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Impressions - HeadAmp GS-X

post #1 of 67
Thread Starter 
Since tomorrow's my last day with my Arcam DiVA CD73, I thought I'd better break out the GS-X and try the combo!

First, a pic of how the setup looks.



Next, for the umpteenth time I have to give kudos to the people at Arcam, who put dual outputs on the CD73 (and other players too of course). I can't say how times this has come in handy! Why can't all the other source manufacturers follow Arcam's lead?

Now for the sound. I have to say that very initially, the first minute had me disappointed. I was expecting the GS-X to sound like the GS-1, just more refined in every aspect.

Well, the GS-X doesn't quite sound like the GS-1, it sounds a bit different. But before I get to its sound, I just have to say that this amp is ruthless. It's exposing things in the CD73 that I hadn't noticed before. For the first time, I'm really noticing the CD73's shortcomings - it seems to be blurring tiny tiny details, and it loses definition on all kinds of subtle details.

As for the GS-X......soundstage. Yes, soundstage. It's like the GS-X just blew open a fourth curtain if there were four curtains blocking the view. So open. So wide. So deep.

No complaints about its frequency response so far. None. It actually makes the GS-1 sound non-transparent - which it actually is (the GS-1 is close to fully transparent but not really all the way there). The GS-1 has a slight mid-range warmth that gives it a warm-blanket/fire-side quality, the GS-X does not.

Finally, big thanks to Justin who serviced this unit at HeadFest 2007. The balance on the rubber feet is perfect now, no shakiness!

I can't wait until the CD73 is sent out so I can start spinning this with my new CD33! And I can't wait to go balanced either!!!

Updated impressions to come when I've got the CD33 in place!
post #2 of 67
LOL, so much excitement, and you're only using half 'the beast!
post #3 of 67
Thread Starter 
One sonic upgrade at a time of course, I want to fully enjoy each step of the journey towards my balanced system - if I sprung them all at once, the audio bliss would probably cause my brains to blow out or something!
post #4 of 67
Asr,

Hey! I've had an Arcam CD33 for over three years now.

Oooo, are you in for a treat!

Yes, I wanna know what differences you hear compared to your Diva via the GS-X.

Aren't those dual outputs great for pitting one headphone amp against another? Arcam CD players should be downright mandatory for Head-Fiers.........
post #5 of 67
Exciting impressions. Looking at that pretty black gear has my brain suffering from upgrade induced-money spending-swirling black hole of headphone goodness urges.
post #6 of 67
Headamp products really look impressive too. I'm looking forward to following this project. A balanced system for home might be in my future.

<Orcin's wallet screams and runs away>
post #7 of 67
Asr, did you post somewhere about how or what made you decided to change your source to the CD33?

Team Black, very sexy
post #8 of 67
GS-X surely looks imposing

Asr, not sure if you talked about it before, but how does the Heed measure up to Headamp's offerings?
post #9 of 67
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by socrates63 View Post
Asr, did you post somewhere about how or what made you decided to change your source to the CD33?
Well originally I was going to upgrade the CD73 to the CD192 but that all changed when I found a CD33 on Audiogon for less than what I would've paid for the upgrade module. Plus it just made more sense since the CD33 is in the next tier above the CD192.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ahriman4891 View Post
GS-X surely looks imposing

Asr, not sure if you talked about it before, but how does the Heed measure up to Headamp's offerings?
With respect to the GS-1, I find the GS-1 to perform better in most aspects. With respect to the Gilmore Lite, I won't be able to report in detail until I have mine back from Loaner Program #4.

UPDATED IMPRESSIONS - 8 HOURS

So now that my GS-X is in place, I thought I would give things a try with my Mogami-balanced K701. Now this isn't fully balanced, since the input isn't balanced, nor do I really know if there's any sonic improvement trying to use balanced headphones like this, but I can say that there's a definite change in the sound of the K701 over my single-ended one. Greater soundstage scope - it's mind-blowing how much more soundstage is coming out of the K701! There's also much more bass density - it's deeper, but more than anything it's more "instrumental" than ever before. Words can't quite describe this, it's like the bass just jumped to a level where it went beyond mere existence and is just more realistic.

Also since I read on this forum about the GS-X working great with Audio-Technica cans at unity gain, that's exactly what I did for my AD2000. Well yeah, it works fine. But I was kinda disappointed, it sounds nothing like my Gilmore Lite stack. I'm not sure it's a synergistic pairing for my AD2000, I'd gotten so used to it with my Gilmore Lite stack and liked that sound so much. I'm sure the GS-X is pushing more than enough current for it, but the sound isn't really a great synergy. Guess I'll have to give it more time, because the AD2000 was going to be one of my two primary cans with this amp - if I don't like the pairing, I'm not sure what I'm going to do.
post #10 of 67
@Asr:

I think you should try medium gain, because on unity gain, the GS-X is only a buffer. The amp itself is not providing any amplification; only your source is. This suggests, at least to me, that your AD2000s are not synergistic with your source, since if the GS-X is nothing but a buffer in unity gain, it is just reflecting your source. As to why the Gilmore Lite may sound better with the AD2000s, I am speculating that since the Gilmore Lite has no unity gain (the gain is 6x, or 15db), the amplification circuit itself may impose more of its own sound signature than the GS-X is at unity gain. And it may happen that the Gilmore Lite's particular signature is more synergistic with the AD2000s.

Again, this is all my speculation.
post #11 of 67
Asr I need that CD player ! :P
post #12 of 67
Thread Starter 
UPDATED IMPRESSIONS - 11 HOURS

My CD73 is all packed up now and ready to go out tomorrow. I've said my goodbyes.

In its place, the FMJ CD33! I've posted some impressions of the CDP over in the Sources forum. Since this isn't the Sources forum, time for more impressions of the GS-X, right?

First I have to say that I haven't even bothered with the GS-1, I decided to go straight for the GS-X! Here's my new equipment chain:

Signal Cable Silver Res Reference power cord > Arcam FMJ CD33 > Signal Cable Silver Res Analog w/ Eichmann silver bullets > HeadAmp GS-X > single-ended K701

I don't know yet if the GS-X is as transparent as I want it to be. Right now, I don't care. I'm too busy enjoying the audio bliss!!!! Granted the CDP is probably the major contributor for the improvement in sound, but I wouldn't be hearing all this if not for the GS-X. It's amazing. Forget soundstage - when you're hearing the air itself as an instrument, and the weight of the air itself, and spatials that truly surround you, and so much texture on the instruments that you can practically taste them, it's so much bliss you don't want it to stop!!! The GS-X/CD33 combo is freaking me out!!! I can't tear myself away from the music! Somebody stop me!!!!!!!!
post #13 of 67
Quote:
Originally Posted by Asr View Post
UPDATED IMPRESSIONS - 11 HOURS

My CD73 is all packed up now and ready to go out tomorrow. I've said my goodbyes.

In its place, the FMJ CD33! I've posted some impressions of the CDP over in the Sources forum. Since this isn't the Sources forum, time for more impressions of the GS-X, right?

First I have to say that I haven't even bothered with the GS-1, I decided to go straight for the GS-X! Here's my new equipment chain:

Signal Cable Silver Res Reference power cord > Arcam FMJ CD33 > Signal Cable Silver Res Analog w/ Eichmann silver bullets > HeadAmp GS-X > single-ended K701

I don't know yet if the GS-X is as transparent as I want it to be. Right now, I don't care. I'm too busy enjoying the audio bliss!!!! Granted the CDP is probably the major contributor for the improvement in sound, but I wouldn't be hearing all this if not for the GS-X. It's amazing. Forget soundstage - when you're hearing the air itself as an instrument, and the weight of the air itself, and spatials that truly surround you, and so much texture on the instruments that you can practically taste them, it's so much bliss you don't want it to stop!!! The GS-X/CD33 combo is freaking me out!!! I can't tear myself away from the music! Somebody stop me!!!!!!!!
I'll stop you!! Send the gear to me!!
post #14 of 67
Thread Starter 
Me and the gear are chained together though, with chain links of love, man. And it's a package deal, if you want the gear, I'm coming with it!

Oh man, the more I listen to my system the more it freaks me out! I never knew my CDs could sound this good! Forget speakers man, headphones are the new hi-fi, and the K701 rocks my world! And my (black) system is the best sound I've ever heard!!! And I'm not even balanced yet!
post #15 of 67
Nice! I'm smiling from ear to ear and your the one listening to it!


Quote:
Originally Posted by Asr View Post
Me and the gear are chained together though, with chain links of love, man. And it's a package deal, if you want the gear, I'm coming with it!

Oh man, the more I listen to my system the more it freaks me out! I never knew my CDs could sound this good! Forget speakers man, headphones are the new hi-fi, and the K701 rocks my world! And my (black) system is the best sound I've ever heard!!! And I'm not even balanced yet!
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