6moons Review: Artemis Headphone Amp
Phrased from the other direction, bright nervy lit-up headphones with a tendency for whitishness and top-down etherealness of the same slant and religion;would find themselves properly grounded. Here it's relevant to remember basics. Due to sheer proximity of transducer to ear; due to elimination of xover-induced phase shift and multi-driver comb filtering; due to absence of room interference, signal reflections/delays and loss over distance headfi out-details and out-linearizes the vast majority of speakerfi by a significant margin. In extremes like our Raal Requisite SR1a nude floating dipole ribbons, this means assaultive detail density such as is never heard with live music. Accordingly, it becomes taxing to process that much raw data. Our biological processor runs hot. An alert listener will find that after 20-30 minutes of such full-contact immersion, attention overloads. Now one needs a break; or continues at reduced capacity aka attention deficit.
Artemis isn't about such extremes. Her more fulsome 'comfort over ultimate speed' voicing compensates for headfi's proximity and room-isolation gain of small detail. And that counters listening fatigue. Once again, fatigue needn't be about primitive brightness and etchy forwardness. It is also caused by an unnatural overabundance of direct-sound data. Imagine a Physics professor who talks too fast and technical. He quickly zones out his audience. Recording/mastering engineers inspect music down to the bone to make strategic final adjustments. That's what they get paid for. Home playback is pure hedonism. It's not about getting paid. It's not about reverse-engineering a sound engineer's decisions. So it's not the audiophile with the most detail who wins. It's the music lover who enjoys her hifi for the longest sessions. There's nothing wrong with quickies but Artemis simply rewards far greater stamina.
Credit: 6moons Editor, Srajan Ebaen