Sunday, 16 June 2019

Topping NX1s Portable Headphone Amp - Is It Truly Hi Res?

The Specs

Suitable headphones impedance16 – 300 Ω
Output impedance3.5 Ω
Maximum output power150 mW x 2 (RL = 32 Ω, THD+N = 1%)
25 mW x 2 (RL = 300 Ω, THD+N = 1%)
THD+N (@1 kHz)0.003% (RL = 32 Ω, Gain = 0 dB, power = 5 mW)
0.0005% (RL = 300 Ω, Gain = 0 dB, power = 5 mW)
Input sensitivity2.8 Vrms (Gain = 0 dB)
1 Vrms (Gain = 8.7 dB)
SNR117 dB (RL = 300 Ω, Gain = 0 dB)
108 dB (RL = 300 Ω, Gain = 8.7 dB)

The Sound

The first track I put on was Billie Jean by Michael Jackson on DSD. The bass was a bit flat but putting on the bass booster, it sounded to boomy. But the highs on vocal and snare, was sweet and sharp. It has that energy to actually make you start moving your head in unison with the song.  But I must say that the NX1s is rather good in exposing musical layers. You can easily experience the layer and layer of vocals that Michael put on this track.

Playing Both Sides Now by Joni Mitchell in FLAC 24/96, the NX1s delivers a convincing sound. Apart from some hissing on the high notes, it is quite emotional listening to this track via NX1s. It is a bit bright most of the time which can develop some fatigue in listening for a long time.

Now, I put on a chirpy track by Andrea Bocelli and Tony Bennett of their rendition of New York, New York (FLAC 24/96).  Things took a turn when this track was delivered in a quite lively way. Suitable for a good live recording like this one. Andrea's vocal is energetic as usual and Tony's classic and husky voice sounded crisp through the NX1s.

And with my favourite Andrea's track, Time To Say Goodbye with Maria Martinez, it is quite mesmerizing how this small amp is capable to to deliver such sound. On this track, I didnt  experience any sharp highs. Very entertaining and involving. I could do with a little bit more of bass  to create that wholesome experience.

Putting on Metallica's The Frayed Ends of Sanity on MP3 320 kbps, the NX1s was pushing hard to keep up with the intensity of this track. I had to increase the volume a bit to get that particular intensity for this track. Lars's double pedal was very evidently delivered by this amp. The guitar riffs of Kirk sounded ferocious but at times it sounded a bit muddled. James's vocal however was delivered in high clarity. 

The Conlusions

Overall, I find that the NX1s is quite a fun little amp to play with. May not be an all rounder especially for metal music. But when it comes injecting some life into your source, it is quite remarkable in doing that. Partially I believe its because of the lower bass response it provides. Tried to play with the bass booster but that is a big no-no. Stick to standard bass. Based in the Hi Res logo approval on this page, this amp does meet the Hi Res specification set out by the Japan Audio Society. So, you can be confident that this model is quite a bargain. 

Contact TechX for more info.

Gear used - Audeze EL8 and Samsung S9+

No comments: