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…

3 Responses

  1. dalethorn

    That’s a darn good review – very thorough – makes me want one just for the small-company hand-build aspect. From the specs, i.e. more than 100 MW output at 600 ohms, I’d guess this could drive a Senn HD800 or Beyer T1, for all but a small number of low-volume tracks. BTW, if the external input is DC, I could power it with a battery and eliminate the mains noise altogether.

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