High End 2017: Reaching for the Abyss

Going deep, abyss deep has been a trademark for JPS Lab’s/ Abyss Joe Skubinski, designer of the absolute flagship headphone for years. The AB-1266 has been among our favorites here at Part Time and I could not possibly lose the opportunity of wrapping my ears around (or better inside) those new drivers marked as φ (Phi).

Speaking with Joe I got to learn that certain advances made for the Diana model, mostly concerning the magnetic trace layout, were tested on the 1266 driver and they found that they translated in even lower distortion in the bottom octave (which was already vanishing low) along with an added sense of detail in the upper mids (which again, was more than adequate if you ask me), so it was time to rejuvenate.

Coverage of High End Society 2017 in Munich, Germany was brought to you by VPI.

The Munich set up was a pricey one, with a retail price of some $120.000 worth of gear. A new Woo Audio WA33 Elite Edition Reference (elite and reference at the same sentence) was introduced for the occasion, I was told that the new headphones were so good that nothing existing in the market was doing them justice.. Rig included LampizatOr’s Golden Gate Balanced DAC and top of the line Aurender W20 Reference Music Server.

Soundwise the Abyss AB1266φ was pretty much what Joe promised, more detailed and sharp on cymbals than my “old” 1266 and slightly faster on bass response (let’s call it lower distortion). I would like to get a proper session with the new Abyss flagships asap!


Joe explaining all things magnets

About Panagiotis Karavitis 212 Articles
Doctor and Editor @ Part-Time Audiophile Publisher @ Audiohub.gr