If you are after a smooth effortless vocal centric performance with good low end extension but want to avoid tiring dynamics and heavy handed slam then the CA-1 could be that right kind of classy addition to your system. It is tremendously versatile also with IEMs and headphones alike playing comfortably with just about most things I threw at it.

Can you just justify £349 for what is in essence “just” a headphone amplifier when all else in front of it, particularly coming out of Asia, is sporting just about every known button and widget in tow? Tough question, wish I never asked it myself since it sits beside the Oppo HA-1 (think swiss army knife of amping). If sound quality is your main deciding factor and you just adore jazz, acoustics and vocal performances then I think the CA-1 is actually money well spent.

Tisbury Audio knew who they were making this amplifier for. It is a retro looking piece of kit but it is as every bit as modern sounding as the next GUI-interfaced black amp you will see in the rack beside it and probably a good bit more versatile to boot.

Price: £349

Link: http://www.tisburyaudio.co.uk/challenge-amp-1-headphone-amplifier

Technical Specifications


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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