HiFiMAN Unveils GOLDENWAVE Prelude: A Versatile Audiophile Headphone Amplifier for 2023

HiFiMAN Unveils GOLDENWAVE Prelude: A Versatile Audiophile Headphone Amplifier for 2023

Greetings, audio enthusiasts! HiFiMAN has unveiled its latest lineup of DAC/headphone amplifiers for 2023, and one model that caught our eye is the sleek GOLDENWAVE Prelude.

Unlike its sibling, the Seranade, the Prelude doesn't come with an in-built DAC, which some might consider essential given the price range and options available from competitors like Schiit Audio and FiiO.

Previously released by GOLDENWAVE, a brand acquired by HiFiMAN, the Prelude headphone amplifier ($2,499 USD) serves as their reference model and offers versatility for a desktop headphone system. According to Dr. Fang Bian, President and CEO of HiFiMAN Electronics, the Prelude stands out as a performance leader at its price point.

Designed for personal audio and music enthusiasts seeking a personal listening experience that rivals full-size audiophile systems, the amplifier features a fully balanced class A MOSFET design, delivering clean and powerful sound reproduction.

The Prelude's circuit uses individual components instead of integrated circuits, which can potentially improve sound quality and audio signal control.

One of its key strengths is the inclusion of a precise single-ended-to-balanced conversion circuit, allowing both single-ended RCA and balanced inputs to benefit from a fully balanced drive. This helps reduce noise and interference, enhancing overall audio performance.

The headphone amplifier's preamplifier circuit operates independently of the headphone stage and uses an ALPS quad balance potentiometer for balanced tone control.

To ensure a stable power supply and improved sound quality, the amplifier has a specially customized high-power, low-noise toroidal transformer.

To maintain clean sound output, the Prelude's housing is crafted from a single piece of aluminum, effectively isolating harmful resonances.

In terms of specs, the Prelude's frequency response spans from 20Hz to 50KHz at +-1dB@1KHz. The power output is 10W@32 ohms, 6W@64 ohms, 2.5W@150 ohms, 1W@300 ohms, and 560mW@600 ohms.

The dimensions of the Prelude measure 330mm x 56mm x 260mm/12.99” x 2.2” x 10.2”, and it weighs 6.5 kg/14.3 lbs.

For those interested, the Prelude is currently available for $2,499 at