I think it is far to say that the headphone market and in particular the headphone amplifier market has become a very crowded place recently, in fact we have had a clear out lately selling on some of our headphone amps as there was just too much choice which can become very confusing.
But being a headphone enthusiast I am always on the look out for anything that can add something different to the market and to be fair when Questyle was mentioned to me I really wasn’t that interested as the last thing I needed was another headphone electronics brand but I was curious about their ‘Current Mode Amplification’ and that you can run 2 of their analogue headphone amps in a mono block configuration which as far as I know is a first, but in HiFi running an amp for each speaker makes perfect sense so why not with headphones.
So I started of with the Questyle CMA600i which I now consider the headphone amplifier bargain of the century, basically a DAC & Headphone amplifier that sounds absolutely gorgeous, offers single ended and balanced outputs and remote control all for £1089 and when you actually see the build quality you really will wonder how they do it for the money, these really are beautifully made, but then they are built by Foxconn who build something called the iPhone for Apple, hence the similar colours of the Questyle kit.
So anyway after being very impressed with the 600i I tried the CMA800R which is Questyle’s analogue headphone amplifier, instantly I was impressed with the full and rich sound it gave, this is thanks to the way the power is delivered with the Current Mode Amplification, it certainly gives a very natural sound, from that moment I was converted, Questyle really do seem to know what they are doing.
As well as their normal range Questyle do their ‘Golden Series’ which are similar products but use hand selected components and ceramic PCB’s to give even better sound quality so I couldn’t resist but to put a full reference system on demo comprising of a 4 Pack Golden Series rack of 2 x CMA800R’s in mono configuration, the CMA800P Pre-amp which was actually commissioned by Stax as a Pre-amp for the SR-009′s and the matching DAC, in total this comes to a value of £10,746 but as far as I am concerned this a truly reference headphone rig that would take some serious beating.
I spent the other night listening to the Abyss AB-1266 headphones on it in full balanced mode and I have never heard these headphones sound this good, full bodied, detailed, layered, controlled but with an over riding analogue sound quality that just oozed effortlessness, for anyone who loves listening on headphones then I strongly recommend you listen to a 4 Pack Golden Rack, saying that the CMA600i still has the same over riding quality but is nearly £10,000 cheaper so Questyle really do cater for most budgets.
Finally I should also mention their portable player, the QP1r which has been getting excellent reviews and is a real challenger to Astell&Kern on both audio and build quality.
I won’t ramble on anymore but needless to say from someone not really interested what Questyle had to offer they have well and truly converted me into a true believer. We have the full range on demo so please feel free to come in for a listen.
Below are a few pictures and a link to the full range on our Highend Headphones website -
Questyle CMA600i DAC & Amp
Questyle CMA800R Amplifier
Full Reference Golden Series 4 Pack!