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User reviews on Headphone Amplifier products

Talk back (Furman - HDS-16)

By stompboxjon, 04/11/2012
The Furman HDS-16 is a 16 channel well made headphone system. The HDS-16 is more of the big brother to the HRM 16. It comes in at the price of 1100 dollars which is a great buy for what you are getting with it. The HDS-16 has 12 input channels and 12 output channels (extra) . There are 16 ¼ TRS and 16 1/8 TRS input channels and no digital inputs or digital outputs on the HDS-16 by Furman. The unit is less than 10 pounds making it very portable. It can be racked and will take up more than 1 rack space.
My favorite feature of the HDS-16 is the talkback system. The talkback system will let each person talk to each other as well as talk to the engineer in the mixing room. The HDS-16 is something every studio needs and it is great for live shows and practices. We have had the chance to use it a few times over the last 2 years and each time we get to use it, it makes us want to buy one. We just don’t have the use for it as of right now. But the studio that we go to does have it, which is great because we get the chance to use it whenever we want to. The sound quality is great and second to none. I have used several similar models and even models from Furman but this is the best one hands down. It is well made and will last a long time. We have not used it on a stage or for live shows just in the studio. But I have heard that it is very convenient to have for a live show because of the talk back feature. The talk back feature alone is what makes me really want to go out and purchase it.

really quiet (Samson Technologies - S-phone)

By JimboSpins, 07/11/2012
The S-Phone is made by Samson, it is a 4 channel headphone amplifier that has 3 outputs on each channel. It has 5 input channels and 4 output channels. You can rack this unit up to keep out of the way in the studio. I have used his unit about 10 times in total over the last 2 years. It control has a volume options, panning knob, and high and low filter knobs. You will need to put a stereo signal into the auxiliary port on the front of the S-Phone so you can get full sound out of both sides of your headphones, because otherwise you will only get sound out of one side of your headphones.
Mainly we used it in the studio to have volume control over all of the headphone sets that we had at the time. It gave us exactly what we were looking for it and it was very quiet. It didn’t push any hissing or humming through our headphones. Even when messing with the options like panning and high and low pass filters it didn’t push through any clicking or any sounds at all. I have used similar models in the past that any time you messed with an option you could hear some sort of a click or noise through the headphones which could get really irritating for anyone who has the headphones on.
The value of this unit for what you get is great, you will get a very quiet unit that will give all of your headphones in the studio a quiet signal with crisp and clean sound quality. I would not purchase this if you don’t have several headphones that need to be listened to at the same time. Otherwise you will just be wasting your money with this unit. If your studio is a decent size and need to have multiple headphones hooked up then this is a must have.


Amazing for the price! (Arion - HW-02 Hot Watt 2)

By Barry8Track, 26/01/2013
I was just getting ready to build something to combine the signals from a guitar and MP3 player through headphones for practicing leads before gigs when I found this little gem at Goodwill for $3 (THE place for pro audio gear!).

Firstly, it still works fine after being used, abused then probably neglected for years which says something about the overall electronic design (very good). It is fairly old school technology with what appears to be NO digital crap since it uses actual switches instead of buttons. The MP3 input has much less gain to compensate for the MP3 player's headphone amplifier, and the abiity to mix the guitar with program material is excellent. Plenty of volume with 2 selectable tone settings on the guitar input; control the MP3 volume from the MP3 player.

The built-in effects are a very nice bonus, though the distortion doesn't have nearly enough compression which makes every note "bang" annoyingly. But this is actually a good thing as it's more difficult to play fast lead runs with the extra dynamic range since the notes don't sound as liquid. Thus, you can hit the stage and really cook after practicing the licks through this thing beforehand.

Two distortion settings: One is a super-harsh, very out-front earthquake heavy on the high mids and very aggressive; the other is a more subdued fat sound, more Metallica-like. Both settings allow a little clean pick attack through, but using the chorus or echo along with it smooths things out pretty nicely.

The echo, being a mix of 3 or 4 different slapback times (the longest being only about 100 ms) is great for adding needed body, but in no way simulates either reverb or echo except for a very fast gated reverb. The chorus sounds surprisingly good for a little plastic unit, but nothing coming out of this box is something you'd feed into a stage amp or studio mixer. You can't use the chorus and echo at the same time, but the buildup of cheap sound quality might make that impractical anyway. I mean, we're talking about a $30 box here.

This is basically an extremely reliable little unit that can be adjusted to sound tolerable and get the job done. Given a choice, I will definitely continue to use YouTube and a favorite small amp. But after smashing my fingers setting up, my usual nap at age 54 and the greasy burger I barely had time to grab, this cool box will be great at helping me get into the mood. Like most music gear, you can really depend on it and even the headphone and MP3 input jacks are very high quality and were not the least bit scratchy.

Thus, it's actually better as a professional practice device than something to have fun with jamming to favorite CD's, but it's certainly also good enough for that. I admit that I like much more gain and compression than most other guitarists at times, so I doubt that most others would find the distortion objectionable. I know I slammed this poor thing pretty hard, but I can also say that I would have paid a lot more than $30 for it after using and hearing it.

Boz Fone
Musician and Audio Technician

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Forums Headphone Amplifier