DNA Sonett 2 vacuum tube headphone amplifier
The DNA Sonett 2 vacuum tube headphone amplifier builds on the musicality of the original Sonett while providing greater power and control into low and high impedance headphones. This is accomplished through the operation of dual 6H30 tubes in parallel single ended triode mode.
Drawing on experince gathered during the development of the Stratus, the Sonett 2 incorporates some similar components for greater "you are there" natural clarity, microdynamics, resolution, and soundstage layering. The Sonett 2 also provides both XLR balanced and 1/4" stereo unbalanced output with selectable output impedance for greater headphone compatibility.
My design philosophy is direct, elegant solutions without needless complexity. From my experience: The simpler - the better, using the purest components in a complementary manner.
Most modern headphones are very efficient, producing 95-100dB with just 1 milliwatt (1mW) of input power. This means they don't require significant power to play loudly. However, what they do need is very high quality amplification to allow you to hear all the fine nuances in your music collection.
Listening through the Sonett 2, you will also easily hear the differences in tonal balance, resolution, soundstaging, and overall sound presentation among individual headphone models.
Design features include:
• Purist class A single ended triode design featuring the 6H30 Supertube
• No coupling capacitors or cathode followers in the signal path
• 4-pin XLR and 1/4" stereo TRS outputs
• XLR and 1/4" TRS outputs provide the same power: 56mW into 300 ohms, 122mW into 100 ohms
• 1/4" stereo TRS outut on -6dB gain attenuation setting has selectable output impedance between 11 ohm (Low setting) and 100 ohm (IEC setting)
Why offer selectable output impedance?
• Just the right amount of gain: 6dB (XLR and 0dB TRS setting); 0dB (-6dB TRS setting)
• 5AR4 tube rectified and choke filtered high voltage power supply
Available in 3 versions:
Input impedance: 25Kohms
Dimensions: 6.9" H x 13" x 9.5" D (17.5cm H x 33cm W x 24.1cm D) including tubes and connectors & controls.
Mains voltage: 100/110/120/220/230/240V factory configurable
"Last week I received package from Donald with this beautiful gear. It was #1 Sonett 2 :)
"The amplifier is everything that I expected. One can always use the standard descriptions such as clarity, smoothness, lack of distortion, etc., but my reaction is the difference between live and recorded music. When you here a piano or wind instruments live, the tone and timbre have a lot to do with the harmonics the instruments produce. With the Sonett and a high quality source, particularly SACDs, the harmonics seem to float and then dissipate. The fundamental tones predominate, but do not smear together to obliterate the secondary frequencies. The sound was reasonably clear and robust before, but it sounded recorded and reproduced. With the Sonett, I also hear notes from individual instruments in an orchestra that I could not detect or differentiate before. Overall, it's like live music versus good recorded sound with my previous amp (the Sonett is also 3x the weight, which told me something before even listening).
Played the first chamber music (Schumann Piano Quintet) and it was possibly even more impressive than the orchestral pieces because of the relative impact of the delineation of each of only 5 instruments."
"I'll say that it's the best headphone amp I've spent time with. It's not in the slightest bit tubey sounding—the S2 is fast, extended, dynamic and highly resolving, the way I like it. And it retains the lit-from-within quality of good tube circuits as well as the beguiling lucidity of transformer-coupled single-ended triode amps. It's also powerful sounding, driving the Senn HD800 and HD650 with unremitting control."
"I'm pretty thrilled with Sonett 2. I can't hear any character to it's sound that could be described as a flavor. It' strikes me as pure, transparent, and neutral, but not in the least boring or polite. It's colorful and rich. It has plenty of power and control with the phones I've tried it with. I can, as they say, hear things I've never heard before. It doesn't make me want to do something else after listening for 15 minutes. It makes the HD800 into the most revealing transducer I've heard—and, with the right attention to ancillaries, also makes it fun, something I wasn't sure was possible. It's not too big. I really like the way it looks, and that it's blue. And I can't think of another amp under $2K I'd rather listen to (though admittedly I haven't heard the EC Super 7). Thank you, Donald North, for the opportunity to live with your new amplifier for a while. It's terrific."
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