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RMAF 2017: Headamp Introduces the Gilmore Lite 2

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Headamp always has their great Blue Hawaii and GS-X amplifiers sounding excellent at RMAF but this year was an introduction of the much more affordable Gilmore Lite 2 at $499 USD.  Shipping in a few weeks time, this amp really impressed me for its price point.

This device uses the same circuit (!) as their flagship dynamic amp the GS-X Mark II driving even difficult magnetic planar designs with 1.5W of pure Class-A power. The casework is superb but the amber light on the front gives almost an industrial/steam punk kind of vibe. The case is fairly small so smuggling it on to a busy desktop is no issue.

Noble-RMAF-2017 940 x 300

RMAF 2017 coverage is proudly sponsored by Noble Audio.

The front of the case has a large centrally located volume control (Alps Blue potentiometer), a headphone jack on the left and an input selector switch for either input 1 or 2.  On the back of the case, the off/on switch is to the right, the two gold RCA input options on the left and a connector for the power supply which uses a beefy 15 volt wall wart with the larger multi-pronged power supply connector. There is also a switchable on/off active preamplifier jack.

As one might expect with Headamp, the specs are impressive.  THD+N is a low 0.006%.  Frequency response is 10hz to 90 khz +/- 0.2db.  Input impedance is 50k ohm and output impedance is less than 1 ohm.  This piece will drive such difficult headphones as the Audeze LCD-4, HiFi Man HE6, and Focal Elear headphones.  The wall wart helps keep noise away from the amp.

Very portable at 4 lbs shipping weight, this unit had excellent dynamics and a clean sound.  Peter and Michelle had some computer laptop stations set up and I played a wide variety of music and the nice liquid midrange I am used to on Peter’s more expensive amps was also evident here.

headamp4Of course, I also listened to the big tube Blue Hawaii amp which sounds spectacular at every visit.  However, for $499 USD, this Gilmore is a great, affordable way to enjoy the Headamp sound.

Very impressive debut.  And I believe further evidence that more expensive gear does lead to trickle-down tech that enhances the affordable solutions.  True GS-X sound on a budget.

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About Lee Scoggins (58 Articles)

A native of Atlanta, Georgia, Lee got interested in audio listening to his Dad’s system in the late 70s and he started making cassettes from LPs. By the early 80s he got swept up in the CD wave that was launching which led to a love of discs from Mobile Fidelity Sound Labs. Later while working on Wall Street in the 90s, Lee started working on blues, jazz and classical sessions for Chesky Records and learned record engineering by apprenticeship. Lee was involved in the first high resolution recordings which eventually became the DVD-Audio format. Lee now does recordings of small orchestras and string quartets in the Atlanta area.

Lee is a serious music collector and his current system consists of Audio Research Reference electronics and Magnepan speakers.

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