In low gain (-2dB) the VorzAMPduo II is quiet. Even with efficient IEMs, it is pretty silent with very little in the way of detectable background hiss present. Notable hiss finders such as the Campfire Andromeda, Vision Ears VE6, and the Shure SE846 had pleasingly low noise backgrounds.
High and medium gain is a very different experience though and thoroughly unworkable for most IEMs with a very high noise floor more suitable for harder to drive headphones such as the Oppo PM3 upwards.
One thing I must also remark is the quality of the analog pot on the VorzAMPduo II in low gain with sensitive IEMs. Not only was there more than enough wiggle room for fine-tuning volume but the channel balance was one of the best I have encountered in an analog amp.
The slight deviation to the left on very low volume was negligible on the Andromeda and harder to spot on medium efficiency IEMs. Beyond that, you will not find the gain too aggressive or uneven. This is a very smooth pot.
Whilst I think the likes of the Bakoon HPA-01M is the king of portable power amps, especially for planar technology, the VorzAMPduo II is no slouch with very good levels of gain and decent power output to handle efficient and medium efficient planars such as the Edition X and LCD-2.
You won’t get a full-on dynamic experience with the LCD-2 but you get pleasing levels of tonality smoothness though in the case of the more sensitive Edition X V2 you get a really musical and fun tonal pairing. On a side note the RHA CL1 150 ohm IEM drives pretty well from VorzAMPduo II so higher ohm earbuds should be worth considering as good matches.
Volume: low 8-9am max (line outsource AK380)
Low noise in low gain, a good pairing for noise though a detectable audible signal with volume pot at zero and slight jump to the left channel on very low volume.
Tonally smooth though source will play some role in that with the AK380 on line-out producing a slightly smoother ton than the FiiO X7’s AM1 card.
This is a rich and full sounding low end with excellent bass articulation and detail, a slightly forward and natural-sounding vocal presence and a euphoric and rich sounding timbre. Treble is sparkling without sounding forced though you can tweak the treble performance with the EQduo II system.
I actually found the first stage switch on the duo II to pair wonderfully with the Andromeda. It sounded more dynamic with better body and pulled the mids up a notch in the process. Very impressive.
The second stage switch on the EQduo II sounded unbalanced and incoherent when paired with the Andromeda with an unwelcome level of distortion and bloat creeping in when pushed.
Volume: low gain source line out AK380, 9-10am on the volume pot
Noise floor low with no audible signal detected on zero gain and no background hiss. The RE2000 sat comfortably at 9-10am possibly even 11am depending on what you are playing.
Tonally a warm to neutral pairing with wide and diffuse staging quality, good extension either end with most of the warmth being generated from the low end. Treble is a lively contrast to the full-sounding low end and though vocals fall back a bit they are clear and accurate sounding.
The RE2000 was not quite as euphoric sounding as the Andromeda and neither of the EQduo II modes seems to add anything special or welcome to the pairings tonal signature with the second stage bass once again adding too much distortion. This pairing is best with EQDuo II turned off.
Volume: low gain source line out AK380, 8-9am on volume pot
Very low noise floor and no detectable channel imbalance and smooth gain control though it does get plenty loud at almost the same level at the Andromeda around 9pm
This is a smooth and powerful pairing merging the physicality of the Vega with the more liquid and rich tones of the Duo II is perfect for those that find sibilance in their recordings with the Vega or simply want a well-driven pairing.
The VorzAMPduo II will not overcook the low end in stock mode but will, like the Andromeda, sound much fuller with the stage 1 boost and perhaps even smoother. And again like the Andromeda, the second stage bass balance distorts badly and should be kept off with this pairing. The Vega is the last IEM that needs a 12dB bass boost.
Volume: low gain source line out AK380, 12 noon on volume pot
On any gain level, there is zero noise and background hiss on this 150-ohm 89dB monster. Volume control though is supreme on low gain with a comfortable gain level of around 12 noon on the pot.
This is another good match and a worthy alternative to RCA Dacamp L1 though sadly no balanced option.
The smooth rich tones of the VorzAMPduo II take a little of the treble edge of the CL1 and reduces sibilance substantially. Those slightly unsavory partial overtones on some stringed instruments and piano work still creep in though that’s more the CL1 than anything else.
Otherwise no need for EQDuo II with the CL1 pairing, you want to avoid overly boosting the low end on the CL1 as it is already quite warm and give as much space as possible for its mids to breathe.
Noble Audio Katana
Volume: low gain source line out AK380, 7-8am on volume pot
Like the Campfire series, there is a slightly audible signal from the VorzAMPduo II pairing even at zero volume and a slight jump to the left in channel balance at low gain, low volume settings. The pairing, however, is very silent with no background noise though less wiggle room with volume topping out at 8am.
Tonally the Katana pairing is ideal in stock mode with no EQduo II settings though once the stage one bass boost did enhance the fullness of the low end injected a bit more warmth than what I am used to hearing with the Katana. There is a more perceptible forward vocal presence also with the stage one switch and a slightly fuller delivery which I quite like.
Hifiman Edition X V2
Volume: Low gain source line out AK380, 10-11am on volume pot
Zero problems in either noise or gain control though the Edition X V2 is relatively easy to drive planar so it should not be a surprise in that respect.
Tonally this is a marvelous pairing, they almost seem made for each other with a euphoric and lively presentation, smooth low end and a sparkling lower treble. Vocal presence is slightly forward, full sounding and backed by that rich and full-bodied sounding instrumental timbre.
A very coherent musical presentation that works exceptionally well with modern rock and pop and even EDM.
Volume: mid-gain 11-12 noon, low gain 2-3pm max using line out from AK380
No issues on noise, gain control or background hiss with this pairing, the challenge here is how well the VorzAMPduo II drives the LCD-2. Pleasingly it does well, though not on the level of the beastly Bakoon HPA-01M it does inject its sweeter and richer tones into the mix admirably.
Tonally this is a smooth flowing sound rather than aggressive and in your face with excellent and detail. Desktop amps will still have the edge in dynamics but you can pinpoint the extension and detail pretty well using the VorzAmpDuo II.
Stage 1 EQDuo II brings out a better presentation with the LCD-2 than stock with a fuller-sounding and more dynamic low to lower midrange performance and a little bit more vocal presence.
RHA Dacamp L1
Putting aside the additional functionality of the DAC component the L1 does accept a pure line out to a single unbalanced output for its analog amp and like the VorzAMPdup II, it also allows some tweaking for gain, treble, and bass.
The L1 has 3 gain settings labeled low, medium and high. The base gain db setting increases by an additional 1.8x and 2.5x on medium and high gain compared to low gain. The treble and bass controls will boost either by around a 12dB swing from -3db to 9db with “-” representing zero or no bass or treble boosting added.
An energetic and lively presentation but distinctly more neutral tonally than the VorzAMPduo II with a cleaner attack and less liquid mid-range performance.
The L1 is the more aggressive of the two amps with an energetic and quick sounding low end and more forward sounding treble performance than the more laid back but spacious sounding VorzAMPduo II. If you wanted a ‘tube-like’ performance from a solid-state the Vorzuge amp is really the choice here with the L1 every bit a solid-state sound.
Hardware EQ on the L1 is a bit more studied than the 2 options on the VorzAMPduo II. You have up to 5 tweaks with the RHA as opposed to two for bass as well as a further treble option that the older gen one VorzAMPduo had but now lacking on the newer generation.
Gain control is the real drawback though on the L1, it is simply too high for efficient IEMs though the noise floor is very silent indeed and comparable with the VorzAMPduo II’s low gain option. You get very little control on the L1’s dial and volume shoots up much too quickly on low impedance and high sensitivity IEMs to make it an ideal match.
ALO Audio V5
This is a portable tube analog amp and a very good one at that being much improved over the old V3 tonally as well as pulling in the form factor to something rather more diminutive. Like the Picollo and the VorzAmpDuo II its purely analog, charges at the back and inputs at the front.
It is also a little taller and deeper than the Duo II but not quite as wide. Unlike the Duo II, the V5 only has a 2-stage gain control at -10 dB (Low) / + 10 dB (HIGH) and a slighter high output resistance rating of <0.5-ohms. Battery cycles are similar in real-world terms between the two amps with around 8 hours.
Whereas the VorAMPduo II is rich, liquid and full sounding the V5 is sweeter sounding with slightly less body and a more linear low end. Both have a ‘tube-like’ timbre though V5 is the real deal in that respect since it is, after all, a portable tube amp.
Vocals on the V5 are masterful, smooth and enticing, on the VorzAMPduo II they veer to the richer, thicker and warmer and not quite as forward sounding. They are good but do not quite match the quality and airiness of the V5 which has a particular focus on the mids. Treble on the V5 is a touch lighter in body but also slightly airier compared to the more substantive but laid back body of the VorAMPduo II treble signature.
Noise wise the V5 falls away with quite a lot of IEMs compared to the quieter VorzAMPduo II though gain control is a little less aggressive. If a lack of hiss is critical then the VorzAMPduo II is the clear winner in that respect.
Cypher Labs Picollo
It is the only amp in our comparison line up that is technically smaller than the VorzAMPduo II. It is taller but not as wide and the same length as the Vorzuge counterpart. Weight is quite comparable on paper at just 5g more but for some reason, the Picollo feels the weightier of the two in the hand.
It also feels incredibly solid, more so than the VorzAMPDuo II. It also benefits from a 3-stage gain with low gain at a very quiet -12db, mid-gain, and high gain topping out at +11.5db. Battery life on the Picollo is also more substantial at a rated 20 hours plus.
A warm sounding presentation though slightly softer and darker in its tonality than the VorzAMPduo II though not a huge difference in tonal bias.
The Vorzuge creation has a more spacious sound with a bit more headroom and slightly superior in terms of resolution and imaging whereas the Picollo is more intimate with a slightly thicker note, particularly in the mid to upper bass performance.
Treble is a touch more articulate on the VorzAMPduo II with a little bit more lower-treble energy than the Picollo. Throw on EQDuo II stage one and the Vorzuge amp matches and surpasses the Picollo in terms of impact and still retains a higher level of control.
The Picollo though keeps up with the VorzAMPduo II in terms of low noise and decent gain control on efficient low resistance IEMs.
Interestingly Vorzuge has not discontinued the first-generation VorzAMPduo, they have simply dropped the price a little. It does beg the question of whether to upgrade or not if you have the first one or which one is the best purchase if you have not at all.
If you fancy a little bit of treble EQ as opposed to the dual bass tuning of the second-gen and you are mainly working with headphones then the cheaper first-gen is a good choice. If IEMs are your bag and you want a lower noise floor for sensitive monitors then the VorzAMPduo II is the nailed on first choice with its new gain system.
The tonality and presentation remain similar in many respects which is a joyously musical ‘tube-like’ solid-state performing amp with excellent resolution and a forgiving top end. The EQduo II is simply the icing on the cake for those who want a more adventurous low-end.
Such a well-built portable analog amp in 2017 will find itself more niche than the norm but for those who stack, those who have a weaker source and for those who want low noise period then the VorzAMPduo II is one heck of a portable amping choice.
Vorzuge VorzAMPduo II Technical Specifications
|Input Impedance:||13 kΩ|
|Output Impedance:||<0.1 Ω|
|Headphone Impedance:||8 Ω – 600 Ω|
|BW:||<10Hz – 100kHz||±0.2 dB|
|SNR:||>110 dB||32 Ω; 0.1W|
|THD + N:||<0.0008 %||0Hz-20kHz; 0.2W|
|DC stop filter:||Yes|
|Gain:||0.89 -1 dB
2.5 8 dB
5.4 15 dB
|Treble & Bass:||Complex Series of sound equations and frequencies
Two stage boost
|Maximum Voltage RMS:||3.2 Vrms|
|Maximum Voltage swing:||9 V|
|Maximum output Current:||250 mA x2|
|Output power RMS:||250.0 mW x2
500.0 mW x2
568.9 mW x2
320.0 mW x2
160.0 mW x2
34.1 mW x2
17.1 mW x2
|Load of 8 Ω
Load of 16 Ω
Load of 18 Ω
Load of 32 Ω
Load of 64 Ω
Load of 300 Ω
Load of 600 Ω
|Play time:||~10 hours|
|Charging time:||2.5 hours|
|Micro USB charge current:||≥900mA ≥USB2.0|
|Case coating:||Extra touch powder coated|
|Shielding:||Full grounded aluminum case|
|Color:||Ivory Pearl / Signal Black|
|Size:||83 x 66 x 18 [mm3]|
|Resistors:||Precision metal film|
|Signal path Capacitors:||None|