Yesterday, headfonia published my review of the Aune B1. The B1 has a lot going for it. It also has a lot going against it.
Depending on the beholder, the B1 could be either sexy, or silly. I reckon it's a bit of both. Its solid chassis and brushed lines look great in a HiFi system, but are completely anachronistic for portable use. And when switched on, the B1 reminds me of an evil version of the robot Vincent from Disney's The Black Hole.
Its chassis redefines the word brick, being both extraordinarily sturdy, and extraordinarily symmetric. Its volume pot twists with more precision, less wobble, and more Leica-like pleasure than any pot I've used on portable amp. But it's a tiny nub, and when both source and headphones are plugged in, it's a bugger to twist.
The gain switch (which engages or disengages a +10dB of extra volume), is too easy to accidentally toggle. I've dubbed it the ear self-destructor. And the CLASS A switch, would either doubles or halves the number of milliwatts dissipated, and according the the manual, should never be touched while the amp is powered on, is just as easy to accidentally toggle. I dubbed it the self-destructor.
Finally, every port: USB, audio in, and audio out, is sunk too far into its well. Certain sized cables won't latch onto signal because they can't get their bits far enough into the amp's circuits.
Sleek styling does not a good design make.
But the B1 sounds wonderful. Its background is blacker than black, with hiss barely audible via my most sensitive earphones, and that, at levels close to, but no exceeding, placebo. I go into way more detail about the sound and utility of the B1 at Headfonia.
Headfonia: Aune B1 - Vincent