Cologne, Germany based Lehmann Audio is a company specializing in high-end amplifiers. The Linear SE Headphone Amplifier is one of their desktop headphone amplifiers that recently caught my attention. It looks amazing but how does it sound? Well I had a chance to sample one and here is what I found.

Lehman Audio Linear SE Headphone Amplifier Review

DESIGN
The Linear SE Headphone Amplifier looks something like a monolith or modern art piece. It’s very simple in structure. The dimensions are 120 mm x 296 mm x 59 mm an is a weighty 2.2kg. It feels solid and well built with a minimalist approach to the overall design. Two Neutrik headphone jacks on the front along with the weighted volume knob. On the back are gold plated RCA sockets with Teflon insulation. You get 2 RCA analog inputs and 2 RCA analog outputs.

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Linear SE Headphone Amplifier back panel – photo courtesy MajorHifi

The Linear SE looks perfect for a desktop setup. At work or at home, this would fit nicely in a low profile space where you can simply access the front for volume and headphone output access. And this amplifier comes in 10 different housing surfaces. There’s anything from aluminum, real wood or piano finish. Definitely designed to fit well in the most sophisticated office or home.

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Linear SE Headphone Amplifier front panel – photo courtesy of MajorHifi

SOUND
Plugging in this solid state headphone amplifier I was anticipating how it might sound. Using Beyerdynamic DT1990 Pro 250 Ohm Headphones I wanted to see just how much power this beast could push. Upon first listen though I was initially not sure what was up. I had to push the volume up all the way. I knew something was amiss. Sure enough there’s output setting DIP switches on the bottom and when you flip them to the proper settings you get the bang you’re looking for.

Linear SE DIP Switches - photo courtesy of Major Hifi
Linear SE output DIP Switches – courtesy of MajorHifi

From here on the sound was clean and forceful without any detectable distortion. I sampled some Spotify playlists to test out different genres of music. Everything from PIXIES – Essential Mix to Depeche Mode – Music For The Masses and Violator. Frank Black and the gang never sounded so good and David Gahan was livelier than ever. The melodic rock anthems of the Pixies were a real treat to hear through this smooth yet powerful amplifier. Music For The Masses hasn’t sounded this good in years. Even Violator had a new edge to it.

Pixies - Essential Mix playlist on Spotify
Pixies – Essential Mix playlist on Spotify

SUMMARY
To put it simply, Lehmann Audio seemed to accomplish what they set out to do when they created the Linear SE Headphone Amplifier. It’s a handsome piece of high-fidelity equipment although comes at a hefty price of nearly $2200. I imagine an amplifier like this would last you a lifetime so it’s safe to say that audiophiles who have the money will gladly pay the price with confidence that this killer headphone amplifier is the right piece of gear for their home or office setup.

My only advice is buy only from authorized dealers. In person or online it’s essential to get the real thing when it comes to the Lehmann Audio Linear SE Headphone Amplifier. Oh and it also comes in a Linear SE USB (DAC version) as well. Very nice indeed. And you might just want to check out some of their other products while you’re at it.

Lehmann Audio Linear SE Headphone Amplifier
Lehmann Audio Linear SE Headphone Amplifier

SPECIFICATIONS

Input impedance 47 kohms
Maximum gain 0 dB, 10 dB, 18 dB, 20 dB selectable via DIP switches
Frequency response 10 Hz (-0.3 dB) to 35 kHz (-1 dB)
Signal to noise ratio > 95 dB at gain 0 dB
THD < 0.001 % at 6 mW/300 Ohms Channel separation > 70 dB at 10 kHz
Output power 400 mW/60 Ohms
200 mW/300 Ohms
Output impedance Line Out 60 Ohms
Headphones Out 5 Ohms
Connectors audio Neutrik headphone jacks with gold plated contacts
1 x switching Line Out
1 x non switching Line Out
gold plated RCA sockets with teflon insulation
Linear SE USB: Mini jack Stereo (Loop Out/Line In) 3.5 mm
Power consumption 10 W
Outer dimensions W x D x H 120 mm x 296 mm x 59 mm
Weight 2.2 kg netto
USB-DAC (Linear SE USB)
Sampling rate digital up to 48 kHz
Resolution 16 Bit
Maximum voltage 1 V eff.