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atelier 13 audio


"Reinhard Thöress set out to exalt the treasures contained in the Triode tube, through a classic approach that has proven itself and a deliciously Retro look, a sound result unlike any other in its density, its presence, its energy and its realistic spatial presentation, serving all the emotion contained in each recording. Those who are connoisseurs of Valve-halla will be delighted by the Thöress amplifiers and their rare musicality"

A Tribute to Professional Audio Components from the Golden Age of the Vacuum Tube! 

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Class A Tube Line Pre and Headphone Amplifier



DFAmp Line & Headphone Amplifier

The THÖRESS Dual Function Amplifier (DFAmp) represents an ultimate implementation of :

  1. A line control amplifier, and ...

  2. A headphone driving amplifier


Both functions are performed by the same minimalist vacuum tube circuit with very low output impedance, providing the amplifier with an outstanding ability to simultaneously drive :

  1. Long interconnect cable runs

  2. And headphones with an impedance as low as 50 ohms or even lower.


The DFAmp also features unique tone control facilities (timbre registers) and a custom designed remote volume control presented with typical THÖRESS style and attention to detail.

The amplifier is entirely based on SINGLE-ENDED ZERO-FEEDBACK schematics ... Decidedly ignoring the fact that many music lovers persistently believe in the myth that balanced technology -- and the associated cable configuration with XLR connectors -- is generally superior over single-ended concepts.

Readers who want to learn more about our view on balanced techniques and our general design approach are encouraged to read the paper (THÖRESS - Behind the Curtain) available on request. In view of our commitment to single-ended design principles, the exclusive use of RCA jacks for signal input and output was obligatory.

The circuit of the DFAmp consists of a triode gain stage (12J5GT or 6J5GT tube) followed by a unity-gain current buffer employing a 12GN7 power pentode operated in triode mode with high idle current. The 12J5GT/6J5GT tube is a medium-gain octal base triode with fairly low transconductance from the early times of tube electronics, whereas the 12GN7 is a rather modern (all-glass) high transconductance power tube with high gain capabilities, making it an ideal choice for buffer applications. Both tubes are unarguably among the most linear amplification devices ever developed in the history of electronic technology and as such are a perfect choice in the context of minimalist zero-feedback circuit design.

The amplifier is built with meticulous hand construction using our proven point-to-point wiring techniques. Much care has been taken in arranging each aspect of the internal construction to ensure highest reliability, low noise performance and ease of service for many years to come.


The DFAmp is an ultimate high-end component and as such a worthy complement to our all-tube or EHT based mono amplifiers.


The sonic presentation of the amplifier is of utmost refinement, both in Line and Headphone Output mode ... and thus will easily measure up to the highest expectations of every discerning music lover.


The DFAmp allows for subtle tonal manipulations via :

  1. Four on-the-fly selectable tone control presets (timbre registers) ...

  2. ... on two different gain levels implemented by means of  :

  3. A 6-position rotary switch which we call :

  4. The GT Selector ...marked as EMPFINDLICHKEIT & KLANG,  representing the English terms "Gain and Tone", ... in short : "GT".


Two positions of the GT selector are assigned with neutral tonality (flat frequency response). The mapping between selector positions, gain and sound effects is described by the chart below :


  • pos1: (-)6dB gain, Bass Boost style-3 and Treble Boost : B(+++) / TR(++)

  • pos2: (-)6dB gain, Treble Boost : B(0) / TR(+)

  • pos3: (-)6dB gain, NEUTRAL : B(0) / TR(0)

  • pos4: full gain, Bass Boost style-2 and Treble Neutral : B(++) / TR(0)

  • pos5: full gain, Bass Boost style-1 and Treble Neutral : B(+) / TR(0)

  • pos6: full gain, NEUTRAL > B(0) / TR(0) 

The timbre registers are useful for restoring tonal imperfections of the listening program -- often caused by a lack of extension on one or both ends of the audio band -- and for equalizing the response of individual headphones by adding bass and/or treble extension to a given component.


The function assigned with pos1 of the GT selector can also be used for counteracting the so called loudness effect (weaker perception of bass and treble frequencies of humans at lower loudness).


In practice, a combination of all three equalizing purposes will likely be simultaneously applicable. Notably, the timbre registers act in a much more subtle way than common bass-and-treble tone control facilities and do not rely on conventional clumsy and sound destructive tone control circuitry. Each register is realized by interposing solely one additional capacitor (per register and channel) to the neutral mode circuit!

  1. Normal Line Gain - The gain on inputs 6 is 26dB (20-times). This input presents a comparatively high input impedance of 80.000 ohm to the connected program source and is suitable for classic line level sources such as phono pre-amplifiers, tape machines or tuners.

  2. Low Line Gain - Inputs 4 and 5 offer a lower gain of 18dB (8-times, which is minus 8dB compared to input 6), and are meant for modern high-output digital sources such as CD or DVD players, streamers, or DACs. The input impedance on these inputs is 30.000 ohms.




The DFAmp provides 6 inputs divided in 3 groups with different gain and impedance characteristics as described below.


High Line Gain

The gain on inputs 1,2 and 3 is :

  • 26dB (20-times) with GT selector in pos4, pos5 or pos6 ... and ...

  • 20dB (10-times) for all other positions (pos1/2/3).


These 3 inputs present a comparatively high input impedance of 80.000 ohms to the connected program source and are in the first row suitable for classic line level sources such as phono preamplifiers, tuners and tape machines.


Medium Line Gain

Inputs 4 and 5 are :

  • Appropriate for medium output program sources such as CD and DVD players, streamers or stand-alone DACs offering 18dB gain (8-times, 18dB=26dB-8dB) with GT selector in pos4, pos5 or pos6 ...and ...

  • 12dB (4-times, 12dB=18dB-6dB) for the other positions (pos1/2/3).

  • The input impedance on these two inputs is 30.000 ohms.


Low Line Gain

Input 6 (input impedance 30.000 ohms) is :


  • Assigned with an exceptionally low gain of 10dB (3-times, 10dB=26dB-16dB) with GT selector in pos4, pos5 or pos6 ... and ...

  • 4dB (3- times) for all other positions (pos1/2/3).

  • t is reserved for sources with exceptionally high output characteristic as they are found on some CD players and DACs with vacuum tube output configuration.

  • The low-gain input can also be used for enhancing the impact of the timbre registers as explained in the manual of the DFAmp.



The gain pattern on the inputs on standard units with GT selector in pos4, pos5 or pos6 is :

  • 26, 26, 26 -- 18, 18 -- 10 dB

The gain pattern on the inputs on standard units with GT selector in pos1, pos2 or pos3 is :

  • 20, 20, 20 -- 12, 12 -- 4 dB

Alternative gain patterns can be easily implemented on customized units on demand

Input selection is implemented in the most basic way by means of a rotary switch mounted on the rear panel near the input jacks driven by a front knob via extension shaft.


A high grade motor-driven dual-potentiometer is employed for (remote or manual) volume control. These parts are made to our specifications by ALPS in Japan for low angle sensitivity in view of conveniently fine volume adjustment. Each individual potentiometer is selected from a large production batch for exceptionally good channel balance by careful measurement (0.3dB tolerance).


The outputs of the circuit simultaneously terminate in a triple main output ...  3 x 2RCA jacks on the rear panel,  and a frontal 3-step toggle switch which feeds the two adjacent headphone outputs -- KH1 and KH2  which are 2 x 6.35mm jack headphone sockets.


The line outputs are connected to the circuit permanently, whereas the headphone outputs can be disengaged by setting the toggle switch to the middle position.


Thanks to the triple master output it is possible to simultaneously drive up to two pairs of power amplifiers, and an active sub-woofer , and this without further adaptation.




The DFAmp is equipped with a proprietary mains transformer produced in-house to ensure the highest possible quality. This part has been specifically designed for low body noise emission and low leakage. Nevertheless, it is mounted to the chassis via isolation elements in order to eliminate even the slightest interference of residual transformer vibrations with the circuit. Since the mains transformer is produced inhouse we can easily built transformers for all kinds of mains voltages on demand, for example for 100Vac (Japan), 220Vac (South-Korea, China, Thailand, Indonesia) or 245Vac (Australia).

F E A T U R E  O V E R V I E W

  • Reference Grade Vacuum tube Line Control and Headphone Driving Amplifier


  • Both functions performed by the same unique minimalist single-ended zero-feedback circuit utilizing 2x12J5GT+2x12GN7 or 2x6J5GT+2x12GN7 tubes


  • 6x line level inputs : 3x26dB + 2x18dB + 1x10dB gain (2x6 RCA jacks)


  • Triple master output with very low output resistance (2x3 RCA jacks)


  • 2x toggle-selectable headphone outputs (2x6.35mm jack sockets)


  • Remote volume control via motor-driven dual-potentiometer with excellent channel balance and low angle sensitivity for conveniently fine volume adjustment


  • Four on-the-fly selectable tone control presets entangled with a 6dB gain attenuator implemented via 6-position rotary dial (GT selector)

  • Ultra-Low noise low leakage mains transformer produced in-house for 230Vac (115Vac via jumper setting). 100Vac (Japan), 120Vac (USA, Canada), 220Vac (South Korea, China, Thailand, Indonesia), 240Vac (UK) or 245 Vac (Australia)

  • Full hand construction, point-to-point wiring throughout

  • Non-magnetic case (aluminum throughout

    • Anodized printing on front and rear panel

    • Powder-coated chassis and lids


  • Dimensions - mm : 

    • 434 W x 434 D x 154 H 

    • H / 154mm = 134mm + 20mm (feet)

    • Dimensions of the shipping crate - mm:

    • 650 D x 650 W x 350 H

    • Shipping weight : 11.7Kg



Individually Made in Germany

MSRP   $ 12,000

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Show & User-System Coverage

Courtesy of Kwangho Kim’s Hi-Fi 

Please Listen with Quality Headphones at Youtube Hi Res Settings

What the say ...


David Gryzb |  May 7, 2019  



Thöress Dual Function Preamplifier (aka the DFAmp) originated as two separate yet simultaneously developed projects. A standalone headphone amp Reinhard needed privately as a handy tool to silently evaluate his own work at home, whereas customers of his top seller – The Phono Enhancer – created demand for a standalone line stage to complement it. However, the longer the man developed both machines, the more reasons he found to have them served as one. His line stage’s valve gain circuit also perfectly suitable for the headphone job was the main argument. Past this point the goal was clear. After three years of R&D in total, Thöress Dual Function Preamplifier saw public daylight in Munich 2017 for the very first time.


Thöress hardware thus far not associated with headphones could be the reason to ask about Reinhard’s knowledge on this subject in general, or even suspect that he has none. Wrong, it’s the other way around, even though our engineer’s work didn’t express this any earlier.


During one of our conversations Reinhard pointed at Sennheiser HD 600 as his all-time favourite, which didn’t struck me as odd at all. However, this product in particular lands on his head far more often than i.e. Focal Utopia or HifiMan HE-1000 he also has. But most interestingly, Reinhard’s view on the undoubtedly classy HD 600 amplified just right fully resonated with mine, picture this model’s inherent veil, darkness and thickness left behind the door in favour of vividness, openness and better linearity. Herr Thöress clearly heard ’em Senns proper and also placed i.e. HD 800 and LCD-2 at the opposite ends of the headphone spectrum just as I would, which proved me bluntly that he’s in this specific know deep. This leaves us with one question: what kind of a machine did he end up with?



The DFAmp’s front made of two matte gray aluminum plates contrasts nicely with its top and bottom. The external surface loaded with German labels sports four nicely lit up openings, each with a large knob fixed to the internal wall. This arrangement surely ups the ante on visuals to have the product’s front interesting and three-dimensional. Each plastic knob sports a translucent circle with inlaid indication line. The secondary on/off rotary switch on the left neighbours with volume control, which is then followed by Reinhard’s own sensitivity and tone adjustment scheme labeled as ‘Empfindlichkeit & Klang’ and the last knob is the DFAmp’s input selector. The opening with IR receiver found a bit below sits right next to two 6.3mm headphone outs. The selector switch in-between these enables either one or the other and fixed in the middle disengages them. It’s smart to set it like so if the DFAmp is on duty as a line stage as it doesn’t have any auto-sensing mechanism, signal goes to its line and headphone outs simultaneously. All lights on the product’s front reveal their appealing orange glow in full only when it’s dark, daylight makes them barely visible.


The DFAmp’s top and bottom chassis parts sport multiple circular venting notches and a bit extended form small hoods for its both ends. Four rubber feet are found on its underbelly, whereas the rear is occupied by the usual suspects; an IEC socket with the main on/off switch and self-replaceable fuse, three RCA outputs and six inputs in the same standard. There’s also a grounding pin in there and a ground lift switch. All RCAs on the DFAmp’s rear are widely placed so they’ll accept any ICs with no issues. Its inputs are set in three different colours for a reason; the ones labeled as 1, 2 and 3 are of 26dB gain, whereas sockets 4+5 and 6 have this parameter set at 20 and 15dB max. respectively. Reinhard isn’t a fan of balanced technology in home applications, hence it’s off the table in case of all his hardware.


Let’s get back to the ‘Empfindlichkeit & Klang’ knob. Presets 1 (significant bass and average treble boost), 2 (mild treble boost) and 3 (flat FR) are of -6dB lower gain/sensitivity, whereas positions 4 (average bass boost), 5 (mild bass boost) and 6 (flat FR) are of full gain. All listed tweaks introduce quite the room to maneuver as far as sound tailoring goes, whereas low sensitivity/gain options help to counteract the loudness effect. Each was implemented in accordance with Reinhard’s minimalist approach, which translates to a single capacitor per option and two extra in case of anti-loudness presets.


Just as any other Thöress machine, the DFAmp is based on a low leakage deadly silent power transformer handmade by Reinhard himself. Its coils are wound on a vintage Aumann machine and to reduce residual vibrations and interference, the part is mounted to the chassis via noise damping elements. In-house made power transformers also provide worldwide mains readiness.


The DFAmp’s circuitry is executed in point-to-point fashion with almost all components mounted to two supportive rails per channel. Parts used are quality resistors and capacitors by Vishay and Wima, whereas volume control is based on a motorized Alps pot custom-made for very low angle sensitivity and cherry-picked via measurements from a large production batch. Units of 0.5dB channel imbalance at most are what Reinhard’s after. Needless to say, only a handful is fit for the job, whereas also measured and paired NOS tubes used in his machines score lower rejection notes. Many of them simply still are within needed specs after decades spent in their boxes.



In order to review Thöress Dual Function Preamplifier as a line stage, fidata HFAS-S10U handled storage and transport duties, then LampizatOr Pacific DAC (KR Audio T-100 + KR Audio 5U4G Ltd. Ed.) took over to pass the signal to either today’s hero or Kinki Studio EX-P7. Then two distinctively different configurations came into play; Martin Gateley’s soundkaos Libération fronted by FirstWatt F7 and then Kinki Studio EX-B7 monos married to my Boenicke W8. Two LessLoss C-MARC power cords were used in order to extract natural character of each preamplifier. C-MARC speaker cable was also exploited and so were two sets of Audiomica Laboratory Erys Excellence ICs in-between key components.



Headphone Amp Duty

Today’s hero as a standalone headphone deck was compared to iFi audio Pro iCAN. Both were fronted by the same transport, DAC and every other component involved. Three headphones on duty were HifiMan Susvara, Meze Empyrean and Beyerdynamic T1. Harnesses for them all were Noir hybrids made by Forza AudioWorks.


Reinhard’s device as a headphones deck interested me the most, hence its 6.3mm outs were on duty at first. As far as functionality goes, the DFAmp wasn’t as generous as its competitor. No other product known to me is on this count, Pro iCAN is exceptionally versatile and very powerful. Once all its bells and whistles are taken into account, the Brit enables sound tailoring significant enough to get along perfectly fine with realistically all non-electrostatic headphones on the market. That’s why to have today’s comparison fair, Pro iCAN had its bass and spatial boosters turned off, whereas its main operation mode switch was set in the middle to have JAN GE5670 tubes involved. The main goal of the headphone exercise was to know how Reinhard’s machine sounded like unaltered, hence its tone control was set to either the third or the sixth position.


As the easiest load available, Meze Empyrean was the first in line. Early on it struck me how pleasantly silent the DFAmp was. With no music on mild noise kicked in at volume level a fair bit above 3 o’clock. With these specific headphones this equaled to instantly deafening SPL as during normal listening they didn’t go above 11 o’clock. Point being, Reinhard’s product was dead quiet and several minutes into the very first audition it also became quite clear what sonic profile it sported. The man’s F2A11 integrated amp was harmonically generous enough for my ears to know that valves were involved. However, it didn’t prettify music but showed it as it was and with suitable load nearby was feisty while doing so. It simply didn’t sound quite like a regular valve affair, whereas the DFAmp did something very different.


Reinhard’s line stage in a jiffy revealed itself as gutsy, charming and utmost pleasant product. Such voicing caught me off guard past the F2A11 adventure, which I still remember well. As a very nicely executed balancing act it surely is, Meze’s top tier specimen sounded remarkably well with the DFAmp. This combination clearly was a synergy work at its finest; inherent thickness of today’s hero injected pleasant fat into the Empyrean’s natural evenness, openness and unbiased FR response. The result was vivid, rich and properly informational. But most importantly, two major twists occured; one involved spatial presentation and the other was agility related.


Sound sources served as big, hefty and very close shapes turned out to be one of the DFAmp’s most distinctive features. The sensation of being inside of a quite unescapable bubble had several interesting successions. By cutting distance to key musical events, such voicing amplified their presence and served them in more intimate and direct fashion than they usually were. Instead of providing perspective from one of seats up front, it put me right in-between musicians. Subjectively speaking, I got used to huge open landscapes served the former way, hence what the DFAmp did normally I’d consider as limitation. However, this dual affair did the up close and personal job in the first place and didn’t neglect all remaining layers at all. Nothing was removed, but reachable if needed. Instruments right next to my ears were the key focal point, whereas generous texturing, vividness, richness and heft followed. Surprisingly, the result wasn’t stuffy or restrictive, the DFAmp created involving, pleasant and sensible space just as the F2A11 did a good while ago; all virtual sound sources were nicely separated one from another and finely oxygenated. On this specific count Reinhard’s machine was something truly special and utmost alive.


Pro iCAN did the same spatial job more openly than today’s hardware. It painted smaller and more distant instruments to be viewed as geared more towards accuracy, evenness and insight than pleasure, spice and reality changing twists. iFi audio’s top of the line hybrid deck also didn’t miss a thing on tangibility and richness counts. It sounded generously complex albeit somewhat cooler and less intensely. Up to this point the battle was pretty much even-steven and the choice between the two products came down to personal taste more than anything else. The more intimate and tweaked DFAmp with Empyreans was my pick. With this particular load it was more tangible, sported darker background and scored higher on nuances and finishing touches. It sounded more refined.


Pro iCAN is voiced to be musical even with its JAN GE5670 disengaged and as such it doesn’t sound dry at all. It’s safe to say that the very core of this product is partially similar to the DFAmp. These differently voiced yet coherent performers were made by skilled individuals very much into music as a whole and not dissected into small bits and pieces. Pro iCAN is also laid back, which nicely complements its inherently enjoyable attitude, whereas the DFAmp has its exciting element boosted, which in fact revealed itself as the second key twist. With Meze Empyrean on duty, the German product sounded snappier, hit harder and was the more intense of the two. Picture large drums beaten senselessly or fast unamplified solos on acoustic guitars, that’s the job the DFAmp did in more impactful, quicker and scale wise grander fashion. With easygoing minimalist and calm music it performed accordingly, but jumpier more adrenaline pumping repertoire it made utmost engaging. The more easygoing and hi-fi oriented Pro iCAN in this sense was calmer, unaltered, more balanced and not as potently zingy as the DFAmp. This disparity turned out to be what finally sold me on the German and Romanian combination.


As I’ve learnt later on, the exercise above painted quite the accurate picture of what the DFAmp was all about in general, how distinctively differently it sang in comparison to any other headphone deck I’m familiar with. It revealed itself as a sophisticated, potent and intimate mood maker done right. But the real challenge was my freshly acquired HiFiMan Susvara. The two didn’t enjoy each other’s company too much early on. With this particular load, the DFAmp introduced significant amount of distortion halfway through its volume scale. It was a struggle. Reinhard explained that this turn of events was expected as his machine wasn’t tailored to handle such demanding headphones from the get-go. The man explained what needed to be done and I followed via opening the DFAmp and snipping legs of two diodes in total. This quick procedure removed the product’s voltage limitation to now have its 30V tap fully open. Boom.


Several minutes in total was all it took to morph the DFAmp into a Susvara compliant machine. Downstairs distortions were no more, musical canvas was black as per usual and intimacy plus zing remained the two primary focal points. Due to Susvara’s spatial potency upped in comparison to the previously used load by Meze, sound opened up as well. All was good, yet the question whether this was enough remained. As demanding as they are, HiFiMan’s top of the line headphones require special treatment and the DFAmp largely behaved itself very nicely. However, Pro iCAN had the upper hand on counts such as driving ease and slam. It was heard rather well that this hybrid amp shifted one gear after another yet controlled the ride in the same firm and unshaken fashion. Simply put, the Meze order got reversed.


To keep up with SPL, Reinhard’s machine at times went as high as 6 o’clock, whereas the Brit sounded more easefully still and had far more headroom left. Susvara can sound loud from many headphone outs, however to hear this product also undistorted, reaching deep and authoritative is key. Even though I appreciated the DFAmp with this planar specimen in case of minimalist and gentle music, objectively speaking Pro iCAN scored a point. Before this assignment started for good, Reinhard had a firm idea of what could be done with his line stage if it’d turn out that the snipping procedure conducted later on wouldn’t be enough. This approach would require an operation at his bench directly, which we didn’t do. However, his willingness to go this route not just for me but any interested person was the important bit and highly appreciated one at that.


Beyerdynamic T1 was the last dish on the headphone menu. The DFAmp performed its already known magic very well and so did its British opponent. The T1 sounded the most flat, itchy and texturally shy of all three loads available, which both amps clearly expressed. Due to significant pigment injection similar to the Empyrean case and T1’s inherently stiff hi-rez frizzy character tempered, Reinhard’s product created quite the match with these cans. In exchange it took nothing other than the very first row yet again served closer than it usually was. Subjectively speaking, that was hardly a trade-off. At this point either my brain was well accommodated to enjoy such presentation or that was yet another synergistic accent to make the T1 this much more enjoyable. In any case, Pro iDSD did the same exact work on many counts, it even sounded as intense and agile as the DFAmp. The only disparity between the two was in sizing of instrumental bubbles they created and textural generosity. The Brit was more resolving yet a bit sharper and less tuneful, whereas today’s hero sounded prettier and more emotional at a cost of lesser insight. Objectively speaking, this battle resulted in a draw and let’s leave it at that.

Preamp Duty 

At this point the headphone part of this assignment was sorted. The DFAmp proved to be very potent with such products and not a single reason was found to think otherwise. I was all set to find out how much of this machine’s unique and very expressive character will I hear in the main setup with speakers on duty instead of cans. Since the EX-P7 preamp by Kinki Studio was still at my place, the DFAmp had to battle with it. Back then I already was aware of the former’s input and the Pass XP-12 story sheds more light on the subject.


The DFAmp’s spatial vicinity and directness manifested themselves in my room quite differently yet recognizably. On the contrary to cans, speakers aren’t capable of creating images in our heads. However, they can portray intimacy with ease via key instruments and vocals served up closely and presently. By painting very big panoramic spectacles and yet again focusing my attention on events materialized right in front of me, that’s what the DFAmp did indeed. All this was served as a finely assembled, organic, exceptionally coherent, movable and elastic wall of sound, rather than pinpoint accurate, perfectly chiseled standalone shapes with lots of air in-between.


Yet again it was all about music delivered in very exciting, material and dense fashion at a cost of ultimate resolution and clarity. The DFAmp didn’t pursue these, but most interestingly my ears didn’t strive for more details or instrumental beings any more explicit than they already were. Every tiny bit of musical content was granted quite casually, as a side dish at best. The core of the show simply was way too flowing, fresh and pleasantly moist to fix my perception on things in this context not essential, yet still there if I wanted to have them. Perhaps that’s just me, but when the music is on, it’s on; if I’m captivated by it instead of thinking about this or that missing, I call this a job well done and that’s what the DFAmp enabled. As a specimen voiced to be utmost engaging and substantial, it simply didn’t pretend to be something it wasn’t in the first place and as such it clearly had its priorities in check.


Tonal temperature audibly higher in comparison to the EX-P7 didn’t prevent the German from singing orderly. Even though it didn’t put information and insight on the pedestal, fuzzy, bloated or excessively warm cards weren’t on its hand either, here the DFAmp’s snappy attitude kicked in yet again. This virtue fabulously boosted inherently moist and big sound sources artfully glued together to end up with superbly engaging, powerful and lively result. Valve charm driven this tightly I’ve found as unique as it was clever. Three quality headphone specimens already gave me a good taste of what Reinhard was after, but with speakers capable of portraying gargantuan space such as the two Swiss models I had, the sensation was even more intense. The result this fetching, euphonic, tangible, instant and speedy at the same time left my detail crave outside the door.


I’m far from saying that the DFAmp is the hardest hitting line stage out there. It favours saturation and textural complexity above finely outlined sketches too much to be viewed as one. It’s a domesticated, smooth and polite charmer, that’s its very core with no ifs or buts. However, with jumpy repertoire the DFAmp throws jabs far quicker and stronger than its topology would imply. That’s the twist which makes this product so special. Reinhard said at some point that valve aroma on steroids was his plan from the get-go. He knew well that textural generosity, complexity, spatial grandeur and dynamic contrasts have to be served at once, otherwise the engaging lively bit is lost. I can only agree.


Kinki Studio EX-P7 sounded very differently in comparison to the DFAmp. The space the former created was deeper though of similar width and height, yet the main difference was in how it was filled. The Chinese sketched instruments and vocals more clearly and was less generous with pigment. It dissected them and served all perfectly visible to provide more insight, but was less coherent and surely not as tuneful. Kinki Studio’s line stage behaved less jumpy, present and here, more stale, distant and there. It does fabulous job for the coin, but on sophistication and refinement counts the DFAmp was tiered far higher as well. Reinhard’s machine handled real instruments and voices in a way its competitor simply wasn’t capable of.



Products capable of scoring as equally high notes as line and headphone drives are rare. My own track record thus far listed Pass Labs HPA-1 as the only one which truly excelled on both these counts and today’s hero fits the description as well. It did no less than two highly unrealistic hits with just one stone as swiftly as the Pass two years ago.

Just as any other Reinhard’s product, his visually peculiar Dual Function Preamplifier can’t be mistaken with any other hardware on the market. This fine example of the so-called German engineering was clearly made to take us several decades back in time and it shows. I honestly can’t say whether the DFP’s vintage styling will rock your boat, but it surely rocks mine. Subjectively speaking I wouldn’t change a thing in it, it’s gorgeous as is.


Thöress Dual Function Preamplifier is brilliantly put together, loaded with everything necessary for its two jobs and stable as a rock. Reinhard views it as a no frills utmost practical audio hardware meant to do what it’s supposed to, however yours truly also saw a labour of love. Only a devoted passionate free from pressure and industry fads could come up with such a distinctive product.


Reinhard’s latest machine voiced to show music from utmost fetching, sensual, emotionally engaging and euphonic side is a true valve class act and no less, but its inherently dynamic attitude revealed itself as the true clincher. This specific virtue boosted all pleasure related qualities, which resulted is utmost lively, open-throated and fabulously agile spectacle. Highly dosed pleasure served in such an intense, expressive and exciting fashion not only is plainly impressive and very rare, but also quite the achievement all by itself.  Not too shabby for a ‘practical audio hardware meant to do what it’s supposed to’, ain’t it? ‘Till next time!


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