Stereophile's Products of 1997 Accessory of 1997

Accessory of 1997

HeadRoom Max headphone amplifier ($1335; reviewed by Wes Phillips, Vol.20 No.2, February 1997 Review)

Finalists (in alphabetical order):
AudioPrism CD Blacklight ($39.95; reviewed by Sam Tellig, Vol.19 No.11, November 1996)
AudioQuest Binding-Post Wrench ($7.95; reviewed by Wes Phillips, Vol.20 No.9, September 1997)
Bright Star Air Mass 3 ($99; reviewed as the Air Mass 1 by Michael Fremer, Vol.20 No.2, February 1997)
Bright Star Ultimate TNT Suspension System ($893; reviewed by Wes Phillips, Vol.20 No.7, July 1997)
Grado Reference Series RS1 headphones ($695; reviewed by Wes Phillips, Jack English, & Sam Tellig, Vol.19 No.7, July 1996; & Vol.20 No.1, January 1997 Review)
Kimber Silver Streak interconnect ($180/1m pair; reviewed by Sam Tellig, Vol.19 No.11, November 1996)
Vibraplane 2212 active isolation platform ($4950; reviewed by Jonathan Scull, Shannon Dickson, & Michael Fremer, Vol.17 No.5, May 1994; Vol.18 No.11, November 1995; & Vol.20 No.5, May 1997)

Spending over $1300 on a headphone amplifier may seem extravagant to most listeners, but to those who do listen critically to headphones—whether for professional reasons, or to extend the hours and places in which they can listen critically—the Max is a godsend. It uses HeadRoom's proprietary crossfeed circuitry to ameliorate that center-of-the-skull headphone sound detested by so many, but what really impressed our voters was its articulation, transparency, and detail. Build and parts qualities are also admirable—even if you don't ever want to listen through headphones, you'd have to concede that this is one impressive product, and one worthy of the exalted company it keeps in winning this award.

Bogolu Haranath's picture

Editors' choice 1997, B&W DM302 speakers, $250/pair :-) .......

Bogolu Haranath's picture

Now in 2020, we can get Elac Debut DB52 for $260/pair :-) ......

tonykaz's picture

He was kinda "Tyll the Great" to me.

Someone said they saw him at a Nomad Event in Arizona.

He gets to follow his dream.

I know another fella that ended his career to sail a Contessa 26 around the world.

I get to live in Paradise and support Political progressives.

I miss Tyll but I'm happy for him.

I didn't realize his little Amp made such a nice impression on Stereophile.

I'm hoping that we get to read more Tyll, one day.

Tony in Venice

Presence's picture

There are a few select reviews for me that over the decades have stood out as thrilling to read... The Genesis II.5 by RH, the Dunlavy SC VI by SS and the MC review of the Krell FPB600. I must have read them each ten X. I traded in my ML 333 for the FPB 600. Great products/great writing!

Bogolu Haranath's picture

What loudspeakers were/are you using with FPB 600? ....... Just curious :-) ........

Presence's picture

At the time, the Dunlavy SC V.

Bogolu Haranath's picture

Do you still have FPB 600 now? ...... If so, what speakers are you using them with? :-) ......

Presence's picture

Krell Evolution One Monoblocks / Dunlavy SC VI with TC Sounds 15" replacing the stock 15" Eminence woofers due to flooding.

Since I know you are well versed in the equipment, I thought I'd add a few pearls from experience with the Krells...

MC in his FPB 600 review mentions the AC voltage being modulated by the amplifier from the demands of the music...
Adding regulation in the amp I suspect modulates the AC line voltage even further which likely adds even more harmonics going to the rest of the equipment - perhaps most detrimentally to the source components. After reading the AC Wiring whitepaper by Vince Galbo, I found it easy to convert my Krell Theater Amp fed by 60' of 10AWG to 240V. The sense of ease of the music delivery was readily apparent. The Evolution Ones were already fed by 240V so I took on replacing the two dedicated 60' feeds of 10AWG with 6AWG. Once again, the gains in ease of delivery were readily apparent. From the hip, I'd say a 25% improvement in soundstage expansion, space and ease. Was this an effect of lower wire impedance minimizing the music-modulated line harmonics and to what degree does the amp re-ingest those harmonics [as Galbo suggests] or to what degree are these harmonics passed on the the rest of the components [or is it a combination of both]? But there is at least positive correlation between lower wire gauge to the current-hungry Krell amps and sound quality in the context of my system. For what it's worth...

Bogolu Haranath's picture

Krell Evolution One mono blocks cost some big bucks ...... Are you a Rap musician? ...... Just kidding :-) .......

Of course, there are more expensive amplifiers available now :-) .......

Bogolu Haranath's picture

The new improved power supply in your listening room, should be able to supply enough power to the D'Agostino Relentless mono-blocks ....... See, Hi-Fi News review :-) ........

Bogolu Haranath's picture

One more thing ...... Steve Jobs re-joined Apple in 1997 ....... How many of us bought Apple stock in 1997? :-) ........

Bogolu Haranath's picture

Amazon went public in 1997 ...... If someone invested $10,000 in Amazon in 1997, that money would be worth $12 million as of May 2020 :-) ......