If you guys read my previous review also catering to PlusSound Audio, you would notice my love for their cable performance and how they truly build their cables from down, up. And now with their own amplifier, I believe they have attained another milestone in their brand’s name. Enter, the PlusSound Audio Cloud Nine portable earphone and headphone amplifier!
Build: The PlusSound Cloud Nine should be given the benefit of the doubt that it is a first and is more of similar to a DIY or CMoy type amplifier with its build. It doesn’t have that futuristic tank like feel or design the usual new amps have been adorning. It’s more of a simple portable amp with a retro design and feel to it. It’s appealing in its own way, and I believe the build is quite sturdy enough for most harassments. Just don’t expect the build to be somewhat like ALO Audio. The downside to the design that I dislike the most is probably the batteries. Two 9V batteries are needed for the amp rather than a built-in rechargeable battery.
Performance/Sound Quality: First thing I noticed with the Cloud Nine is the fact that there is barely any hiss. Quiet noise floor. Switching to high gain may show some hiss with IEMs and CIEMs, but you won’t be using high gain on headphones anyway where the hiss is barely even there. Power is also fantastic as power is already driving the volume really loud even without switching to high gain yet. You can blow your ears listening to a AKG Sextett on medium gain before even going to high gain. Most cans I’ve thrown at it could achieve loud volume levels without switching to high gain. Of course, the 300-600ohm cans are driven better on high gain. SQ wise, the Cloud Nine is spaciouuuuus. Linear but spaciouuuuus! It is more of wide and coherently smooth than wide and detailed. Soundstage height is also tall and is taller than the Cayin C5. Separation isn’t very good, but it is more of smooth lush flowing. Instrument decay are quick which makes it very less prone to any sibilance or fatigue.
Overall: The PlusSound Audio Cloud Nine is a very liquid smooth flowing amplifier with a big soundstage. Boasting soundstage that goes toe-to-toe with the famous bang for the buck Cayin C5 amplifier, but having a more fluid and coherent signature over the Cayin C5’s quite wild nature and unnatural mid timbre. At $349.99, the PlusSound Audio Cloud Nine really does more than what could be expected.