In the HiFi space, abstract, on-the-edge design is largely the purveyor of the upper end of the segment. Think brands like Dan Agostino, Wilson Audio and Living Voice, who bring a blend of incredible audio innovation coupled with design cues that excite the imagination. Move to the mid-range of the segment, however, and there is a generic form factor that pervades. Whether headphone amplifiers, DACs or integrated amps, there tends to be a silverish industrial feel to the design language, an almost one-size-fits all mentality.
Which brings us to the Divaldi AMP-01. Splashes of red. That’s the first impression that the Divaldi AMP-01 headphone amplifier gives.
It comes in a blood-red box, open up, and you have the gold/black AMP -01 unit along with the power supply all encased in red. A refreshing change from the dull cardboard and black/grey packaging that pervades, I thought it was a brilliant touch, and a great intro that induced a smile.
Take the unit out, and you realise the effort that the Polish company has put in. The AMP-01 enclosure is crafted out of a single block of aluminium, with a very subtle finesse that belies its $899 price point. This is incredibly compact device, measuring 5.3 x 11.5 x 10.2 cm (H x W x D) and tipping the scales at a mere 650 grams. There is a very minimalistic approach to design here, the only port you see is the 6.3mm headphone jack. At the top of the device, you find a subtle circular volume knob, one that blends in seamlessly as one with the overall design.
Under the AMP-01, the back you will see something you generally don’t see on devices in this price point, the words ‘Hand made’ etched on the device, complete with a unique serial number.
Now if that weren’t distinctive enough, at the back of the device, you realise that the AMP-01 has an MM cartridges capable phonostage built-in. In terms of connectivity, you have line and phone inputs, the power port, an earth link, a power button plus a switch that enables you to toggle between line and phono mode.
In terms of specs, the Divaldi AMP-01 is a pure class A amplifier, boasting a 800 mW (3,5W peak) under 30 ohms load. All components of this first are proudly made and measured in-house, and the AMP-01 has a frequency response of 20 – 20 000 Hz (+/- 0,5 dB), 0,1% THD and a gain of 20 dB. The accompanying power supply is interestingly transformer based (16V / 1A AC), with power consumption being rated at about 15W maximum.
Watch this space for a more detailed review!