The L3 is HERE! LONG overdue, this anticipated amp has finally started shipping! But is it better than its predecessor, the LISA III? In this comparison I will tackle that question. I will be comparing the two amps in multiple attributes. There will be no point score, no stars, no "golden headphones" thumbs up or smileys, I will simply compare one to another. This review will be more brief, due to the fact I predict they won't be THAT different I will list attributes and say how each one did in that regard. I will be using the Sony MDR-V6's in this comparison, and will evaluate how well the L3 handles IEM's separately later (the LISA III doesn't really do IEM's).
IN THE BOX;
Packaging was simple, cardboard box, a couple sheets of cardboard, bubble wrap and foam. Included was a cardas dual right angle 3.5mm interconnect. NOT included was a POWER SUPPLY. I have an LLP so I will use that to charge it. Thats all there is...
Yes, for the longest time the Lisa III was the "brickiest" of amps, the L3, I feel will help in this area, unfortunately I was a little late sending in my prepayment back in may, and got stuck with a woody (LOL) Now I was given a metal faceplate that I used to make the Idevice LOD that I was supposed to send to Triad Audio, but my machinist is too busy to make connectors, and all the other machinists want rapist prices to make them. So I can tell you that the metal L3 case is "Cargo Pocketable" so it is something I would actually carry around. I'll let the pictures speak for themselves as for how big the wood case is.
FIT AND FINISH;
The wood case is nicely machined, with a Triad audio logo on the top, the edges line up perfectly, however, the depressions for the 3.5 input/output connectors are deep, and could interfere with larger 3.5mm connectors (I can tell you right now that a large Via blue 3.5mm connector won't fit, a new smaller one might) The controls are smooth, to be honest smoother than the Lisa III's, the switches (yes there is a gain switch on the L3 to make it more IEM friendly) are the same. It seems solidly built, there is no support for the knobs on the L3 as there is on the Lisa III, the RCA's are unsupported as they were on the Lisa III. The knobs on the L3 are a bit cockeyed, concerning on a $700 amp......
THE AUDIO TEST
On this front, I'm going to have to hand it to the L3, YES it is clearer than the LISA III, and it is apparent, everything is clear all the way down, and to be honest, a touch smoother than the LISA III.
I'm going to have to hand it to the L3 again! It is more detailed, on the cymbals in "Life in Mono" I can hear greater detail, it is also noticeably smoother than the Lisa III. In Enya's "On My Way Home" I can hear the tambourine(?) in the background more clearly, with greater detail than on the Lisa III it isn't that much greater, but it is there, If I didn't have both in front of me I'd never know.
A hot button topic with me, but any grain here is imported by the MDR-V6's the amps are smooth, but the L3 wins in this regard as well, being NOTICEABLY smoother than the LISA III.
DRAW! I notice no difference in sound stage on my Binaural track or any track for that matter.
Normally I would use HD650's or Ultrasone's for this, but seeing as I cant get my FRIGGEN 1/4 to 3.5 adapter to plug into the L3, I thought I had an Iphone adapter round here somewhere, but I don't.
The L3 is a little bassier, and is more dynamic all across the board, and it is apparent. With the bass knob turned to max, the bass is equal on both amps, and is TIGHT on both, yet smoother on the L3.
The L3 wins in this regard, it is more dynamic all the way down, every thing is a little punchier, both amps turn my V6's in to a pair of ultrasone like beasts, tight punchy and dynamic, minus the weird soundstage and unshakeable brightness (yes I have a pair of Ultrasone Pro650's, and plan on buying the Pro900's, maybe the ED8's but gotta hear em first)
The L3 is slightly bassier, and it is noticeable. I am also noticing that the L3 is a tad cooler, if you didn't have both to compare you'd never know. other than that the presentation is similar.
IN MY OPINION, TO MY EARS WITH MY EQUIPMENT,THE L3 WON THIS COMPARISON. More dynamic, smoother, but a touch cooler, the L3 didn't disappoint (getting a wood case however, did ) It was everything I hoped it would be (and more) and a fitting replacement for the LISA III, I guess I can now finally retire my LISA III to full time desk duty and do the capacitor mod (we'll see)
Edited by BattleBrat - 8/12/11 at 9:36pm