April
2024

Country of Origin

Serbia

Hyperion Ge

Reviewer: Srajan Ebaen
Financial interests: click here
Main system: Sources: Retina 5K 27" iMac (i5, 256GB SSD, 40GB RAM, Sonoma 14), 4TB external SSD with Thunderbolt 3, Audirvana Studio, Qobuz Sublime, Singxer SU-6 USB bridge, LHY Audio SW-8 & SW-6 switch, Laiv Audio Harmony and Sonnet Pasithea; Active filter: Lifesaver Audio Gradient Box 2; Power amplifiers: Kinki Studio EX-B7 monos & Gold Note monoa on subwoofer; Headamp: Kinki Studio THR-1; Phones: HifiMan Susvara, Meze 109 Pro; Loudspeakers: Qualio IQ [on loan] Cables: Kinki Studio Earth, Furutech; Power delivery: Vibex Granada/Alhambra on all source components, Vibex One 11R on amps, Furutech DPS-4.1 between wall and conditioners; Equipment rack: Artesanía Audio Exoteryc double-wide 3-tier with optional glass shelves, Exoteryc amp stands; Sundry accessories: Acoustic System resonators, LessLoss Firewall for loudspeakers, Furutech NCF Signal Boosters; Room: 6 x 8m with open door behind listening seat
2nd system: Source: FiiO R7 into Soundaware D300Ref SD transport to Cen.Grand DSDAC 1.0 Deluxe; Preamp/filter: Lifesaver Audio Gradient Box 2; Amplifier: Kinki Studio EX-M7; Headamp: Cen.Grand Silver Fox Loudspeakers: MonAcoustic SuperMon Mini + Dynaudio S18 sub; Power delivery: Furutech GTO 2D NCF, Akiko Audio Corelli; Equipment rack: Hifistay Mythology Transform X-Frame [on extended loan]; Sundry accessories: Audioquest Fog Lifters; Furutech NFC Clear Lines; Room: ~3.5 x 8m
Desktop system: Source: HP Z230 work station Win10/64; USB bridge: Singxer SU-2; DAC: iFi Pro iDSD Signature; Head/speaker amp: Enleum AMP-23R; Speakers: Acelec Model One
Headphones: Final D-8000 & Sonorous X, Audeze LCD-XC, Raal-Requisite SR1a on Schiit Jotunheim R
Upstairs headfi system: FiiO R7; Headphones: Meze 109 Pro, Fiio FT3

2-channel video system: Source: Oppo BDP-105; All-in-One: Gold Note IS-1000 Deluxe; Loudspeakers: Zu Soul VI; Subwoofer: Zu Submission; Power delivery: Furutech eTP-8, Room: ~6x4m
Review music samples: click here
Review component retail: $6'700  

Responding to separate review inquiries for new recruit Simone and grizzled beat cop yours truly, Dragan Domanovic of Serbia's Audio Equipment wrote "thank you very much for your patience, tact and understanding. Your smiley faces with dark sunglasses made me happy because it's raining here and the weather is like London in October. For the same reason, I would be happy to have your reviews of Armageddon and Hyperion. We are a new brand eager for affirmation and publicity. Our models support the so-called 'live' sound. Our benchmark is tonal trueness. Whenever one pursues nice or unobtrusive, one moves away from the authentic natural tone. Our goal is maximum sonic truthfulness. So much for our approach to amplification. To answer your question about our Germanium parts inventory, Hyperion will be in our range for a long time. It offers an incredible sound that closely resembles resolute balanced tube amps. Armageddon and Hyperion both have speaker outputs and I would be pleased if your reviews covered both uses. Armageddon is the ultimate amplifier for headphones and speakers. Believe me, it's not immodest if I say that on high-class speakers it becomes a sound in the range of amplifiers without price limit." I suggested to Dragan and he agreed that once Simone had tested Armageddon on his Raal 1995 Immanis headphones, his sample would forward to me to test its speaker-driving chops. Also getting Hyperion Ge, I could even commit fratricide or bromance between the two.

"It would mean a lot to us to postpone the organization of shipments until after the Munich show. It will be altogether more casual and pleasant. Currently we're torn between show prep and production because we didn't anticipate such a positive and large wave of interest in Armageddon. It certainly makes us happy because we see that listeners recognize our authentic sound with plenty of detail. The synergy with Aleksandar's ribbon headphones contributes to this because with that set you can chase down production and post-production errors. I'm very grateful for your interest. Send more smiley faces with sunglasses. They act therapeutically and lower the blood pressure. I am at your disposal for any questions." On the emoticons I did as Dragan asked because that made me smile.

Let's rewind. At this year's Singapore CanJam, Aleksandar Radisavljevic of Raal and Dragan of SAEQ had combined forces. In the bigger photo they are the goateed chrome dome and silver fox respectively. A short time afterwards, Italian headfi enthusiast Simone Ragionieri aka Simarog on headfi.org flew to Belgrade to audition Raal 1995's new triple-ribbon flagship headphone demo'd by Alex himself. He returned to Florence with a lighter wallet but heavier carry-on. He subsequently joined my small team to broach the topic of his first review assignments. Getting End Times heavy with Dragan's Armageddon was rather in the cards as long as its designer was game. Luckily we came up trumps.

I meanwhile was curious about Dragan's Hyperion Ge. Its input stage uses Germanium transistors. Their production stopped in the 1990s. As an ex tube fancier I've rolled a fair share of NOS glass. As a transistor fan? Not so much puts it mildly. The only quasi NOS silicon I did hear were Nelson Pass' static induction transistors. They were made to his order by a company no longer trading. Given a chance, I was definitely keen to meet Germanium. Sample its flavour. The next photos from Singapore shows the black Armageddon in the top middle, Hyperion Ge right below it. Also, I was on my own Raal 1995 assignment for Magna & Immanis. With Alex having used Hyperion Ge during their R&D aside from his trusted Benchmark and Dragan Solaja's tubed VM-1a above and below right, that too seemed a timely opportunity. Replicate a hardware match mutually curated by two designers in my own crib. 'Hear it as the artists intended' needn't just mean musicians. Designers of gain circuits and transducers are artists in their own right.

We'll get close to our Serbian sun god post Munich. Already there are Dan Simmons' fabulous Hyperion SciFi novels which I once voraciously consumed. Trying to pronounce SAEQ in my head added further titillation. In the second half of May, I'll quiz Dragan by email about what makes Germanium transistors electrically different from typical silicon types; how their parameters influence the sound; and why he applies them only to Hyperion's input not output stage. Raal-Requisite observers are aware that Dragan designed the 1a-c variations of the HSA amp which can direct-drive ultra-low Ω ribbons. Unlike the discontinued Schiit Jotunheim R, the HSA-1c with provision to also drive standard headphones remains current. From Auris to Dayens and Trafomatic, Beyond Frontiers to Karan and Korato, Solaja to Supreme Analog and Trstenik, NAT to Raal and SAEQ, for a small country Serbia is unusually dense on hifi brands. Being cut off from the free flow of goods within the European Union obviously makes it harder to trade but as Sasa Cokic of Trafomatic once explained, "hardship makes resourceful". Where there's a will there's a way. Based on their domestic hifi scene, Serbian sound enthusiasts certainly have their ways.

… to be continued…