HeadAmp Gilmore Lite mk2 Headphone Ampsearch

HeadAmp Gilmore Lite mk2 Headphone Amp

HeadAmp Gilmore Lite mk2 Headphone Amp

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Really want this drop my come back! I need one for $450 in my life ASAP as a deal on a Jotunheim fell through. idk if it’s worth the wait for $50 off or if I should just buy at Retail but it seems like this drop ended like 8 months ago
Does anyone have any reviews in this?
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I just bought it blindly. Didn't get a chance to listen to it properly tho
shenan24
You should check the Headamp website. They make top-tier equipment.
How much was this drop? This is 500 on headamp website....Mr. Clark from MrSpeakers steered me to this for his planars instead of jotenheim...it appears this amp is great for planars and dynamics...none for sale on ebay yet..so they must be keepers? LoL
MarcSpence
The drop was $449, a small(ish) savings.
Huxleigh
Thanks...decisions decisions....for 500 i can get a burson soloist sl mk2...augh..lol
Received mine earlier this week. Great sound, very pleased so far. Very similar to my original Gilmore Lite, with four major noticeable improvements so far, in order of importance: (1) A different, rounder, arguably more natural-sounding tone. The original Gilmore Lite had (to some ears) a kind of sharp or emphasized treble, and that is completely gone in the mk2. I think some people will appreciate this change, but it does make it somewhat difficult to compare the sound of the original GL and the mk2 in other respects. I need to do a lot more serious listening, and probably burn-in/warm-up, before I have more to say on the sound. (2) A somewhat more powerful output stage, though there wasn't really any problem with the original to begin with. For reference, comfortable listening had the volume pot at around 10:00 with my HD600 on the mk2 instead of around 11:30 on the original GL. I think on my LCD-2 I maybe turned it up to 1:00 at the most. So there's plenty of headroom on my most-used phones. (3) A much nicer, super-smooth volume pot and knob with perfect channel matching throughout its range. In contrast, the original GL had a little grit and some noticeable unevenness at very low volume levels. (4) A nicer feeling and larger case with nice sticky-rubber feet that is much less apt to slide across your desk. Weight is approximately the same. Linear power supply is the same size and specs.
I will post some comparison pictures later, and possibly more sound impressions if I am satisfied that I've come to any conclusions.
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Cool, thanks for the update! It's good information for prospective buyers to be aware of.
Huxleigh
I've had this amp for a couple of months now and I find it resolving, very refined, and actually maybe a hair warm. It's an excellent match for my Aeon Flow Open and Bifrost Multibit Dac. It's heads and shoulders above the Jotunheim in every way. If someone said this amp costs 2x the price I wouldn't bat an eye.
Although I'm sure the Toshiba FETs are nice...doesn't seem this little guy has a real output stage. Seems awfully lightweight to me.
So tempted to join this but this is a little out of my price range. For 400 I would definitely join :\
It’s impressive there are so many audio engineers in the Massdrop community. Kudos.
Tragique
You're being sarcastic right?
FrostyP
Yessir
Looks like that PCB was laid out to look pretty, not to optimize performance. I cringe at all these symmetrical layouts with their components in neat rows and columns. This is almost never optimal for the circuit performance, and raises more questions, in my mind, as to the design priority.
More detailed measurements and a better, more complete set of specs could go a long way to all these concerns. If the design truly has merit, it should be apparent in it's quantifiable performance.
Tatteredmidnight
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The circuit is a symmetrical, dual-differential design, so yes, that will be reflected in the board layout. Also, I'm sure the paralleled output transistors are easy to spot. We'll publish a larger set of specs however MD has a standard list that they use for amplifiers. Most likely this amp will end up measured by a 3rd party as well. Innerfidelity has measured both our Pico Power and GS-X mk2 amplifiers and both were top in class in measurements.
JustinWilson
It's a very attractive design, and I am looking forward to some objective measurements to validate it's theoretical performance.
In addition to incomplete power specs, it's not clear what type of volume control the amp uses. I've found that sound quality improves with an outboard resistor-based volume control (I'm currently using the Tisbury Audio passive preamp with my EarMax [Brocksieper] OTL headphone amp, makes a tremendous difference to detail, texture, etc.).
vkaiwar
We just had Massdrop add a couple photos, it uses the Alps RK27 (Blue) which we get direct from Alps and we do screen them here
Yet another amp with incomplete power specs and a relatively high price! Please specify RMS power per channel for 32, 50, 300 & 600 ohms.
Is this similar to the DIY amplifiers that AMB offer (re: www.amb.org/audio)? Which one is the better deal? I've heard good things about AMB gears. Thanks in advance.
Y_Lim
There are many similarities in topology and parts used between the AMB b22 and Kevin Gilmore's equally well known design. This is a much smaller desktop version, about the size of a CD case.
If you're interested in headphone amps in the $450-500 range, consider the Schiit Lyr for $449.
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You might have to offer more observations/evidence for your opinion on Schiit amps to carry much weight. Why are the Valhalla 2 and Lyra 2 "mediocrities" compared to other DIY Dynalos, in your opinion?
Varholiaglimp
They are not bad but neither they are anything special. Valhalla 2 is a tube amp so I'm going to set it aside at the moment. The Lyr 2 (tube hybrid version, I have no experience with the LISST one) lacks details, it has great impact/dynamism though which I suppose why people like them so much but it lacks the refinement of the Dynalo. The Jotunheim is actually not bad but has a tendency to sound glare-y and bright/cold, great details but compared to the Dynalo it's less balanced. Comparison done mainly with the HD800S so YMMV of course.
I was thinking this is something about 250 bucks range, damn this is out of my limit... Looks so great...
TextureMan
If you are looking at a desktop amp in the 250 range I would consider the Emotiva BasX A-100 amp. It is a traditional 50wpc amp that can drive speakers but it also includes a headphone amp with volume control. The interesting thing is the headphone output is fairly powerful in it's stock configuration but if you have some really power hungry planar headphones you can install some included jumpers that drive the headphone jack with the full 50 watts of power otherwise driven to the speaker outputs. By the way it only costs 229 direct from Emotiva. I picked one up and have been super impressed with it. It drives my AKG K702 and Sennheiser HD580 cans with ease. I also have a Nuforce HA-200 that also sounds really good but does not quite have the power of the Emotiva. It can also be had for 250 or less. Just my 2 cents worth.
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JustinWilson
Looks really nice.
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Building the drop on election day in these patriotic colors on high quality matte blue boards. Just a few days now!
What's the dimension of the amp?
Update: Found it Dimensions – Amplifier5.75in [146mm] W x 6.75in [171mm] D x 2in [51mm] H Shipping Weight - 4lb [1.8Kg]
is there a gain switch ,, i am going to use it with my TH-900
Two questions for JustinWilson: (1) Is the DPS that was made for the original Gilmore Lite forward-compatible with the MK2? (2) When the pre-amp output is disabled, can it act as a loop output?
astv99
(1) it would be but you'd need to change to a different style of DIN plug. You could take it off of the included power supply or buy the plug to replace the one on the DPS. (2) No, it will just be disabled.
Why does the pre-amp have a separate power switch? Does this control the pre-amp output separately from the headphone output meaning both can be active at the same time?
007shark76
Yes, both can be active at the same time. Or, you can disable the pre-amp outputs, leaving just the headphone output active.
JustinWilson
Interesting... So there's no auto-switching or auto-disabling based on whether headphones are plugged into the headphone jack or not? If the preamp switch is turned on and headphones are plugged in, does the volume pot control both the preamp output and the headphone output simultaneously?
how does this compare to the liquid carbon amp?
EinZweiDrei
Interested in this too, also eyeing the NFB 11.28 for my 6XX and 598 at home.
Headamp products look interesting. Wouldve jumped on this one but already have this type of desktop amp.
Missed on pico power drop. Hope it returns soon.
"Gain: 7.5x / 16.5 dB" Is the 7.5x gain a bit high for sensitive headphones and IEM? I have a few blue Alps volume pot and they have noticeable channel imbalance at low volume. And based on the earlier post linking to the headfi, it seems like Justin is using a Alps volume pot.
Why not a have a gain switch like in the GS-1?
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We actually don't use the pots with any channel imbalance. I was never able to nail down a good electrical pass/fail test for this, so instead I use a sensitive headphone and slowly turn it up, if it comes in even to my ears, then we'll use it. The gain switch in the GS-1 wasn't done very well, it extended the feedback loops of the channels up to the switch. In the GS-X mk2 we fixed this by using miniature relays directly underneath the amplifier module.
JustinWilson
I appreciate your willingness to admit and talk about flaws in your (much!) earlier designs. Progress toward transparency is the point.
Whats power output at 300ohm and 600ohm
Adamleonpeters
Yes, that's what I want to know too, and also please specify it's in RSM or peak value? Single channel or total?
I own a HeadAmp GS-1 with the newer dynalo boards. It's a bit bigger amp with an onboard power supply and obviously more money. Fricken great amp as compared to my Woo WA7 (which I use primarily with my Fostex TH900's) and other amps I have owned over the years. It literally made me pick up my Sennheiser HD650's all over again after I'd shifted over to electrostatics primarily and now I listen to the Senn's more than my Stax.
For the money this is a heck of a solid deal IMO.
I wouldn't let the pissing matches deter an interested audio lover.
Best of luck and jam on...
HemiSam
I think what would increase interest in this drop is more information and more measurements.
What's up with the vague spec sheet?
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Glad you never withdrew any of your comments, Tatteredmidnight. It's rare for a drama to have a happy ending that isn't forced -- let alone a conflict-driven drama involving headphone equipment measurements! Civility should win more often.
Varholiaglimp
Agreed, also my work got hit with a crypto ransomware attack and I may have forgotten :D. Either way, it's all because we are passionate about this, there is enough room in this world for multiple points of view, something a lot of people have broadly forgotten.
few of the massdrop collaborations or special editions have interested me in the past...but i've owned most kevin gilmore designs for both dynamic and 'stat amps and it's nice to see an upgraded professionally made one by justin. i, too, would like to see a DPS...or perhaps i'll look around for one to match. interesting drop...
I own an original Gilmore Lite V2 that I bought second-hand eleven years ago. It remains one of my favorite amps, and I highly recommend it. Incredibly transparent, perfect for detail freaks on a budget. I'm actually thinking about getting in on the mk2, despite already having one. (A little disappointed about the name—there was already a distinction between the original GL and the upgraded v2, so calling this the "mk2" is confusing.) The upgraded volume control, dual inputs, and active preamp out all sound like great additions.
Like others, I'm very interested to know if there are any plans for a dedicated power supply (DPS). My experience with the Elpac wallwart linear power supply on the original is actually pretty good, but I always regretted missing out on the matching DPS unit. I heard a lot of reliable reports that the DPS somewhat improved bass impact & authority. I also hope the new case feels weightier... one of the inconveniences of the original GL is that it's so light that it has a tendency to slide across your desk if there's any tension on your headphone cable from moving around. That's another reason I regret not having the DPS for the original GL... as an anchor!
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Thanks for the clarification.
I still use my GL almost daily. It's been fantastic for 12+ years.
As a proud owner of the Headamp GS-X MKii, I highly recommended this amp. The Gilmore Lite is basically a $3000 GS-X MKII in single-end configuration with switching power supply instead a dedicated unit. This amp is as transparent as it get. Better parts used thru out with superior PCB board and circuitry than Cavalli Madsdrop unit. A good volume control will yield better sound and less noise with superior tracking by itself. Headamp has been doing high quality headphones amps for almost 20 years so this is excellent choice in my book.
Purk
The power supply is actually linear regulated, not switching. And we have them for 100, 120, 220-240V for the voltages around the world
JustinWilson
thanks for the correction Justin. So this supply should be pretty good then. We still want a matching DPS unit.
Oh dang. Selling my GS-1 for something “better” is an eternal regret. Any plans for a DPS/LPS?
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Thanks Justin. Can you provide any indication of how close this gets to GS-1? I have been looking for a second hand unit in my voltage for a while but they are hard to come by...
jowls
I would rank them in this order, with the best last: 1. Old Gilmore Lite 2. Gilmore Lite mk2/GS-1 (tie) 3. GS-1 with Dynalo+ Modules