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The Nickel amplifier is the most power you can put in your pocket.  About the size of a 9 Volt battery, this powerhouse delivers over 250 mW of continuous stereo power to a 32 Ohm load.  With essentially zero noise and distortion.  Analog in, analog out, nothing fancy – just raw, audiophile quality power.

The Nickel amplifier is designed to provide nearly-unlimited clean power for nearly every headphone in an extremely compact and portable package.  All mechanical and electrical design efforts, including layout of the 4 layer SMT board, was completed in-house with full custom tooling for all parts.  Nickel uses the same rugged polycarbonate featured in our IEMs.  Nickel is made in the USA.

The Nickel amplifier is capable of producing high levels of power.  Nickel will supply 150 mW into 50 Ohms, 250 mW into 32 Ohms, and 270 mW into 16 Ohms.  Nickel is stable into an 8 Ohm load making it ideal for nearly any headphone on the market.  A fixed 6.5 dB of gain allows higher headroom than most phones and DACs can generate, but is low enough to maintain nearly the full dynamic range of volume from any source.

We measure our amp at realistic values.  All measurements are made at 179 mV RMS output level – where you typically run your IEMs.  THD is below 0.005% across the audio bandwidth.  Signal to noise is above 96 dB – regardless of charging status.  Bandwidth runs from 8 Hz to 80 kHz.  And thanks to the DC coupled output, the damping factor is over 100, giving the amp an iron grip on your headphones.  All with less than 1 degree of phase shift and phenomenal channel separation.

The Nickel amplifier uses a two-stage power supply system.  A dedicated battery charger is used to keep the 260 mAh battery charged and conditioned.  The battery feeds the Micro Controller Unit and LEDs.  But it also feeds a dedicated dual-voltage converter which generates dedicated ±5V analog power rails.  These rails are used exclusively to power the audio circuitry.  With this topology USB switching noise is virtually eliminated and the listening experience is not compromised, even when charging the battery.

The Nickel amplifier includes our patent-pending SmartSwitch™ system.  Nickel has no on/off switch.  Rather, Nickel uses its internal MCU to sense the presence of the input AND output connectors. Only when both connectors are occupied will Nickel turn itself on.  Once turned on, battery level is constantly displayed on the integrated LED light pipe and will change from green to yellow to red as the battery charge drops.  Turning off Nickel is as easy as simply unplugging either the source or the headphones.

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Specifications

Performance
Frequency Response 8 Hz to 80 kHz
THD+N < 0.005%, 20 Hz to 20 kHz
Gain 6.5 dB
Power Output 250 mW Continuous, 32 Ohms
Damping Factor > 100 @ 32 Ohms
Run Time 8 Hours, typical
Charge Time 30 minutes from full discharge
Physical Properties
Length 50mm
Width 30mm
Height 18mm
Weight 20 grams
Audio Jack 3.5mm TRRS (mic pass through)
Charging Jack Micro USB
Power Indicator Red/Yellow/Green
Body Material Polycarbonate
Material Properties
Melting Point 1728 Kelvin
Speed of Sound 4900 meters per second
Young's Modulus 200 Gigapascals
Brinell Hardness 1600 Megapascals

Measurements