The EF5 headphone amp makes a great choice for those who want to explore the merits of potentially hard-to-drive top-tier headphones, yet without spending an arm and a leg on amplification. While some higher-priced solutions do offer an extra smidgeon of resolution and finesse, we feel the EF5 is one of the best amps available at its $499 price point.
Significantly, the EF5 is arguably the least expensive amp we have found that can drive adequately HiFiMAN’s fabulous (but admittedly power hungry) planar magnetic headphones, and can do so without breaking a sweat—or your wallet.
In sum, the EF5 is a simple and affordable amp that offers very good levels of sonic sophistication and that is absolutely fearless in tackling tough loads, thus enabling even finicky high-end ‘phones to “sing” and to show off most of their sonic potential.
HiFiMAN EF5 Hybrid Tube/Solid-State Headphone Amplifier
Tube: 12AU7 (new CE-certified versions of the EF5 are supplied with upgraded Fullmusic 12AU7 tube)
Frequency Response: 20Hz -30 kHz
THD+Noise: <0.2% maximum
Analog Inputs: one stereo analog (via RCA jacks)
Analog Outputs: ¼-inch phone jack
Input Impedance: 50 kOhm
Headphone Output Impedance: 2 Ohm – 2 kOhm headphones
Headphone output strength: up to 15V @ 32 Ohms
Dimensions (H x W x D):
Weight: 5 lbs.
Warranty: One year, parts and labor