Lake People Phone-Amp 103-S

General Information

The G103-S was developped with the target to enable good transmission quality for low- , medium- and high-impedance headphones.

Due to its specific, variable, low-noise and low-distortion circuit design especially optimised for dynamic headphones, the G103-S fulfils more than basic demands.

LOW-NOISE (-94 dBu A-wtd)
because of low internal gain.
Therefore the self generated noise from the amplifer is not audible.

HIGH OUTPUT VOLTAGE (aprox. 13 V eff into 600 Ohms load)
through high internal operating voltage.

HIGH OUTPUT POWER (approx 1200 mW into 50 Ohms load)
because of powerful amplifiers able to deliver much more current a headphone needs.
Therefore best suited for low impedance headphones and even magnetostatic cans !!

HIGH DAMPING FACTOR ( >500 relative to a 50 ohms load)
through lowest output impedance.
Therefore best suited for full control even over critical headphones
with the garantee to have flatest possible response.

FEATURES:

- 2 x (L/R) unalanced inputs with gold-plated Alps RCA connectors
- PRE-GAIN = switchable input gain in two steps
- ALPS RK14 volume control
- High-Quality op-amps in the signal path
- 1% metal film resistors throughout the unit
- 2 silver-plated Neutrik headphone outputs
- Large filtering capacitors in the power supply
- Switchable ground lift
- Aluminium case, black anodized
- Aluminium front panel, black anodized, silver silk screening
- Dimensions: 108 x 49 x 125 mm (W x H x D)

Latest reviews

Pros: Build quality, sound, chassis finish.
Cons: Gain switch inside - you need to open the chassis.
Build quality:
Top notch with very nice anodized aluminum feeling and sturdy chassis. Feeling of the pot are also very nice, smooth and most important for me without any traces of crackling sound when changing the volume!
 
Sound:
This is just initials, so G103 wasn't even burnt in, just connected out from my Marantz PM6004 tape/recorder output via pair of Chord VEE3 RCA interconnects. Gain left with default setting, so I guess it's +8dB. Other option is to set it up to +14dB, but I think that for 250Ohm cans +8dB is enough giving me landing position on the pot around 60-70% depends on the recording. 
 
First noise level, nothing, nada! Completely black background even I crank the pot to the maximum position. This is for +8dB gain and T90 cans. As per InnerFidelity review. 
 
Now, after the first listen what I've noticed first is wider and deeper soundstage comparing to my Caiman MKII headphone out. I've checked it using left/right tests from this webpage: http://www.audiocheck.net/audiotests_stereo.php, btw, very good source for any tests you'd like to do for your equipment and sound, and perception of the left and right channels is wider and deeper. I was also able to hear it when playing acoustic music, like the E.S.E. CD1 from Blue Coast Records.
 
Treble is crystal clear and crisp! It may be little too much for someone, but I've noticed that it depends on the recording as well, especially some of the 50/60th jazz records could sound little bit too bright, but I think it's the way they're recorded.
 
Bass is controlled very well, extends quite deep, but it's not on the first plane as it should be, because listening to the live concert, bass is not the sound you will hear in the first row. It's present and you are able to keep its musical line throughout the whole song, but it's not boosted. For the classical recordings it is enough bass to feel the scale I think, but I need to listen more - just checked with Joyce Di Donato's Stella Di Napoli 24/96 album.
 
For the midrange and I think this range is more impactful what we hear gives me sort of goose bumps especially when listening to records like Steve Ray Voughan guitar from MOFI The Sky is Crying or Famous Blue Raincoat album from Jennifer Warnes. For the oldies like OJC's Cannonball Adderley Know What I Mean or Something Else APO release or John Coltrane Giant Steps the PRAT was so nice that I almost started dancing. Instruments like guitars, violins, voices or saxes are so nice sounding with body and "juice". I would summarize it as the amp gives to my T90 weight and body to the sound.
 
Up to this stage, when I definitely need more time to listen to various records, I could say that the G103 is rather neutral and does not color the sound at all presenting you what exactly was recorded - this is how it should be I think. Comparing to my other gear headphone outs where even considered to be flat by design they adding some little boost here and there - at least to my ears. So far happy owner of T90/G103 combo
mkrzych
mkrzych
Acutally the price was in EUR.
raybone0566
raybone0566
good review, all of violectric's amps are fanastic. built like tanks. I agree they don't colour the sound, they just amplifiy it.
mkrzych
mkrzych
Yes, Vioelectric was too expensive for me at this time, so I've decided to go for cheaper Lake People. So far happy, only thing could be gain switch easier accessible, but it isn't the thing you're gonna change often.

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