Sennheiser Ships HDVD 800 Digital Amplifier

The digital amp promises detailed digital music for under $2K.

While you’re still clutching to records and discs, digital music is taking over. Sorry, but it’s true. You don’t have to like it, but you can accept it — and quite happily, if you have something like Sennheiser’s HDVD 800 digital amplifier in your setup.

The company just started shipping the long-awaited HDVD 800. The amp is specifically designed to drive some of Sennheiser’s headphones, including the HD 600, HD 650, HD 700 and HD 800.

Promising crisp sound and a detailed, distortion-free response, the HDVD 800 has a fully symmetrical layout, with an asymmetrical input socket. When using that input, incoming signals are symmetrized before there’s any further processing. Digital sources can also go the AES/EBU or S/PDIF route. Other features include an extra USB input for 24-bit data transmission at 192KHz, aluminum housing wrapped around a glass panel, and a rotary potentiometer connected to the volume control. Take a peek into that panel and you’ll also find a cooling element, the audio relay, and countless MELF resistors for the amplifier.

“The fully symmetrical principle effectively compensates for interference and distortion,” says Axel Grell, Sennheiser’s high-end product manager. “The sound therefore becomes much clearer as total harmonic distortion is minimized.”

Sennheiser is selling the HDVD 800 now, with an MSRP of $1,999.

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