Gustard H20 headphone amp

Discussion in 'Headphone Amps (full-size)' started by mtoc, May 22, 2017.
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  1. sahmen
    i like both the NFBi Amp and the Violectric V281, mostly for their versatility, but also for the way they sound, but I have never really felt the need to compare them in a head-to-head shootout because they're deployed in 2 separate systems, with the V281 serving the more sophisticated main 2-channel/7.1 HT system I have, and the NFB1 amp deployed in a near-field desktop 2-channel studio-like system in my office. I am sure popular opinion on Head-fi would give the edge in performance to the V281 because of its relative prestige and price, but if I am to be honest, I wouldn't be so sure, since, as I have said, I have not A/B'd them together yet.

    Ironically, when it comes to the He-6, I think I have a slight preference for its performance, connected via speaker taps, on the more vintage Bryston 2b LP (which also happens to be the cheapest of the lot), because I feel the tactility of the bass a little better on it than on the other two (which is not to say the bass is anywhere near anemic, let alone, unacceptable on the NFB1 amp or the V281, or even on the Cavalli Liquid Carbon)... The other side of the coin is that the other amps, the NFB1 amp, and especially, the V281, show more versatility in driving my other cans, whereas the 2b LP handles only the He-6 and none of the other cans... Actually, I think it is in the area of this versatility with handling multiple headphones with ease and grace that the V281 may turn out to be superior to all the others. Not a single one of all my headphones has sounded "bad" on that amp. The Cavalli Liquid carbon is also good in this regard, but it is a lot less powerful, and its connectivity options are relatively limited.
    Last edited: Jan 1, 2018
  2. sahmen
    I wish I had the freedom to do that, but I need to guard against such experimentations these days because of budget constraints... On the other hand, one aspect I am finding really attractive about the Gustard H20 are its connectivity options, which seem to match those of the V281 quite well. The V281 is so versatile in this regard that it is serving both as a regular headamp for headphone listening, attached to my Yggdrasil, and also as a pre-amp in my main two-channel rig for listening with my speakers, as well as connecting to my subs, and it is doing quite a wonderful job in all three roles.

    I would like to have the H20 playing the same triple roles in my 2nd 2-channel/7.1 HT system, if I could assure myself that it would have a sound quality that-at the very least--rivals that of the V281. If I could be certain of that, I would jump on the Massdrop train in a heartbeat... I just wish I could find listener reviews for the H20...
  3. BassDigger
    Your hesitation, indecision, or whatever your want to call it, is quite understandable: it's a chunk of money, and the product is such an unknown quantity.
    However (and I'm not necessarily advocating the H20 here), I think that you would enjoy a higher quality amp.
    I did considerable research, when choosing my last amp, and i narrowed it down to a version of the Violectric (2nd hand V200/281, Accurate Audio clone, or H10). I chose the H10, and by all accounts, it has basically the same sq characteristics as the others. I've written about this elsewhere, but whilst it's a solid design, electrically robust, and with no major flaws, it's still very much a mid-fi product. I think that if you find a way to get a more resolving amp, then you'll really get to hear what your headphones (and DACs) can do.
    I've got a feeling that the H20 could be that amp, but that's my gut feeling: you have to follow your own.
  4. BassDigger
  5. sahmen

    Yes there is indeed a lot of feedback on that site... Using the Google translation feature, I can see that a lot of it is positive, but the language is too mangled for me to get any useful details out of the individual impressions. Someone on Massdrop said he has read a message on a Chinese forum in which the poster compared this unit to the Cavalli Liquid Gold, but he could not recall exactly where. It would be nice for someone who speaks or reads Chinese to chime in here... That would be really helpful. In the meantime, thanks for posting this link.
  6. BassDigger
    Well, it certainly looks like the Cavalli,....on the outside, but somehow I don't think that the H20 has the same similarity on the inside, in the way that the H10 does with the V200.
    This could indeed be Gustard's problem: by making the amp look so much like a very sought after model, maybe they've risk it being seen as a 'copy', rather than a 'clone', or something substantial and of their own creation.

    Unfortunately, Google translate doesn't know what to do with those Chinese phrases and idioms :triportsad:
  7. franci2105
    Hi, anyone bought the H20 to post some impression?
  8. BassDigger
    It seems that some do more writing, than reading! :no_mouth:
  9. sebna
    I would not reply to him. Why would you bother if he cannot be bothered to read last few replies in the thread?
  10. BassDigger
    Call me soft-hearted, if you like. Whilst giving someone the 'silent treatment' has its uses, I just thought that the guy deserved a hint. Maybe next time he'll remember.
  11. tonyxiaoz
    A few reviews mentioned the like the H20 with HD800. They say the soundstage is wide and the midrange is solid.

    A more specific review said he tested H20 with Beyer T1 Gen2 against the amp part of A20H (another gustard product I guess?). He said there's more bass, wider soundstage, better vocal, and feels more 3D than the amp component of A20H, but similar treble. He also said H20 has a blacker background, and is overall worth the price if not a steal.

    Hope this helps.
    BassDigger likes this.
  12. tonyxiaoz
    Would love to see someone here post a first-hand listening impression though.
  13. BassDigger
    You say "a" first hand listening impression: are you not happy with the one posted on page 3? :smile_phones:

    BTW. Thanks for the Taobao
  14. tonyxiaoz
    Sorry, I meant more first-hand impressions. Your impression on page 3 is very helpful.
  15. sebna
    ... it was not his impressions...
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