Published On: July 25, 2023

HIFIMAN Introduces the GOLDENWAVE Prelude: A New Reference Headphone Amplifier for Audiophiles

Published On: July 25, 2023
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HIFIMAN Introduces the GOLDENWAVE Prelude: A New Reference Headphone Amplifier for Audiophiles

HIFIMAN makes its debut in North America with the GOLDENWAVE Prelude Reference Headphone Amplifier

HIFIMAN Introduces the GOLDENWAVE Prelude: A New Reference Headphone Amplifier for Audiophiles

By Author: Nemanja Grbic
With over 9 years of experience in journalism, Nemanja Grbic is a reputable news press release writer and journalist in the home theater industry. His sharp journalistic acumen delivers accurate and engaging news, featured in prominent AV publications.

In a move that has garnered significant attention from the audiophile community, HIFIMAN, a well-known name in the realm of high-fidelity personal audio, has unveiled its latest creation – the GOLDENWAVE Prelude Reference Headphone Amplifier. 

This new release marks the company's entry into the North American market and should represent a significant step forward in its amplifier product lineup.

The Prelude headphone amplifier comes from GOLDENWAVE, a brand acquired by HIFIMAN earlier in the year. Unlike some of the other recent offerings that include both DAC and headphone amplification capabilities, the Prelude focuses solely on its amplifier functionality, targeting users who might already possess a preferred DAC or those seeking a dedicated and high-quality headphone amplifier.

“Prelude is a perfect example of GOLDENWAVE’s approach to amplifier design,” says Dr. Fang Bian, President and CEO, of HIFIMAN Electronics. “The reference Prelude, in particular, stands out as a performance leader at its price point.”

At the heart of the Prelude lies a fully balanced Class A MOSFET design, engineered to deliver high current output, resulting in clean and robust sound reproduction. This class A configuration ensures that the amplifier operates continuously in an unbiased state, leading to lower distortion and a more natural sound signature. Audiophiles and music enthusiasts who crave an in-room audio system experience from their personal audio setup could find the Prelude to be an appealing choice.

Notably, the amplifier's circuitry is fully discrete, employing individual components instead of integrated circuits. This approach offers greater control over the audio signal and the potential to enhance sound quality. Furthermore, the Prelude incorporates a precise single-ended-to-balanced conversion circuit, allowing you to take advantage of both single-ended RCA and balanced inputs, reducing noise and interference while enhancing overall audio performance.

Balanced tone control is achieved through the use of an ALPS quad balance potentiometer, renowned for its precision and high quality, promising a natural and balanced tone response.

Crafted with meticulous attention to detail, the Prelude has a custom-designed high-power and low-noise toroidal transformer that should ensure a clean and stable power to all levels of the headphone amplifier, and significantly contribute to improved sound quality.

The sleek and robust housing, carved from a single piece of aluminum, plays a vital role in isolating harmful resonances that might otherwise compromise audio performance, leading to a cleaner sound output. 

Dr. Bian sums up the essence of the Prelude headphone amplifier aptly: "A precisely-designed, meticulously crafted device that is typical of the GOLDENWAVE design philosophy emphasizing audio quality, signal purity, and overall user experience. Audiophiles looking for a premium headphone amplifier will be satisfied with the quality and possibly surprised by its affordability."

In terms of specifications, the Prelude's frequency response spans an impressive range from 20Hz to 50kHz, with a deviation of just +-1dB@1kHz. Its power output is equally impressive, offering 10W@32 ohms, 6W@64 ohms, 2.5W@150 ohms, 1W@300 ohms, and 560mW@600 ohms.

Measuring 330mm x 56mm x 260mm (12.99” x 2.2” x 10.2”) and weighing 6.5 kg (14.3 lbs), the Prelude exudes a robust and premium feel, matching its high-end audio performance.

For those interested in acquiring the GOLDENWAVE Prelude Reference Headphone Amplifier, it is currently available at a suggested retail price of $2,499. Enthusiasts can make their purchases through authorized HIFIMAN dealers or directly from the company's online store.

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