on shipping costs, duties, taxes, etc.). HVA1s are now available for immediate delivery.
     
  2. GoodEnoughGear

    GoodEnoughGear Evil Dr. Shultz‎

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    I dub thee "Conrad's Johnson's Golden Shower".
     
  3. Walderstorn

    Walderstorn Friend

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    And someone, somewhere in the world, is just considering it.
     
  4. Vtory

    Vtory Illogical Spock

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    I am wondering if recent big boys -- who want to enter headphone-related gear markets -- really investigate the market thoroughly. From their movements (pricing, marketing bs's, absence of good technical explanation, absence of effort to listen to the community rather than paid reviewers), my bet is that enthusiasts in mainstream headphone-audio forums don't count for much in their market definition. This as well as MAHA seems to serve those who are familiar with dumping cash into speaker rigs and want to add headphones for night-time listening.
     
  5. Zhanming057

    Zhanming057 Friend

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    That design looks suspiciously like they didn't do any engineering beyond physically embedding a 1/4 inch jack into the front panel. And while it probably doesn't make much of a sound different, why not spring an extra $5-10 for a much nicer Furutech female jack, as opposed to Neutrik, for a $7,500 amp?
     
  6. GoodEnoughGear

    GoodEnoughGear Evil Dr. Shultz‎

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    I imagine the market is well-heeled old fart types who have heard that headamps are a thing and just want 'the best one'.
     
  7. bixby

    bixby Friend

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    Target market is the same person who bought this to haul their two bags of groceries home from the store.

    20180316_165523.jpg
     
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  8. dBel84

    dBel84 Friend

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    Saw one of these on my way into work and did a double take... WHY?.... WHO?...

    Then remembered that even Ferrari and Lamborghini were dipping their toes in the waters.
     
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  9. Lyander

    Lyander Too sensitive for SBAF

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    What the fudge.
     
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  10. E_Schaaf

    E_Schaaf MOT: Upscale Audio; recovering HFM addict

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    In my experience there are two types of high-end headphone customers -

    1. People who come from speakerland and already have $$$$$ speaker systems.
    2. People who use headphones as their 'main' systems.

    Usually people in the second category have smaller budgets, less space, and also more discerning taste. Of course there are exceptions but the correlation seems strong at least among the clients I often speak with.

    Seems to me like a lot of these companies who are already producing highly expensive 2-channel gear are targeting the same customers they already have from their other products (group 1). These guys think 'well I spent $15k on CJ monoblocks for my mains, a matching headphone amp for $7k is a steal!'

    These people tend to be completely uninitiated from personal audio culture and have only heard 2 or 3 different pairs of headphones in their lives. They buy based on high pricetags, assume what they have is the best and seek no further. I've had a few of these customers - they don't know what SBAF or HF are. Some of them don't even have email addresses or WiFi. If they did, they'd come from orfas.org.

    If I had $7k to blow on a headamp I would gloss right over this urine-colored brick and go for an EC Studio or something like that.
     
  11. JustAnotherRando

    JustAnotherRando My other bike is a Ferrari

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    This is quite possibly a stupid question, but is that orange button built into the jack part of a locking mechanism?

    (A locking mechanism on a quarter inch socket seems like a bit of a silly idea.)

    Edit: To me, a 1/4" jack is a safety feature. If you accidentally walk too far, or if someone trips on the cable, the plug just comes out of the socket. If it's locked into the amp, the amp just gets ripped off the shelf and hits the floor.
     
    Last edited: May 20, 2019
  12. dBel84

    dBel84 Friend

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    yes. these were all the rage back in the day - only on the bestest equipment. People soon learned that they were also highly likely to increase the risk for shorting the outputs to ground and as headphone amps became beefier ( higher current output ), so did catastrophic field failures and hence the move away from any locking mechanism.

    CJ being new to this arena will likely discover quickly that FETs generally do not like to be shorted to ground and adjust accordingly.

    ..dB
     
  13. Taverius

    Taverius Smells like sausages

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    Isn't this still cheaper than the stand for the DAVE?
     
  14. Cspirou

    Cspirou They call me Sparky

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    You could get the EC amp from Comzee with urine in it
     
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  15. Scubadude

    Scubadude Almost "Made"

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    So this arrives just as I am thinking to write something about the ham-fisted entry (and generally subdued subsequent departure) of two-channel majors when attempting to capture a piece of the personal audio market. The more unorthodox companies (think Musical Fidelity, Chord maybe) generally adapt better than most. Would make a fascinating MBA case study ...
     
  16. Elmer Danilovich

    Elmer Danilovich MShenay trying to pretend to be an old man

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    These guys were at the MD HeadFi meet two weeks ago asking for some genuine feedback.

    I can't speak for the price, nor did I actually listen to it but as a company I appreciate that they took the time to sit this in front of a crowd of headphone guys and ask for honest feedback on how it sounded. Topology wise I believe it's a hybrid

    Ghandisfist or Ruck, how ever he's called here got a chance to hear it so maybe he'll chime in.
     
  17. ColtMrFire

    ColtMrFire Writes better fan fics than you

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    A fool and his money, something something...
     
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  18. DigMe

    DigMe Needs a baby bottle

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  19. atomicbob

    atomicbob dScope Yoda

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    Conrad Johnson - ECP Audio T4 - annotated v2.jpg
     
  20. PTS

    PTS Friend

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    Is it too late for Conrad-Johnson to halt production and rename it the uCB1?

    This particular shade of piss is what audio companies like to romantically refer to as "champagne".
     

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