Periodic Headphone Amp Fits in a Watch Pocket

Periodic Audio has announced a portable amplifier small enough to fit in a watch pocket.

The Nickel amplifier ($300) is designed to provided “nearly unlimited clean power” for most headphones from a mini amplifier housed in a durable polycarbonate enclosure that weighs half an ounce and is only 2 inches long. The amp will be available in mid-November.

Rated power output is 150mW into 50 ohms, 250mW into 32 ohms, or 270mW into 16 ohms and the amp is stable into 8 ohms, making it suitable for “nearly any set of headphones on the market.” A fixed gain of 3 dB allows for higher headroom than most headphones and digital-to-analog converters (DACs) can generate but is low enough to maintain nearly the full dynamic range of volume from any source, according to the company

The amplifier has a two-stage power-supply system with a dedicated charger for its 220mAh battery. The battery feeds a dedicated dual-voltage converter that generates dedicated ±5V analog power rails, which is said to virtually eliminate USB switching noise.

Battery life is rated at up to 8 hours and it takes only 20 minutes to fully charge the battery when it’s down to 10 percent. An LED on the edge of the amp indicates battery status, changing from green to yellow to red as the charge drops.

Periodic Audio replaces a manual on/off switch with its patent-pending SmartSwitch signal sensing system, which automatically turns on the amp whenever a signal is present at the input and output. The amplifier turns off when the headphones are unplugged.

Connections include 3.5mm input and output jacks and a micro-USB port for charging the battery. The amp comes with an 8-inch USB Type A to Micro B charging cable and a 6-inch audio cable.

“Given that most of today’s listeners use a smartphone as a source, we created a product to work with a phone rather than working around it,” said Dan Wiggins, co-founder of Periodic Audio. “Nickel pulls effectively zero power from the phone, using it only as the DAC. We believe that the leap in performance from using just a phone to using the Nickel, combined with our award-winning Be IEMs, is comparable to the difference between using an integrated amplifier and using a separate preamp and high-power amp in a home system.”

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dommyluc's picture

Does anyone born after 1897 even know what a "watch pocket" is?
BTW, is it possible to stream to my Android tablet while riding in my horse and buggy?

lucasboyo's picture

Doesn't look like in line mic/control functions are enabled on this. I've yet to see any decent headphone amp that has these enabled for those of us that use decent headphones that have in line controls. Would love to see a version like this but with bluetooth enabled and in line controls (ya I know bt is not the best input source but us iphone 7 users gotta do something). Anyone know of any out there?