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Fezz Audio Ω LUPI High Fidelity

I found it hard to believe - when I was preparing the materials for the test that you read, I searched for Fezz Audio amplifiers that I conducted. It turned out that they were only two devices, models Silver Luna and Titania . And it seemed to me that I knew the sound inside out, I have it in my head and ears. And I have, I know very well how Fezz Audio amplifiers play, because I have traveled all workshops last year, during which half of the listening sessions were carried out with the Titania model

So when in June last year one of the owners of this company, Maciek Lachowski, called me, he said that he was thinking about the design of a new amplifier, I thought that it was about expanding the offer with an even more expensive model - that's what makes the biggest money. I was wrong and Maciek turned out to be a real dreamer who wants to share his success with others. What's the thing - as you could see during last year's Audio Video Show exhibition , the company's offer expanded, but from below. An affordable, nice, solid, well thought-out amplifier called Lupi (Latin for lupi - wolf) was prepared, using interesting and rarely used PCL86 tubes (triode-pentode). The price was set at PLN 3490 and I really don't know how the company wants to earn on it. Perhaps the key is that the most expensive elements of the tube amplifier, i.e. transformers, are produced by its separate part I don't see any other explanation.

α Lupi

Already during the mentioned conversation, Maciek told me that he would like Lupi to appeal to young music lovers, music fans, crazy guests, for whom the electron tube is an important symbol. In addition to the low price, it had to be as versatile as possible, and the presence of a headphone output is one of the most important functionalities of modern sound sources, both DACs and amplifiers. I thought then that it was a great idea, how natural. However, it proved impossible to implement. For the amplifier to be made at a level that people at Fezz Audio could accept to sound good, its price would have to be higher than expected. Maciek regretfully, but still had to put the project back on the shelf, opting for a classic integrated amplifier. And he was right. As the exhibition in Korea showed and the first orders resulting from it, the amplifier was accepted as it was. Even then it was called α Lupi (alpha). The way out of the situation was to complement it, an amplifier designed only for headphones, the Ω Lupi (omega) model.

| Ω Lupi

The genesis of this model is associated with the research that was carried out on the prototype of the original Lupi, with a headphone output. It turned out that this particular system, these specific tubes cooperating with toroidal output transformers are ideal for powering the headphones. So the idea was dusted off and in this way the amplifier that was the hero of this test was created. From the outside, both amplifiers - Alpha and Omega - are almost identical. These are simple, sophisticated forms in burgundy and black, with aluminum inclusions of manipulators and logo and white typography. The front is varnished to a high gloss, and the other walls are powder-coated. The part covering the transformers is black.

The device has two knobs - changes in volume and output impedance, so you can adjust it to your headphones. There are three positions to choose from: "Low", "Mid" and "High". The system is based on push-pull topology, but there are only four lamps - why? Maciek reached because the very popular, and thus inexpensive, cool PCL86 lamp. These are two lamps in one bulb - a triode and a pentode, and this model was used in television sets. Its ECL86 version, i.e. with a lower filament voltage, was in turn found in the amplifiers of Polish Fonika and Unitra. Suffice it to say that I made my first tube amplifier by pulling and extending the ends from a turntable with the Stereo 240 amplifier, and I built the preamplifier on the ECC83 tube, using a simple system found in the book An Audio Approach To Audio Frequency Amplifier Design , published by The General Electric co Ltd. of England from 1957.

In the Fezz Audio amplifier, the gain path is shorter, because one of the triodes in PCL86 is used to reverse the phase, and the other is a control lamp - the potentiometer is in front of the system. Let us add that the lamps used here were produced in the Polish factory Polamp. It is a pity that the Russians and Czechs were able to use the machines and skills of people and their lamps are known today all over the world, and Polish have gone down in history ... But such life - it's great that someone reminded them and in such an interesting amplifier.

MACIEJ LACHOWSKI Owner, designer

Omega Lupi is a construction we've been working on the longest in our history. We opened the project in March 2017 and the prototype was presented in November the same year during the Audio Video Show exhibition in Warsaw. We wanted users' opinions and even though they were positive, I already knew that the design would satisfy me only when Omega Lupi would be able to drive the most demanding headphones - also those with extremely high impedance. I thought that there are a lot of headphone amplifiers on the market, but either they are simple constructions for relatively cheap headphones, or very expensive for extremely demanding customers, and I wanted to create a universal headphone amplifier for a wider group of people listening to music in this way.

That is why, right after the exhibition, we started work from the beginning. Of this prototype, only reconstruction remains. Everything inside has been rebuilt from scratch. As you well know, the heart of every tube amplifier is not only tubes but above all transformers and we spent the most time on their construction. But it's probably obvious - are a strong player on the audio transformer market and we have unique experience with various types of constructions. Omega Lupi is a one-of-a-kind amplifier. Most headphone tube amplifiers are OTL constructions - i.e. without output transformers. And I wanted the headphones to be treated as a speaker set in our design, because what else, if not good speakers, are headphones?

The only way to achieve this is to match their impedance by transformers - i.e. just like in an integrated stereo tube amplifier. Therefore, we have designed windings in transformers to optimally match headphones with low (up to 32 Ω), medium (up to 300 Ω) and high (up to 600 Ω) impedance. Thanks to this procedure, we have achieved optimal working conditions of the headphone transducers, and thus negligibly low distortion and great dynamics while maintaining the tube character of the sound. Omega Lupi is a very efficient current amplifier. During the construction works, we tested about 30 pairs of headphones - starting from the simplest dynamic ones, through studio studios up to several hundred meters, and ending with planar Audeze models. In no case did the "pair" run out. At this point, the question is: why PCL86 lamps? One of the reasons is historical - it is on them that we built our first tube amplifier called Laura (still as, which captivated many listeners.

The second reason is personal - I value this lamp very much. Considering its price, availability, sound and origin (POLAMP Nakło) we couldn't deny ourselves the pleasure of constructing an amplifier using just the "bubble" PCL86. This is an outstanding engineering construction, very technologically advanced (two lamps in one glass) triode-pentode. It's a pity that at the moment nobody produces them. Fortunately, due to the wide availability of NOS lamps (they were very popular TV lamps after all) they are easy to buy at very low prices. Fezz Audio is based on the NOS of the Polish company Polamp, which are still available on the market and I believe that one day they will come back as new lamps. I would like to draw attention to the restrictive selection of lamps and exceptional attention to assembly. It is about extremely demanding sound aspects - after all, according to the design assumptions, this is an over-ear speaker system. So we put the ear in the column and there must be absolute silence, black background, zero brum, no hum - just silence.The Fezz Audio Ω Lupi amplifier was tested in the "High Fidelity" reference system and was compared to the Ayon Audio HA-3 amplifier. The signal was sent to him from the Ayon Audio CD-35 HF SACD player with the Acoustic Revive RCA-1.0 Absolute-FM and Crystal Cable Absolute Dream interconnects. It was powered by the Acoustic Revive Power Reference Triple-C cable.

The listening session was conducted primarily with HiFiMAN HE-1000 V2 planar headphones (nominal impedance: 35 Ω | efficiency: 93 dB), in the "Mid" position of the output impedance switch. What's interesting, because the nominal impedance of this model would suggest switching to the "Low" position. So it's worth trying out all three positions each time and choosing the best one yourself. Additional listening was performed with planar HiFiMAN HE-6 headphones (impedance: 38 Ω | efficiency: 89 dB) and dynamic Sennheiser HD800 (impedance: 300 Ω | efficiency: 102 dB) and Beyerdynamic DT-990 Pro (impedance: 600 Ω | efficiency : 97 dB). The sound of any audio product, and therefore also of this amplifier, can be assessed from two points of view - as a representative of a specific price category and in absolute categories.

Fezz Audio Omega Lupi sweeps in both. It is a device that looks and plays like amplifiers for 5000-6000 PLN and more. Although it is not an ideal amplifier, it does not even claim this role, it has everything you need to become the basis of any, really any system based on headphones. Its sound is modeled - modeled so that it is deep and saturated and that the bass is an important part of the creation, not just the low frequency erzatz, as is usually the case with headphone amplifiers. Modeling goes in the direction of smoothing the top and shifting the focus, focusing our attention on the low center. It gives something that we call "groov" or "walking bass".

I don't know how much the operation was intended by the designers of Fezz Audio, and how much their feeling, something like an internal "voice", which was guided by, for example, sound engineers from the 1950s, creating perfect jazz recordings, which remain an unparalleled pattern to this day, and listening to recordings on small speakers with high distortion showing a fraction of what even inexpensive speakers offer today. Depeche Mode lovers - note: this is an amplifier that could be "dedicated" to this music. It does not completely close it to other types, I will come back to it soon, but once heard Shame from the very difficult color album Construction Time Again , a moment with Happiest Girl from the mix on the maxi-single World In My Eyes / Happiest Girl / Sea of ​​Sin and it is known that we will be sitting and listening to getting lost in music. The thing is that the Fezz Audio amplifier shows the colors as if it was natural, that the discs have their own lives, as if it was normal, that it is a creation whose spirit, idea or what we will call it should be brought out. And, as Mr. Okihiko Sugano, the owner of the Audio Lab label, once said . Record , musical instruments are used for this, which in this case are audio devices. So Omega Lupi plays in a deep way, controlling events, as if the diaphragm of the headphones weighed nothing and at the same time weighed the ton - this is first because the sound is so fast, and the second because the bass has weight and power. I am talking about the problematic Construction Time Again because it is a record recorded after a phenomenal, analog recording of Abroken Frame using samples, various strange sounds, and thus quite hard, often even tiring. The tested amplifier showed this aspect, did not try to hide it. But on the other hand, he completed it so much, that it did not annoy anything, he could hear the chords, density, plans. In turn, the mentioned single comes from the Violator disc , mastered on na "analog tape, which makes it sound amazing. And it was with this disc that it was audible that in absolute terms the device emphasizes the medium bass, leads it strongly and is not restrictively controlling at the very bottom. In both cases, she gave herself a thing that in many headphone systems is in a rudimentary state - it is an amplifier that will create a huge space with the right headphones. I am thinking about recordings from the opposite music spectrum, for example Dolcissimo Sospiro by Divox Antiqua, i.e. madrigals and arias by Giulio Caccini (16th-17th century) performed by Robert Invernizzi. The message was beautifully arranged colorfully and spatially in a large interior. The foreground could be heard perfectly, which was not inside the head, but slightly ahead, but fantastic reverbs and reflections.

I mention these two types of music not out of spite and not for show, but to say something else: it is a very universal device. Its color is quite dark, at least compared to semiconductor amplifiers, but it is darkness full of meanings, if you can say that. The cymbals strike sonorously and are built up and deep, and if the recording was made in analogue and without a noise reduction system - let it be the Misty Tsuyoshi Yamamoto Trio - we will know it immediately, without the need to listen to and divide the hair into four. But we will always know that mountain is not the most important thing here. This is a device that communicates directly with us. It's just that it doesn't enclose us in the sounds close to us, although in this way it is easiest to achieve a similar "closeness" effect.

As I said, the sound of Omega Lupi is incredibly "wide", it has momentum. It could therefore be assumed that the message would be distanced. But it is not. It is direct, and this directness results from the outstanding speed at which the sound is reproduced and from its density, which is delivered to us immediately, does not split at the seams. Compared to the most expensive headphone amplifiers that I know and have, the Polish device is less resolved and does not go deep into the sound of the instruments, like - for example HA-3 Ayon Audio. It builds sound rather on the axis and this is where the momentum window I was talking about opens, while Ayon and Octave V16 Single Ended also open the space on the sides. Or maybe it is different, maybe it is so that Fezz Audio showed more precisely the differences in this respect between different realizations? Can be also this way. But the impression remains just that the Fezz Audio amplifier sounds with a stronger, more emphatic center of the stage.


Ω Lupi sounds sensational. It plays with low sound, saturated colors and panache. Boosts the bass and shapes it, without ultimate control at the bottom. This does not bother you too much - and even if you do not compare it with something significantly more expensive, about three or four times. The resolution is very good, really fantastic and only single-ended constructions on good tubes go even further. But for this money? Just a burgundy sensation that deserves a mention:

BURGUND Fingerprint :)

Outside The Lupi Ω amplifier looks like a classic integrated amplifier. It is a flat main body with electronics inside and lamps on the top and a higher screen at the back hiding the output transformers. Transformers are manufactured by the company, from which Fezz Audio is derived. Constructors can therefore design them exactly for the given construction. The power transformer and the choke are also made on their own - both on the toroidal core. On the front panel we have two silver knobs - volume and output impedance changes. The power switch is on the back, which is not quite comfortable. The lamps used in this project are PCL86 triodes - pentodes resembling popular EL84 pentodes from the outside. They work in a push-pull system in the AB class. The screen behind them has a beveled front, which makes it look lighter than usual. The part with lamps can be covered with a protective mesh, with which - it's rare - Ω Lupi looks as nice as without it.

Inside The electronic circuit has been assembled on a small circuit board. The use of coupling capacitors from the Polish company Miflex is noteworthy. I don't know if you remember, but this manufacturer located in Kutno also manufactures capacitors for the GigaWatt company (more HERE ). This is a good sign - capacitors are excellent, now you just need to develop and improve their range. The model used in Omega Lupi has polypropylene spacers and is marked with the symbol MKP-01. Other capacitors are also very good, from the Japanese company Nichicon. The signal from the sockets on the back panel - really nice - runs through long shielded interconnects to the potentiometer on the front panel. To tell you the truth, I don't know why it was on the left, although for right-handed users it would be handier on the right, and the interconnects could be half as short. After attenuation, the signal goes with subsequent interconnects to the board, to the grids of the first triodes. Interesting fact - the potentiometer is equipped with a motor for remote control. There is no control because it would increase the cost of the device. The power supply was carried out on a large toroidal transformer and choke - also on the toroidal core. Their means were flooded with resin to reduce vibrations. Toroidal output transformers are at the top, under the black lacquered part of the housing that shields them. This is a clean, solid assembly using very good components. But, let's repeat, the main strength of Fezz Audio amplifiers - including Omega Lupi - are excellent transformers.

Technical data (according to manufacturer)

System type: push-pull, class AB1

Bias setting method: automatic

Output power: 2 x 250 mW

Load impedance: 32-600 Ω

THD distortion: <0.3%

Frequency range: 20 Hz-120 kHz (-3 dB)

Consumption power: 90 W

Fuse: 3.15 A

Dimensions (W x H x D): 340 x 355 x 150 mm

Weight: 9.5 kg

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