Before I get into the comparison, a little background information first. I’ve been a drummer for 18 years and bassist for 12. I have almost a complete full range of hearing (8 to 18.5 KHz last test).
So in my testing, I used my Schiit Bifrost 2 and Soekris DAC1321 for testing. In my main setup I have the RNHP connected to the BF2. I did a majority of my listening with my HD650 (my reference), but I also listened with my Audeze LCD-X, Focal Clear, and ZMF Atticus. I listened to spotify premium and my FLAC collection. All tracks played at 24 bit 96 khz or higher. Also, I wont get into any specs or build type of stuff, this information is available to anybody using a Google search.
The 1st thing I did was hook up the G111 to my Soekris DAC1321 and listened for my 8 hour workday last week. It sounded great and the attack and speaker like pressure was my first observation. This is new, I thought to myself…I’ll get back to this observation in a bit…
The next thing I wanted to test was DAC pairing/synergy, so I hooked up the RNHP to the Soekris and the G111 to the Bifrost 2. Soekris and Lake People/Violectric has been a legendary combination for years as they synergize extremely well. I listened to the BF2 + G111 and it sounded good, but not as amazing as the it did on the Soekris. I then listened to the RNHP on the Soekris and was shocked…never expected to hear the RNHP sound so badly. I promptly moved the G111 back with the Soekris and the RNHP back with the BF2.
I then spent another day with the G111 and ran it through my test list and some casual listening. I started thinking to myself…is the G111 slightly colored (warm)? It seems to me it sounds more laid back. So I brought the RNHP down to my Soekris + G111 setup and used RCA splitters to have both amps running in real time. Listening with my HD650, switching back and forth, same song then different song, it was becoming a little clearer to me … the RNHP is much more intimate and narrow. The G111 has a wider staging than the RNHP. The RNHP images better as a result, but then my thoughts started wandering…am I losing detail on the G111?
The next day I listened with my Focal Clears and ZMF Atticus and everything came into focus for me. The G111 had an initial sound of warmth because of the wider staging. Usually detail is lost as a result, but the G111 doesn’t lose that detail. Remember when I said in the beginning of my comparison the attack and speaker like pressure was new…that characteristic is how the G111 compensates for the width…it’s like it has it’s own room correction dsp in a way. So that bit of warmth I thought I heard wasn’t warmth, it was added space. Pretty neat, huh?
So my conclusion is quite simple, both amps are neutral. The RNHP wins on imaging and the G111 wins on staging width. Is this width over exaggerated? Hard to say, but if it is…the spaces that are occupied within that stage is incredibly natural sounding and nothing sounds inaccurately placed in comparison to the RNHP.
Both amps are very neutral, or close to it. Both share a lot of characteristics. Both are extremely picky about the DAC pairing (especially the RNHP), so synergy is key for both amps. I can say with 100% confidence that I can recommend either one. Just make sure you have the proper synergy or you won’t be getting the most out of your setup.