DNA Sonett vacuum tube headphone amplifier
The DNA Sonett vacuum tube headphone amplifier brings the natural clarity, purity, and engaging sound of single ended triode (SET) amplification to the headphone listening enthusiast. Hear your favorite music with unprecedented fidelity and emotional involvement with this fun to use, retro-styled amplifier.
My design philosophy is direct, elegant solutions without needless complexity. For headphone listening, a single tube of the appropriate parameters with proper transformer loading provides the right balance of gain, current drive, wide bandwidth, and low distortion without any feedback. In this role, the 6H30 is the perfect tube.
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. From my experience: The simpler - the better, using the purest components in a complementary manner.
Listening through the Sonett, 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
• Just the right amount of gain: 6dB w/IEC setting; 1dB w/Low setting
• 5AR4 tube rectified and choke filtered high voltage power supply
Available in 3 versions:
Input impedance: 50Kohms
Dimensions: 6.5" H x 13" x 9.5" D (16.5cm H x 33cm W x 24.1cm D) including tubes and connectors & controls.
Mains voltage: 100/110/120/220/230/240V factory configurable
Price: $1000- for single ended and balanced output versions
"The most difficult headphone in the History of Headphones (HD800) is handled with aplomb and then some. It's not that the new Sennheiser is difficult to Amp...it's just so revealing that the advantages or shortcomings of various amps are laid threadbare. I don't have to mention the importance of tip-top Sources to compliment. And the quiet nature of the Sonett is advantageous to the users of the high sensitivity/low impedance phones.
"It's minimalistic design and presentation is exactly what a headphone amplifier should be, at least in my opinion. The faithful, yet musical sound it produces is something that I've yet to hear from another tube amp (which have always sounded slightly warm to me). I'll sum it up with one of my favourite quotes: 'A designer knows he has achieved perfection not when there is nothing left to add, but when there is nothing left to take away.' - Antoine de Saint-Exupry"
"Hearing all that the recording offers enables us to enter into the musical/emotional connection so often missing when listening to audio equipment. The Sonett created this connection beyond my expectations, or experienced in any another music-making headphone machine....The connection with the music was immediate, full of emotional impact. I think Donald North has a winner with the Sonett. Simplicity of operation, robust engineering, and understated art all wrapped in one little blue package! That it’s maybe the audiophile bargain in top tier headphone amplifiers is icing on the cake! If you get the chance at a meet, have a listen!"
"The combination of my HD650 and Sonett is able to play music coherently at low volumes. It is non-fatiguing after listening to a broad range of music through the Sonett for hours - a good sign and something I don't take for granted coming from my older headphone amplifier. It has a very clean, clear sound that reveals the smallest details of music."
"I've only got one word to say right now. Sweeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeet! Very happily listening to the Sonett as I type. My headphones never sounded this good. Thanks once again. So far, it's easily exceeded all of my expectation."
"I think its fair to say, from my brief listen that the Sonett is considerably better than it should be for the price. I will be posting some thought after a few weeks of listening - but thus far, I'm really impressed Donald. A lovely amp, top notch sound - and definitely a keeper."
"I wanted to provide you some feedback on the DNA Sonett balanced amplifier I received about a month ago. I am using the Sonett along with Sennheiser HD800 headphones with the balanced replacement cables from Double Helix. I must say that your amplifier and this setup has met my every expectation. I had high hopes for this setup and I have not been disappointed. Prior to setting this system up my concerns about the HD800 was the treble which some reviewers thought has some peakiness in the 6-8 khz range. I have not heard any of this in my system-the sound is very smooth. The entire sonic spectrum just sounds so right with this system. It is also dead quiet. I still listen some to my single ended amplifier/speaker system, but I prefer on most days to listen to my music through my headphone system. I can certainly recommend the DNA Sonett headphone amplifier-both are good values and give much performance and pleasure for your dollar. Thank you for making this amplifier available and for your great customer service. "
"The photos do not do this amp justice. Build quality is awesome! It feels like a brick. Even my girlfriend thinks it's totally cool. From your description on the website, the Sonett seemed like the perfect amp for me. I'm all about the simpler the better, I love that! Although, so many times I've been disappointed by all the hype and anticipation. So here we are. Well, when I first turned the amp on... I thought something was wrong, no noise, no hum, no buzz, it was only when the tubes started to glow, I knew it was alive. Again, awesome! Listening to the amp, I noticed it's just as quiet inside the music. It was interesting to notice how much longer it would take a song to fade away when listening with the Sonett. All comparisons are done by memory to the "S" (about $3500 worth of amp). Notes, drum whacks, voices all sounded more real, more palpable through the Sonett. It's as if a haze had been lifted off of the music. All of these things I noticed almost immediately, keep in mind I've only spent about 5 hours listening. Everything sounds so clean, tight and precise and MOST IMPORTANT, like real music! No listener fatigue, at all. One thing that impressed the most was that the Sonett is allowing me to enjoy the music at a lower volume. With the "S", it seemed like I always wanted a little more volume, but I like listening low (I like my hearing). With the Sonett, I feel totally satisfied at lower volumes. By the way, the "S" has a stepped attenuator. I think you get the idea. I'm very impressed! Definitely a keeper, I can't wait 'til the whole thing settles in. Makes my HD800's sing like Julie Andrews, oops, I mean... "
"Best HD800 amp? - If the choice would be only between a Leben CS300, Yamamoto HA-02, Benchmark DAC1 and a DNA Sonett with balanced output it is quite easy for me to choose even though I am using the Sonett for only two days now and have lots of experience with the others. Of these four the Sonett is superior in every way for driving the HD800 I think."
"Sure. I have raised the level of my Sonett with cryo'd 6H30-DR and Mullard 5AR4 tubes, and it sounds pretty fantastic. Real natural timbre, excellent imaging and pace, and presence, something that's hard to find - by that I mean when I close my eyes, I can feel and see the performers of acoustic chamber and vocal music right in front of me. My Rudistor RP010BmkII has amazing presence, and with the LA7000s I love it -- I get lots of magical moments where the music just hits me emotionally. With the HD800s using a Moon Audio Silver Dragon V3 balanced cable, I hear the same natural balance and almost as much presence from the cryo'd Sonett as I do from the RP010B.
But using either cans, and in back-to-back comparisons or running for days trials, the ZD SE just doesn't do it for me. No presence. Clear, transparent, detail, black bottom, incredible dynamics, but it never feels like I'm there. That requires microdetail, yes, but most importantly, IMHO, a completely natural timbre so that my mind can transport me there without any effort. To my ears, the ZD doesn't do that. Not with the HD800s or with the LA7000s, T1s, DT880/600s, HD600s, and so on.
"YESSSSSSS......... WOUAH.......... UNBELIEVABLE...........
THANK YOU DONALD
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