Living proof that it is possible to create audio equipment that makes recorded music, "engraved" in bits or grooves, come alive - audio holography at its best.
Far from the aesthetic of the mass-market brand amplifiers of the 1980’s and 90’s - whose front panels were typically crammed with as many knobs, switches, sliders, lights and badges that could fit - Budapest-based Heed Audio’s origin and philosophy instead has a direct line to the more minimalist British hifi of the 80’s and those legendary pieces that became affectionately known as “shoebox” audio.
Heed’s celebrated Obelisk si is a direct update of the classic 1980's Obelisk from Nytech and later Ion Systems - amplifiers known for their infectious musicality and still highly sought after on the second hand market. Heed took the fundamental design principles, updated it inside and out and resurrected this classic for the 21st century. But there was more to come - freed from the cost constraints of the Obelisk, Heed set about developing the ultimate expression of their audio ideology. Thesis was introduced in 2014 as a new superclass of Heed electronics - cutting edge 21st century products, using only the highest quality components and unconventional but carefully designed circuitry installed into precision engineered, "retro futuristic" cases.
Heed's Thesis electronics & Envoy loudspeakers - perfect synergy
Each Thesis unit is wrapped in thick powder coated steel casing and feel reassuringly heavy and robust, whilst the black glass fascia is framed with contrasting anodized aluminium for a sharp minimalist look. Compact but exuding quality, a Thesis system has a premium presence in any listening space. It is distinctively eye-catching in design yet discrete in function.
Thesis Lambda flanked by the Quasar phono preamplifier and Canamp headphone amplifier on the top shelf, with Thesis Gamma and Pi directly below
Apart from the features of the preamplifier and CD player giving them away as audio devices, the fascias of all of the other models in the range are identical - only differing in their assigned letter of the greek alphabet, a mystery to those not in the know. Let's throw some light on what each piece in the range does:
Delta(Δ) The silver-disc spinner of the range, available with or without a modular DAC fitted, giving the choice of a dedicated CD transport to connect to an external DAC or a fully integrated CD player. Improving on the outstanding Obelisk DT, Delta provides a stunningly organic audio experience.
Phi(𝝋) Heed’s reference phono preamplifier for the vinyl connoisseurs. Containing independent circuits for moving magnet and moving coil, two turntables can be connected simultaneously. Highly customisable gain and impedance settings make cartridge matching virtually guaranteed. As with Heed's Quasar + Q-PSU, Phi is actually a 2 box phono preamplifier together with the Pi. This 2-box configuration ensures electrical noise is isolated from the sensitive phono circuits whilst providing a tremendously clean and smooth power supply.
Pi(𝜋) Pi is an off board dual preamplifier power supply with independent supply rails that can simultaneously provide the Phi and Lambda with masses of smooth ultra-low noise current. Whilst essential for the Phi, it is an optional upgrade for the Lambda. However, adding the Pi brings significant gains - the soundstage grows in width and depth and it brings extra clarity and smoothness. This device also elevates components from Heed’s Modular range such as the Questar, Quasar, Dactilus and Canalot to new heights.
Gamma(𝞬) The stereo power amplifier in the range takes Heed's trademark "Transcap" AC-coupled design principle to new levels. Capable of delivering a continuous 110w and stable down to 1.6 ohm loads, it will drive the majority of loudspeakers without a hint of stress. The power supply at the front and amplification stage at the rear are separated by a hefty heat sink neatly vented through the casing allowing the Gamma to run relatively cool under normal loads.
Omega(⍵) The mono power amplifier option; a zero-compromise design to handle the toughest loudspeaker loads. The ultimate expression of Heed's Transcap technology, each Omega is also stable down to 1.6ohm and delivers a continuous output of up to 160 massive Heed watts! A pair of these will drive practically any loudspeaker, but even for the most demanding two or three pairs can be daisy chained to bi-amp or tri-amp... That's some serious amplification!
It would be a mistake to not expect these components to sound as substantial as equipment at least double their size and weight. Heed has nailed compact audio design and proven that size does not matter time and time again. Measurements in testing show exceptional results, but first and foremost Thesis adheres to Heed's philosophy of “leaving the technical conformity behind and concentrating on the reproduction of music; to stir the emotions of listeners who are more interested in the performance than the specifications”.
The Thesis combination has a powerful, rhythmical and exuberant sound: you’ll find it in the sweet spot between valve sweetness and transistor muscle and that makes listening an absolute pleasure!
The sound quality of this video is severely limited by the quality of an iPhone's microphone, but you can get at least get a sense of what Thesis can do when paired with compact but great loudspeakers such as these Mojos from Ophidian Audio. These little speakers thrive on the power and control Thesis gives them, sounding absolutely massive and playing comfortably at a high volume level without any hint of stress and distortion. As always, a system like this needs to be heard in the flesh to be fully appreciated, and as this combination is one of the longstanding favourites at Blue Sky Música, it is always available for demonstration.