Competitors to the HeadAmp GS-1?
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Solude

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This might sound odd but are there any amps out there that I should consider before moving to a HeadAmp GS-1 or does the GS-1 own its price bracket? Anything from Singlepower, Meier, Eddie Current, HeadRoom... that can compete in the 750 and down range? Thanks.
 
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Zanth

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Depends on what your objectives are. If you want a tube amp, then of course, nothing the GS-1 can offer is going to match a technology it simply isn't.

In solid state land, at or under 750, I don't feel there is anything that I have heard thatbests the GS-1 in any area. I do enjoy Meier's sound and have heard an HA-2 which I really really enjoyed. The GS-1 is better than the HA-2, but I have never heard the Prehead which could very well be better. I will say this, Kelly once wrote a review of the Headamp Gilmore V1 and the Prehead, and though he would opt to go with the Prehead because of some additional features, pretty well stated they were on the same level with a nearly identical sound. If that is the case, then with the V2 and now the GS-1, there is a good chance that the GS-1 is at least as good as the Prehead.

How does the GS-1 compare with the new lineup of Headroom's amps? I have not heard any of them but they are being well received.

After hearing quite a few solid state amp, the only solid state amp that I would put in the same general area of the GS-1 at its price point would be the Talisman T35HP. It has a very similar warm and smooth sound as the GS-1 (for solid state) but the GS-1 has a higher level of resolution and microdynamics. I would have to have them side by side to test the extension up top of each, but in the bottom end the GS-1 is tighter for sure.
 
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gpalmer

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I would certainly consider the Ray Samuel's HR-2 also. Very nice amplifer with a somewhat different character than the GS-1. I would put them solidly in the same class. The HeadRoom amplifers also should be considered especially if you are interested in the features they offer that the GS-1 does not such as the integrated DAC or crossfeed features. I don't know the Meier lineup so I cannot offer advice on them one way or the other.

EDIT - I don't think the GS-1 owns it's price bracket the way the Gilmore Lite does its. Once you get up to that price range, the amplifers I have heard are generally technically competent, it's more a question of flavor than anything else. I will leave the tube amp recomendations to others who know them better.
 
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Zanth

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Well the HR2 is nearly 200 more than he wants to spend, that is why I didn't include it. The Prehead comparison was more for the sound benefits than actually going for the Prehead, thus my reason for recommending the Meier HA2.

At the 500-750 mark there is nothing that really does what the GS-1 can, not sure yet about the Headroom amps. Under 1k though, that is a different story, there are Ray's amps, the Sugden, Headamp Gilmores. Under 1.5k and nearly the penultimate can be attained in SS land. I have not heard the new Max, but the Prehead MK II SE or the Gilmore Reference would definitely be right up there with the new Max equivalent (since the new Max is now the Blockhead equivalent).

Tube amps, yeah...a whole other ball of wax.
 
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Solude

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So I'll infer that the Eddie Current HD25, Singlepower PPX and Corda HA-2 don't quite reach the GS-1. If I bump to the 1K region I'd think the Dynahi would be hard to best for a Gilmore type sound?

Basically I love ultra clean, warm side of neutral, dynamic amp that sounds effortless. Dark, overly warm, dry, forced need not apply.

Speaking of I was under the impression that Ray's amps were quite warm and dark? Might have to reread some of the reviews. I hated the Senn 600 for being dark, not sure an amp at that price with that character would be a good idea. Senn thing was a serious hate, earbuds over them sort of thing
 
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For the type of sound you seem to like I think the Dynahi would be it for you at the $1K mark.
 
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Solude

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Seems my memory of the Ray amps was quite a bit fuzzy
 
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Zanth

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Quote:

Originally Posted by Solude
Seems my memory of the Ray amps was quite a bit fuzzy




Yeah, I find them the exact opposite of warm and dark.
 
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Quote:

Originally Posted by Zanth
Well the HR2 is nearly 200 more than he wants to spend, that is why I didn't include it.


I think that's more like $125 excluding shipping and tax as with the GS-1, but there are always used amps!
 
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Quote:

Originally Posted by Solude
So I'll infer that the Eddie Current HD25, Singlepower PPX and Corda HA-2 don't quite reach the GS-1.


Much like beauty is in the eye of the beholder, I think the same is true about the amplifers and audiophiles ears. I'm betting SACD Lover would prefer the Eddie Current and Singlepower amps as one case in point.
 
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Quote:

Originally Posted by Solude
So I'll infer that the Eddie Current HD25, Singlepower PPX and Corda HA-2 don't quite reach the GS-1. If I bump to the 1K region I'd think the Dynahi would be hard to best for a Gilmore type sound?

Speaking of I was under the impression that Ray's amps were quite warm and dark? Might have to reread some of the reviews. I hated the Senn 600 for being dark, not sure an amp at that price with that character would be a good idea. Senn thing was a serious hate, earbuds over them sort of thing




I prefer the SLAM PPX3 ($799 vs $749) to the GS-1 on sound quality alone. But the GS-1 has a lot of extra features included in its price.

I definitely prefer the GS-1 to the HD25... despite my normal tube bias. I like both the sound and the build quality of the GS-1 better.

The standard PPX3 is an amp I particularly like and that would be a tough choice for me vs the GS-1. The PPX3 is less expensive and has an equivalent (but different) sound quality. However,the GS-1 has an equally good sound quality, the GS-1 is smaller and easier to place and I use all the amps many extra features; especially the preamp outputs. I suppose this choice would come down to what my priorities were when it came time to buy.

I like the GS-1 much better than the HR-2. I prefer the GS-1's sound quality... particularly the GS-1's larger soundstage and increased sense of openess. The GS-1 is $125 less expensive than the HR-2 and has several extra features (preamp output/ loop out/ high-low gain switch/ 2 headphone outputs) the HR-2 lacks. The GS-1 is dead quiet, built just as well and I personally like the one box design of the GS-1 vs the HR-2's two box design with an umbilcal.

I have never heard the Corda HA-2 nor, unfortunately, the Dynahi. The GS-1 is such a good value, assuming the Dynahi really is better
.... I still dont know if its worth the extra cost if your trying to hold to your original budget.
 
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The Corda HA-2 MKII is probably to be reckoned with. I've compared the HA-2 MKI and MKII side by side and the difference was admittingly not huge but still relevant enough in contrast to the kind of differences you can yield from amp differences, which are not huge to begin with in my opinion. The new Prehead MKII sounds even better than the HA-2 MKII. I slightly preferred the Singlepower PPX3 with upgrades over the Corda HA-2 MKII but some other Headfiers at our mini-meet had contradicting opinions.

Personally, I'm not a big fan of the Gilmore amps' sound I've encountered so far. I've personally owned a Gilmore Lite and heard a balanced Dynamight (top of the line of Gilmore-design-based amp) on two occasions, once for several hours and with three different high end sources/ICs. In spite of the Dynamight's marvelous technical capabilities (soundstage, resolution, ...), the tone was somewhat cold and analytical. Therefore I like to think that there's no best at a given price point, it's all a matter of taste. For instance, from my experience, the Ray Samuels sound signature is distinctively different from the Gilmore sound so pick your weapon of choice. And I've yet to experience an amp that really owns its price bracket. Even the much rumoured SR-71, which was truly fantastic for a portable amp, was not out if this world compared to other $400 amps. For every giant killer, there's another one.

But for the type of sound you're looking for, I think the SR-71 fits the descrption of "on the slightly warmer side of neutral but still neutral" quite well. Very focused but still relaxed. I've never heard the HR-2 but if the tonal characters are similar, then it might well worth a consideration.
 
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gpalmer

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Quote:

Originally Posted by sacd lover
I prefer the SLAM PPX3 ($799 vs $749) to the GS-1 on sound quality alone...

I definitely prefer the GS-1 to the HD25... despite my normal tube bias.



Ahhh well, 50% isn't bad right?
 
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never heard the GS-1 but two more SS amps around the same price bracket are the Lehmann Black Cube Linear ($780) and the Talisman T-35HP ($649).
 
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