The Master 19 is a real beast of a headphone amplifier but the sound it delivers is beautiful. The design of the power supplies, buffers, discrete amplification stages and, last but not least, the wonderful volume control are truly impressive. The overall build quality and selection of premium components is first class. I see no reason why it wouldn’t be an excellent preamplifier too.
It drives my HiFiman HE 1000v2 headphones with plenty of gain to share. The sound quality is breathtaking and is both neutral and natural. Bass is dynamic, strong and with very good tone colours. Mids and the top end are full of detail, texture, micro dynamic timing and spatial information and air set against a jet black background but are never overly aggressive. Every bit of dynamic, textural, tonal and timing information is laid bare but pulled together in such a way that it all fits together into a well integrated musical whole that just makes you listen to more and more music. No matter if you are into the intellectual beauty of chamber music, the full grandeur of romantic symphonies, the wonder of Ella Fitzgerald’s vocals our you just want to bath yourself in the despair of Black Sabbath, this is the headphone amplifier for you.