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Palmer PHDA 02

Studio Headphone Amplifier

  • Reference class headphone amplifier
  • Stereo mono or dual mono operation
  • 2 x 6.3 mm Headphone outputs
  • Suitable for headphone impedances of 8 - 200 Ohm
  • Robust 9.5" metal housing
  • XLR / jack combi-inputs, XLR loop out
  • Switchable Groundd / Lift
  • Integrated power supply

Further information

Number of stereo channels 1
Output Level Adjustment Per Channel Yes
Amount Of Inputs 2
Rack format No
8 customer ratings:
  • 5
  • 4
  • 3
  • 2
  • 1
4.4 / 5.0
  • handling
  • features
  • sound
  • quality
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Headhooker-fastest demands

Since brum problems are not a rarity in today's electronically instead of transformer-balanced inputs / outputs, only a headphone amplifier with ground-lift switch came into question.
In the manual of the "People-AMP G109P" from Lake People (this device I had first considered) it is very apt. "Unfortunately, there is no general recommendation on how to avoid or at least reduce hum disturbances Be tasted !! " Surprisingly, this device has to be opened in case of hum disturbances, in order to insert a jumper (new jumper "jumper"). I think this is an impertinence. In the search for another device, I then came across the headphone amplifier from Palmer, which is pleasingly a rear-mounted ground-lift switch.

At the time of commissioning, there was actually a brum problem which, however, could be diminished with a push of a button to such an extent that the hum can only be seen at a position of the loudspeaker regulator which leads to a just tolerable, not hearing-damaging volume.

The PHDA 02 is the matching transformer, which can be used to adjust the amp to headphone impedances between 8 and 600 ohms, but it is very expensive, which is why it does not use any other manufacturer because the necessary high quality transformers would have to be expensive Specialized manufacturers. However, Palmer, one of the leading manufacturers of DI boxes with transformers, has the necessary know-how and production capacities in its own home, so that it is not dependent on external suppliers.

The PHDA 02 manual (which can be downloaded from the Internet) is spartan: a single, tightly printed two-column DIN A4 page, one column being dedicated solely to safety, manufacturing and disposal instructions, and one third to the second column Data. Nevertheless, all necessary details are included for the operation. No criticism so !!

The technical data are also spartan: there is no trace of the data fetishism that can be found in other manufacturers and is quite useless, because with the different headphone impedances you would have to write a small book of technical data covering the behavior with all possible headphone impedances. So also no criticism !!

In my system the PHDA 02 receives a voltage of 13 dBu, ie 3.46 volts at 0 dBFS of the digital source, which corresponds to the current recommendations of the EBU for the broadcasting area. The volume scale from 0 to 10 scale can be rotated with the headphones AKG K812 only up to maximally position 3, if one does not want to risk hearing, and only with recordings with very high dynamic (= low average volume). For normal digital recording, position 2 (= 9 o'clock) to 2.5 o'clock is sufficient, for recording from the analogue age (low dynamic = large average volume) position 1.5 to 2.
The operating instructions are as follows: "The sensitivity of the inputs is designed for a wide range from the instrument level to the professional studio level with the appropriate headroom". If you do not mind the fact that you can only turn the volume control with headphones with such a high efficiency as the AKG K812, you can connect a passive monitor controller such as the LevelPilot from TC Electronic. So also no substantial criticism.

The output power is ample with 400 mW for all common headphones, powers of up to 2 Watts as with the "PHONE-AMP G109P" by Lake People are pure over-kill. The AKG K 812 can handle up to 300 mW, the Beyerdynamic T1 up to 200 mW; In normal operation, the headphone will only give a small fraction of this power.

As expected, the PHDA 02 with the headphone AKG K812 works perfectly. With carefully built-in electronics, no differences in sound can be detected objectively (unless there are technical incompatibilities). The sound differences of high-quality headphones in some test reports seem to me to be pure imagination or journalistic art products. Since comparisons can not be switched without delay (as opposed to loudspeaker tests), a serious comparison test is associated with unsolvable difficulties.

The mechanical design of the PHDA 02 gives no reason to criticize, especially the praiseworthy, the butter soften, not too light and not too heavy running loudspeaker plate of corrugated metal.

The housing dimensions are pleasant with a height unit and a half rack width.

Another advantage of the PHDA 02 in comparison to other headphones is the LINK-OUT jacks, which can be used to route the input signal to another device, eg a second headphone amplifier (one misses the expensive "PHONE-AMP G109P" from Lake People painful).

The price is to be regarded as favorable in view of the quality. Overall, a unqualified recommendation for the owner of high-quality headphones.
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An amp to cover absolutely

Mike+4dBu, 24.10.2011
Excellent studio amplifier for 2 headphones.

It has no problem controlling hard-headed helmets such as AKG K271 II or K701, K702. With these same headphones, the sound quality is audiophile level. Tested face-to-face with a Heed CanAmp (almost mythical wedding with the K701 / 702) from the FLAC files: the differences are subtle, and so it is well worth its price. The sound is very clean and analytical, while remaining pleasant, perfect for mixing and monitoring.

The gain is perfect even when connected to a piano / synth keyboard asynchronous (-10dBv), the volume potentiometer is then in the position of 3 or 4/10. With a balanced XLR connection at + 4dBu there is no worry so ... and both are possible.

The two XLR outputs allow either to insert the PHDA 02 almost anywhere in the flow of the sound to be controlled or to connect several headphone amps. Very convenient.

Warning! If the input is unbalanced, the output will be asymmetrical as well.

Solid construction, quality connectivity, 5 year warranty, what the people demand ...

In short, super content.
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€332 £291.81
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