Feliks Audio Echo.
Based in Poland, Feliks Audio is a relatively new company specializing in handcrafted tube amplifiers. The Echo is their entry-level model for headphones and it uses two 6N6P power tubes and two 6N1P driver tubes. It has an output transformerless topology which means it will only play well with high impedance headphones; Feliks Audio recommends headphones that have an impedance of at least 100 ohms.
Despite being Feliks Audio’s most affordable tube amplifier, the Echo is built to very high standards. Its chassis is solid metal and the side panels are made out of real wood. The large volume knob that dominates the front has a smooth action with none of the creakiness you sometimes find on less well-made amplifiers. The 6.35mm headphone jack and RCA jacks are solidly placed too. Speaking of jacks, the Echo has a single pair of RCA inputs and outputs. In this regard, it can be used as a pre-amp to another amplifier or it can be used directly with powered speakers.
The Echo has a pair of RCA input and output jacks.
My only gripe is that the power switch is positioned at the rear. You have to be very careful when you reach behind the amplifier to turn it off as you might inadvertently bump into the tubes which are glowing hot and can reach temperatures of over 90 degrees Celsius.
The general consensus is that tube amplifiers sound warmer and more natural. I certainly hear that with the Echo. Through the Echo, my Audeze LCD-3 has never sounded more full and organic. The mid-range stood out for me as being noticeably richer and more forward, accentuating vocals, pianos, and guitars in the process. The Echo emphasizes bass response too, giving my Sennheiser HD 6XX a thump and heft that I haven’t heard with any other solid state amplifier.
The Echo is also surprisingly quiet and clean. I could discern a faint hum only with the volume turned up to 1 o’clock and when there is nothing playing. There is a detectable amount of bloom and a sense of haziness around notes, but this is only apparent when directly comparing with a solid state amplifier back to back.
All in, I consider the Echo to be a great starter piece for fledgling audiophiles curious about how tube amplifiers sound. It is well-built and imparts a pleasingly warm and natural tonality to your music collection that will put a smile on your face.
An ideal gateway for anyone into audio that’s curious about the ‘tube sound.’
AT A GLANCE
TUBES 6N6P x 2 (power), 6N1P x 2 (driver)
POWER OUTPUT 350 mW
RECOMMENDED HEADPHONE IMPEDANCE: 100 - 600 ohms