Head-Fi.org › Forums › Summit-Fi (High-End Audio) › High-end Audio Forum › The HeadAmp GS-X and GS-X MK2 Thread
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:

The HeadAmp GS-X and GS-X MK2 Thread - Page 59

post #871 of 5311

I might get banned for slander if I compare the two :P

post #872 of 5311
Originally Posted by GloryUprising View Post

Damn, I just have a NuWave DAC.... do i need to be saving my pennies for an upgrade???

Yes you do.

post #873 of 5311
Originally Posted by GloryUprising View Post

Damn, I just have a NuWave DAC.... do i need to be saving my pennies for an upgrade???
They will be in your area soon, check out the DC area meet thread for time and places.
post #874 of 5311
Originally Posted by CDWMcInSpots View Post

Grace Design m903 has independent volume control for RCA, balanced TRS and headphone out. In addition there's an offset function (+/-) for at least the line outs.


Lynx Hilo has independent volume control for balanced TRS, XLR and headphone out, offset functions and much more. On the other side, each output has its own DAC circuit, and the main XLR line out is different from and supposedly better than the two others which are meant for monitoring purposes.


I believe professional audio equipment often have more such flexibility features than domestic hifi equipment.


On both these and my other sources, all outputs are/can be live at the same time. Outputs with volume control can be muted/turned down. On the Lynx Hilo you can turn on and off (just about) everything. At the moment I don't remember whether one can turn off outputs on the Grace Design m903, but they can be turned completely down.


This is indeed true for a lot of pro equipment but convenience comes at a price, atrocious circuit design.  Not saying the Esoteric is some gold standard (most of them are quite bad) but the output stages in a lot of pro equipment are horrible.  They are just designed for power and low THD, nothing else. 

post #875 of 5311
Thread Starter 
Originally Posted by Rico613 View Post

So what you're saying is you will be looking for something bigger and badder in about 6 months? . . . typical Head-Fi'r  . . . lol . . . wink.gif

Honestly, with amps...I'm done with the GS-X. End-game amp for sure. smile.gif

post #876 of 5311
Thread Starter 
Originally Posted by Icenine2 View Post


Alright boys.  Could you give me your listening impressions of the GS-XII vs. the LF.  I am happy with my LF but would love to read your impressions.  

I really liked the LF (especially with the Siemens E88CCs), but a week or two after my GS-X arrived, I knew the writing was on the wall for my LF. First off, the GS-X is a more versatile amp. I can play all of my headphones (full sized and portables) and right down to my IEMs (on unity gain) with it. And they have never sounded better. How many amps can do that? I feel that the GS-X was cleaner, with better dynamics and truer to revealing what the recording and my source was giving me. 


Then a few months ago, I popped in a new quad of Dynalo+ modules and the GS-X kicked up another notch. More dynamic and authoritative while still neutral and very clean. As much as I enjoyed the LF, I really don't miss it with the GS-X sitting here in my rack. smile.gif

post #877 of 5311

*****GS-X mk2 Impressions*****




I’ve been listening to this setup for over a week now.  So I’ve put over 100 hours on the GS-X both listening and just letting the music play combined. 



HD800 and LCD-3



GS-X m2 and a 4 channel Bata22



Audio-GD Master 7


I’ve got some pretty good high quality material to listen to as well.


Head Fi’s own “Open Your Ears” at 24/96

Jazz at the Pawnshop at 24/88

2L Audiophile Reference Recordings (Classical) at 24/192

CD and DVD rips (Rap/Hip-Hop) at 16/44 and 16/48


Using the 4-pin XLR balanced output on both amps, and the Loop out of the GS-X into the Beta22 I’m able to switch from one amp to the other pretty fast.  This allows me to keep what I just heard fresh in my head.  This is a great tool for A/Bing amps. 


Keeping the GS-X mk2 on high gain while volume matching the Beta22.  I found at 11:00 pm would be best for both while being just a tab bit loud for me.   That’s OK I need to be able to extract as much detail as possible. 


Both amps get warm to the touch.  Not nearly as hot as my First Watt F1J, that thing gets HOT.


The following is IMHO:


First I must say the Master 7 beat out the PWD2 for pure detail and pure resolution.  The PWD2 beat out the Master 7 in a few things but for this I need as much detail as possible.  Imaging and soundstage is pretty much a toss up on both.  Bass quantity is in favor of the PWD2 but the Master 7 is no slouch in this area.  The Master 7 wins in bass quality and resolution.


What can I say?  This is as much fun I’ve had in a while.  Using the loop out makes things a lot easier. 


Off the break I can tell the Beat22 adds a bit of warmth or color to the music.  The GS-X seems to add nothing.   The GS-X seems to be more open with more air, while the Beat22 seems to be warmer and a tad bit laid back.   Both are full-bodied amps no question.  I would not call either amp thin or thick even when comparing to each other. 

The Beta22 is a more forgiving amp as well it can tolerate some not so good recording.  The GS-X mk2 on the other hand is not as forgiving.  This amp puts the “T” in transparent.  To really enjoy the GS-X mk2 I suggest you get some high quality recordings, or they will be exposed.


Tonal Balance:


The GS-X mk2 is faster - more neutral and cleaner, real liquidity sounding.  A tad bit sharper in the lower treble while not being harsh at all, just more detailed. The GS-X mk2, in comparison to the Beta22, has a better tonal balanced with no aggression at either end of the spectrum and no discernible warmth. Sound really good with classical music paired with the HD800 and a good source.  Depending on the rest of your chain will determine if this amp gets fatiguing or not.  If you have a fatiguing source then you'll have a fatiguing GS-X mk2.


The Beta22 is warmer in the bass and lower mid range area with not a hint of treble edge in fact I would say it’s slightly rounded.  Sound really sweet with certain music like Rap / Hip-Hop and Jazz.  I can listen to this amp all day.  No way does the Beta22 get fatiguing.


Winner = GS-X mk2


Detail extraction and micro detail:

The GS-X mk2 extracts detail at a very high level.  Also it really depends on your source.  If your source is able to focus on and extract the micro detail and deliver it to the GS-X mk2, in turn the GS-X mk2 will deliver it in the same manner without any detail lose. In short this amp has all kinds of the fine inner detail that you may be looking for.  It does not smear or gloss over any of the micro-detail what so ever.


The Beta22 also does micro detail extraction good.  Just not as good as the GS-X mk.  It’s important to have a good source here as well, just not as important as with the GS-X mk2.  The Beta22 can gloss over the finer details at times with the color it puts on the music. Not extremely detailed like the GS-X mk2, but still retains a lot of detail. I think it’s because of the warmer sound sig.  This amp is more for sitting back, relaxing and really enjoying the music.


Winner = GS-X mk2


Bass quantity:


The Beta22 wins here, but not by much at all. The overall impact and slam, though a little loose in control sometimes, hits harder than the GS-X mk2 slightly.  This can be a toss up on some tracks, because the GS-X mk has good attack as well.  I think the Beta22 wins in sub bass presence.  While using the LCD-3, I can get that rumble at the low levels.   Not so much with the GS-X mk2.


Winner = Beta22


Bass quality:


No question, this is a win for the GS-X mk2.  The GS-X mk2 controls the bass better and is more natural sounding, but the impact is slightly stronger on the Beta22.  The mid bass is also cleaner on the GS-X mk2.  The GS-X mk has very good excellent driver control through out the frequency band.  However, the Beta22 is able to give you that bass rumble by slightly lengthening the decay.  Neither amp has a response that sounds flabby or muddy.


Winner = GS-x mk2




Both amps are explosive and very impactful across the frequency band.  Both amps are able to keep its intensity with either fast paced or slower paced music.  In short both amps excel in macro dynamic rendering.


Winner = Tie


Staging and imaging:


Until now I thought the Beta22 had a very large soundstage.  It still does, but comparing the two:  The GS-X mk2 seems a larger in all areas. 


The GS-X mk delivers a really great and cohesive soundstage. Every piece of music sits right in front of you, and just smoothly spreads out. Instruments easily separate out in space.  It’s has a very airy sound, while still giving weight to instruments. This amp is indeed very smooth and transparent.


The HD800 plus the GS-X mk2 does Soundstage like no other.  The staging on this combo is wide, deep with very good height and very three-dimensional / holographic sounding – while doing multilayered music and passages better than any other solid-state amp I’ve heard.  The instrument positions ware very ell defined, resolution of complex classical pieces is just amazing.


The Beta22 does soundstage very good as well and was the best I’ve heard until the GS-X mk2 arrived.  The Beta22 easily had better staging and imaging over all the other amps I’ve heard and / or listened to.  This includes the BHA-1, Mjolinor, GS-1, Burson 160D, Just any other amp I’ve heard period. 


Winner = GS-X mk2


Treble / Highs:


The Beta22 has smoother lower and upper treble, but sometimes it can smear images by rolling off edges and kind of put its own house sound on music.  The treble is not as extended as the GS-X mk. Its smooth and delicate in the upper frequency range, can be very clear and detailed at times.  I’ve never experienced any kind of harshness or treble etch. And not nearly as aggressive as the BHA-1 or Mjolnir, It just says silky smooth, maybe a tad too much for some music.


The GS-X mk2 extends the highs a bit more, not in a harsh way but in a very detailed way.  Better control in the top end, with plenty of clarity, accuracy while being smooth.  Particularly in that you don’t notice any treble veiling or grain with no sense of treble roll-off or brightness.


Winner = Toss up. Depends on what you like




The mids the Beta22 give is seductive, very sweet, and silky and is perfectly balanced.  The mids have a pleasing forward warmth, not overly lush like my M^3 just really enjoyable.  The Beta22 is able to get you their emotionally it’s very intimate and musical.


The mids on the GS-X mk are clear, smooth, very accurate, fluid and upfront not noticeable recessed at any time.  The GS-X mk has that to tapping ability it really keeps you involved in the music with no emphasis anywhere.


Winner = Beta22




Both are really fine amps, you can’t go wrong with either.  Thus far these are my two favorite Headphone Amps.  These are two of the most versatile headphone amps on the market. I’m not much of a tube guy so I can’t really comment on how these compare to the different tube amps.  I may someday go down that rabbit hole.  


Maybe it's time for a re-make of the Beta22 with all the new amps coming out ie.. The LAu, The Burson Soloist, The Schiit Statement. The Beta22 will have a very hard time to stay relevant in todays world of headphone amps.


Long live the Beta22


What about the HE-6?  Well, the F1J is still the King of that hill.  Not saying the GS-X mk2 or the Beat22 can’t drive it, but they can’t drive it better than the F1J. 

Edited by preproman - 3/24/13 at 5:26am
post #878 of 5311

nice Darryl! Thank you!

post #879 of 5311

Great review preproman, I'm now even more looking forward to listening to my incoming GS-X darthsmile.gif

post #880 of 5311
Thread Starter 

Great write up Darryl! 


I reckon we hear both the B22 and GS-X pretty similarly. Interesting that you hear the Master 7 vs. the PWD2 very closely to how Shahrose did. He ended up selling the PWD2 in favour of the Audio gd DAC.

post #881 of 5311
Nice write up smily_headphones1.gif.

I really enjoy having a GS-1 and a 2 channel β22. I share many of your views on the differences. I'm wondering if the upgraded modules will add anything to the sound as I pretty much just use my HD800 and Paradox.
post #882 of 5311
Thread Starter 
Originally Posted by MomijiTMO View Post

Nice write up smily_headphones1.gif.

I really enjoy having a GS-1 and a 2 channel β22. I share many of your views on the differences. I'm wondering if the upgraded modules will add anything to the sound as I pretty much just use my HD800 and Paradox.

I found the upgrade worthwhile with my LCD-3s and HD800s especially on my GS-X. 

post #883 of 5311

nice objective write up Darryl. 

post #884 of 5311
Originally Posted by MomijiTMO View Post

Nice write up smily_headphones1.gif.

I really enjoy having a GS-1 and a 2 channel β22. I share many of your views on the differences. I'm wondering if the upgraded modules will add anything to the sound as I pretty much just use my HD800 and Paradox.


I can't speak to how much of a difference upgrading the modules in the GS-1 would make. I will say that the new modules in the GS-X mk2 (which has a better power supply than the GS-1)  is a real step up from the GS-1.  We spent this week doing sighted and blind A/B listening between the GS-1 and the GS-X mk2 both single ended and balanced. The GS-X the bass is better (quantity and quality), better spacial imaging, more air when it should be there, seems like more extension at the high end, mids slightly more detailed, overall even more transparent than the GS-1.  Side note: To my ears, there wasn't a clear difference between single ends and balanced with the GS-X mk2 and the HD800s.


I really appreciate preproman's review. I pretty much agree with everything he said based on my memory of a fully balanced B22 I used for a bit.  The only place I would slightly disagree is rather than giving the b22 the nod in the mid-range, I would declare a tie, with my preference being dependent on what music I was listening to.



Edited by verber - 3/24/13 at 1:55pm
post #885 of 5311

thank you darryl. i read with great interest. beerchug.gif

i agree with your impressions about the beta but i like this amplifier because is a solide state with control and a little colour

i´m curious about the gs-x but in my country i can listen only buying it

Edited by alota - 3/24/13 at 6:04am
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:
  Return Home
  Back to Forum: High-end Audio Forum
Head-Fi.org › Forums › Summit-Fi (High-End Audio) › High-end Audio Forum › The HeadAmp GS-X and GS-X MK2 Thread