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Lake People G109 / G103 thread - Page 6

post #76 of 575
Originally Posted by devhen View Post

@FlySweep, thanks for the impressions and great pic. That's really high praise for the G109 and its great to hear. I'm glad you're happy. Maybe this G109 will start to become a little more popular around here since it does get great reviews and seems to compare really favorably to other amps in its price range and above.


No prob!  Bad quality pic though as I took it hastily.. I'll snap something a little nicer tomorrow with natural light.


I appreciate the build quality of the amp.. sturdy, sleek, and understated.  German Engineering at its finest, no?  I've been raving via PM to one of my buds about how much I love the volume pot.. lol.  So smooth, the stepping is so accurate.  I've got the gain set at stock (medium gain) and it offers the most play for reasonably efficient orthos (in my case, the HE-400).  I'm sure the HE-500 would be fine at this setting too.  Interestingly enough, I can ably drive even sensitive IEMs at this (medium) gain setting.  No volume imbalance at even the lowest level (awesome) and I can get to 9 pm on the pot to reach comfortable listening levels.


This amp definitely deserves more attention.  There's a lot of competition at the price, but I'm quite confident the 109 is truly one of the more special amps out there.  I doubt there's much competition that's built better.. and the G109's ability to drive a range of phones with such finesse and authority is quite impressive to me.  What more, it's being offered from a company with a very solid reputation and technical background.  Spend a little time with this amp and all that becomes very apparent.  I wrestled with the idea of going with the V200.. but felt it was something to look at much further down the line.. after having the 109, I'm scuttled that desire entirely.  What the 109 delivers in terms of performance is thoroughly satisfying.. I can't imagine the V200 being more than some incremental improvement, considering diminishing returns, and all.


The 109 came highly recommended from (the always knowledgeable) project86.. he's a guy who's heard a thing or two (lol), and the fact he couldn't identify any notable flaw with this amp truly sold me.  In the brief time I've spent with the G109, it's thoroughly delivered on the lofty expectations I had set.


Also, the customer service from Lake People was fantastic.  Prompt, polite, emails kept everything moving quickly and I was amazed with how fast it got delivered (ordered on Monday, at my doorstep today/Wednesday).

post #77 of 575
Thread Starter 

@FlySweep, I totally agree with you on all of that. I don't have any other comparable amps to pit my G109 against, just the powered headphone jack on my Klipsch ProMedia 2.1, so maybe I'm taking for granted just how good the G109 is. But I've certainly been happy with it.


I also use the medium gain setting and I agree, it does a really great job of allowing you to run anything from sensitive portables to 600 ohm cans.


I agree on the Lake People customer service. They are really awesome to work with and extremely nice and quick to respond. And I was similarly blown away to receive my amp direct from Germany to Utah within less than 48 hours. Even if it were available here in the states I would seriously consider ordering it directly from Lake People instead.


I agree on the build quality and the volume pot. Everything is smooth and accurate and very sturdy.


The strong point of the G109 might just be its power. It gave my HD600 and DT770 600 ohm stronger bass which I expected based on their impedance curves. If you have cans that do best when given plenty of power (including orthos) the G109 is an awesome choice. I can't wait to finally try mine with some orthos. Now I just need to decide between the HE-500 and the LCD2. :)


Oh, and you mentioned quality German engineering. I'm a huge fan of everything German. I'm an engineer myself (software engineer anyway) and I've always been thoroughly impressed with all of the German engineered products I've purchased and used (and there are many, lol) and this G109 is certainly no exception. German engineering at its best, indeed. ;)

Edited by devhen - 1/17/13 at 3:37am
post #78 of 575

@ Flysweep Thanks for your impression!

post #79 of 575
Originally Posted by FlySweep View Post




I've had it for a few hours.. and am so thoroughly impressed.. my wife's worried about the way I'm (seductively) looking at it tongue_smile.gif.


The transparency is unreal.. the sound is frighteningly clean, effortless, & impeccably detailed.. so much so that it sounds downright liquid.  Pairs with both the HE-400 & HD600 beautifully.  The HE-400, in particular, sounds heavenly.  As I noted on the HE-400 thread.. the 109 makes the O2 sound, comparatively, slow and muddy.  Instrument separation & soundstage proportion is phenomenal.  Tonal accuracy is as good as I've heard.  Articulation, dynamics, control, and speed across the spectrum is awesome.  It's all showcased with the HE-400.  The G109 just sounds so damn natural to my ears.  I couldn't be happier with the purchase.


I've gained new found appreciation for the ODAC, as well.  I've always admired it's accuracy & resolving ability.. but I was taken aback by just how good it was once it fed the G109.  The last thing HeadFi needs is exaggeration.. and I'm pretty even tempered with my enthusiasm.. but this, IMO, is a significant upgrade over the O2 as far as sound quality goes.  More thoughts coming in time.. but as far as solid state amps, I can't imagine anything sound better at the price... let alone the majority amps under $1000.  It's effectively ended my search for a solid state amp.


I suppose you compared level matched ^^ .


Any way on great german amp very well built there is also the SPL Auditor / Phonitor (but they seams more aimed at high impedance cans) , the G109S is more versatile tongue.gif

post #80 of 575

Thank you for commenting on the ODAC performance with the G109, FlySweep.

That's the Dac I'm planning to get to feed my V100.

Right now, I'm sadly, limited to my crappy PC line-out and the V100 really shows how crappy it is. :(

This amp really deserves a good source.

post #81 of 575

I bought the G-103P a month or so back and have been very very happy with it ever since.


I have used it successfully with a range of headphones - T1, HD800, HE-500 and HE-4.  It worked very well with all, with plenty of current and gain to spare with all but the inefficient HE-4's and even these were plenty loud enough.  The dual outputs are a great feature and perfect for comparing headphones quickly and easily.


It beats my Bel Canto DAC1.5's headphone output very convincingly.  Of the other headphone amps that I have owned, it is more detailed than the Lehmann clones, provides way more current than a Woo WA-3 and is much more neutral than either of these quite dark sounding amps.  It provides plenty of current for my orthos and is way more user friendly and safe than the Schiit Lyr (which blew the drivers of a pair of Beyer T70's as I plugged them in, evil horrible thing).


Other than possibly going for the G-109, I can't imagine really needing to ever change amp again.  Another strong recommendation for an excellent amp and manufacturer.

post #82 of 575
Thread Starter 

Thanks for the feedback 0rangutan! Glad to see you're liking the G103. Congrats.


That's got to be the best bang for your buck among amps that are capable of adequately powering all of the different cans you mentioned. :)

post #83 of 575

Can someone explain if there are true differences in the sound of G103 and G109, or only is a power differentiation?


I´m very interested in this amps, but the G109 is a bit expensive. It´d be to drive a pair of LCD2.

post #84 of 575

I have the G103 already and a G109 arriving any day now.

I should be able to A/B test fairly well as my DAC has two outputs - I will let you know whether I can hear a difference!

post #85 of 575
Thread Starter 
Originally Posted by 0rangutan View Post

I have the G103 already and a G109 arriving any day now.

I should be able to A/B test fairly well as my DAC has two outputs - I will let you know whether I can hear a difference!


Awesome!!! Thanks! Looking forward to your impressions.

post #86 of 575

Good news - the G109-S arrived today and so I have both amps set up side-by-side now.


My setup is iMac -> USB -> Bel Canto DAC 1.5 -> XLR to G103-P / RCA to G109-S.

Headphones tested are Denon D2000, Hifiman HE-4 and Sennheiser HD800.


The quick summary is that both amps are truly excellent and my previous impressions of the G103 hold true for the G109 - I can't hear an audible difference between them.

The most significant difference, other than the wider form factor of the G109 is the volume knob and ALPS RK 27 pot.  The knob on the 103 moves smoothly, feels great and has no obvious low level imbalance.  The 109's more expensive pot features a larger dial and moves in small steps, rather than moving smoothly (although it is not a stepped attenuator).  This feels even more kinaesthetic and is a real pleasure to use.

I chose to change the gain jumpers from the stock middle setting to the higher gain on the 109.  This has resulted in average listening position of 12 o'clock with the HE-4's and just past 11 with the HD800's.  For anyone wondering whether these amps can drive orthos, rest assured, they are more than up to the job!


So which to keep?  In all honesty, I would be quite happy with either.  I suspect that I will probably hang on to the G109, if only for the volume knob and to keep the upgrade OCD at bay.

post #87 of 575

My HD800 arrived today.. driving it from the ODAC & G109.. it sounds phenomenal.  Smooth, clean, clear, very transparent... and everything else that's associated with the HD800.  The G109 does a wonderful job of putting some 'meat on the HD800's bones" while taking some of the edge off the treble spike.  The synergy is terrific.  You can read my flowery, initial impressions here.  

post #88 of 575
Thread Starter 

Awesome! I'm glad you're liking the G109/HD800 so much. Great write-up in the HD800 thread. Thanks. Makes me wish I had an HD800. I've been eyeing the LCD2 and HE-500 but this makes me think maybe I should be considering the HD800 more heavily.


It looks like you have some other amps and dac/amps, care to elaborate on how the G109 compares? Particularly the O2 and TubeDAC-11 which I've heard great things about.

Edited by devhen - 2/3/13 at 12:37am
post #89 of 575
Originally Posted by devhen View Post

Awesome! I'm glad you're liking the G109/HD800 so much. Great write-up in the HD800 thread. Thanks. Makes me wish I had an HD800. I've been eyeing the LCD2 and HE-500 but this makes me think maybe I should be considering the HD800 more heavily.


It looks like you have some other amps and dac/amps, care to elaborate on how the G109 compares? Particularly the O2 and TubeDAC-11 which I've heard great things about.


I had the HE-500.. a terrific phone.. but I found it a little too thick & forward through the midrange.. the bass, while terrific in terms of extension, dynamics, clarity, & other technicalities, felt too centered around the midbass.  This combination made for a slightly intimate sounding midrange that reminded me of a little too much of a quintessential "Grado" presentation (but certainly not as aggressive or harsh).  Treble was very smooth.. but could've had a little more presence for my tastes.


As you can see, my disagreements with were purely subjective & personal in nature.. I guess I hoped for more linearity & openness out of it.. the HD800 delivered that in spades.. while sounding even more engaging.  The HE-400.. while more colored in comparison to the HE-500, was a breath of fresh air, too.  The HE-400's more linear bass response, thinner, airy midrange, sparkly treble, and open soundstage served as a great change of pace.  There's a reason these two phones (along with the Paradox) are my only full sized phones.. they cover all genres and moods for me.


The O2 & G109 share a lot in terms of transparency.. but the G109 offers better dynamics, instrument separation, an even better soundstage (which says something since the O2 has a terrific soundstage), and a more muscular bass response.  The O2 is an excellent amp.. delivering more than the price tag for sure.. but the G109 sounds like the more refined, articulate amp built on very similar principles.  There's more depth and clarity to the sound with the G109.. that being said, I still like using the O2 as I've kept it in the stable.  If you like the 109, you'll like the O2.. and vice versa, IMO.


I'll offer thoughts on how the G109 stacks up to the TubeDAC-11 once I get the latter back.. it's being hacked/modded/upgraded, atm.. I'm quite looking forward to his shootout as the mods being performed are said to enable the TD-11 to legitimately compete with amps up to/around $1K.. I'll wait to hear how it sounds before commenting further, though.

post #90 of 575
Thread Starter 
Thanks FlySweep

Modding the TD-11 eh? Sounds very interesting. I'd love to hear how it turns out.
Edited by devhen - 2/3/13 at 2:13am
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