Turning to the more traditional Cypher Labs suite, David Maudlin had his hands full of
teeny portable doojabbers. The new Piccolo, a thoroughly mobile headphone amp suitable for use with whatever, but tailored to provide a quiet enough background for IEMs, is $400 and comes in a hot-looking gold finish.
The new Theorem 720 ($799) is a headphone amp and DAC, made to pair with your whatever, be it a Mac, a PC, an iDevice or an Android thingie. The 720 can do the following for you:
- 16bit/48kHz sampling from Apple devices
- Sampling on Mac (natively) or PC (with included driver) up to 24bit/192kHz
- Android devices (using USB Audio Recorder Pro app) up to 24bit/192kHz
- Up to 18 hours of playback while charging Apple devices
- Fully balanced headphone output (4 pin RSA)
- Single ended headphone output
- Single ended analog line-level output (2.1vrms)
- High capacity lithium-polymer battery – 8700mAh – isolated AC switching
- Three volume gain settings for all headphone types
Wired inline between an iPhone and the big Prautes, the sound was remarkably open and neutral when driving a pair of Audeze headphones. The size is a little bigger (taller and thicker) than your average iPhone, but with good bands, should make for a tight portable brick.
Oh, last thing: “Prautes” is a Greek word, drawn from Aristotle, usually translated as “meek”, but really means “the appropriate response”. Think “exactly what your music deserves” and I think you’ll be on the right track. But definitely not meek. From my hands-on, I think that would be a mistake — this is killer stuff.