Airist Audio Heron 5 Amplifiersearch

Airist Audio Heron 5 Amplifier

Airist Audio Heron 5 Amplifier

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Really hoping they bring this drop back soon. I have been excited to get my hands on this amp for a while now.
When does this drop is coming again?
Adding a point to my short impression: music has an exceptional emotional quality to it. Especially with live vocal performances. Haven’t felt this way with my Jot or Taurus Mk2. Hence my first remark: Goosebumps!
Unit arrived in excellent shape. Still early but sounding mighty fine. Goosebumps already.
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Hey Buddy, how is Heron going on , i suppose it must have been used over above 100 hrs or initial burn-in. What r ur impressions now and comparison to jot :) !!!
gabu840
It’s awesome. Loving it even more. Can‘t get over how 3 dimensional the soundstage is for Heron. Clean precise instrument separation front to back. The Jot feels like 2 dimensional in comparison.
airist says this comes with warranty and it ship from their ny warehouse
Only available in 220v? Talk about a FAIL! Says they're sold out of 110v model.
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You're telling me... I'd be in on this if I could get a 110v.
bootynugget
Same here. That kind of power for that price...
Good with planars, i asume? Mr speakers and such, how about higher ohm dymanics?
MarcSpence
It works great with MrSpeakers Ether and HD6XX, so yes to both. And the amp isn't backed by manufacturer warranty, you'll need to contact Massdrop for returns within their 30-day return period for faults.
Jackula
Cool thanks...
Is there tax or shipping in lower 48?
Can i put a dac or other device on top? Anyone know pwer specs at higher ohms? this is shipped from Airist with the 2yr warranty?
Received the amp today. It didn't have any cosmetic issues. Only been listening for a couple of hours but my impressions so far going from a Gilmore v2 class A and used with Focal Clears/Schiit EITR and Modi multibit: Has a more refined sound which goes well with the Clears. Bass more detailed and highs are definitely smoother, the highs with the Gilmore could sound a bit steely at times. The stepped volume gives me enough subtle range - the Gilmore had too much gain. So far so good!
I just want to buy something. Can i buy this? Pls help
taz1811
Bought this shit before. It's good. It's just too heavy and large to me. And it's not balanced out.
Anyone got an opinion on how this might pair up with Aeon Flow Opens? Worried about some of the comments around hum on lower impedance headphones (not necessarily planars though). Thanks!
Is there a way to switch voltage from 110v to 220-240v ?
mahee
There's no switch, you'll have the option to choose 110v or 220v at checkout.
auditioned the Heron and was pretty blown away for $1k price point. $600 seems like a steal. Would love to see an equally impressive drop for a high end DAC preamp with XLR outs and remote (enough of the teac DACS already!). Lets get talking to AudioLab for an M-DAC /M-DAC+ deal!
I bought my Woo Audio WA6SE because at $1.2k it was the "bang of the buck" of flagship tube amplifiers, and talking with Jack Woo - founder of Woo Audio - the WA6SE is still considered the TOTL single-ended amplifier in the Woo range. Tube amps are popular due to their characteristic sound, particularly tubey distortion, expansive soundstage and poor bass definition. Why am I talking about my Woo when this is a review for the Heron5? Well, I've been looking for a solid state replacement for my Woo due to hassles with tubes. And I've found the one - Airist Audio Heron 5.
My god this is a beautiful amplifier! It sounds almost as good as my much more expensive maxed out Woo (a $1.8k amplifier). I've read criticisms of the amplifier on SBAF so my plan was to flip it if I didn't like it. But after 8 hours of side-by-side comparisons, I hear none of those mentioned issues. My only guess is it's got something to do with the volume control problems from the initial production run, or simply a matter of poor synergy. Volume control from the SBAF review:
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Volume control in my unit:
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Besides the volume control, the wiring is also slightly different to their review unit. When I was looking for a solid state alternative to my WA6SE, there was one thing I could not compromise on, it was the expansive soundstage. The Heron5 certainly meets it in this regard, it has one of the most expansive soundstage of any SS amplifier I've heard. Compared to my Woo, the soundstage is even wider, however it isn't as deep, if I had to put a figure on that it'd be 30% flatter. It probably have something to do with the overly smooth treble, I'll go into this in more detail later on.
To address the main concerns of this amp from various forums, mainly SBAF which for some reason is the only place where this amp doesn't get recommended:
Bass It's there, it's meaty and it's extended. It makes my Woo feel bass light! Also remember this amp is phase perfect which can have a lower perceived bass quantity, for example, amps with an average 45 degree phase distortion will mean approx 2.5ms of bass delay at 100hz, this delay can attenuate higher frequencies, making the bass sound more pronounced. As an experiment, I tried applying high amounts of bass gain; as expected, my Woo exhibited significant amounts of distortion while my Heron5 sounded effortless with no excessive distortion (provided it wasn't clipping). Dynamics 130dB of dynamic range, what more do you want? Music have much blacker background and attacks hits fast and hits hard.
Smoothness My main criticism is although the macro-dynamics is great overall, micro-dynamics is slightly off in the upper octaves. I do like a smooth sound, however the Heron5 is even smoother than my Woo in the high frequencies making upper harmonics somewhat lacking in brilliance, but makes up for it with better transparency, resolution and timbre in the bass and lower mids. Some people might prefer the overly smooth treble, but coming from my Woo it will take time to get used to. ---------------- The main problem with the Heron5, IMO, is the build quality. I can confirm the volume control is absolutely a POS. It looks cheap and feels broken. There are two output jacks, one HIGH which is for better impedance matching and one LOW which is for lower damping, neither jacks are exactly centered. Reviews I've read suggests HIGH is for low impedance cans while LOW is for high impedance cans, but my experience is the opposite. When I first listened to the LOW output, the amp was a only slightly better than my WA6SE stock. But on the HIGH output, it easily outclasses stock and nears maxed quality! Maybe they've changed it, the amp has gone through a few improvement iterations. 
My comparison rig, headphone jacks slightly off center:
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The amp also comes with a high quality power cable. Although I can hear the difference between certain cables, I couldn't hear any difference between it and a standard IEC cable.
---------------- Some might also ask, what's the point of a flagship amplifier if it doesn't have balanced output? And my response is, at what cost? Balanced output increases production costs which, at the same price point, makes it actually worse overall than amps designed purely for single-ended output. Balanced amplifiers are worth it for the extreme high-end, where possible improvements upon a single-ended design has reached saturation point, they are very expensive. Although it sounds amazing with my favorite headphone of all time (the HD650/6XX), I feel this amplifier was really made for my HD800, or headphones with similar peaky treble. The smooth treble really helps tame that annoying 5-6K peak. Overall, this amp is probably around 80% of my maxed out WA6SE, the Woo is simply lusher and exhibit more pleasing harmonics. I feel the original price of $2K for this amp is a tad overpriced, however it would compete very well at the $1.5K mark. MD's best price of $599 USD is an absolute bargain, at this price bracket, it literally smashes everything else into sub-atomic particles!
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My setup: Metrum Octave > Audiophilleo2 + PurePower > Heron5 > HD6XX. My review of the HD6XX here: https://www.massdrop.com/buy/massdrop-sennheiser-hd6xx/talk/1909478
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Been gone for a few days, looks like a lot has happened! I'll likely just return mine instead of getting a replacement, the problem with the Heron 5 (or rather the problem with me) is, regardless of areas of improvement against my Woo, I only tend to focus more on where it's lacking. I think I'll need to find an amp that will completely eclipse my Woo, not one that is 80% of it.
The tube sweetness is hard to find on a SS amp, regardless of price. This is an unfortunate fact I'll have to accept when I switch to a solid state.
@DinoJoe Oh yes, absolutely!
Jackula
Fair enough. I was sort of looking at it from a, you’re still going to get a black widow when available, standpoint. In that case, the Heron being cheaper would make up for things a little bit in my book. But getting nothing new is cheaper still if you can just wait it out...
Recieved this today. Unit looks used, not new in box. Have emailed support.
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Wow that stain in front looks almost like someone spilt their coffee over it :(... was the parcel wet when you received it?
Jackula
The Packaging was fine and the amp sounds great. Decisions....
I listened to this at a show and was blown away and for your reference I was listening side-by-side against a Schiit Ragnarok and a tube amp that was way out of my league! I thought I would like the Schiit more but the Heron blew it out the water, it's the most euphonic amp I've listened all day and this was with a HD650. Wish I bought it then and there, because everyone who owns one of these doesn't seem to want to let it go. Would buy at $599.
I'd love to know how can the shipping costs be so high - 131 dollars to Poland. I've bought DAC80, should be roughly same size and paid ~30 bucks for shipping ( sent from US ). Maybe some of the materials are considered dangerous? I've heard really good opinions about the amp, but sadly for the sake of this little comment I can say it simply doesnt exist in Poland. One review, no one else knows it. Obviously judging by the international reviews, 599$ + 131$ + all of the taxes, might still be absolutely worth it, but due to that high shipping cost, I dont want to blindly hope, because if it doesnt synergize with K501, heavily modded DT770, HE-500 or Elear, im left with a piece of unsellable paperweight.
frgn
I think it's more to do with the weight. This thing is 7kg (10kg if you count packaging), the DAC80 is 1.2kg. I once bought some speakers from the US, the shipping alone costed me $5k. This amp is phase perfect and with 5w it should be able to drive 99% of headphones perfectly. There is no other phase perfect amps that I know of short of 5 figures.
Really hope more people will commit to the lowest price on this amp, so I can get it this Christmas!
As I said below, this will be my near-endgame for me, as I will be going from my much more expensive (near $2k) tube amp for this.
Been looking for a new amplifier for my HD6XX, trying to move away from tubes as it's caused me enough headaches to want to switch to a rich (read: non-neutral) sounding solid-state. I have been eyeing the Heron5 for awhile but my main interest is in a EC Black Widow, it will be my end-game amp, but that is out of stock until next year, so I'm considering getting this as a stepping stone as the performance will be very close. Before anyone asks, this is a huge upgrade from the Jot, it's not even in the same league considering the original MSRP was $2k and it was still considered good value. Anyone who knows me knows I don't put a budget on audio, I'd rather good sound than a Tesla - as long as my wife gives the approval. At $600 it's a steal but $130 shipping is a tad pricey! Now only if the wife will say yes...
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Review is up, enjoy :)
The demand seems pretty good for Woo, trying to sell my WA6SE now but have had 5 different people tell me they're too broke for Christmas. Guess I might have to wait a few weeks :P
This amp sounds great with my K712 pro headphones. Lots of detail, and separation. I dont hear the humming that vindiom mentioned at all.
Danule
That's because your headphones are rated at 62 ohms. You will notice a slight hum in the background using dynamic headphones or IEMs with impedance of 40 ohms or lower. I don't own planar headphones, so I can't speak to how they pair with this amp. Others have previously reported the same (head-fi), but unfortunately I didn't read those reviews before purchasing.
vindiom
Did you try the high input? My fostex ebony has some hiss on the low input but it doesn't have any on high. I think they are 35 ohm.
Bought this amp for $600 last drop. If I could do it again, I would buy a Schiit product (much better value IMO). The amp pairs well with higher impedance cans, but a lack of gain switching really limits what you can do with it. Also, both the front 1/4" outputs have relatively high output impedance - Airist Audio doesn't give the exact number, but the lower of the two seems to be ~5-6 ohms. This means you'll notice a slight hum when using low impedance dynamic headphones (not sure about planars).
One final qualm is that the nicer power cord pictured was not included with the amp; instead, I received the generic black cord, but this was not a major problem for me.
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I would hope an amp with an msrp of $600 more than the Jot would be better.
Fact is, Jot with DAC is still cheaper and more than adequate for most people.
BigEdMustapha
The DAC on the Jot is not that great compared to a standalone one, even the Modi is better (but it's not balanced). Comparing oranges to oranges (amp to amp), this is certainly good value for money, even at $1000 it competes against many flagships costing way more.
After my Beyer a20 amp, I'll be avoiding amps with two 1/4 jacks like the plague. Pointless
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well it does only sound good with high-impedance cans =\ so that's understandable
Uzuzu
Found that out all too late unfortunately.
Anyone know if the price ever went lower than $599.99 in past drops ?
OldGroucho
I've been following this amp since it first dropped.
The lowest price was actually a couple hundred dollars MORE the first couple of times it dropped. Something like that. I actually purchased at that price, but not enough folks signed on and it didn't happen that round.
Good thing, because the price went down to $599.99 after that, and I was able to get it at that price.
If I remember correctly, it hasn't gone any lower in price since then. But someone correct me if I'm wrong.
so is this still $599.99?
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Come back! The drop just need 1 more!
Jackula
Haha I don't need a second one just yet. 😆
Uh oh. Someone dropped out and the price is back up. Come on people, one more.
For those who got a Heron 5, what are your impressions? What did you pair it with?
Yes I know there are reviews, but there arent many and some either hate or love it...prefer to ask ppl who actually bought the product.
Saud787
huge improvement over the jotunheim when i compared both. More clarity, separation, and detail.
Hoping that there are enough commitments for the lowest price. I missed the last one.
Damn no update on mail whatsoever that this drop was active again this week, they lost a potential buyer for it
When this amp was priced at $2000, did it sound better than now, that it's priced at $500. If a reviewer reviewed this thinking it cost $2000, would he give it a better review than if he knew it cost $500? The hardware is identical, only the pricing has changed.
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Someone on this thread said that it started at $2000 and later was lowered to $1000.
bigjim
Honestly I doubt it will sound better than a JDS Labs o2 or a Topping A30. Amps afterall are just amplification of voltage. Once you have OpAmps with fast enough slew rates and class AB Amps that have low power draw (and are basically in class A mode all the time) there is no audible difference.
This unit has such a high power output that it means that it will struggle to drive most modern headphones as headphones these days demand less and less wattage.