Audio Technologies Incorporated (ATI) — not to be confused with Audio Toys Incorporated (ATI), the maker of Paragon consoles — is a small company based in Horsham, Penn. and dedicated to creating quality audio components. I was recently sent the company’s HDA100 headphone amplifier to review.
The 1.5 lb. HDA100 is well made and housed in a compact box measuring 1.72″ high, 5.75″ wide and 6″ deep. Its rear panel is equipped with two Phoenix-type connectors for Channel 1 and 2 inputs. An internal jumper allows the HDA100 to be configured for either +4 dBu or ö10 dBV input level.
The rear panel also contains two DC power connectors. One provides power input and the other power output. This allows one 24 VDC remote power module to power two HDA100 boxes. Two 9 V batteries optionally power the HDA100-BAT. Average battery life ranges from 16 hours (alkaline) up to 40 hours (lithium). Headphones drastically differ in efficiency so battery life will vary based on the type of headphones used. The front panel is equipped with a 1/4″ TRS phone jack, a mono/stereo switch, a power switch and a volume knob.
The beauty of the HDA100 is its power. This box is capable of driving most 32- to 600-ohm headphones to levels near 120dB SPL.
The HDA100 is a good sounding headphone amp. It’s not audiophile quality but it sounds better than the cue systems at most studios and the headphone amps built into most CD players and DAT machines.
I’m not a big fan of Phoenix connectors and would prefer to see a pair of those fancy Neutrik connectors that accept either 1/4″ or XLR plugs. I don’t encounter Phoenix connectors very often in the major audio markets.
The HDA100’s manual is short, concise, well written and often funny. It includes a full schematic, so any necessary servicing after the one-year warranty expires should be easy.
One problem is the loud pop that occurs if headphones are plugged into the unit when it is powered up. I wish the designers had included a protection circuit to eliminate this problem. Unfortunately the pop occurs each time the unit is powered on or off, regardless of the volume setting on the box.
The HDA100 is one of many in the Nanoamp product line that includes microphone, distribution, summing, interface and headphone amplifiers as well as meters and mixers. ATI accessories allow the units to be rackmounted, desk-mounted or carried in portable cases. For anyone in need of a durable, quality headphone amp, the HDA100 should be a consideration.
Contact Audio Technologies Inc. at 215-443-0330.