Review: Rudistor RP010B Headphone Amp Amplifier

Category: Amplifiers

I finally got around to setting up my RP010B and I am mightily impressed. I just sat down to do some evaluation with a stack of CDs and I could not stop listening. It may sound like faint praise, but after years of amp/phone combos with "issues", there are really none here. And I was just listening to some old Time/Life early 80s CDs that are so-so recordings.

Pace and timing, smooth rounded vocals, very nice extended but pristine, shimmering, natural highs.
The nice thing is that the amp is revealing but not abusive. It is revealing in that you can hear the quality AND imperfections of the recording (like some grain in 80's vocals from, say, Foreigner or Hall+Oates), but the amp somehow transforms it into something
sweet. I just felt a kind of sheer joy with this amp. My previous solid state amp was a 2004-updated 1999 Headroom Max.

I also have an RSA B52 that I also love (and I do think, overall is better with lots of tube-goodness and I thought only tubes were the way to go), but the Rudistor is very close, and could fool me with a tube-like presentation.

(Tubes have a way of curing the ills of bad recordings without masking the truth, but now I see that solid state can do that also with the RP010B).
The Rudistor is one of those components that makes just has a soul; it's a real work of art, a classic.

I just kind of lean into the sound. Vocals are real and not mechanical, percussion in fast with perfect decay,
strings are not strident with just the right amount of bite, piano is resonant and not clipped but warm an rich,

horns and woodwinds are airy and full, bass is integrated and controlled and has just the right amount of depth
and is not boomy at all. Like I said, it really sounds tube-like. (The B52, when warmed up, has extra tube goodness, a kind of rush that is addictive that I love, and it still has the edge here.)

So I thank Rudi (and Ray) for their fine, fine work. I without hesitation think the RP010B is the king of solid-state and is just plain awesome.

System for the Rudistor:
Ordinary Wall outlet-->Hydra 8--->EMM CDSA cdp--->Jeff Rowland Capri preamp-->Rudistor RP010B-->Grado PS1000s.

ICs:Stealth Indra XLRs from cdp to preamp, Stealth Indra RCAs from preamp to Rudistor.

Power cables:
TG SLVR cords on cdp, TG 688 cord on preamp, Stefan Endorphin Ribbon cord on Rudistor,

Shunyata Anaconda cord on Hydra 8 to wall outlet.

Gradio PS1000s in stock form, single ended 1/4inch plug into Rudistor Low-Impedance jack (with supplied Grado
extension cord).

I just wanted to add that, in a small cable shoot-out I did, the relatively unknown Stefan Audio Arts Endorphin power cable, a $379 light ribbon cable, was a real giant-killer and provided the best, most balanced and refined sound on this amp. I posted my praise of this power cable in the Cables forum that you can find if you search for it.

Associated gear
Grado PS1000 headphones
Sennheiser HD800 headphones
Beyer Tesla T1 headphones

Similar products
Headroom Max (1999 vintage)
RSA B52 tubed headphone amp
You seem to use a pre-amp between your cd player and the Rudistor headphone amp. Have you found that works (sounds) better than going from the cdp directly into the headphone amp?
Yes. I'll have more later on this.
I now use a Van Alstine Ultra+ EC tubed preamp in front
of the Rudistor and it adds lots of tube goodness that sounds
wonderful, a great antidote to digital glare on CDs that suffer from this. I use upgraded RCA NOS 6CG7 tubes that I think are a must-have for the Van Alstine, giving it a very tubey refined sound that is great.

Curiously, I tried the Van Alstine in front of my Ray Samuels B52 headphone amp and it also helped a lot, adding more refinement to that system also, even though I thought I was overdoing the tubes.

Sometimes I cut the treble using the tone controls on my Van Alstine. I think the Van Alstine tone controls may be the best around (much better than I have heard on my Mac C46 preamp.)