HeadRoom Total Bithead Headphone Amplifiers

HeadRoom Total Bithead Headphone Amplifiers 


You’ll be totally amazed how good your computer sounds!

Take a Total BitHead, plug it into the USB port on your computer, then plug the best headphones you’ve got into the Total BitHead, and BAM, knock-your-socks-off sound. Later, pack it up in a HeadRoom bag with your favorite portable player, and you’ve got one of the most aurally delightful portable audio systems on the planet. Think about it: a great back end for your computer and a sweet analog headphone amp to use with your portable player for only $149. Your ears will thank you.


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[May 25, 2005]
Audio Enthusiast


Long battery life. Good construction. Smooth and clean sonic characteristics. Execellent customer support.


No power socket. Only one volume control despite 2 headphone outs. No optical input (only way to use DAC is via USB). A bit on the expensive side.

The TBH is an innovative little product that combines the function of a “traditional” headphone amp with that of an out-board DAC/Soundcard – all neatly fitted in a small, conveniently portable package. But, you will need a quality headphone to get the most out of this product – a headphone as least as good as the Grado S60 or preferably better. Functions The TBH has a mini 1/8” line-in socket and a mini USB terminal, which allows the amp to be used with a desktop/laptop computer or any portable devices (e.g., portable CD players, mp3 players, etc.,) with an analog output. On the output side, the TBH has 2 headphone sockets, which allows 2 headphones to be connected to the amp simultaneously. However, as there is only one volume control, users will have to listen to music at the same volume – assuming that they are using headphones with similar sensitivity. The TBH is primarily battery powered. It does not have a power socket. The unit accepts 4 AAA batteries and is very efficient in powering itself. A fresh set of 4 AAA alkaline batteries will last the user over 30+ hours. The TBH could also be powered via a USB2 connection when connected to a laptop or desktop computer. In the USB mode, the TBH automatically turns on – i.e., without the user having to manually flip on the power switch. The TBH batteries are bypassed, thereby sparing drain on the TBH’s batteries. In USB mode, the TBH doubles up as an outboard soundcard/DAC in addition to a headphone amp. This basically means that the connected computer’s internal soundcard is bypassed, and digital to audio conversion takes place in the TBH. This out-board conversion should help eliminate floor noise generated by the computer or any deficiencies in the computer’s internal soundcard. Finally, the TBH also comes with Headroom’s headphone image processor. This processor, which could be turned on or off manually, helps reduce headphone listening fatigue that stems from the “unnatural” psycho-acoustics of headphones. Construction Like other Headroom products, the TBH is well constructed. Don’t expect the precision of a fully mechanized production process though, Headroom products are still hand built for the most part. Still, the construction is sturdy and gives a solid feel. The housing consist of a thick plastic chassis and a rubber flap that secures the top-mounted battery bay. I have the 1st generation production of the TBH and the rubber flap that secures the battery bay does not make a 100% close fit – though the flap closes securely. However, I think Headroom has since identified the problem and fixed it. Sound The TBH has a smooth and somewhat dry sonic signature – especially in USB mode. This qualities are best appreciated over long listening sessions. On USB mode, the user might notice a much lower noise floor (i.e., no hiss, crackle and pops that a laptop headphone output is sometimes plagued with) and also a better soundstage. Detail-wise, the TBH does not appear to out-do the internal soundcard in my mid-line Dell laptop much. I suspect this might be because I usually listen to 192kph recorded MP3, which might not have the heighten level of resolution to yield in the first place. Still, the improved smoothness and soundstage is plenty. On analog mode, the TBH works best with a true line-out, as oppose to connecting the TBH to the portable device’s headphone out. I’ve found that doing the latter yield almost no improvement to the sound quality other than the fact that the user can now drive the sound louder. However, connecting the TBH to a line-out will help yield improved details and also dynamics. I’ve found that the bass impact and details improve when I connect the TBH via line-out from my portable Sony DJE 2000 CD player. The Headroom headphone image processor adds depth and body to music. However, I usually leave it turn off as the processor muddles up the mid-range noticeably. On more expensive Headroom amps, there are filters to “add back” the higher frequencies and even out the frequency response a bit. The TBH doesn’t come with such filters. In sum, the TBH is not a magic pill. Don’t expect it to give you an instant “night and day” revelation. If your computer already has an advante garde soundcard, chances are the TBH would probably yield too much improvements in terms of sonic resolution. It may help with the noise floor. Also don’t expect this little amp to turn a portable player into a mobile audiophile system – it’ll improve your listening pleasure but within reasonable limits.

Similar Products Used:

Headroom Supreme, other non portable headphone amps.

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