The Challenge Amp 1 or the CA-1 is a dedicated headphone amplifier launched by a relatively new English company from London by the name of Tisbury Audio. Headed by Wes Young, Tisbury have two main products to date: the CA-1, which sells at £349, and a rather tidy looking pre-amp called the “Mini Passive Pre-amplifier” which empties your wallet for a rather less stressful £135. The CA-1 is quite a jump up in price but what you get a something totally handmade and with components locally sourced to comply with that very important ‘Made in England” moniker at the back.

Impressively Tisbury Audio has decided to offer customers a three year warranty as well as 30 day try before you buy trial. From memory, only Bose comes to mind that do that 30 day offer and to throw in 3 years hassle free listening is a pretty confident gesture from such a new company. Package it with the offer of free international shipping for the CA-1 and what you have is quite a bold step for such a new brand.

Personally I love the confidence and after a month of testing I can understand why Wes is so confident in the CA-1. In the days of bold brash power hungry do it all amps, the CA-1 feels like a throwback to a time where sound is everything and understated beauty went hand in hand with purposeful function.

Click on next page for build and function…

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Founder & Owner of headfonics.com. I first started reviewing in the late 80s (ouch!). Back then it was albums, rock concerts and interviews with a typewriter for the local rag. Now its desktop/portable and digital 2.1 audio on a rather nice laptop. How time flies.

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