Fidelice (by Rupert Neve) - Precision Headphone Amplifier - Official Thread

The Fidelice (by Rupert Neve Designs) “Precision Headphone Amplifier" is a high-quality, standalone, three-input, headphone amplifier and one of a trio of launch-products under the “Fidelice” brand, targeted at bringing Rupert Neve’s legendary studio engineering prowess and delivering a high-end studio listening experience directly to the music lover.

This is a compact desktop unit, with high-headroom inputs that make it well suited for both home and studio use:

  • 1x Analog XLR/TRS combo input (+22.8 dBu)
  • 1x Analog RCA input (+14.7 dBu)
  • 1x Analog 3.5mm TRS input (+3.3 dBu)

This is a higher-end piece, and is finished as such in an all aluminum chassis inlaid with a wooden panel embossed with stylized “R” signature. It is available from headphones.com with an asking price of $1,195.

Specifications

MAXIMUM INPUT LEVELS

“A” XLR I/P: +22.8 dBu @1kHz
“B” RCA I/P: +14.7dBu @1kHz,
“C” 3.5mm I/P: +3.3dBu @1kHz

OUTPUT POWER

As measured with typical headphones, Z=44 Ω: 3.617 VAC RMS @1kHz = 300mW RMS
16 Ω typical Load: 1.933 VAC RMS @1kHz = 230mW RMS
150 Ω typical Load: 5.108 VAC RMS @1kHz = 175mW RMS

OUTPUT IMPEDANCE

.08 Ω @ 1KHz, 16-150 Ω load, 0dBu input

FREQUENCY RESPONSE

+/- .2dB from 10Hz to 120KHz

NOISE

Measured with typical headphones, Z=44 Ω, BW 22Hz – 22kHz
“A” XLR Input: -101.9dBV,
“B” RCA Input: -100.9dBV
“C” 3.5mm Input: -88.8dBV

DIMENSIONS

6.5” wide x 4.6” deep and 1.9” tall

POWER SUPPLY REQUIREMENTS

24VDC @ 0.25Amp (6 watt) minimum. Use with supplied power adapter, as this has been carefully selected for best output power and noise performance. May be used with a properly configured 24V battery as well.

This is the spot to discuss Rupert Neve’s Fidelice “RNHP” …

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Have they resolved the turn on/off transient and the snap when headphones are first connected?

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I just tested it, and the Fidelice RNHP definitely has a power-on transient (pop) that’s audible with headphones connected, and an odd woosh-pop sound if you power it off with them still connected.

The RNHP manual states:

We recommend powering the RNHP ON and OFF without any headphones connected. This promotes long-term, stress- free operation for the user, the RNHP and pair of headphones.

This is a bit dissapointing in a $1,195 amplifier. Even the $100 Schiit Magni 3+ and Heresy have muting relays to avoid this sort of thing.

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Agreed. Even the the “pro” RNHP shouldn’t have this issue.

I will add that it’s become second nature to unplug my headphones before powering down the unit.

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Hello and welcome @jnorris.

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The $500 RNHP shouldn’t have this issue, much less a $1200 unit. It’s the only real negative about this otherwise excellent product.

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Well, that’s definitely a negative with the RNHP, but I’d have to disagree that it’s the only one.

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I’m guessing the other “major” quibble would be it’s lower power output. Looking forward to the review.

Actually, that wasn’t on the list.

The way the power output is quoted, and what I find in actually using the unit, makes me think the specified numbers are what output power is achievable with the unit remaining in class A operation.

I believe it’s a class A/B design, so it can deliver more power than quoted - it’ll just be doing so in class B for power above the class A bias point (musical peaks, generally - depending on listening level).

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I’m really curious about the other negatives now (sonically, I know you’re not so much a fan of the looks). :thinking:

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I’m on topic! :rofl:

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I actually don’t find the aesthetics of the RNHP to be a problem. I think its a design that works much better on the scale of the little amp, than it does on the full-sized RNDAC …

Yes, the amp is off in that shot. The source-indicator LEDs are obnoxiously, exposure-shiftingly, bright. And manually compensating for the exposure results in a green dot that’s about on the magnitude of the Death Star’s primary weapon on a 7-reactor ignition.

Nope, my issues with the RNHP lay elsewhere.

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Haha! :rofl:

I’ve become so accustomed to them. My significant other commented about it when I first received the RNHP. “Damn that’s bright!”

She got used to it.

The look is better suited to the smaller amp. Especially the full size inlay.

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In the words of Grand Moff Tarkin:

You’re far too trusting. Dantooine is too remote to make an effective demonstration - but don’t worry; we will deal with your rebel friends soon enough.

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I don’t remember it being THAT bright when I listened to it at RMAF. Damn.

Doesn’t the LED stick out so you can’t even put a Light Dim on it?

Edit: note to manufactures - if the LED is so bright it lights up the LEDs next to it, it’s too freaking bright.

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Yep, the translucent buttons protrude from the case, so a Light Dim would only help from the front, and light would still spill out around the sides.

Also, that shot is at an angle … the “B” input is even brighter when viewed head-on, despite it being input “A” that’s selected there.

Where I to buy one of these, I’d be inserting things between the indicators to prevent the light bleeding over, and assuming the LEDs are separate from the audio circuit - I’d be changing the resistors feeding them.

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But would you recommend it or are there other better amp’s at that price point you can recommend?

Fun little amp…I like it more than the THX amps I’ve had in the past. Aesthetically pleasing in the smaller form, it’s big brother DAC/amp I think might be a harder pill to swallow in this aesthetic at its size, but still cool retro chic. *quick phone pic I’ll start editing my photos to post here soon…

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