The latest reviews: SPL

Amplifier by Ulf Kaiser 4 months ago

SPL Phonitor xe

Audiophile stationary headphone amplifier with Voltair technology

The flagship model among the SPL's headphone amplifiers is the Phonitor xe. In contrast to the similarly priced Phonitor x, which with its balanced output can also be used as a preamplifier for a power amplifier and loudspeakers, the Phonitor xe is a pure headphone...


Amplifier by Ulf Kaiser 5 months ago

SPL Phonitor se

Audiophile, stationary headphone amplifier

Today, discerning music enjoyment often takes place via high-sounding headphones. And as with a high-quality hi-fi system, it is by no means only the "loudspeaker" that produces the sound, but also the amplifier - it is no different with headphones. In everyday life, this detail...


Amplifier by Ulf Kaiser 6 months ago

SPL Phonitor One

Headphone amplifier with crossfeed function

For smartphones and inexpensive stationary audio devices, but also in the studio, one should refrain from making overly high demands on integrated headphone amplifiers. They are part of an overall cost calculation for the product and often, in a sense, more of an accessory than...


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Editor's recommendations: SPL

The Phonitor xe delivers headphone sound to perfection – assuming an equally high-quality transducer. The elegantly finished device confidently drives virtually any pair of headphones to peak performance in all disciplines that can be demanded of sound reproduction – from the best detail resolution to room and dynamic reproduction. It complements this foundation with an extremely high-quality stereo balance function and the Phonitor Matrix, which ensures a more authentic sound reproduction in the sense of the original mix.

With its price of 2,099 Euros (without transducer), the Phonitor xe turns out to be twice as expensive as the se model. However, it is undoubtedly even more impressively finished, technically more uncompromising as well as more flexible in its applications. Our listening sessions justified this expense because it simply sounded fabulously good. Its price is a result of the necessary lack of compromise in development and production, which, as is well known, increases significantly in the “last stages”. At the same time, a device of this class is not meant to be a product for the mass market but is aimed at connoisseurs of perfect sound culture who have the necessary budget.

Ulf Kaiser
Ulf Kaiser 17. March 2021
SPL Phonitor xe

You actively opt for a dedicated headphone amplifier because, after all, it requires separate cabling from the source device. Conversely, you might say: If you invest money in high-quality headphones for stationary use and possibly even use them as a daily work tool, you would do well not to skimp on the amplifier. SPL’s Phonitor One masters its self-imposed task with a brilliant price-performance ratio. This applies to both the model presented here and the version with supplementary USB interface. As a special feature, the integrated Phonitor Matrix offers real added value in the assessment of sound signals designed for loudspeaker output, ultimately providing improved assurance of sound compatibility.

Ulf Kaiser
Ulf Kaiser 11. January 2021
SPL Phonitor One

With the Phonitor se, SPL undoubtedly offers a high-quality and convincing-sounding headphone amplifier that is aimed at audiophile music consumers. Superior workmanship and technology as well as a coherent and finely drawn sound image with the best dynamics and sufficient power reserves should satisfy almost all requirements for music enjoyment with conventional, high-quality headphones, which ultimately justifies the price. In the version with integrated converter, which makes more sense in my opinion, the Phonitor se also turns out to be a convincing interface for output with modern streaming media and Hi-Res files from a computer. Given the audiophile demands and the price, however, it could have been improved by being a balanced interface.

Ulf Kaiser
Ulf Kaiser 9. February 2021
SPL Phonitor se