SH Headphone Amp

£1250.00
  • Compatible with large selection of headphones
  • ECC83 Valve used on input stage and EL84 on output stage
  • Resolution up to 32bits/384kHz

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Valve Series

Unison Research are expanding on their class-leading range of valve-based hi-fi electronics to produce their first ever dedicated headphone amplifier solution. The SH is a single-ended, two-stage full-valve headphone amplifier designed to accommodate traditional analogue and modern computer-based audio sources.

The SH began with the same basic remit as the coveted Simply Italy integrated amplifier; to produce a world-class sound from a specialised device using the best technology available. The result was a fairly simple, linear circuit that produces an output voltage which is more than capable of driving a wide range of headphones, while keeping distortion low throughout the frequency range. This allows the SH to deliver a consistent, coherent sound character when in use.

The input stage uses ECC83 valves, while the output stage uses one EL84 valve (both operating in triode mode). The benefits to using this specific combination of valves are in the reduced power requirements for how the valves are usually employed, resulting in extended life, and the EL84’s ability to drive an output transformer with optimal electrical and sound qualities.

The SH comes equipped with two headphone outputs, connected in parallel for easy switching between headphones, or to accommodate multiple listeners. There is also a “Sensitivity” switch, to ensure the widest possible range of headphones can be comfortably driven by this amplifier. When set to “High Sensitivity”, the output voltage from the amplifier is reduced, and at “Low Sensitivity” it is at its maximum. The added advantage of this switch is for maintaining optimal sound quality while listening to music at lower volumes.

In addition to a standard un-balanced RCA input for connecting any traditional analogue source, the SH is also equipped with a class-leading USB DAC. The asynchronous USB 2.0 technology is the same as found on the recent Triode 25 amplifier, and supports audio formats up to 384kHz PCM and DSD 128. The patented jitter-elimination circuit ensures a great sonic performance, assisted by the galvanic isolation employed between the power areas of the USB interface and the conversion IC. This additional input option brings SH up-to-date with the latest requirements of computer-based audiophiles.

With the use of an Apple lightning to USB connector (not included) you can plug your iPhone/iPod/iPad directly into the SH's DAC and play your hi-res music files straight from your device.

The reason for choosing a headphone-based product was so Unison Research could cater for the growing world of headphone audiophiles, offering them the best valve-based amplifier to enjoy. It’s very difficult for solid-state solutions to compete with the un-rivalled influence valves can have on audio performance, making the SH a must-audition for anyone who takes their sound seriously.

Key Features:

  • Compatible with large selection of headphones
  • ECC83 Valve used on input stage and EL84 on output stage
  • Asynchronous USB interface compliant to USB 2.0 Audio Class
  • Resolution up to 32bits/384kHz
  • Last generation ESS Sabre DAC with jitter eliminator circuit
  • Galvanic isolation between USB interface and conversion circuit
  • Connect iPad/iPod/iPhone directly via Lightning to USB cable (not included)
  • Low phase noise clocks which reside in the “clean” supply domain to preserve low jitter performance

Technical Data

Max. Output Power (THD 1%) 
(High Sensitvity):
0.5V (150Ω)
0.45V (33Ω)
0.4V (10Ω)
Max. Output Power (THD 1%)
(Low Sensitvity):
1.4V (150Ω)
1.1V (33Ω)
0.6V (10Ω)
Frequency Response: -0.1dB @ 10Hz / 3-dB at 50kHz
(Low Sensitvity Output with 33Ω Load)
Input Impedance: 20 kohm // 100 pF Sensitvity 0.67
V: High Sensitvity
(10Ω Load) 0.33V Out
Low Sensitvity
(33Ω Load) 1V Out 
Input Stage: Pure Class A, ECC83/12AX7 
Output Stage: Class A, EL84 (Triode Mode) 
Inputs: 1x RCA Line Level
1x USB (Type-B) 
Output: 2 x ¼” Jack Sockets (in Parallel) 
Feedback: 16dB 
Output Impedance: 6.9Ω
Total Harmonic Distortion: < 0.2% at 1kHz 0.5V
< 0.8% to 1 V
Power Consumption: 45W
Dimensions: 22.5 x 32.3 x 12.6cm
Weight: 6kg
Note: We’re constantly updating our website to ensure all our listings are as accurate as possible. However, the images and text on this page can be subject to change without notice, and errors and omissions are excepted.

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