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PRELUDE Fully Balanced Class A Headphone Amplifier

PRELUDE Fully Balanced Class A Headphone Amplifier


PRELUDE Fully Balanced Class A Headphone Amplifier


HIFIMAN, a leader in high fidelity personal audio, today debuted a new fully balanced Class A desktop headphone amplifier, the GOLDENWAVE Prelude.

Originally released by the GOLDENWAVE brand that was acquired by HIFIMAN earlier this year, the Prelude headphone amplifier (SRP: $2,499), which is GOLDENWAVE’s reference headphone amplifier, boasts several features that make it an appealing option for audiophiles and music lovers seeking lifelike, full range sonics.

“Prelude is a perfect example of GOLDENWAVE’s approach to amplifier design,” says Dr. Fang Bian, President and CEO, HIFIMAN Electronics. “The reference Prelude, in particular, stands out as a performance leader at its price point.”

The Prelude is designed for personal audio and music fans who want a personal listening experience that rivals full-size, audiophile-grade in-room systems. The amplifier uses a fully balanced Class A MOSFET design that delivers high current output, providing clean and powerful sound reproduction.

The amplifier’s circuit is fully discrete, meaning it uses individual components rather than integrated circuits. This approach can lead to better control over the audio signal and potentially improve sound quality. It includes a precise single-ended-to-balanced conversion circuit, allowing both single-ended RCA and balanced inputs to convey the benefits of fully balanced drive, which helps reduce noise and interference, enhancing the overall audio performance.

The Prelude’s preamplifier circuit is entirely independent, ensuring a strong driving force and producing a pleasing timbre in the audio output. In order to achieve balanced tone control, the amplifier uses an ALPS* quad balance potentiometer, known for its high quality and precision, to achieve a natural and balanced tone control. (*Designed and manufactured by Alps Electric Co. Ltd.)

Specially customized for Prelude, the high-power and low-noise toroidal transformer provides clean and stable power to all levels of the headphone amplifier, contributing to improved sound quality. The amplifier’s housing is made from a single piece of aluminum, helping it to isolate harmful resonances that may degrade audio performance, ensuring cleaner sound output.

The Prelude’s frequency response is measured at 20-50KHz, +-1dB@1KHz. Headphone amplifier power output is 10W@32Ω, 6W@64Ω,2.5W@150Ω, 1W@300Ω, 560mW@600Ω. It measures 330mm x 56mm x 260mm/12.99” x 2.2” x 10.2”, and weighs 6.5 kg/14.3 lbs.

Adds Dr. Bian: “The Prelude headphone amplifier is a precisely-designed, meticulously crafted device that is typical of the GOLDENWAVE design philosophy emphasizing audio quality, signal purity, and overall user experience. Audiophiles looking for a premium headphone amplifier will be satisfied with the quality and possibly surprised by its affordability.”

The Prelude is currently available at a suggested retail price of $2,499, from authorized HIFIMAN dealers and the company’s online store, For additional information, visit


HIFIMAN was founded by Dr. Fang Bian in 2007 and, two years later, introduced the acclaimed HM-801, the first digital audio player to feature true audiophile-grade performance from a pocket-size form factor. Since then, HIFIMAN, under Dr. Bian’s guidance, has developed an extensive selection of no-holds-barred headphones, digital audio players, and headphone amplifiers that are consistently recognized as the best in class, offering performance that belies their price point, no matter the cost.

For additional information, visit


GOLDENWAVE was established in Guangzhou, China in 2011, with a focus on desktop audio decoders and headphone amplifiers with standout R&D and manufacturing. GOLDENWAVE’s first product was AMBER, a fully balanced headphone amplifier, which was followed by the SAPPHIRE DAC and GA-09, its flagship product.  

After years of growth, GOLDENWAVE’s most recent products fall under the PRELUDE and SERENADE series, the former of which includes reference models while the latter is designed for lifestyle audiences. In both cases, GOLDENWAVE products represent the best available at their respective price points.

For further information, visit

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