SPL Phonitor 2 Headphone Monitoring Amplifier
“This is, without a doubt, an excellent product: high–end technology; beautifully made; good looking; and providing a standard of headphone listening in its passive mode that is as good as anything I’ve ever used.” – Sound On Sound
“It’s really impressive how the Phonitor 2 manages to keep the tone intact even at high pressure sound levels showing no ear fatigue and no problem in unleashing all the dynamics present in the source or in the song you’re listening to.” – Francesco Donadel Campbell, Headphones and around
“As of this day, I don’t know any other headphone amplifier that is as convincing as the Phonitor 2.” – Hifi Statement
Listen to your headphones with accuracy and precision
Counted among the best headphone preamps, the Phonitor 2 is a full-fledged stereo preamp that could become the heart of modern professional and home systems alike where headphones have a preeminent importance. Moreover, SPL have achieved enormous advances with their 120V Rail Technology, making the technical specifications of the Phonitor 2 a new standard in all respects: 141dB dynamic range, 107dB signal-to-noise ratio, -112/-114 dB THD (headphone/speaker output with +30dBu output level). Mind you, the THD measurements define the limits of the measuring equipment but not those of the Phonitor 2.
The Phonitor 2 remains first and foremost a headphone preamp, which is easy to identify given the elaborate loudspeaker simulation for headphones. It works seamlessly with low-impedance headphones with load impedances as low as 10 Ohm (40 Ohm with balanced headphones).
Already for the headphone monitoring – or phonitoring – part alone, the Phonitor 2 encompasses advantages of both kinds of traditional monitoring methods: On one hand the analytical headphone monitoring is like working with an acoustic magnifier but without external room influences; on the other hand, loudspeaker simulation allows for monitoring which forgoes the microscopic effect, but provides for room ambiance. Working with the magnifier effect of headphones has the advantage of safely hearing clicks or similar defects and helps in fine tuning crossfades or to judge tonal problems in individual tracks. On loudspeakers such analyses are much more difficult, as such problems just are not as apparent when one is working without being able to “zoom in” aurally. Conversely, loudspeakers provide monitoring with the advantage of spatial balance in a (definable through placement) stereo width, which in turn provides the illusion of an acoustic stage.
Traditional headphone reproduction produces one 180-degree stereo width in the middle of the head, and it is exactly this which creates the very problematic-to-impossible headphone mixing environment. An essential reason for such unnatural ambiance is the complete separation of the channels, which does not exist either in natural hearing or in stereo loudspeaker reproduction. This makes it nearly impossible to judge tonal balance, a stereo image and the phantom center level. Panorama adjustments as well as related EQ settings that one attempts with headphones, typically just do not function on loudspeakers. Moreover, what is often called the “super stereo effect” with headphones usually creates a great deal of ear fatigue in the long run. Over loudspeakers the sound stage is felt in front, while in contrast, when monitoring through headphones, the stage is present on the left and on the right – but frontal and rear information is lost.
Beyond the standard
Aside from these unnatural headphone ambiance there are further disadvantages with fatigue when mixing or listening with headphones.
Moreover, a standard headphone amplifier is often an additional important reason for premature ear fatigue. Almost without exception, present-day headphone amplifiers employ comparatively undemanding IC’s. In the best cases they might work with symmetrical voltages of +/-15V to +/-18V, and in less favourable cases, with only a simple supply of 9 or 12V from cheaper external “wall-wart“ power supplies.
But the voltage level acts in circuitry much like the cubic inch capacity to the productive power of a combustion engine: Cubic inch capacity is replaceable with nothing but more cubic inch capacity – and in the productive power of electronics, voltage level functions similarly. For some years, now, SPL has addressed this issue in all of its mastering product series through its own specifically developed 120 volt technology.
The musical result is not to be mistaken: Regardless of the monitoring means, regardless of how loud you monitor – the Phonitor 2 always remains a distant, impartial factor unaffected when used to capacity and beyond being overloaded. The phase stability is always perfect, its THD next to immeasurable.
120V DC Audio Rail
The Phonitor 2 is the first unit to employ the 2nd generation of SPL’s 120V OPs with improved specifications once again. They have Signal To Noise Ratio of 116dB and offer a nearly 34dB headroom – that yields an unequalled 150dB dynamic range.
The Phonitor 2’s OPs cannot be stressed in the most stressful circumstances, and for precisely this reason its musical sound is always relaxed and spacious. All frequencies are reproduced in balance, basses are stable and tight, mids are clear and differentiated and highs remain transparent and soft. Particularly striking is the fact that you can easily listen to every detail. Hearing fatigue makes it usually harder to carefully listen to and understand complex signals over a long period of time. The Phonitor 2 reverses this situation turning it into a pleasant listening experience that leaves you longing for more.
- Stereo preamplification and headphone amplification for three sources
- High-quality music playback at home
- Central monitoring unit in professional environments with all classic features like phase reverse, solo, mono
- Re-Amping (for example, level boost after analog master processing)
- Headphone amplifier for all headphone systems and impedances
- Loudspeaker simulation with headphones
- Monitoring alternative in studios and mobile units
- Adjustment of headphone playback to match familiar monitor speakers
- Mobile reproduction of usual monitoring conditions
* A “Special Order” is a product that we normally do not keep in stock. We order it from the manufacturer as soon as you order from us. We are the exclusive distributor for SPL, so we can get your special order to you fast, in about 1-2 weeks. Remember that special orders are non-cancelable, so make sure the item you are ordering is correct. Call us at +65 63388657 if you need assistance.
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Our sales staff are on hand to answer all of your questions. Whether you’re picking up your next microphone, an audio interface or planning a new studio from the ground up, we can help. Contact us or visit our showroom