Metaxas Marquis headphone amplifier review

Metaxas Audio Systems, established in 1981, is a family company which is owned by Kostas Metaxas and his sons. The headquarter is located in the Netherlands and the atelier is in Chalkida, ‘’the city of Mad Waters’’ in Greece. 

Kostas Metaxas, the founder, is not only an award winning designer, but also works as an electrical and recording engineer. He uses the ‘’be there’’ motto and considers all his and sons’ work as objects of art. According to the website, all objects manufactured are handcrafted by Kostas Metaxas or his sons.

Currently, Metaxas & Sons offer Ikarus integrated amplifier, Opus mastering preamplifier, Solitaire power amplifier, Soliloquy monoblocks, Macrophone speakers, GQT tape recorder, phonographic perambulator, and the ‘’Head’’ Marquis headphone amplifier.
Almost all designs in the Metaxas & Sons’ product portfolio carry unique characteristics and desirableness pursuant to their attractive designs. Their products seem to be perfectly engineered in accordance with their outer bodies. To understand the fact behind the legend of Metaxas, we examined the ‘’Head’’ Marquis for audio gear lovers and headphone enthusiasts.
Before we start evaluating, let’s pay attention to what Kostas Metaxas says about the Marquis:
‘’This amplifier is the result of my 35 year fascination with the art of music reproduction from concert recording, electrical engineeing and ultimately, artistic design. This marquis has been totally handcrafted by either myself or one of my sons. I consider it an object of art. ‘’


The Marquis represents one of the most devastating amplifier designs ever made. The shape can be described as a skull or a head; e.g a Terminator head with the lights glowing inside the eyes.
It is an aluminum and CNC-machined headphone amplifier that is offered in ten different colors. The overall built quality is remarkable; both the volume pot and the input selector knob has a premium quality and the twisting feel is solid.
The Marquis’ eyes are covered with plastic glass and there are two attractive analogue VU meters that measure the amp output power. When the amp is turned on via the switch on the back side of the base, a red light starts to glow and the amp becomes a furious Terminator head!
The Marquis can be utilized as a preamp via a set of RCA outputs on the back side of the head. Apart from the RCA outputs, the Marquis offers two RCA inputs that are made of high quality materials.
As a consequence of the minimalistic approach, the Marquis provides a single-ended headphone output. At the beginning, having a single-ended output can be evaluated as a disadvantage, but it is just a matter of offering a good sound quality. If a single-ended out maintains a good sound, that only option shouldn’t be an issue.
The amplifier board of the Marquis is mounted on a 9 pin DIN connector, which means that it can be considered as a removable amp module. Metaxas indicates that there is a ‘’no-wired’’ design inside the unit. Indeed, all the internals of the amplifier seem to be soldered directly to the board in order to provide an ultra-short signal path.  
In the base of the amplifier, there is a quality internal power supply covered by a high grade CNC-machined aluminum case in order to avoid unwanted noises. According to the user manual, the Marquis is also offered with an optional battery pack, which supplies extra power up to five hours.


The Marquis maintains an outstandingly balanced low frequency presentation. It is neither forward nor lean. Sub-bass notes have good depth and they are quite tight and well-textured. The mid-bass presentation is controlled and never overcomes the overall spectrum.
Brian Bromberg – Elephant on Ice Skates from It is What It is album reveals some nice details from bass guitar. Brian Bromberg is an American bassist born in 1960, Arizona USA. He has released many albums in different jazz genres such as smooth jazz, straight-ahead jazz, and jazz fusion. He can play both electric bass guitar and contrabass. At the beginning of Elephant on Ice Skates, Bromberg plays a nice solo carrying many details. The Marquis articulates those bass guitar details quite well. The resolution level is remarkably high and there is no congestion in bass guitar riffs.
The midrange of the Marquis is natural and very smooth. It focuses to maintain a high resolution level as well as a good and natural tonality rather than recreating unnecessarily transparent and over colored sound, which can result in releasing detailed but unnatural notes. The Marquis also has a slight coloration to eliminate a dry and boring presentation, but that coloration never becomes disturbing. The amp’s note thickness is ideal to create a satisfying body without being too intimate or forward.
Pink Floyd… The legendary English rock band has an extraordinarily successful history even if there were some splits in opinions of the members and legal fights between them. After Roger Waters’ departure, the band continued to release albums including The Division Bell, which was written by Wright and Gilmour. The Coming Back to Life track from The Division Bell album reveals a nice example of David Gilmour’s voice and legendary guitar riffs. The Marquis articulates both guitar timbre and the depth of Gilmour’s voice quite impressive. Coming Back to Life becomes a hair raising track with the ‘’Head’’!
Nick Johnston – Hypergiant from Remarkably Human album provides some slow guitar riffs and solos of a lesser known rock guitarist. Nick Johnston had started playing guitar when he was very young. In general, his solos and riffs are quite emotional rather than being technical. Without a shadow of doubt, there are some better known guitar players than Johnston, but he can be evaluated as remarkably talented when it comes to composing. The Marquis easily provides the guitar emotion in the Hypergiant track. Johnston’s solos are impressively resolved and the amp recreates guitar tones very well.
Spyro Gyra is an American jazz fusion band that has a long-standing past. While composing jazz fusion tracks, they also use R&B and pop melodies. Spyro Gyra has released more than 20 albums and sold over 10 million copies since the formation in 1974. The Marquis releases a non-fatiguing upper midrange presentation even though notes in recordings are very thin. The saxophone solos in Florida Straits from In Modern Times album sound very smooth and instruments are quite natural.
The treble presentation of the Marquis is not forward. Even if there is a slight coloration as it is in the midrange, the coloration quantity is kept at minimum level. On the other hand, the overall resolution and speed of the treble presentation is top notch. The overall high frequency presentation is very smooth and easy to follow.  
Dennis Chambers – Aircraft from Groove and More album is a nightmare track for audio gears because of cymbals recorded. Dennis Chambers is a drum master and also known with its speed and playing style like a machine. In the Aircraft track, high frequency notes are quite forward and aggressive, but the Marquis assumes a strong control over high frequency notes and recreates an impressive cymbal positioning
The amplifier doesn’t provide a superbly spacious stage. The main idea seems to highlight instrument positioning and a good separation. So indeed, the Marquis provides an extremely good positioning as well as a superbly clean background; that results in a very precise note articulation. In addition, the presentation is very coherent and the separation remains excellent even in very crowded tracks.


The ‘’Head’’ Marquis is a special and unique headphone/pre amplifier. Its outer design is devastating and one of a kind. An amplifier in a ‘’head’’ shape should be evaluated as a world class design in terms of external view. Also, watching the analogue VU meters is a true joy when playing music. The red light glowing inside the eyes brings an interesting atmosphere into existence when listening room is dark!

The Marquis provides enough power for full-size cans such as HD800S, which has 300 OHM value. Having only a single ended output should not be a negative matter, since it sounds better than most amplifiers that offer 4 pin XLR balanced outputs

Aforementioned above, the Marquis can be also used as a preamplifier. A set of quality RCA outputs is a good option for audio lovers who also own a stereo system including a power amplifier or active speakers.

Metaxas and Sons seems to aim at offering a musical presentation by tuning gears as less colored as possible. In my opinion, if coloration is added much than necessary, overall presentation would tend to be unnatural. Per contra, if coloration does not exist, some listeners may find overall sound dry or boring. No doubt, there is no accounting for tastes. In its own right, the Marquis provides a good balance in terms of adding coloration to sound and preserves that thin red line.

Even if the amp doesn’t provide one of biggest and most spacious stages, the positioning and the separation that it offers is one of the bests I have ever heard. The Marquis is able to maintain very precise instruments and makes space around them notably clear. In addition, it articulates background’s micro details quite well in accordance with the blackness and clearness.

To connect the ‘’Head’’ to a transparent and highly detailed source would give one of the best results possible. A combination with a source which sounds already smooth or warm, would be too relaxed for some listeners who expect to hear some aggressive attacks.

As a sum, the Marquis provides a warm, musical, and natural presentation as well as a remarkable instrument positioning and separation. The sound would be captivating and engaging when the right combination is found.

So, the question is simple. Is the ‘’Head’’ good enough to be a milestone? Considering its sound quality and unique design, it is definitely one of the leading candidates!

Ates Berberoglu Mono and Stereo Contributing Writer
Special thanks to Extreme Audio and Bahadir Aydogan for loaning the Marquis.


€ 6000


– Voltage Output: 15VRMS per channel
– Sensitivity: 26dB
– Weight: 4 Kgs approx.
– Character: Natural, coherent, smooth


Metaxas & Sins BV
Zekeringstraat 41D
1014BV Amsterdam