The difference between the Aphex HeadPod and almost any other headphone amp is simple: lower-quality amplifiers induce listener fatigue due to their low power output and low slew rate. This forces listeners to turn up the volume to get the impression of full frequency response and audio transients. This causes the listeners to fatigue more and cause them to turn up the levels even further. In contrast, the Headpod offers frequency response past 120kHz, with slew rates of 1300V per microsecond, allowing engineers and musicians to hear accurately at reasonable listening levels. The result is that they can listen longer without ever needing to crank up the volume.
Mike Metlay, the associate editor of Recording Magazine who holds a PhD in nuclear physics, pointed out another important quality of the HeadPod. “While the 454 worked beautifully with my more modern lower-impedance headphones, its real chance to shine came when I dusted off my old AKG K240M phones. These classic 600 ohm phones take a lot of oomph to run cleanly, and haven’t done well with the headphone amplifiers on a lot of newer gear. It was a pleasure and a surprise to hear how well the HeadPod 454 drove them, with lots of punch and clarity. I got compliments from visiting musicians who wanted to know what was making their headphone mixes sound so good.”
Larry Zinn, long time monitor engineer for the Late Show with David Letterman, is responsible for delivering the highest quality monitor mixes to the house and guest bands. He installed the Aphex HeadPod on the headphone output of his mixing desk. “The first thing I noticed was that the HeadPod was more accurate and detailed in comparison to the power amplifier. There was greater clarity and openness. I notice that I listen at lower levels and still maintain the accuracy that I need.”
The Model 454 HeadPod is a professional 4-output headphone distribution pod with four independent stereo power amplifiers. Working with any headphone type, the HeadPod offers individual volume controls for each of the four headphone outputs, made with durable metal jacks. A master volume control on the HeadPod allows for matching of source levels. It connects to any analog source, with a rear panel selector switch to choose between balanced sources (discrete left and right) and unbalanced sources (e.g., stereo on TRS from a headphone amplifier). The Aphex HeadPod was honored in 2008 with a prestigious TEC Award nomination, and also received a Reviewer’s Pick award from Pro Audio Review magazine. Housed in a sturdy and attractive all-metal chassis, with an included 12VAC power supply, the Headpod also has an optional mic-stand mounting bracket, the 454BR. The HeadPod™ is available from Aphex dealers with a suggested retail price of $249 USD.
About Aphex Systems
Founded in 1975, Aphex Systems is the leading developer and innovator of signal-processing, dynamics control, microphone preamplifiers and analog-to-digital conversion systems. Aphex products are designed for a wide cross section of professional end users around the world.