Vorzuge VorzAMP duo Review
August 24, 2015 Luckbad 5
In the search for the best basshead gear, we’re willing to search far and wide. In this case, we’ve landed on an amplifier from a boutique audio company in Germany called Vorzüge.
They have a beautiful little amplifier called the VorzAMP Duo. What makes this a basshead amp? EQduo. In short, it provides both a Bass switch and a Treble switch, and good lord does the bass kick into high gear with that switch (we’re talking about +15dB of sub-bass with the flick of a switch–measurements later).
Vorzuge VorzAMP Duo In the box
- VorzAMPduo (Headphone Amplifier)
- VorzKabel (20cm long)
- Set of Li-ion batteries (2x1000mAh)
- Protective pouch
- USB Power Adapter (100AC to 230AC)
- Mini USB to USB Cable (Charging from Computer)
- A nice padded box
I’ll talk about the features for a moment before diving into the sound. It’s about the size of a deck of cards, so it’s easy to transport in your pocket. Internally, they use silver solder with gold compound on the gold plated PCB, high grade metal film resistors, quality metallic capacitors, and 4 internal amplifiers. If you like the Earth, it is also RoHS compliant, so it’s environmentally friendly.
They’ve refined and revised this beast over time to make it feasible to use IEMs as well as high impedance headphones without the need for a gain switch, and it’s a fully analog system. The battery power gives you about 26 hours of play time per charge, and it charges via USB. One great feature is that you can use the amp while it’s charging, which is a weakness in one of the oft-recommended competing basshead amps, the Cayin C5.
It has one 3.5mm input and one 3.5mm output. No room for balanced or extra frills here. On the back is the mini USB input for charging. The volume pot and power switches are metal, while the EQduo switches are plastic. The entire chassis is a nice lightweight metal and feels very solid.
On to the sound… the standard configuration without either switch flipped is wonderfully clear. It rolls off a little in the sub-bass and feels like it cleans up a little bit of the upper frequencies for me on my hotter cans. Great separation of instruments, excellent detail and soundstage, and all of the other fun audiophile buzzwords come out positive. I often listen to it with no switches flipped, but what I’m really interested in is the Bass switch.
BOOM. +15dB, peaking just below 20Hz and diving down quickly enough that it doesn’t bleed into the mids. Phenomenal. To put this in perspective, the commonly recommended basshead amp over on Head-Fi is the Cayin C5. It gives +5dB of bass and bleeds a bit into the mids. To be fair, it’s also much cheaper.
The Treble switch gives just a few dB of extra high end, which is great for some headphones like my JVC HP-DX1000, although I tend to prefer rolled off highs anyway. It has been noted by some that the Treble switch introduces hiss, but that hasn’t been my experience.
What are the weaknesses of this extremely capable portable amplifier? There are two. First, it’s expensive. A boutique amp with incredibly high grade components demands a high price tag, and this is starting to approach Summit-Fi at $520–though many audiophiles would consider that to be a perfectly reasonable price.
The second weakness is volume. While it can drive low impedance IEMs, I like to listen to music all day long. It’s simply too loud for 16 Ohm earphones if you’re feeding a line-level signal into the amp and want to listen all day. You either have to reduce the volume at the source (which can mess with signal quality) or come up with another solution. I came up with another, and I purchased a 75 Ohm Etymotic adapter. This makes those 16 Ohm IEMs essentially 91 Ohms, so the volume is no longer an issue. You can get decent ones from eBay for under $20 (ping me if you want to know who I bought them from–I’ll probably review those separately later).
Is this the best basshead amplifier on the market? It is the best I’ve heard, and I’ve tried quite a few. The Bass boost is absolutely bonkers, and it has extremely good clarity as well. It works both as an always-charging desktop amp or a portable amplifier. It works with IEMs (especially if you reduce the line volume or grab an adapter) on up to high impedance headphones (my most demanding are the Sennheiser HD650, and it did wonderfully with them). It costs a lot, but you get a lot for it.
If you’re a basshead and can afford it, the Vorzuge VorzAMP Duo amplifier is glorious. Check this beauty out at the Vorzuge website.
Vorzuge VorzAMP Duo Measurements
I wanted to perfect my measurement setup before reviewing this amp, but alas, I still haven’t perfected it. At some point, I’d love to get THD and all the rest posted here, but for now, you get a frequency response graph that includes the Bass and Treble switches. Look at that BASS!
UPDATE: I now have RightMark Audio Analyzer results for the VorzAMP Duo. These will be meaningless to all but the most hardcore amp-heads, but I love data and measurements. This is coming from the Sound Blaster ZxR DAC at 192kHz and is being measured by the DBpro card with a 75 Ohm load.
Vorzüge VorzAMP Duo$520.00
Overall Sound9.0 /10
Basshead Potential9.0 /10
Build Quality9.0 /10
Reviewer Bias8.5 /10
- Smooth, crystal clear sound
- Insane +15dB bass switch
- Treble switch for dark cans
- Excellent build quality
- Extremely portable
- No gain switch: Sensitive IEMs slightly loud
- Expensive for non-audiophiles
- Without bass switch, sub-bass is rolled off
- Wish bass switch had levels (+5/+10/+15dB)
- No rubber feet--slides on my desk (cheap fix)