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Erzetich Audio

Manufacturer: ERZETICH AUDIO
Price (when reviewed): 1115 EUR

Erzetich Audio | Blaž Erzetič s. p.
Voglarji 21 | SI-5252 Trnovo pri Gorici | Slovenia


Provided for test by: ERZETICH AUDIO

In 2012, I wrote that Slovenia was a white spot on the global audio map, same as Poland. Today, we live in a different world in which both Polish and Slovenian companies have found their niche. As did the ERZETICH AUDIO run by Blaž Erzetič. We are testing one of the latest additions to the manufacturer's lineup, dynamic headphones called Mania. And using this opportunity I will also say a few words about Basilius amplifier.

t was relatively long ago, in 2012, when I found information about a Slovenian manufacturer of headphone amplifiers, Erzetich Audio, run by Blaz Erzetič on the Internet. As a result of our correspondence, the Perfidus headphone amplifier was delivered to "High Fidelity" for a review.

Blaž wrote a few words for us at the time, from which a picture of an artist emerged associated with audio industry through passion for music - the owner of the company is a graphic designer teaching this subject in art schools, he also published several albums. What's more, he has been successfully designing headphone amplifiers, and for some time now he's also been offering headphones. However, as several years passed, I asked him again about a few words about himself and his business.

Owner, designer

I studied electronics and made my first Hi-Fi when I was 16. I was then working as a graphic designer for almost 20 years, besides being a musician (I released four albums, three with foreign record labels, one with mine) and that's the period when I put my DIY audio development aside. Then I picked up the route again.

I was always fascinated by the headphones. Maybe because they give you that intimacy with the music, so that was the path I took and the area I concentrated myself into. I started with headphone amplifiers only. On Hi-Fi shows people were thrilled how the headphones, of various brands that I had on display, sounded. So they went to buy headphones, not knowing that they sounded well, mainly because they were driven by a quality headphone amplifier.

Here I've seen that even in the field of audiophile headphones, people aren't really conscious of the importance of a good source of power. Then I decided to make headphones of my own and I made them the way they sounded OK to me. It turned out they sounded fine to others, too.

Since I am a fan of industrial aesthetics, brutalism, nature and twisted/gothic sense of humor, that's how my products turned out visually. I am not a fan of measurements. At least not of relying completely on them. If the device doesn't sound well, it's bad, no matter what the measured characteristics say. That's why I don't have graphs and other irrelevant data on the website.


Blaž is not a designer like many others, it's probably clear. However, it fits into a certain trend of thinking about audio, which is represented by such people as, for example, Massimiliano (Max) Magri of Grandinote, Chris Somovogio of Black Cat, Danny Labrecque of Luna Cables, or Brendon Heinst of TRTPK to name just a few. These are true artists who can translate their vision into concrete products. They are also usually „green” and even pro-human people, if I can say so.

It is no different with Blaž Erzetič and his Erzetich Audio company. Take a look at his website and what will catch your eye will not be measurements, specifications but descriptions, usually quite poetic ones. But do not be discouraged by it, because some poetry in technical description is not a bad thing. Criticism in any type of technique reaching a level of art often takes a descriptive form - technical brevity is too poor for them, and therefore insufficient. Blunt, one might even say.

I suggest you start from reading a description of the Mania headphones design on the company website, and then take a closer look at this product. Their form is completely different than 99% of what we deal with every day. It's more a spatial form, maybe even a sculpture than a product. It might be bit steam punk and bit gothic - and certainly distinct and expressive. Also the name is really cool - Mania, or Manea, is in the Roman and Etruscan mythology the Goddess of the Dead, and the Greeks associated her with wild spirits that personify madness. It's what one should expect from Blaž.

Mania is the cheaper of two of his headphones with Phobos being the most expensive one. They look very similar on the outside, but they feature different diaphragms - Mania is a dynamic model, and Phobos is a orthodynamic one. Their designer says that he chose these two technologies deliberately because he wanted to achieve different goals with them and - as he emphasizes, "clearly" - a different sound. Mania, in his opinion, is designed for rock, electronic and pop music, and works best with brighter sounding amplifiers. In turn, the Phobos "prefers" neutral and warm amplifiers. They perform best with classical music, jazz and generally at a slower pace.

Design | As I've mentioned, both models share a similar look and mechanical design. There are big and relatively heavy headphones. The headband and a core of ear-cups are made of aluminum, with cups made of wood. Wood is seasoned, selected and then hand finished. It is linden wood – Slovenian national symbol. Manual production is to provide a "human" touch to otherwise technical product. The headband, in the company's nomenclature called "tiara", is padded with a foam-like material.

From the design standpoint, Mania is a representative of the rare variety semi-open headphones. Most models on the market are either closed, as in Audeze LCD-XD or open one, as HiFiMAN HE-1000 v2 In a semi-open design the outer side of the membrane is partially dampened, but there are holes or slots left in the damping material that allow some of the air escape. This solution improves bass reproduction (with an advantage of closed headphones) while maintaining a spatial, detached from head presentation (a quality of open headphones).

Mania are a dynamic design, which is not often found at this price level. The last few years have witnessed an explosion of a market for magnetostatic (orthodynamic) headphones, whose prices reach even tens of thousands of zlotys. Such products are offered by such brands as HiFiMAN, Audeze, OPPO, Fostex, Abyss, oBravo, Focal-JMLab and other companies. Therefore, offering dynamic headphones at a slightly lower price is a bold move.

The Mania model features a round diaphragm with a diameter of 50 mm, coated with a layer of titanium. The signal is supplied separately for each channel, and the cable is plugged in with solid, four-pin mini-XLR plugs. The cables in the Audeze headphones are connected in exactly the same way. The set includes a two-meter shielded silver-plated copper cable, terminated with a ø 6.3 mm jack plug. It is not particularly flexible, and using a nylon outer sleeve does not make it special. A splitter looks nice though, which separates left and right channel cable runs – it is made of chromed brass and braided carbon fiber.

It is a symmetrical design, so it does not matter where the "back" and where the "front" are. The headband is quite wide and comfortable to wear. The headphones feature a manual adjustment mechanism - one has to release screws on each side, then tighten or loosen the headband. The ear-cups are made of ecological leather and filled with a foam - they are quite thick. Mania may look uncomfortable, but they are not. The fit to the head is really good, and the ear-cups do not put too much pressure on the head.

The headphones are packed in a fairly simple cardboard box with a foam padding inside. In the box one finds a cable and a small bag one can use to store headphones when they are not in use. A better solution, however, is to buy a company's stand called Tilia Vitro.

Mania headphones were tested with our two reference headphone amplifiers, that is with a tube amplifier, the Ayon Audio HE-3 featuring AA45 Mesh tubes in the output, and a solid-state one, battery-powered Bakoon Products HPA-21. In addition, I listened to them with the tube Feliks Audio Euforia 2018 OTL amplifier. The signal was provided by Ayon Audio CD-35 HF Edition using Crystal Cable Absolute Dream interconnect.

The comparison was made with six other headphones - three dynamic and three magnetostatic models, namely: Sennheiser HD800, AKG K701, Beyerdynamic DT-990 Pro (600 Ω version, pre-1995), HiFiMAN HE-1000 V2 and Edition X V2, as well as Audeze LCD-3.

A separate listening session was performed using Erzetich Audio Bacillus headamp.

Recordings used for the test (a selec- tion)

  • Anima Sacra, wyk. Jakub Józef Orliński, Il Pomo D’Oro, dyr. Maxim Emelyanychev, Erato 9029563374, CD (2018)
  • Concerts Under the Dome, wyk. Vermer Quartet, Naim naimcd008, CD (1993)
  • Cannonball Adderley Quintet, In Chicago, Mercury/Universal Music japan UCCU-9532, „Jazz The Best | No. 32”, Gold-CD (1959/2004)
  • David Darling, 8-String Religion, Hearts Of Space/Lasting Impression Music LIM DXD 041, Silver-CD (1993/2009)
  • Dream Theater, The Astonishing, Roadrunner Records/Warner Music Japan WPCR-17071/2, 2 x CD (2016)
  • Mark Knopfler, The Trawlerman's Song EP, Mercury, 9870986, CD (2005)
  • Megadeth, Dystopia, Universal Music Japan UICY-15449, SHM-CD (2016)
  • Rush, Presto, Atlantic/Audio Fidelity AFZ 182, „Limited Edition | No. 0281”, SACD/CD (1989/2014)

The Mania definitely have their strong sonic signature. They present the clear choices made by the designer, they were made to achieve specific goals and it should be really easy to decide whether this direction coincides with your expectations or not. So, the usual story, but evem more so than usually...

It's all about setting the tonality of presentation. It is warm, with a low center of gravity. Comparing Mania with any other dynamic headphones, such as the Sennheiser HD800 and AKG K701, I immediately experienced a dive into the world of Erzetich Audio. It's a rich, incredibly saturated sound. It was a great partner for the unusual for Impression Music label 8-String Religion! album with music by David Darling. Although it was not really about its artistic aspects, but the goal was achieved, I felt like in a SPA.

Blaž said he was aiming his cheaper model at rock, electronics and pop fans, adding that the Mania should work best with a slightly bright sounding headphone amplifier. Now it should be clear why. First of all, bright sounding recordings, and rock and pop are usually like that, will not damage our ears, but rather pet and caress them. And secondly, they will add weight and density to these albums, i.e. they will straighten out another issues common to many contemporary recordings.

However, I would not limit listener's choice to those music genres. While I must admit that I liked a lot albums such as The Astonishing by Dream Theater or Dystopia by Megadeth on SHM-CD, and I also played Rush from the Audio Fidelity's (SACD) remaster of Presto, because of a dynamic, energetic, open presentation, this Mania's particular ability to draw listener's attention and engage them into its warm, saturated world, will work great also with jazz, music focused on vocals, and partly also with classics.

Let it be an amazing performance from Marek Knopfler's EP The Trawlerman's Song EP, or a beautiful Cannonball Adderley Quintet in Chicago on the golden Japanese disc, or minimalist Naim label recording of Ken Christianson with the music of Dvořák and Messiaen - each time I had the feeling of participating in something special, in a mystery.

But not because these are headphones without any flaws, absolutely not! As I said, they are far from being neutral because they are withdrawing the treble and emphasize the breakthrough of midrange and bass, adding a correction around its mid range. This is an unambiguous and indisputable deviation from broadly understood neutrality. It's just that when we get used to it, and it happens in a blink of an eye, most of the other dynamic headphones sound light and bright in comparison. This is not quite the case, it's an issue of accommodation, but we accept the sound of the tested headphones more quickly than it takes us to get back to the world of neutrality.

Above all, however, as we are talking about corrections, the Mania are not particularly selective. This is best heard when we compare them with planar headphones, for example HiFiMAN HE-1000 v2, but also with AKG K701 and Sennheiser HD800. They sound perfectly coherent, they do their magic with the tonality and ambiance of played recordings, and yet they do not differentiate colors as precisely in such a rich way as reference headphones do. For example, they do not present changes in the sound of the cymbals in such a clear way, they also make bring sound of electric guitars closer together. It is not a real problem, just the opposite, but you need to know about it.

The depth of 3D image will help us with that, so to speak. Talking about 3D image, I mean the space created by the headphones and the interaction of individual instruments within it. Blaž did something that he probably wanted to achieve, or maybe it just came out like that - I do not know. The important thing is the result - we get a very deep space, with a sound far more distant from the ears than with other dynamic headphones.

Both top AKG and Sennheiser cans present instruments near the head, almost in the ears, especially if the microphones were placed close to the sound sources during recording. The Mania pushes them away and creates a very good perspective. Although it is not equivalent to listening to binaural recordings, the direction of these changes is really good.


Headphone amplifier
Erzetich Audio BACILLUS

Price (in Poland): 2200 PLN

The Bacillus is one of the oldest, if not the oldest, product of Erzetich Audio. Currently available in a upgraded version. Its electronic circuit has remained the same from the very beginning, but two years ago the housing was modified. It's a tiny device, not much bigger than headphone amplifiers once offered by Creek - it measures 110 x 64 x 175 mm, so it's smaller than a CD case. It is fed using a classic power cable, features one stereo input using RCA sockets and one ø 6.3 mm jack output.

This is a solid-state device based on the AD8066 op-amp with a 250 mA current buffer in the output. As Blaž once said, it means that the integrated circuit does not work under load and therefore does not work in a non-linear range. The input is coupled via the KPT Wima capacitor. The design is ultra-minimalistic, with a very short signal path.

I can not help it, but somehow associate the Bacillus with the RCM Audio Sensor Prelude IC phono preamplifier, which I have been using for a decade or so. Both are solid-state devices featuring op-amps, they cost relatively little, and you can use them virtually with any products - in this case headphones, regardless of their price. I do not know if you remember, but the RCM Audio preamplifier brilliantly performed with all the top turntables and cartridges I tested, including the phenomenal, worth over PLN 500,000 (including a tonearm and cartridge) TechDAS Air Force One.

Why such association? Because this amplifier from Slovenia delivers a high quality performance with highly organized sound, smooth, tonally deep. It particularly well builds the depth of the presentation, its palpability, it really well reflects the energy of music. Its micro-resolution, or the ability to build textures, is not the best, some things can not be overcome. But the way in which the colors, the location of instruments, their intensity and even the recording temperature are differentiated is definitely way beyond this particular price level, it's simply unique.

I listened to it using many headphones, cheaper and more expensive models, and with every one of them it presented the same level and type of performance. It sounded brilliantly paired with planar designs, that are usually quite selective when it comes to amplifiers that drive them. There is only one limitation - the amplifier handles headphones with lower impedance better than those with higher ones. I did not quite like it paired with the Sennheiser HD800 (300 Ω), and more with the AKG K701 (62 Ω) and very much with - which is probably obvious - the Mania model (80 Ω).

I don't know how Blaž does what he does, but hats off to him! Or in other words – the RED Fingerprint.


The Mania headphones have their own sound signature with a low center of gravity. Thus, they are not neutral sounding. Their micro-resolution and dynamics in the macro scale also do not impress that much. However, once placed over the ears, once adopted to, they become the best friend of a user - safe, friendly, full of secrets. They are masters of mood and warm colors, brilliantly moving the sound further away from ears. And yet they deliver an energetic, saturated sound that you will gladly come back to. Bravo!

Specifications (according to manufacturer)

Nominal impedance: 80 Ω
Driver: ø 50 mm, titanium coating
Design: semi-open
Weight: 460 g


Reference system 2018

1) Loudspeakers: HARBETH M40.1 |REVIEW|
2) Line preamplifier: AYON AUDIO Spheris III Linestage |REVIEW|
3) Super Audio CD Player: AYON AUDIO CD-35 HF Edition No. 01/50 |REVIEW|
4) Stands (loudspeakers): ACOUSTIC REVIVE (custom) |ABOUT|
5) Power amplifier: SOULUTION 710
6) Loudspeaker filter: SPEC REAL-SOUND PROCESSOR RSP-AZ9EX (prototype) |REVIEW|
7) Hi-Fi rack: FINITE ELEMENTE Pagode Edition |ABOUT|


Analog interconnect SACD Player - Line preamplifier: SILTECH Triple Crown (1 m) |ABOUT|
Analog interconnect Line preamplifier - Power amplifier: ACOUSTIC REVIVE RCA-1.0 Absolute-FM (1 m) |REVIEW|
Speaker cable: SILTECH Triple Crown (2.5 m) |ABOUT|

AC Power

Power cable | Mains Power Distribution Block - SACD Player: SILTECH Triple Crown
Power (2 m) |ARTICLE|
Power cable | Mains Power Distribution Block - Line preamplifier - ACOUSTIC REVIVE
Power Reference Triple-C (2 m) |REVIEW|
Power cable | Mains Power Distribution Block - Power amplifier - ACROLINK Mexcel 7N-PC9500 |ARTICLE|
Power cable | Power Receptacle - Mains Power Distribution Block: ACROLINK Mexcel 7N-PC9500 (2 m) |ARTICLE|
Power Receptacle: Acoustic Revive RTP-4eu ULTIMATE |REVIEW|
Anti-vibration platform under Acoustic Revive RTP-4eu ULTIMATE: Asura QUALITY RECOVERY SYSTEM Level 1 |REVIEW|
Power Supply Conditioner: Acoustic Revive RPC-1 |REVIEW|
Power Supply Conditioner: Acoustic Revive RAS-14 Triple-C |REVIEW|
Passive filter EMI/RFI: VERICTUM Block |REVIEW|


Speaker stands: ACOUSTIC REVIVE (custom)
Hi-Fi rack: FINITE ELEMENTE Pagode Edition |ABOUT|
Anti-vibration platforms: ACOUSTIC REVIVE RAF-48H |ARTICLE|

  • HARMONIX TU-666M "BeauTone" MILLION MAESTRO 20th Anniversary Edition |REVIEW|


Phono preamplifier: Phono cartridges: Tonearm (12"): Reed 3P |REVIEW|

Clamp: PATHE WINGS Titanium PW-Ti 770 | Limited Edition

Record mats:


Headphone amplifier: AYON AUDIO HA-3 |REVIEW|

Headphones: Headphone Cables: Forza AudioWorks NOIR HYBRID HPC