I picked up a new audio toy a few weeks back that I’m enjoying quite a bit. A few years ago, my friend Ray got me paying more attention to the world of headphones. Although I’ve got a fine stereo system at home, most of the time I have available to listen to music is while working, via a pair of headphones. After years of listening to the cruddy analog output of my laptops, I had had enough and decided it was time to pick up a headphone amplifier.
I decided I wanted something with a built-in DAC so I could run digital audio out of my computer to avoid the analog audio interference that laptops can be afflicted with. It turns out that I was ahead of the curve. As best I could tell, only two products under $500 fit the bill. The first was the Presonus Central Station, which is a very neat unit, but as it’s a pro audio piece, it’s a big 19″ 1U rack-mount unit. I couldn’t find any alternatives until I stumbled (literally) across the Audio-Technica AT-HA25D.
If you clicked through the links above, you presumably noticed that they aren’t in English. It turns out the AT-HA25D isn’t available in the US. I found it and purchased it through AudioCubes, which drop-ships such Asian-market coolios to us Americans from Japan. They also have a brand new retail store in NYC on 8th near Broadway – not too far from Washington Park.
The unit works as advertised, and I’ve been quite happy with every aspect of it! The blue glow is way cool . Now if only someone could get Vista to do digital audio out properly…