In today’s review, I’m looking at the Feliks Audio Elise tube headphone amplifier. The Elise is an OTL headphone amplifier and preamp that features 2x 6SN7 driver tubes and 2x 6N13S power tubes. It’s priced at 1799€ (approx US$1950).
Disclaimer: This sample was provided by Feliks Audio for an honest review. All observations and opinions here are based on my experience with the product.
Feliks Audio Elise Review
Experience unparalleled sound quality with the Feliks Audio Elise, a tube amplifier that delivers rich, warm tones with exceptional clarity and detail.
The Feliks Audio Elise is a work of art, crafted with precision and care in the small town of Lubliniec, Poland. Its sleek and minimalist design, featuring a matte black finish and an array of glowing tubes, exudes a sense of luxury.
The front panel of the Elise boasts a 6.35mm headphone jack, a smooth-turning volume knob, and a subtle power indicator, while the rear panel houses a pair of RCA line inputs and outputs, a power switch, a fuse socket and an AC power connection. The toroidal transformer takes centre stage on the top of the unit, surrounded by the 2 6SN7 driver tubes and 2 6N13S power tubes, all cooled by a series of vents for optimal heat dissipation.
Optimized for headphones between 32 – 600 ohm, the Elise packs a punch with its 200mW output power. Don’t let the numbers fool you, the Elise’s tube amp technology delivers a rich, powerful sound that effortlessly drives even the most demanding headphones. So, it is perfect for audiophiles who want to experience the warmth and natural sound of tube amplifiers.
There is one caveat though, and it might be important for someone reading this: tubes take some time to warm up. According to Feliks Audio’s documentation, Elise’s tubes require around 15 minutes to reach their ideal operational temperature. So, in a sense, Elise could be likened to listening to vinyl records; there needs to be some love for the process, in addition to an appreciation of the sound.
The Elise offers a truly rich and smooth sound experience, with an exceptional level of detail and a spacious soundstage. It adds depth to the music, making it sound more natural and pleasing to the ear. It’s difficult to fully describe the effect, but when paired with high-quality dynamic driver headphones, the Elise elevates the music to new heights.
The Feliks Audio Elise is equipped with advanced features to provide a clean and noise-free listening experience. Its electronic ripple suppression and updated noise reduction circuit effectively eliminate background noise, with all but the most sensitive in-ear monitors (IEMs). This results in a near-silent audio background, particularly when using full-size and high-impedance headphones where the noise floor is completely inaudible.
As I sit here, jamming out to “On A Good Day (Acoustic)” by Above & Beyond, the Feliks Audio Elise and Sennheiser HD650 transport the instruments and artists right into my room. Elise’s dynamic and effortless sound paints a vivid picture of the music, with each instrument and Annie Drury’s sultry vocals occupying their own distinct space. The piano keys sing out with crystal clear precision, while the soft plucking of the violin strings envelops me in a sea of harmonious notes. It’s as if I’m experiencing the music in all its emotive glory. The Elise adds a whole new dimension of realism, making it impossible to resist closing my eyes and getting lost in the performance.
The transparency of the Elise is simply stunning, allowing you to hear every nuance and detail in the recording. The way it renders cello notes is captivating, completely absorbing me in the emotion and beauty of the instrument. The pinpoint focus creates a sense of realism that is truly immersive as if you’re right there in the room with the performers.
The Elise brings a sense of organic naturalness back to even the most digital recordings. The ample rhythmic drive propels the music forward with a sense of urgency, while the second-harmonic sweetness adds a touch of warmth and richness to the sound.
Feliks Audio Echo (MKI)
The Feliks Audio Echo (review here) is the company’s entry-level model. To my ears, the Echo sounds less “tubey” than the Elise. And what I mean by that is musical notes aren’t as rounded or earthy.
The Echo has sharper treble notes whereas Elise’s treble is more even and has better extension. Elise’s midrange is more forward and expressive compared to the Echo, which is leaner and less saturated.
The Echo’s soundstage isn’t as expansive, nor is its instrument placement as precise. Lastly, the Elise is compatible with a larger range of IEMs and headphones thanks to its excellent black background.
In conclusion, the Feliks Audio Elise is a top-of-the-line tube amplifier that offers a truly exceptional listening experience. With its advanced electronic ripple suppression and noise reduction circuit, it delivers clean, warm, and detailed sound with virtually no background noise.
And if tube rolling is something you get into, that’s where the Elise really shines in comparison to its competition. Whether you’re a hardcore audiophile or simply appreciate high-quality audio, the Feliks Audio Elise is a great investment that will enhance your music listening experience and add visual prestige to any room you place it in.
Impedance: 100 k ohm
Frequency response: 10 Hz – 60 kHz +/- 3 dB (300 ohm)