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Go pro: the Rupert Neve Headphone Amplifier (RNHP)

  • RNHP. Rupert Neve Headphone Amplifier. The hitherto pro audio company, fronted by the titular Brit, have plucked the headphone circuit from their 5060 Centerpiece Desktop Mixer to fire a first salvo into consumer audio territory.

    From the murky Circus Tent-housed CanJam at RMAF 2016, co-founder Josh Thomas and Dennis Alichwer introduce us to the new guy.

    The RNHP is a simple as they come: three line-level inputs (XLR/TRS, RCA and 3.5mm) feed a single 6.4mm headphone socket. Output impedance clocks in at a vanishingly low 0.08 Ohms – AOK for those custom IEMs. The circuit is a Class A/B but biased into Class A with output power rated at ~350mW into 44 Ohms.

    Listening via a pair of Audeze LCD-XC with an Astell&Kern DAP on source duties, the RNHP’s presentation was sturdy and solid with zero evidence of treble glare. Just the way I like it. At US$499, consider this headphone amplifier as flagged by yours truly as well worthy of further investigation.

    FYI: Neve = “Neev”.

    Further information: Rupert Neve Designs


    John Darko

    Written by John Darko

    John currently lives in Berlin where creates videos and podcasts and pens written pieces for Darko.Audio. He has also contributed to 6moons, TONEAudio, AudioStream and Stereophile.

    Darko.Audio is a member of EISA.

    Follow John on YouTube or Instagram


    1. I stumbled upon the RNHP on a trip to London recently (RIP Fabric, but long live Phonica!!) and got to try it out briefly. Was an “out-of-nowhere” thing, so only had my iPhone with me at the time to use as source. Didn’t test my FitEars with it since they were at the hotel, so couldn’t ascertain if the noise floor would be low enough to drive the picky ultra-sensitive types. There were a handful of testing headphones available to try it out with, Senn HD650 and Audeze LCD-X being the most “audiophile” of the lot (along with a Phonon SMB-02, which was a revelation – I’m hunting for one as I type this). Overall, a very clean sounding amp. Won’t flatter or smooth out your sound, so if you’re looking for an amp to attenuate/accentuate/mask/shelve certain parts of your headphone’s frequency range, this isn’t it. While does limit the treble brittleness to some extent (replacing it with grain), Autechre will still sound like you’ve got your head in a metal bin and Planetary Assault Systems will still sound too bleepy, no escaping that with this amp. It’s very honest sounding, just like you’d expect from a pro-oriented outfit.

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