HeadAmp Blue Hawaii SE Electrostatic Headphone Amplifier (Playback 56)

Headphone amps and amp/DACs
HeadAmp Blue Hawaii SE Electrostatic Headphone Amplifier

As we mentioned earlier, this breakdown of sound into component parts sometimes doesn’t give you a good feel for the sonic character of the equipment under review. It gives us a list of evaluative factors we can consider, but the very process we use to perform a point-by-point analysis of the sound can create the impression that all sonic factors are equally important, which experience tells us just isn’t so.

What sets the Blue Hawaii SE apart is the amp’s well-balanced ability to capture both the inner details and the big-picture view of the music simultaneously—an area where the BHSE stands as a hallmark, breakthrough design (other amps can do one thing or the other, but not both at once). If you understand that the human nervous system is designed to be highly responsive to perceived threats, then you can see that some equipment that cleverly but consistently emphasizes certain musical details will draw your attention in a way that may impress you. But, we think there is a strong argument to be made that this process is essentially a process of distraction. A more musical method is to reveal the detail without drawing your attention to it. This allows you to focus where you or the artists desire, which is often a better approach. The Blue Hawaii SE seems to be set up to present the music in just this way.

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