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Vincent KHV-1 Review: Headphone amplifier in a unique design


The Vincent KHV-1 is a hybrid tube headphone amplifier with a 6.3mm mini jack on the front panel. The amplifier design is non-standard, the amplifier is vertical.

A special viewing window allows you to admire the enchanting radiance of two working lamps (12AX7B). The brightness of the backlight can be adjusted (there are 3 positions) or completely turned off. Under the window is the familiar volume control knob.

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Vincent KHV-1 is rather heavy, but without unnecessary clutter. The side walls of the amplifier are made of extruded aluminum, and the front panel is solid, without glamorous frills and gloss. The rear panel contains one set of RCA input connectors and one pair of pre-amplified RCA outputs that allow the KHV-1 to be used as a preamplifier. There is also a slide switch for lamp brightness, a fuse socket and a network connector.


Unlike the old version of the KHV-1 amplifier, the new model is equipped with only one headphone output. Also in the new version there are two line inputs and a switch on the front panel that allows you to select different signal sources. I was also told that as a result of some new circuitry, the amplifier worked better with low impedance headphones.

And now, the question itself: Does the sound of the new KHV-1 differ from its old predecessor? In a nutshell, not really – it’s true, it really became a little better at working with a non-standard load. All that clarity and detail of reproduction that conquered me in the previous model was present in the new sample, but I did not feel much improvement in the sound of the new model in comparison with the old sample – good, I still had the original model at the time.


I liked the functionality of the new model (auxiliary input and switch on the front panel). I have already mentioned that the Vincent is a high-end headphone amplifier, but I criticized its use as a single source preamp. It’s funny how much my opinion can be influenced by the appearance of an additional input for the pre-signal.

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