The Copland DAC 215 is capable of being used as a high-resolution DAC, a pre-amplifier and a headphone amplifier. I found it to be a well-designed, multi-purpose device capable with stunning sound quality.
After a few days of use, the sound quality improved, with greater dynamics and a smoother sound. Once ready to be a little subjective, I was impressed by the sound of the Copland. They are very easy on the ears and have a stunningly dynamic and forward sound. There is not a sharp or overly bright sound, nor is it overly analytical in nature. But it’s smooth and well balanced, with a musical presentation and a large and open soundstage.
I connected the Copland DAC to my system using a Bluesound Node 2i as the main digital audio source, as well as a television to the optical input. Both worked very smoothly and trouble-free. The internal DAC runs in Class A and gave me a large soundstage and plenty of musicality. There is also an analog line level input which is handy and can connect to a CD player or iPod. A USB digital input can accept inputs from a computer or laptop and use the better sounding DAC from the Copland rather than from the computer.
I used my Sony WH1000XM3 headphones into the front phones socket, using a small adaptor to fit the 3.5mm plug. I was blown away by the way that the Copland made the Sony’s sound. It was far more dynamic and punchy than what I have ever heard them sound previously. The sound was all encompassing, filling the space between my ears in a glorious huge soundstage, with heaps of detail and lots of insight into the recording. It was very impressive. I barely needed 25% - 30% of the volume to make the Sony headphones play loudly, so I have no doubt that they are capable of driving a wide variety of quality headphones, even the ones that are difficult to drive due to their design.
I enjoyed using the Copland DAC 215 in my system. The size and form factor is great and I can see that the build quality is very high. I enjoyed being able to see the two glowing valves or vacuum tubes, especially at night, which adds lots of visual interest and gets your friends asking. The controls have a nice feel to them and overall it was a pleasure to use. I highly recommend that you audition the Copland as it’s a versatile performer with broad capabilities, and especially if you need a punchy sounding headphone amplifier.