For Exposure, 2017 was the year for downsizing, or at least it was as far as its XM series was concerned. A quick recap: back in HFC 424 the XM5 integrated amplifier wowed reviewers by providing an audiophile performance from the sort of sleek half-width dimensions more commonly associated with a lifestyle product. And then it repeated the trick in HFC 429 with the XM7 preamp/DAC and XM9 power amplifier. Now comes the turn of the XM HP headphone amplifier. 

Like it’s siblings, it offers the same slender dimensions (218 x 89 x 363mm – WxHxD), ensuring that it will be popular among those for whom space is a premium. A variation of the XM7 preamp that has been “specifically honed for the discerning headphone listener”, the new XM HP features a built-in phono stage with two line-level inputs and DAC with five digital ins. These incorporate S/PDIF, BNC, coaxial and optical inputs able to accept signals up to 24-bit/192kHz and a USB port compatible with 24-bit/192kHz PCM and DSD64. 

Unlike many small components that adopt switch mode power supplies, the XM HP opts for a linear power supply with a 60VA custom-made toroidal power transformer and an all-discrete audio output stage, claimed to provide high drive capability for low-impedance headphones. Speaking of headphones, two pairs of 6.35mm jacks and XLR sockets are on hand to allow for two sets to be used at once, and there’s also a preamp output. The XM HP is available now in either black or titanium finish. Available now for £1,299, you can click here to find out more about the XM HP..