ERZETICH AUDIO PHOBOS AND DEIMOS REVIEW


There's no doubt. The audiophile headphone market has expanded in the past decade to quite unbelievable proportions. It's certainly a reflection of the era we're living in and the way the majority of people perceives and experiences the music.

I've been heavily involved with the ultra side of the headphone niche industry and all the surrounding paraphernalia almost twenty years ago, and even then some of the premium headphones and headphone amplifiers were priced quite above the usual expectations.

    
Fast forward into the 21st century and... So-called niche industry has reached unexpected highs. Many companies have seen this as an ultra-green light and even nonspecific audio related brands have entered into the headphone game. If the latest rumors are right the one and only Apple are also working on the top tier headset. That tells a lot about the importance of this particular segment of the high-end audio industry.

So, why headphones and why such phenomena? There are various reasons and objective factual objectives. For sure the intimacy and nonspecific listening environment come as forte. Expanding further; the cost, significant evolvement of digital front ends and nonetheless, the refinement of both headphones and headphone amplifiers are few of the attributes, that are pushing and keeping the pace.

MEET THE DESIGNER


Like with any boutique high-end audio brand, it's important to learn a bit more about the people behind the brand. Here is an in-depth presentation of the brand and Erzetich Audio's proprietor Blaz Erzetic...    

"My love affair with music began more than 30 years ago when I was a kid. Even at that tender age I was concerned I would get bored by some music and I never ever listened to an album (or god forbid – a song) twice in a row. Little has changed, although today I have thousands of albums in my collection and do not feel the need to immediately replay tracks. My early experiences of music, when Slovenia was still part of Yugoslavia, was on incredibly rough listening equipment. Hi-Fis were not within my reach due to high prices and import issues. So I made one myself and for two decades listened to it almost every day. The emotions music evoked in me back then have made me the person I am today ... and so began the inspiration for Erzetich Audio. 

In my teens, I studied electronics and have been involved with sound ever since, although my professional career took me in the direction of design, illustration, and photography. Because of my infectious passion for music, I suppose it was inevitable I would be in a band - and sure enough, in high school, I began playing guitar with friends in various garages. As a musician, more than ten years later, I released four albums; one with US label, Wampus Multimedia, two with German label, Black Rain and one with my own label, Neversun. 

My journey through music also gave me experience as a studio sound engineer both on and off-stage. Music has always played a central role in my life of course, but I earned a living as a freelance designer. In 2012, I decided to combine my passion and my talent and founded Erzetich. My ambition now is to build premium quality personal audio that combines form with function. 

But most of all, I want like-minded aficionados to enjoy music with the same quality of sound as I do. 


Blending my knowledge of electronics, acoustics, and design, I am able to accomplish my goals. So far I have created four headphone amps, all of which have been well received by industry reviewers, professional musicians, and fellow audiophiles. The designs have been applauded for their unobtrusive and timeless design and have featured in webzines including Yanko Design and Delood. When I design a headphone amplifier, I intend to create a work of art. 


I am under no illusion that headphone amplifiers are not as popular as they should be, but I like to think I am doing my bit to persuade people otherwise. And pure music lovers all agree with me. In a short space of time, Erzetich Audio headphone amps are already making a name for themselves. All of them have been described as "the top in its class." They are not my words, but the praise of a reviewer. But I won’t disagree. 

Of course, you can’t appreciate what you have not experienced, and it is customary for even experienced audiophiles to buy studio headphones that cannot deliver the power that really brings music to life. Until now."

THE GOAL 


The creation of premium handcrafted headphones and headphone amplifiers... Music is made up of two parts: content and sound. When you play a piece of music on substandard equipment, you do not get to enjoy the entire ensemble. And when you don’t listen to music in its whole sonic glory, you’re missing half of it. Despite many Hi-Fi components have built-in headphone amps, they do not do musical recordings the justice they deserve. However, I am confident your music experience will change within seconds of plugging in your headphones into any of the Erzetich headphone amplifiers. 
Essentially, your headphones are the same as your stereo speakers and to produce the richest sounds - thick bass, clear sound, less distortion, good soundstage etc – they need an amp. The headphone amplifiers I make are fitted with a double voltage power supply and a high-quality input capacitor in the signal path in order to deliver a clear, unimpeded sound. 
I pride myself on my work and pay particular attention to detail. Because of this innate need for perfection, every one of my headphone amplifiers have been painstakingly challenging to build – but the end results have been worth the effort in the end. Every true music lover needs a headphone amplifier and the four available to you in my collection right now cover different sound timbres, approaches, and a wide price bracket to suit your budget. 
The first headphone amplifier Blaz has built was Bacillus. This is his entry-level headphone amp but delivers a powerful performance with any impedance headphones. The next project was Perfidus, a demon of an amp that picks up details you didn’t realize were there. Blaz extended his range with the Bacillus Tilia which looks and sounds warm yet detailed. His latest headphone project is Deimos, a high-end product and as Blaz believes; the best headphone amp he has made yet. 
To achieve precision sound, Blaz implements high-quality components and handcraft each individual unit. The entire range is made from aluminum, and two of them sport aged Linden wood (Deimos, and Bacillus Tilia) to give them a vintage, yet sophisticatedly modern look. Erzetich Audio products use wood cut from the linden tree as it is a symbol of his homeland, Slovenia, and of his dedication to music; the linden is a tree of friendship, love, and loyalty. 
In 2018 two models of headphones joined the family: dynamic Mania and planar magnetic Phobos.

MEET THE PHOBOS

     
Distinction and style with wood beauty. The Phobos headphones draw on a stylish, octagonal shape for the cups. This doesn't just exude beauty but creates a strong design without adding weight. We carefully age the wood used to ensure your headphones are as unique as the music you listen to. These are statement pieces where design and audio unite.


Encased within these statement open cups reside exceptional quality planar magnetic drivers. The design and technology together enable a detailed, firm and dynamic sound: picking up the details in the music and allowing you to bask in the rich details of performances that you love. These headphones are ideal for music ranging from classical to jazz, where detail is everything.

DEIMOS

     
Prestigious Limousine Among Headphone Amplifiers

Blaz describes the Deimos as the brand's most exalted headphone amplifier, the choice for serious audiophiles, that boasts solid resolution, high dynamics, and a sultry design that demands attention.
The double mono class-A amp promises a dynamic performance and an awe-inspiring experience every time you flick the switch. The Deimos was designed from the ground up to deliver a controlled and balanced sound between the lows, mids, and highs. 

The clarity of instrumentals in the foreground and background are precise and you will be surprised by how even the slightest details hidden in the mix shine through. 

Deimos is suitable for use with any dynamic and orthodynamic headphones. Deimos was designed from the ground up with the sole intention of truly enjoying music, to meet high demands of the purists as the premium amplifier that delivers stellar audio quality. 

Highlights
     
dual mono class-A
three separate power supplies
(two for analog, one for digital)
43000 uF smoothing capacitors per channel
digitally controlled 64-steps relay-based volume attenuator
gain boost switch
RCA and XLR inputs
superior quality RCA connectors
Neutrik gold plated XLR connectors
chassis made of steel, aluminum, wood, and acrylic 


THE MUSIC


I’m not a particular fan of modest-sized headphone drivers (in-ears excluded). For me the real headphone enjoyment comes with larger diaphragm and Phobos is no shy at its presence.

I’ve taken the Erzetich Phobos/Deimos combo through quote a prolonged musical adventure and below are some of the reference music impressions and highlights.

Joe Satriani - Tears In The Rain from the album The Extremist might not be his typical kind of guitar track, but it’s among my favorite ones. Especially with the headphones the capability to display the spatiality is prerequisite and Tear In The Rain is an excellent testing track for this. The loudspeakers experience delivers one of the kind spatial sonic escape and while the headphones cannot provide the exact same impact the confronting of defining spatial cues is still there along with the proper display of left/right ping-pong decay/delay effect. Erzetich headphone/amp combo has given a surprising degree of notes separation and echoing effect, eminently required for the accurate three-dimensional imaging.

Yuri Honing Trio’s cover of the famous Police legendary Walking On The Moon from the album Star Tracks is among of quite known tracks that challenge the dynamic ability of and component. It’s certainly not simple to transmit the appropriate dynamic impact with headphones, but Phobos sheer magnitude and Deimos’ potent heart ensured a remarkable level of drum and double bass energy. Phobos didn’t disintegrate to the drum battery’s full motion but rather interpreted the viable rendition and a nobler portion of the captivating act. This was really not expected!

Diana Panton - If the Moon Turns Green

We have Norah Jones, Madeleine Peyroux, Diana Krall, Melody Gardot and then we also have Diana Panton. In this album from 2007 Diana have captured something exceptional with the help of Reg Schwager and Don Thompson. There is certainly nothing one would intimately associate with the year of the release, 2007. Diana Panton ability to adopt the essence of the era is definitely illustrated with the timeless Moon River. This well record album and songs can immediately reveal the headphone ability to deliver vocal performance. Diana’s tender and almost hypnotic voice call for a rather surplus act in order to truly stand out and fully bloom. Erzetich Phobos/Deimos voicing and the headphone amp ability to drive the headphones allowed Diana’s pleasant and melodic singing to really thrive. Especially on my favorite track from the album - Moon River.

Rhythm and pace!? John Abercrombie - Ralph’s Piano Waltz from the album Timeless always comes handy.. With some of the headphones and nonetheless headphone amplifiers I’m constantly feeling, how music is playing either to fast or too slow. This can be linked and associated with many factors, but the essential factor is a design failure which translates to lacking the real word auditory work. With Erzetich headphone duo it shows that Blaž is a devoted music fan and the musician. For some things, it takes one to recognize one…

Artists like John Abercrombie and Jack DeJohnette intimately operate around the timing and Erzetich Phobos/Deimos combo has nailed it! With some of the audio products, there is a strong annoying factor (quite similar to digititis) that prevents me to thoroughly enjoy and fathom the music when something is not done right. On the opposite pole, Blaž creations are light years away from such pretensions and projected from the ground up to adhere to the music’s pace rather than inventing its own!

CONCLUSION


There's no doubt. Erzetich Audio Phobos and Deimos makes a powerful, mighty combination. I've heard Phobos prototype at the last year'S Multi-Media Audio show and the headphones have already shown a great potential, but the final production version brings the overall balancing act, that can instantly ignite more than just a casual listener' attention. Phobos and Deimos drag you into the music, avoiding the usual mind precognition layering.



Deimos Class A potent heart delivers a vibrant and highly engaging act. Deimos and Phobos were clearly designed from the very beginning with the one-clear goal To put the music on the very front and on the deserved pedestal. Over the years I've had a pleasure to evaluate many of the entry level, mid and top tier headphone combinations and at the end of the day, as with anything audio related, the preferred combination depends on the person behind the headphones.

Similar to the speakers' based two-channel high-end audio system setup, there are the vast amount of possibilities for finding out the right headphones and headphone amplifier, that will match the specific demands of the audiophile and music lover and work in synergy. Still, the Erzetich Audio combo under the review instantly delivers an intimate and highly potent headphone listening impact, that can captivate a more demanding music lover into prolonged listening sessions without experiencing any listening fatigue. As much as people expect this to be a standard feature at the certain price point, it's actually not always the case. Blaž has managed to voice them both properly and closely to the very essence of the music. One can hear this effectively with any track in play. And this counts the most.


Erzetich Audio Deimos was already a stylish, uniquely looking product and the Phobos headphones joins the sui generis styling and design. These days one of the hardest things to accomplish is finding own design cue and language, that will stand out of the crowd. Both Blaž's premium creations have their distinctive looks. A sort of mixture between classical and contemporary outlook. The mixture of wood and metal radiates a certain-art-deco-timeless aura, that is both pleasing to the eye and different enough to grab an instant attention.

For a writer, it's not always exactly easy to transfer the thoughts and experiences into the words. Yet, with Erzetich Audio headphone rig, the word flow feels as natural as the reproduced music coming out of this very potent, dedicated headphone listening system.

Matej Isak

PRICE


Phobos: 1999 EUR
Deimos: 4000 EUR

TECHNICAL


Phobos

Impedance: 45 ohm
Driver: Planar magnetic
Cup system: Open
Weight: 690 g
Character: Analytically detailed, firm and balanced 

Deimos

Headphone impedance: 8-600 ohm
Frequency response: 4 Hz-40 kHz, -1dB
Power consumption: 15 W
Power supply input voltage: 230 V/50 Hz or 115 V/60 Hz
Dimensions (W x H x D): 320 mm x 125 mm x 330 mm
Weight: 6400 g
Character: Natural and wide with a fast note 

CONTACT


Erzetich d. o. o.
Opekarniška 15a
SI-5290 Šempeter pri Gorici
Slovenia
Europe

Email: info@erzetich-audio.com