Graham Slee Novo review

Best headphone amplifier Awards 2011. Music through the Graham Slee Novo is involving and engaging Tested at £255

What Hi-Fi? Verdict

Best headphone amplifier Awards 2011. The Novo is an involving and addictive listen


  • +

    Good with dynamics, tonally accomplished, great detailing, ease of use


  • -

    Takes a long time to run-in

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We first tested the stylish little Graham Slee Novo back in January 2009 and loved it. Aesthetic simplicity seems to be the theme, with the Novo packing one volume control ?and one headphone input only.

After settling down from a bright sound during its running in, the Novo gives the listener a well-balanced audio with a crisp, clear treble that's quite brightly lit but holds no hint of stridency, a warm midrange that enhances emotion in music, and a springy, active bass that's well-formed and underpins everything nicely.

You are served great levels of detail here and production subtleties are handled excellently, even those mixed deep within the music.

In terms of dynamics, this feisty Novo can handle just about anything you can throw at it. Add a good sense of timing and essentially you've got everything you ?need in a headphone amplifier.

What really stands out for us is that it's such an involving listen – you can't help getting into whatever it's serving up.

It's worth bearing in mind that it's £15 less than the Lehmann Rhinelander headphone amp, while doing much of the same right. OK, it's slightly less flexible than some other amplifiers, in terms of its features, but with a sound as good as this, you're not going to mind.

What Hi-Fi?

What Hi-Fi?, founded in 1976, is the world's leading independent guide to buying and owning hi-fi and home entertainment products. Our comprehensive tests help you buy the very best for your money, with our advice sections giving you step-by-step information on how to get even more from your music and movies. Everything is tested by our dedicated team of in-house reviewers in our custom-built test rooms in London, Reading and Bath. Our coveted five-star rating and Awards are recognised all over the world as the ultimate seal of approval, so you can buy with absolute confidence.

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