Head-Fi.org › Head Gear › Headphone Amplifiers › Portable Amps › Triad Audio L3

Triad Audio L3

Posted
LISA III Portable Headphone Amplifier
Technical Specifications
 
Device Type        Solid State (IC Op-Amp/Buffer Discretehybrid)
Class of Operation     DYN-O-BIAS II> Dynamically biased non
Bass Boost parameters    Switching output stage..+3dB@160Hz +12dB@ 32Hz. Maximum
Frequency Response    Frequency Response @ 100 mW Into a 45Ohm Load.D.C.-1.6 MHz. Within +0 to - 3dBD.C.- 600 KHz. Within +0 to - 1 dB...
Signal-to-Noise Ratio    Signal to Noise ratio relative to RatedPower Output. Input Shorted > 100 dB “A” Weighted..
Total Harmonic Distortion    Typical Total Harmonic Distortion (THD) 
                @ rated Output 15 –  30,000Hz
                @15 Hz.___< 0.09%
                @1KHz.___ < 0.04%
                @ 30 KHz.___ < 0.05%
Stereo Crosstalk    >95dB @ 1KHz...
Voltage Gain        13.141dB (Av= 4.54)
Input Impedance        50K ohms /100pF...
Input Sensitivity    200mV to 3.0Vrms...
Output Impedance    Less than 0.3 Ohms DC-20KHz & < than 1ohm @ 200KHz..
Output Voltage        5.0 Volts RMS from DC- 500KHz @ 1,000Ohms...
Minimum Continuous sine wave PowerOutput
Per channel from 20-20,000Hz
With less than 0.1% THD + Noise
 
Internal Batteries    9.6v Load Impedance470 mW_ 14 Ohms270 mW 32 Ohms200 mW_ 45 Ohms
Inputs/Outputs        (2) RCA inputs, (1) ¼” Inch headphone output...
Operating Voltage    20-24 VDC@50mA..
Power Consumption    26 mA Quiescent..

Posted

Pros: Best audio quality you can get in a portable amp, period.

Cons: Yes it's a brick and yes the battery pack it comes with is pathetic and yes the dumbest thing of all Triad charge $800.00 and no charger.

If you want the very best audio quality out there this is still the best portable amp I've found. I've been searching for the last four or five years to find to something better and wasted a heap of money in the process. The list of quality portable amps I own is about as long as your arm. The closest amp I've found to so far is the ALO MK-3B+ but it's still not as good as the L3. I've got two amps still coming that might be a chance the Centrance M8 and a Just Audio AHA-120. I put a pre order in for the M8 and from the feedback I've read so far that's probably not going to cut it either, so that leaves the AHA-120. 

 

Managing the L3.

Ok so Triad charge you $800.00 and don't even supply a charger. So here's what I do, don't even bother buying a charger the battery pack in the L3 is a joke anyway. Remove the two screws and open up the L3 and take out the battery pack. The battery pack is stuck in with a type of adhesive so gently lift it from either end while holding down the board it's attached to and it will release. Replace it with two iPower Pro Lithium 9v batteries IP9V520 this will give you around 10+ hours running time. As I recall the original battery pack took 4 or 5 hours to charge and lasted between 2.5 to 3 hours max. When traveling I carry an extra two charged batteries and switch over as needed. Important to remember if you do have a charger for the original battery pack DON'T USE IT TO CHARGE THE LITHIUM BATTERIES. The lithium batteries have to be removed each time and charged on a lithium charger.  

Posted

Pros: power, grip, driving fidelity for low and high Ω headphones, good build quailty

Cons: no 6,3mm headphone jack, poor interface elements, poorly labelled

The full review of this nice amp is up at TouchMyApps. For the sake of brevity, the L3 is a fascinating amp because it is positioned in the market as a premium product. It certainly does a good job of performing into any set of headphones and earphones. Low Ω earphones don't daunt it, and unless you are pushing 100% volume at high gain WITH bass boost, the signal will remain strong into DT880 600Ω level headphones from the battery. Mains will fix any errors otherwise.

 

There is a slight noise in the signal with sensitive earphones and the output pops when power is pushed on/off. 

 

The real problems are in its layout, which is sub-par for an amp of this price. The front panel is too cramped, the input is too close to the bass boost pot, the gain switch is up for low and down for high, and there is no 6,3mm headphone jack despite harbouring RCA inputs (presumably for hooking up to a hifi system). 

The L3 performs, yes, but with so many other trade offs that don't point to an amp of 800$. I'd take a Tralucent T1 and with the savings get a desktop amp of equal power for use with a HiFi. That is the best of both worlds.

 

I do not own this amp. I am borrowing it.

Posted

Pros: build quality, portability, battery pack improvement

Cons: size (transportable), sound requires battery pack, doesn't drive 300 ohms well

This says it all really - it's a lovely transportable rig with the battery pack, but this Lisa III rig lacks the effortlessness and dynamism of the best desktop amps at this price, and in the $1100+ range, that's a lot of money for something which didn't drive the full-size 'phones I have well. Thankfully they're desirable enough that a quick buy/sell was easy, but this wasn't the rig for me.

 

Made me wonder what an ODAC + PSU would manage too - this is the best implementation of the Lisa 3 I've seen though, and a really solid product. I disliked the bass boost (worthless addition to any amp imo though), and didn't like that the PSU light glowed even when off, but the amp led glowed only when on - this kind of thing can lead to a bad experiences!

 

Sound was lovely - well balanced through the mid range, clear treble and well-detailed throughout, lacked a little control compared with the desktop amps but no lack of bass or harshness in the highs. Value is only because it's "a bit better than average for it's price point" (against current crop amps), but it's certainly worth an audition.

Posted

Pros: Very good performance with a good source. RCA inputs as well as a 3.5mm socket. Bass boost.

Cons: Heavy (445g!) and bulky. Recessed front jacks. Needs a full-size headphone socket.

 

Just before I left for a holiday in Australia late last year, I found out I was to be receiving a pair of Sennheiser HD-700s for evaluation. I had, not long before that, purchased a Fostex HP-P1 to take with me as a high quality DAC/amp to use there. As most of my evaluation time would end up being while I was in Australia, I was eager to get a good amp to go with it. By chance, a fellow Aussie was selling an L3, so I made arrangements for a friend to receive it for me so I could pick it up after I arrived.
 
This plan turned out to be a good one, as while the Fostex is quite a decent DAC, it isn't as strong a headphone amplifier, something which the L3 made up for in spades, bring the usual results of better amplification -- a more expansive soundstage with better instrument separation and more detail. It turned my portable rig from good to excellent (and expensive to very expensive) and made listening very enjoyable. It drove the headphones I have with authority, but sounded somewhat deliberate in doing so, compared with my main amps which seem to do so effortlessly down the most subtle nuances. However, despite this, with a good source -- either the Metrum Octave or Fostex HP-P1 and my Symphones Magnums, the L3 conveyed the feeling of the music so well it was simply a joy to listen with.
 
I did experiment to see how much each device affected the chain, and the result was that the L3, directly from my iPhone, wasn't so crash-hot. 
 
The design of the amp, with rear RCA jacks suggests it may be just as good at home as a main amp as a transportable one. With the power supply plugged in the character of the amp changes slightly, very similarly to the subtle change caused by the gain switch. However, with the front connection, if you are a fan of using those (awful IMO) Viablue plugs, you're going to have issues plugging them in, as the region of the metal case where the input and headphone out are is recessed slightly, and the recess may not be big enough for the largest plugs available, such as the ones from Canare.
 
Also, it's a relatively large and heavy amp for a portable, weighing in at 445 grams with 2 9V batteries inside. Compared to the Fostex HP-P1, it's about 1cm longer, a touch wider and somewhat thicker, so once you add an iPhone or iPod, you end up with quite a heavy and chunky rig to carry around. For this reason I more consider its use as a transportable rig to take with me when travelling away from home -- not for use on transport but after I've arrived. 
 
The iBasso DX100 closes the gap with the L3 when it comes to headphone amplification, especially as it is a single device, but the L3 was still slightly better (though arguably not ~$800 better) and is also a better source IMO than the HP-P1.
 
My main headphones for travel at the moment are the Symphones Magnums V4. I felt very lucky after getting the L3 that I'd essentially scored a good component match with my entire rig. I preferred the results with headphones that already have a significant bass response -- the HD-700s and Audio Technica W3000s I didn't like as much paired with the L3. Those headphones sound more pleasing to me out of the hybrid Stacker II, the tubes of which present a "warmer" sound with a bit of a boost in the bass. I don't feel that the L3 introduces any particularly significant coloration to the sound or is lacking in any particular frequency region, more so those two pairs of headphones were coloured in the wrong direction for me with the wide variety of music I listen to.
 
The L3 includes a bass adjustment control which can add a bit of body to the sound. I usually leave it switched off as, gentle as it adding bass, even where I have felt a desire for a bass boost, I don't feel it has helped.
 
Ultimately, neither the HP-P1 nor DX100 are going to replace my main DACs and the L3 isn't going to replace any of my main amps, but both a good job of being very competent while being a firm step behind my home rig of Audio-gd Reference 7.1 and Phoenix. Unfortunately I haven't had a chance to compare the L3 with the new balanced amps from RSA and ALO, but I hope I get a chance to do so in the future, as that will be an interesting comparison indeed.
Triad Audio L3
Description:

THIS NEW Amplifier from TRIAD Audio takes the Legendary LISA III circuit and Packages it into a smaller more Versatile Amp. First, we replaced the ¼” Headphone jack with a 1/8” Stereo Mini jack to use IEM type Headphones. In addition, another 1/8” Mini jack Input located next to the headphone Output and connected to the rear mounted RCA Inputs. Also located upon the rear is a gain switch to accommodate high sensitivity IEM Type Headphones. A DC Coaxial power connector to allow operation and battery recharging from the AC power also provided.

Details:
DetailValue
Models:
Model Name/TypeMPNEAN/UPC
Head-Fi.org › Head Gear › Headphone Amplifiers › Portable Amps › Triad Audio L3