Dana Robbins has been working on his craft for a lifetime. Designing reference-quality headphone cables he established himself as one of the best designers in making custom cables with his successful Lazuli line.
What many audiophiles did not know is that Dana is an electrical engineer and has been working on the Head-Space amplifier for over 5 years before releasing it to the market. Dana is a perfectionist by trade making sure every element of his products is almost perfect.
Working on and building the amplifier by hand in Colorado, he developed four distinct prototypes before he was satisfied with the amplifier’s performance. Presented here is the exciting product in its completed form, built by Dana Robbins, built for the audiophile who wants the very best in sound reproduction for both speakers and headphones.
The DanaTone Head-Space offers a first-of-its-kind circuity featuring automatic damping which produces a sound that combines the best aspects of tube and solid-state amps, offering the listener solid-state bass with a transparent midrange and grain-free highs.
The base price for the Head-Space is $8995 and takes 4-6 weeks to build. Using all discrete transistors, it is Class AB push-pull and able to put out 50mW in pure Class A. Headphone outputs include a 4-pin XLR balanced and a locking 1/4″ TRS single-ended.
On the rear panel, you will find their output attenuator switches are for headphone usage that provides sufficient power to drive the most demanding planar headphones easily, as well as Line level unbalanced input RCA and the optional Speaker outputs. The attractive chassis has a total weight of 12 lbs.
Using my Marantz SA10 DAC and a pair of Fritz 7E monitors I easily connected the speakers to the system and since my unit was fully burned in the Head-Space was ready for a prime time listening session.
The power-hungry HiFiMan Suvara was my first choice for headphones. The sound was exceptional. Listening to Alison Krause on “Forget About It” I was treated to a fast dynamic midrange that was nothing short of spectacular.
The inner detail of the recording was amazing. Alison’s voice had an exceptional tonality in her phrasing of syllables and was free of any sibilance. Her tonality was exceptional and Jerry Douglass’ dobro was floating in its own space with exceptional air and separation between the performers. The sound made me so focused on the music that the equipment just disappeared.
Listening to the same track on my monitors revealed more of the same with exceptional separation, air, and textured bass. Both the Susvara and the speakers sounded exceptional. Bass was textured and never overbearing nor did it call attention to anything other than the music. Treble extension was pristine and never harsh completely free of any grain.
Chet Baker “Alone Together” produced another exceptional soundstage with his trumpet floating in space and the acoustic bass to his left, the sound once again was exceptional. His beautiful sound was coming through and the saxophone playing was excellent.
Tonality once again with of both speakers and headphones was the exceptional one using it with the Susvara and the HiFiMan HE1000se once again I was treated to a wider sound soundstage and mids that once again were as good as it gets with exceptional bass performance.
“Amused to Death” by Roger Waters is exciting to listen to and with my Audeze LCD-4 on “What God Wants Part 1” the music played at reasonable sound levels, I was able to enjoy the slamming drums and Jeff Beck’s guitar work. Rock at its finest, the demanding fast timing and pace of this album require fast amplification and the bass was exceptional with the kick drum exploding with fast live transients. Roger’s outstanding vocal kept pace with this amazing culmination of some of the world’s most gifted musicians in my room.
Listening on both the LCD-4 and Fritz monitors the amp was fast and had pace and rhythm as it lit up the room and retrieved the best detail this recording offers. The better the gear you use the better your results and this was an exciting and thrilling sound. Waters is at his best!
“Les Miserable” is my favorite play and listening to “I Dream and Dream” on the “original London cast recording” I was brought to tears. Emotionally I have personal experiences that I related to the song. The sound was delicate and emotionally reached my soul. I was lured into the performance and listening to the Fritz monitors it was as good as I have heard it reproduced. An exceptional product that made all the gear disappear and left me with the sound of the Beautiful performance that had rhythm and brought me to the theatre for the performance.
Listening to the “Do You Hear the People Sing” finale once again was sad and happy when Valjean is dying and Cozette gives him permission. The sound brought chills to my body and once again showcased the beauty of the singers as Fantine called him to heaven and once again tears were coming from my eyes as the sound was glorious and made me realize why I had seen this play three times and am ready to see it again.
“All I Ask of You” from “Phantom of the Opera” is another exceptional recording that captures the excitement of another terrific musical. The orchestra was exceptional and layered in individual sections with amazing separation and HeadSpace once again delivered a spectacular performance.
Waiting four years to finally hear the DanaTone Head-Space in its completed version was well worth the wait. $8995 is a lot of money for amplification but this is hand-made by Dana Robbins and takes 65-70 hours of his time to build this from scratch. Listeners looking for the very best in reproduction will find the Head-Space is able to deliver exceptional performance for both speakers and headphones and competes with the best amplification out there whether its tube or solid-state.
Dynamic Range and tonality are important in music reproduction. I look for products that can deliver music accurately. The Head-Space performs delivering beautiful instrument tonality. The vocal performance was exceptional and captivating. Never did I notice any sibilance on any recordings.
Bass was not thunderous but more textured when the recording called for it. On the Fritz 7E monitors which deliver exceptional deep bass, I was never disappointed. Audeze LCD-4 is known for excellent bass and the Head-Space delivered without compromise.
The soundstage was excellent with good air and space. Individual performers were in their own space with clarity and the imaging of Head-space was exceptional with a 3D kind of feel.
The Head-Space is not for everybody as it is made to order in small quantities, it is designed for the listener who is looking for the best. Dana can custom design one for you specifically for your needs and give you a one-of-a-kind experience. If you are looking for the best in amplification for headphones and speaker amps the Head-Space will not disappoint.
Congratulations to Dana for creating one of the world’s best designs. After five years of research and countless hours, Dana has completed his Head-Space amplifier and it’s a rock star. An awesome amplifier that always delivers exceptional musicality. Highly recommended.
Manufacturer’s Website: clarissonaudio.com