Make the most of electrostatic headphones with iFi's Pro iESL

Review - iFi Audio Pro iESL

iFi Audio Pro iESL

Make the most of electrostatic headphones with iFi's Pro iESL
I Fi adds to its flagship ‘Pro’ range of compact audio components with the Pro iESL headphone energiser – an ingenious device designed to make the most of electrostatic headphones.

Electrostatic headphones, such as those made by Stax, are notoriously tricky to drive – so much so that many amps fail to make the most of their beguiling sonic abilities. They need more power than regular dynamic headphones, delivered in the right way to ensure their electrostatic plates are properly ‘energised’. Most amps deliver neither the EHT (Extra High Tension) voltage nor the required audio voltage to enable electrostatic headphones to perform at their best.

The iFi Pro iESL can be driven by any high-quality integrated amp or power amp, or paired with iFi’s perfectly matched Pro iCAN headphone amp, to deliver audio signals that are fully optimised for electrostatic headphones such as those from Stax or King Sound, or Sennheiser’s Orpheus. It can also be used to ‘transformer-couple’ high-end dynamic headphones – Focal Utopias, for example – to enhance sound quality.

■ Key features for the iFi Pro iESL are -

• Hand-wound perm alloy core transformers for ultra-wide bandwidth and ultra-low distortion

• Bias voltage generator delivers fully optimised output signal

• Capacitive battery power supply ensures a perfect bias voltage source with a complete absence of electronic noise

• Top-quality circuit components throughout, including WIMA capacitors and Vishay MELF resistors, plus gold-plated silver and sealed-silver contact relays

• Impedance, bias and termination perfectly matched to the connected headphones

■ Price and availability

The iFi Pro iESL is available now. RRP is £1,395 inc. VAT

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