Published on April 10th, 2017 | by Greg0
Erzetich Bacillus Tilia: A Stunning Handcrafted Headphone Amp
Chances are, you’ve probably never been to Slovenia. And most likely, you don’t even have an item in your house or apartment that you could point to and say with confidence that it is from the country. But if you have a set of audiophile headphones- the sort that cost over $500- then you probably should consider picking up a serious amplifier, if you don’t already have one. And even if you already have a portable amp, it won’t cut serious desktop listening sessions. Amplifiers often look fairly standard though, metallic boxes, with little visual appeal.
Which is part of how the Erzetich Bacillus Tilia immediately sets itself apart, with a unique wooden case that is individually handmade with linden wood from the forests of Trnovo. The Tilia edition is the more appealing model, but it’s based on the original Bacillus, a well-regarded desktop amplifier that has similar internals (though we hear of updated capacitors and op-amps). The back of the unit will look familiar, with gold-plated RCA connectors on the rear along with a simple switch and the power plug as well, and the front boasts a single large, sturdy volume knob and the headphone jack.
Gearheads will appreciate the specs and components- a dual Burr-Brown current buffer and an Alps Blue Velvet volume potentiometer. And we put them through their paces- first, burning in the amp for a couple of dozen hours and then testing it across a huge range of headphones, from planar magnetic pairs to 3D-printed models, and a wide variety of music and sources too. It proved incredibly versatile, capable of driving any set we tried, without worrying about impedance (8-600 ohm)- and the same was true of genres. Rock and pop sounded energetic and just a touch warm, with operatic and acoustic vocals truly present and transparent- the sort of depth and staging that will impress even the most jaded listener. It’s a touch light on the lower-end, but there’s no volume ceiling that we could detect and no noise.
Now, this isn’t a DAC/amp combo with direct USB connectivity, so you’ll need a good digital-to-analog convertor that’s worthy of the system if you’re trying to use your computer or other device. There’s no remote control, no interchangeable tubes, but that means no mess and no fuss. The Bacillus Tilia certainly offers an aesthetic appeal, with a natural, almost rugged elemental balance between the metallic and the wood that is mirrored in the music. And Erzetich made an amp that feels well-made, durable, and comes with a five-year warranty. Expect to spend around $799 online for the Erzetich Bacillus Tilia, one of the most unique desktop amplifiers that we’ve seen.