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As someone who doesn't know much about amps and what not, could somebody tell me why this amp has so much hype? Also, if it's as amazing as it seems, would it be worth buying even though i already have the AudioEngine D1?
Short version is that this amp measures really really well. What's that mean? It means that, by the scientific metrics we associate with quality of signal processing, this amplifier does the best job of purely increasing volume and power without imparting any of it's own sonic influence to the signal.
It's worth knowing that most people who buy the O2 usually continue on to purchase other amplifiers because while it's great to have a flat reference while you're getting started, as you go further down the rabbit hole, you'll probably want other amps because they have different sonic characteristics.
When I'm explaining these things, I usually tell people to think about headphone audio as a three part equation. Source + Amp + Headphones = Sound. By using an O2, you basically take the amp out of the equation, letting you more easily compare headphones and sources (something most people want to do getting started).
I also have the D1, but I am buying an O2 because I wanted a transparent amp for reference.
Over time listening to several headphones and IEMs with the D1, I don't feel as if I couldn't trust the D1 to be transparent. There's a general rule that the impedance of the headphone should be at least 8 times that of the output impedance of the amp driving it. Any less and there may not be enough electrical damping for controlling the headphone. The output impedance of the D1 is 10 Ohms, which means my headphones/IEMs with impedance of 16-50 Ohm are probably being colored by the D1.
I don't know how significant the effect is, so this is why I am so interested in getting the O2. Or in other words, it's just my lame excuse to buy another toy.
If you're interested in learning more, I highly recommend reading NwAvGuy's blog post regard headphone and amp impedance here:
Haha, I'm just essentially trying to find an excuse to buy this as well.