The HeadAmp GS-X and GS-X MK2 Thread

Discussion in 'High-end Audio Forum' started by macedonianhero, Oct 22, 2012.
  1. biosailor
    Refurbishing our house is by no means finished, but my ATC SCM11s along with the fabulous GSX Mk2 found their way to their permanent location in the living room. Still need to set up the Aurender and the new amp hasn‘t arrived yet. Also, a new, larger hifi rack will arrive soon along with a new bookshelf. Maybe the speakers will go into the bookshelf ...

    Anyway, the GSX Mk2 is a lovely piece of equipment, as a headphone and pre-amp.

    Merry Xmas to everyone!

    Liu Junyuan likes this.
  2. TonyNewman
    Pulled the trigger on a GS-X Mk2 (in black, 230V for my part of the world). Owned a bunch of DACs and amps over the past few years, only now do I have DAC that I think will work with a ruthlessly revealing amp (Metrum Pavane, level 2 - R2R NOS).

    I wonder if Tyll's comments on the GS-X Mk2 treble have more to do with the source than the amp? I think he uses an Auralic Vega during evaluation. Having owned a Vega, that unit can show some of the bad traits of a sabre chip DAC in the treble - a tendency to the glassy / steely / screetchy side. Not a DAC I would like to connect to an ultra revealing amp like the GS-X Mk2.

    Yaggy would also not be my first choice to match to such an amp. I found the Yggy technically brilliant but trending to the bright and forward side - not severely by any means, but enough to put me off.
    Liu Junyuan and sheldaze like this.
  3. Whazzzup
    congrats and enjoy. gsx for sure puts the dac under the microscope. steps out of the way.
  4. T Bone
    Congratulations on your obvious good taste @TonyNewman :)
    I will be very curious to hear your thoughts on how your new GS-X Mk2 stacks up against your Glenn 300B. I've been considering adding a 300B amp to my collection and have just started learning about the Glenn.

    I have Holo Spring DAC - similar R2R architecture to your Metrum - connected to my GS-X Mk2 and it's quite a revealing pairing. I think you are going to be most pleased.
    Liu Junyuan likes this.
  5. TonyNewman
    Thanks - I am expecting great things from the Pavane L2 + GS-X Mk2 pairing. I think the relaxed R2R NOS sound will mate nicely with the ultra-transparent GS-X mk2.

    The Glenn 300B is quite a beast. 24kg of tube amp goodness throwing 8W. Drives the HE6 just fine.

    If you do go the Glenn 300B route, I would stick with the C3g drivers, but plump for SS rectification with soft start. Throw in some warmish 300Bs (Takatsuki if your budget goes that far, EML mesh or plate if it doesn't) and you have tube nirvana without sacrificing much technically (at least not compared to my previous and current SS amps). Glenn makes great gear.

    If you can live with less than 8W, and very few headphones need that sort of juice, I would look at a C3g/45 amp. Maybe 45/2A3 switchable. Some discussion on that in the Glenn thread.

    Sorry for getting a bit OT there with the tube talk. Back to all things GS-X.
    T Bone likes this.
  6. Liu Junyuan
    That sounds like an amazingly synergestic combination. For sure. Can’t wait to hear your long-term impressions. I saw your posts on Master 9, which were really positive. Curious to hear how you think the GS-X compares. This should be very much a nearly perfect amp/DAC pairing as far as I can surmise.
  7. TonyNewman
    I really like the Master 9. An excellent amp, but it is somewhat relaxed in presentation. Not hugely, just enough to take the edge off. Mostly that's a good thing. If I was still using a delta-sigma DAC or Yggdrasil ... etc it would be an excellent match, but the Pavane is a more relaxed kind of sound.

    Combine a relaxed DAC (Pavane) with a relaxed amp (master 9) and perhaps a relaxed headphone (HEKv2) and the music loses some punch and impact to the point where I am left hungry for some more energy in the sound. That's when I knew I was ready for the GS-X Mk2 - to put some punch and sparkle back into the music. Component synergy and all that kind of thing.

    I was kinda hoping to not want/need another headamp ever again after getting the M9, but it will be nice to have both the M9 and the GS-X. One a nuts-out "wire with gain" monster, the other a more subtle presentation. That's the thinking, at least. Will see how it works out after I get the amp and have a few weeks listening with it.

    It is also one the prettiest bits of audio jewelry I have ever laid eyes on. The M9 is a construction workers boot while the GS-X Mk2 is Cinderalla's slippers. Only amp I have ever seen that gets my juices flowing more than the GS-X Mk2 is the BHSE, That's one sexy amp, but I'm not into electrostatics.
    Liu Junyuan likes this.
  8. Liu Junyuan
    Yep, synergy is everything. I have not heard the Pavane but have read a lot about it. Same with GSX. But it seems like a very smart pairing based on my research. Your HEK will spring to life.

    Agree with you on its beauty. Speaking of Cindarella, the new Champagne color looks amazing. I am a sucker for the red myself. Black is, on the other hand, always a safe bet. I think it would take me weeks deciding on the final color should I place an order!

    Looking forward to your impressions!
  9. TonyNewman
    I took the Henry Ford colour option - ...any colour you like, as long as it is black.

    Most of my gear is black, so it all fits nicely. I do like the red and the blue also. Champagne not so much.

    I have seen some blue BHSE and GS-X Mk2s in the wild and they are "purdy". If I wasn't going black it would be blue for me.
  10. T Bone
    I just had the strangest thing happen to my headphone rig - a massive static discharge just disconnected my USB connection.

    I put my hands up to my Audeze headphones and felt a big static shock in my fingers. Instantly Windows gave me the "USB Device Unplugged" sound and my DAC's display showed no-connection.

    How the heck does a static charge jump from my 'phones, into my HeadAmp GS-X, down the XLR cables and into my DAC?
  11. Whazzzup
    thats some black magic voodoo stuff right there
  12. TonyNewman
    My GS-X Mk2 in black, 230V, is ready. Sorting payment now.

    Pretty fast turn around - order placed Dec 27th, amp ready Jan 10th. That's quick.

    I remember folks in the past waiting many weeks or months for their amp.
    joseph69 likes this.
  13. brocrusher
    Is there a list of DAC's that are suppose to pair well with the GSX MK2? Any to avoid?
  14. SeaWo|f
    If I had to guess I would say a lot of that is contained in this thread, but you are going to have to spend the time reading back. But if you are reading general dac reviews, regardless of what amp was used, understand that any offences that a particular dac makes will not be masked by the GSX MK2.

    FWIW my limited listening experience with GSX MK2 out of the yggy with HEKv1, LCD3 and LCDX impressed me. It was at a small meet so conditions were not perfect.. HeadAmp also had a BHSE with 007 and 009 right next to it also feed by a yggy. Both setups were very fun listening experiences.
  15. TonyNewman
    Just a suggestion - I would avoid anything delta-sigma based, especially sabre chipset DACs. I know there are exceptions to this, but my experience with several delta-sigma DACs has always been issues in the treble. A hyper-transparent amp like a GS-X Mk2 is only going to make that treble issue worse.

    The first DAC I found that sounded "right" to me is the Metrum Pavane (with level 2 upgrade). It's an R2R NOS DAC.

    R2R and FGPA DACs are where I would focus. Delta-sigma I would avoid. NOS seems to have an even more relaxed and natural sound to it.

    Others I would look at are the Holo Audio Kitsune Tuned Edition. Maybe the Audio GD NOS 7.

    I would avoid the Yggy for pairing to the GS-X Mk2. I found this DAC a touch on the bright and forward side. Others will surely disagree me on that one.
    sheldaze likes this.

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