Page 2 – Sassy Compatibility, Sound and Conclusion
Got the Power!
As one would hope with an amp at the price, it is equipped with some power. To state the specs it actually handles a watt per channel into 30ohms and 180mW into 300! Consequently power is not an issue, these handle my ZMF Blackwood with as much ease as my Sennheiser HD800. Even for these tasks I do sometimes find gain to be a touch high, finding myself to only get as far as 6 o’clock from the starting point of 3… with the 300ohms HD800s!
A perhaps more pressing concern should actually be how it does with more sensitive cans that also have low impedance such as my Enigmacoustics Dharma, or even a pair of IEMs! Due to a lot of power I have found channel tracking early on is not quite perfect and it also gets loud very quickly, not giving you a lot of travel for fine tuning volume. That being said with my Dharmas the amp was pretty quiet. Weirdly I did find an almost siren like sound when volume was turned all the way down, so quiet I had to really strain my ears but weirdly apparent.
With some IEMs there does become an obvious background ambience, although I have heard much worse and it doesn’t impact the music detrimentally. It does seem to lean towards working best with the harder drive headphones but there’s no reason to not give it a go with an IEM if you get one, I just certainly wouldn’t go out of my way to get this amp specifically for IEMs!
The sound of Sassy for the most part is everything you could want from an amp. It punches above its weight quite literally in terms of its size… then does so again with the price tag. I know its not cheap but paired with a DAP that has a great line out such as the HiSoundAudio S6 I am getting honest desktop sound with my HD800s, but I am on the go!
Digging deeper I think it has a sound that borderlines smooth and warm, but not in a mellow and soft sense. Bass still hits hard and we have quick punches through out the sound and an always impressive sense of dynamic power. The reason that description sprung to mind is that I am sensing some extra bass slam, with a timbre that is just a little lusher than I get off some other, faster pure solid state amps like the desktop Aurorasound HEADA. In the same regard I am finding just a little calmness in treble. Not a dull or dark treble, just it remaining smooth and not being aggressive in nature. It could sometimes come across a bit safe sounding, not letting anything completely rip, but whats wrong with being composed. At this price point it sounds just right.
While for the most part I am completely won over by this amp, it gets on like a house on fire with my HD800s, brings something special out in my Dharma and generally brings joy to my listening sessions, it does obviously have some areas where improvement could exist. This was always going to be the case don’t get me wrong, they wouldn’t need a higher end model if this was that perfect. Through the midrange and treble, I get the sense of just a touch of grain. Maybe grain isn’t quite the thing I am hearing but its something that when I compare Sassy to my Questyle Monos or even Phantasy, these more expensive competitors just sound so much cleaner and more elegant, like there is no grit in the sound. In the same regard space is managed more like you expect from an amp in this price range, not with the most precise of separation or overall scale.
The latter part of what I said above about soundstage, imaging and separation may be a little reduced at times because one thing this amp doesn’t have is a perfectly black background. Regardless of areas that it doesn’t perfect, I still stick by my original point and that is it does do everything you should want from an amp the majority of the time. It delivers power to a headphone and improves on the sound. It also has a sound that allows it to synergise quite easily with a lot of different headphones. It only gives a small taste of a traditional tube sound, enough to offer something different, but not to a point where you only want to be buying this amp if in need of a very specific sound. This is much more versatile!
For what is clearly a largely thought out product, I am rightly impressed. Putting the sound at the forefront and this does a great job, surely one of the better sounding amps at this price range, maybe even regardless of form factor. When it comes to high impedance cans and planars, make sure this is your first intended pairing when purchasing this amp, let IEMs be something you have a bit of a play with on delivery.
This is all certainly not to say they have nailed the perfect product first time round. I would like to see gain reduced to allow more pot usage on all headphones for a start. Then there is the microphonic problem. I know tubes are susceptible to some noise but the fact pretty much anything touching the amp responding to a siren sound seems like it could be a problem for portable use, maybe I am wrong but some sort of prevention method for this would be appreciated. Moving past that I am still a big fan of Sassy and while it’s not a cheap amp, pair it in the office or somewhere scenic and quiet with some HD800s and you will be smiling, take my word!
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