High-value amplifier for the objective sound

A Review On: Lake People G100 FE (Final Edition) headphone amplifier

Lake People G100 FE (Final Edition) headphone amplifier

Rated # 292 in Headphone Amplifiers
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Review Details:
Audio Quality
Design
Quality
Value
Purchased on:
Price paid: $350.00
mirkot
Posted · Updated · 1335 Views · 8 Comments

Pros: Sounds very clean, fast and detailed, works well with *any* headphones, high-quality build, very good value for the money

Cons: Unforgiving with bad material

​​Not that I needed another headphone amplifier, but you know, it is that time of the year :) I noticed that I am spending more money on hardware when it is cold outside.

​​This little gem has some history. Lake People is German company that was making high-quality studio gear until they noticed that HiFi enthusiast were buying their G100 headphone amplifier for home use. Few magazines did the testing and G100 passed with flying colors. I assume Lake People saw the business opportunity and created separate Violectric brand to cater to population with deeper pockets than musicians. Now, Violectric gear can be violently expensive but you have to admit - it looks gorgeous, both inside and outside. I was tempted for a while with their V100 or V200 models until I noticed that they look pretty similar inside compared to G100. After some digging I compared the measurements and they pretty much aligned between the models. In one of the forum posts owner of the Lake People commented how extruded aluminum cases of some Violectric amps cost more than the whole G100. This further pushed me to go for substance vs. appearance. I ordered one from US distributor (great service by the way) and it arrived quickly to Canada.

​According to Lake People G100 FE is 'Final Edition' of this particular model and they issued it to commemorate the great thing that changed them. It looks like they limited production run to 100 pieces and the one I got has serial number 28.

After couple of weeks of careful listening with various headphones I can share some insights. Shortly, this amplifier is, along the Objective2, the least colored device I have ever used in my audio chain. Not surprisingly, they even sound the same, with definitive edge going to G100 which manages to extract more details in a more convincing way than O2. Both are dead silent and totally immune to electromagnetic interference at any gain level, with any headphones I tried.

​One other amplifier I use is MOSFET / tubes / Class A contraption (Sonic Adventure Reality) that sounds pretty good and gave me many hours of happy listening. When I connected G100 my first reaction was "nice, but where did the music go?". It took me few hours of careful comparison to conclude that G100 simply does not have the seawall of injected even-number harmonics that were fondling my eardrums before. Now, some people may consider this a good thing and I don't want to open that debate again. Euphonic amplifiers are fun and they may actually recreate something that was lost in the recording process, but this one is not it.

​I tried it with AKG K550, modified Fostex T50RP Mk3, Sennheiser HD600, Sennheiser Amperior (HD25 aluminum), Etymotic ER4S. All of them sounded great, totally unveiled and with their own character that I know from before. Bass is endless and completely controlled in each case. Some of them are brighter than others but none sounded shrill or unpleasant. If recorded material was crap, you get crap in your ears, no doubt about that, but if recording was of high quality you get pure unadulterated joy delivered with confidence.

​Few more observations: case is made from stainless steel and it feels very solid and robust. It is pretty in its industrial way and I find it quite attractive. ​Gain can be pre-adjusted in 5 steps with internal jumpers and it worked fine with HD600 out of the box. I reduced it one step to make it easier to control the volume for more sensitive headphones.

In conclusion, if you want "wire-with-gain" amplifier that is exceptionally well made and is pretty good deal for money, get the G100 FE. Other option from Lake People is G109P which is just a "modernized" version of G100 from what I can tell. They replaced some components with SMDs to make soldering less expensive. I can only assume that they sound very similar but G100 FE is a better deal.

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8 Comments:

100% all -- Come on! 
You are right :) I got little carried away. I toned it down a little for design but I find it hard to reduce the other measures.
Great review. Thank You for posting. More folks should become aware of this mfr's fine amps. 
 
Important point noted in review which many overlook is how this mfr's amps "match" & play well with almost any brand & model headphone you pair them with, and these classes - dynamic, planar & iem. I have yet to find a headphone that did not match well with their amps, going thru endless number of headphones.
 
Own Violectric HPA-V100 and also Lake People G109-A, keeping forever & no need for any other amp, but HE-6 needs the top models in this mfr line to maximize it's abilities. Folks even really like HD800 with these 2 amp pairings & upward models. Sennheiser's engineer Axell Grell, creator of HD800 loves their amps & used V181 (now replaced with higher number) in testing HD800 development.
 
Another enthusiast (Kairoz) posted this re: their HPA-RS08 amp and this also applies to V100 & G109-A, a fave quote to pass along -  "Very short is the list of relatively affordable amps that can swing this much voltage into high impedance loads while delivering gobs of current into planar models, with variable gain and an inky black silent background with even the most sensitive iems".
 
To which I add - The versatility matching so many brands & models is uncanny, with neutral crystal clear sound, imparting no house sound whatsoever. Presents deep, fast, tight, controlled, impactful, clean textured bass, detailed exquisite mids and smooth, brilliant, sparkling highs, all balanced properly across the full frequency bandwidth, with no listening fatigue. Sub-bass, bass, mid-bass, lower mids all distinct with no bleeding yet seamless transition straight thru mids and highs integration. Fine coherence & imaging. Great airiness, no noise audible whatsoever.
 
Great amps - Violectric & Lake People.
One last fine point to note - for compositions that have very fast complex electric bass  or very fast complicated synth-bass these amps deliver with ease, without smearing and without congestion. Not affiliated with mfr or their sales, just own & adore their products.
 
For the price range of $470 to $760 new (2017) retail list price (before any discounts), IMHO there are only 4 other SS amps that can compete (CavalliLC, MeierCC/ff, SchiitJ, Audio-GDforgot#?, AphexB=maybe 5th but lesser) at this time, and all around everything considered 1 or 2 of those are also great (CLC & MCC/ff). As Violectric/L.P. amps are built like tanks, & have ever had nearly no QC/QA issues, have exceptional support, for all combined reasons considered, it's very easy to highly recommend Violectric & Lake People amps from G100 and G109 up & Violectric from V100 up in line.
I could not agree more with you guys, I just spent a short time at RMAF last October with this (older version) and I was the one thing that I wanted to win in the swag give away.
I have the Violectric V90 and have yet to find anything it won't drive. It certainly holds its own against my amp/dac combos of HA-1 and Jot.  Newbies in the hifi world should take note and at least give Lake People and Violectric a look see when they are starting their search for a good amp. 
I love my V280 to death.  
I bought my G109S almost 3 years ago and love the honest and clear presentation of this amp.  Its too bad that this product line isn't as well known in North America as it is in Europe because many headphone enthusiasts here are missing out on superb German engineering and quality.