The HeadAmp GS-X and GS-X MK2 Thread
Feb 24, 2018 at 10:40 PM Post #5,596 of 6,324
Does the chamapage color match the copper on the Holo. Its a bit hard to tell from pics but I'm trying to decide between the silver or the champagne
From the recent photos of the champagne color I've seen here (shown on the BHSE) and owning the Spring DAC, too me, the side panels of the Spring look like light copper, whereas the champagne looks like a very light gold color. The champagne color is absolutely gorgeous and just has a very classic, timeless look to it. If I had to choose all over again, I'd definitely be go crazy making a choice between my silver and the champagne. Good luck sleeping!
 
Feb 24, 2018 at 11:12 PM Post #5,597 of 6,324
Thanks guys. Great to hear about the sonic pairing ! Color wise, champagne or black it is. I'm leaning towards champagne based on Justin's comment above plus its a limited edition if I'm not mistaken. I am SO looking forward to the GS-X II / Holo L3 Kitsune / Singex SU1 setup.
 
Feb 24, 2018 at 11:15 PM Post #5,598 of 6,324
@joseph69 thanks for that pic. Hadn't seen it and it looks different to the stock photos. Think I have a better feel for the color now with the pic. It looks classy but I am now unsure if this is really going to match the dac's copper hues on the side panel / buttons. Black is a safe bet, but a bit boring to me. Decisions !
 
Feb 24, 2018 at 11:19 PM Post #5,599 of 6,324
@justin w.
Am I correct in saying the champagne is a bead blasted finish and the silver is mirror finished ? I've narrowed it down to these two and going to place the order tonight.
 
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Feb 25, 2018 at 12:37 AM Post #5,600 of 6,324
I had the two side by side last weekend and noticed that they probably used a very similar dye color. The holo DAC panels are polished so they're going to appear darker and more vivid

The man himself says they look good together. I would go with that.. after all he is the one who picked the aesthetics of the GSX and BHSE and those look amazing in person.
 
Feb 25, 2018 at 12:46 AM Post #5,601 of 6,324
@justin w.
Am I correct in saying the champagne is a bead blasted finish and the silver is mirror finished ? I've narrowed it down to these two and going to place the order tonight.

Yes you are correct. Champagne is a bead blasted finish. Frankly speaking for me it is more matte gold then champagne. Cannot comment on silver as don’t have one.
 
Feb 25, 2018 at 2:03 AM Post #5,602 of 6,324
Just placed my order for the limited edition champagne. Thanks everyone for the inputs. I haven't been this excited about an audio purchase lately.
 
Feb 26, 2018 at 1:02 AM Post #5,603 of 6,324
Beyond 200 hours with my GS-X Mk2 and it has matured nicely. Absolutely what I was expecting. A transparency monster that takes me closer to the music than any other amp I have used.

As best I can tell, any flaws that I am hearing are coming from the source material, or my headphones or (and I struggle to find any issues here) - my DAC. I was getting some irritating treble grain using the Aeon closed, so swapped out to my HEKv2 and then HD800S - and the treble grain is gone. This was something that was largely masked when using the Master 9. With the GS-X Mk2 it sticks out like dogs' testicles to the point of being fatiguing.

I have new respect for my Pavane DAC and the HD800S. Both bits of gear have taken up the challenge of the GS-X Mk2 with gusto. Even the ported HEKv2 sometimes struggles to maintain complete treble composure with the Pavane + GS-X Mk2. The HD800S doesn't miss a beat. Just like the HD800, the HD800S scales extremely well with better gear. The slightly thin nature of the HD800S is sometimes noticeable, but that is small sin. In almost every other way the HD800S does an excellent job.

My custom 300B tube amp can provide more emotional engagement with vocals, but there are often times when I don't want the hassle of firing up a beast of a 300B tube amp. I want to switch on and just enjoy great music. GS-X Mk2 does that every time.

I stand by my earlier comments 100%. This amp is so transparent that it needs careful matching to the DAC. Anything bright / forward / edgy or in any way problematic in the treble is likely to hurt you. Pair it with the right DAC and you will hear more of your music than ever before. Every time I find a negative review of the GS-X Mk2 I dig into the DAC used, and mostly it is some bright delta-sigma unit with iffy treble built around the Sabre 9018 chip. That ain't gonna work - the GS-X MK2 will take all those Sabre 9018 treble flaws and rub your face in it.
 
Feb 26, 2018 at 5:37 AM Post #5,604 of 6,324
Found the same with my hd800S mk2 TT combo through antipodes server, no complaints just music.
 
Feb 26, 2018 at 2:12 PM Post #5,605 of 6,324
Beyond 200 hours with my GS-X Mk2 and it has matured nicely. Absolutely what I was expecting. A transparency monster that takes me closer to the music than any other amp I have used.

As best I can tell, any flaws that I am hearing are coming from the source material, or my headphones or (and I struggle to find any issues here) - my DAC. I was getting some irritating treble grain using the Aeon closed, so swapped out to my HEKv2 and then HD800S - and the treble grain is gone. This was something that was largely masked when using the Master 9. With the GS-X Mk2 it sticks out like dogs' testicles to the point of being fatiguing.

I have new respect for my Pavane DAC and the HD800S. Both bits of gear have taken up the challenge of the GS-X Mk2 with gusto. Even the ported HEKv2 sometimes struggles to maintain complete treble composure with the Pavane + GS-X Mk2. The HD800S doesn't miss a beat. Just like the HD800, the HD800S scales extremely well with better gear. The slightly thin nature of the HD800S is sometimes noticeable, but that is small sin. In almost every other way the HD800S does an excellent job.

My custom 300B tube amp can provide more emotional engagement with vocals, but there are often times when I don't want the hassle of firing up a beast of a 300B tube amp. I want to switch on and just enjoy great music. GS-X Mk2 does that every time.

I stand by my earlier comments 100%. This amp is so transparent that it needs careful matching to the DAC. Anything bright / forward / edgy or in any way problematic in the treble is likely to hurt you. Pair it with the right DAC and you will hear more of your music than ever before. Every time I find a negative review of the GS-X Mk2 I dig into the DAC used, and mostly it is some bright delta-sigma unit with iffy treble built around the Sabre 9018 chip. That ain't gonna work - the GS-X MK2 will take all those Sabre 9018 treble flaws and rub your face in it.

I come to the conclusion anyhow, that the DAC in an audio chain is extremely important. It‘s the unit that hands everything down to the pre-amp/amp. If anything goes wrong in the conversion process, a revealing unit will cannot and, more importantly, should not brush over the inadequacies of the DAC, much more so the GS-X MK2. To me, it was always clear that the first stage in the audio chain is extremely important. Deciding on a good DAC is not easy, given the endless options to choose from. For my next DAC, it will be a tough call.
 
Feb 26, 2018 at 2:45 PM Post #5,606 of 6,324
I come to the conclusion anyhow, that the DAC in an audio chain is extremely important. It‘s the unit that hands everything down to the pre-amp/amp. If anything goes wrong in the conversion process, a revealing unit will cannot and, more importantly, should not brush over the inadequacies of the DAC, much more so the GS-X MK2. To me, it was always clear that the first stage in the audio chain is extremely important. Deciding on a good DAC is not easy, given the endless options to choose from. For my next DAC, it will be a tough call.

I view my DAC as the heart of my digital chain. The amp and headphones/speakers can provide some coloration, but they are unlikely to fix any flaws that were introduced by the DAC. A more transparent amp/headphone/speaker is going to highlight those flaws.

There is a 3-way test report floating about that compares the GS-X Mk2, Ragnarok and some other amp. The GS-X Mk2 did not fare well at all in this testing, coming in third out of the 3. I checked what DAC was being used - a Matrix X-Sabre unit - a poster child of the sort of DAC that should never paired with the GS-X Mk2. No surprises there.

As far as DAC matches go, I can vouch for the latest iteration of the Metrum Pavane, fed AES via an SU-1. For some reason the Eitr SPDIF feed didn't work so well with my GS-X. No idea why.

An option that is significantly less harmful to your wallet is the Holo Audio Spring DAC, Level 3 Kitsune Tuned Edition, running in NOS mode, fed I2S from an SU-1. I have never heard this setup, but there is feedback out there that it is spectacular and a great match with the GS-X mk2. Right up there with the significantly more pricey Pavane.
 
Feb 26, 2018 at 9:59 PM Post #5,607 of 6,324
I view my DAC as the heart of my digital chain. The amp and headphones/speakers can provide some coloration, but they are unlikely to fix any flaws that were introduced by the DAC. A more transparent amp/headphone/speaker is going to highlight those flaws.

There is a 3-way test report floating about that compares the GS-X Mk2, Ragnarok and some other amp. The GS-X Mk2 did not fare well at all in this testing, coming in third out of the 3. I checked what DAC was being used - a Matrix X-Sabre unit - a poster child of the sort of DAC that should never paired with the GS-X Mk2. No surprises there.

As far as DAC matches go, I can vouch for the latest iteration of the Metrum Pavane, fed AES via an SU-1. For some reason the Eitr SPDIF feed didn't work so well with my GS-X. No idea why.

An option that is significantly less harmful to your wallet is the Holo Audio Spring DAC, Level 3 Kitsune Tuned Edition, running in NOS mode, fed I2S from an SU-1. I have never heard this setup, but there is feedback out there that it is spectacular and a great match with the GS-X mk2. Right up there with the significantly more pricey Pavane.

Totally agree with the above entry
I can't emphasize this enough, the GS-X Mk2 adds no color to the DAC. It is as good as the DAC on one end and the HP on the other end.
I had it paired with the OPPO BDP-105 and it sounded good just not great, lightweight bass and fair mids and treble. I have it paired now with a Marantz SA8005 CD/SACD player and the bass with the HD800 will drop your jaw, just really outstanding mids and highs as well, I've heard many of the high end amps and the WA5 with Sophia Princess tubes is the only amp I've heard comparable
 
Feb 27, 2018 at 1:30 PM Post #5,608 of 6,324
I view my DAC as the heart of my digital chain. The amp and headphones/speakers can provide some coloration, but they are unlikely to fix any flaws that were introduced by the DAC. A more transparent amp/headphone/speaker is going to highlight those flaws.

There is a 3-way test report floating about that compares the GS-X Mk2, Ragnarok and some other amp. The GS-X Mk2 did not fare well at all in this testing, coming in third out of the 3. I checked what DAC was being used - a Matrix X-Sabre unit - a poster child of the sort of DAC that should never paired with the GS-X Mk2. No surprises there.

As far as DAC matches go, I can vouch for the latest iteration of the Metrum Pavane, fed AES via an SU-1. For some reason the Eitr SPDIF feed didn't work so well with my GS-X. No idea why.

An option that is significantly less harmful to your wallet is the Holo Audio Spring DAC, Level 3 Kitsune Tuned Edition, running in NOS mode, fed I2S from an SU-1. I have never heard this setup, but there is feedback out there that it is spectacular and a great match with the GS-X mk2. Right up there with the significantly more pricey Pavane.

Yes, the Pavane has quite a reputation, even though hefty in price. But good things do have a price, there's no way around it. On similar lines, I was thinking of upgrading to the Aqua La Scala Mk II. It does have a spectacular review on John Darko's site (https://darko.audio/2014/03/aqua-hifi-la-scala-mkii-dac-review/ and https://darko.audio/2016/06/next-level-aqua-hifi-formula-la-scala-mkii-w-telefunken/). Similarly, if not even heftier than the Pavane. I still like my Aqua La Voce, but the La Scala seems to play on another level. But good to know about the Holo Audio Spring DAC. If it plays in the league of the big boys like the Metrum and Aqua Hifi, all the better saving money and getting a first class R2R DAC! Thanks for the suggestion.
 
Feb 27, 2018 at 2:16 PM Post #5,609 of 6,324
Yes, the Pavane has quite a reputation, even though hefty in price. But good things do have a price, there's no way around it. On similar lines, I was thinking of upgrading to the Aqua La Scala Mk II. It does have a spectacular review on John Darko's site (https://darko.audio/2014/03/aqua-hifi-la-scala-mkii-dac-review/ and https://darko.audio/2016/06/next-level-aqua-hifi-formula-la-scala-mkii-w-telefunken/). Similarly, if not even heftier than the Pavane. I still like my Aqua La Voce, but the La Scala seems to play on another level. But good to know about the Holo Audio Spring DAC. If it plays in the league of the big boys like the Metrum and Aqua Hifi, all the better saving money and getting a first class R2R DAC! Thanks for the suggestion.

I have never heard the Holo Spring KTE unit, but have read the opinions of several folks that have compared it to the latest Pavane (Adagio equivalent) and they claim that with I2S feed it plays in the same league. That is quite a value proposition, so if you get the chance to try the Holo KTE unit fed from I2S it might be worth your time. I am already committed to the Pavane (and happy with it) but if I were looking for a new DAC the KTE would be on my shortlist. This applies doubly so for a DAC to pair with the GS-X Mk2.
 

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