HeadAmp GS-X Mini Balanced Headphone Amplifier/PreAmp

HeadAmp GS-X mini Balanced Headphone Amplifier/Pre-Amp

The HeadAmp GS-X is a desktop amplifier for use in the home or office. GS-X mini amplifier supports the class-A audio circuit from its bigger brother, the GS-X mk2. The GS-X supports balanced headphone output from single-ended or balanced audio sources. At 4 Watt into 50 ohms, it will power a wide variety of headphones with medium to low sensitivity. Its high power with Balanced out to drive headphones like the Sennheiser HD800 series, HIFIMAN HE1000v1/v2, and Audeze LCD-4. Also, the power/current delivery to support headphones like the Rosson Audio RAD-0, Audeze LCD-X, HIFIMAN Ananda, and Hifiman HE-1000 SE.

Rich set of inputs and outputs: Switchable XLR and RCA Inputs, and Single-ended stereo 6.5 mm/1/4" jack and four-pin balanced XLR headphone outputs. Pre-amp outputs with both XLR and RCA Outputs.

Choice of two-volume controls ALPS RK27 Potentiometer or a 200 dollar option DACT CT-24 Stepped Attenuator.

You have the pick of multiple colors: Polished Black, Satin Blue Satin Red, Satin Green, Satin Champagne, SatinGrey, Satin Purple.

  • Dimensions: 11.375 in. x 10.25 in. x 2.0 in.
  • Power: 4 Watts @ 50 Ohms
  • Gain: Low 3x High 10x
  • Line Voltage support: 100V, 115/120V, 230/240V
  • Price: Option 1: w/ ALPS Potentiometer – $1,795 US
    Option 2: w/ DACT 24-step attenuator – $1,995 US



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I was wondering if others have tried the HeadAmp GS-X Mini amplifer, I have one coming in soon along with Schiit Audio Bifrost 2 DAC.

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I know @BondDaBoom has some HeadAmp gear.

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I have a friend that loves his, he has one of the early units as his SN is below 50. My friend lives in a different state so I personally have not heard the amp. Though I would be very curious to read your comparisons to the Mini vs the Phonitor X.

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I have one in Satin Grey. Beautiful amp. Mine is paired with two DACs. W4S DAC-2v2se 10th anniversary and Benchmark DAC-3 HGC.

The GSX mini is a superbly crafted / excellent sounding headphone amp. I don’t use the preamp functions much, but that capability is present. Drive anything I have well. Adequate juice to run my HiFiMan HE-6se in balanced mode. This is a headphone amp you will keep. This is my best solid state headphone amp. Worthy device for any enthusiast.

Waited 10 weeks for mine. Worth the wait.

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Yes, it one of thing I was looking forward to trying is A/B the SPL Phonitor x with GS-X mini, especially with the LCD-4, RAD-0, HE-1000 SE.

I did find this review

Talking about it with the RAD-0 "GS-X mini as I found the synergy between these two components simply outstanding! "

Also this youtube video by William Murdock - The Headphone Experience. He has done first impressions of the GS-X mini https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KmgX9jg5nyQ

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Well, the mailman dropped off GS-X Mini amp today. First up, I will be testing pairing it with the Chord Qutest DAC. Build quality is very nice, Volume pot is very smooth, switch are rugged with positive engagement. It would fit nicely in an audio rack

Just preliminary run, with HE-1000SE and RAD-0, with Moaning Uneasy Lafter Album. It just sounds fantastic with RAD-0 with this pairing. I need some more time with HE-1000SE.


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Beautiful stack of gear you have right there. The RME and SPL are two I would love.

Now where did I put my money tree…

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Looking good! I’d be particularly interested in your impressions vs the Phonitor.

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Thanks guys, I had a Bifrost 2 dropped off today so I could check it out.

Some points I will test the Qutest, Bifrost 2, D90, ADI-2 DAC fs on the Phonitor x and GS-X Mini, TCA HPA-1 and Monoprice 887. Then pull out all the headphones again to see how they react. to the combos.

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So let’s do the math on that? Howany hundreds of combinations are we talking here?:grin:

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It will be fun have to work from home anyways

greg

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4 DACs
4 amps.
l will assume 4 headphones?

D * A * H = 64.

Edit: That’s not including the amp section of the ADI-2 DAC fs. Seeing as it does not have analog inputs, and it can only use itself as a DAC, thus… the answer is now (DAH)+H = 68.

We expect a full review of each combination @angstorms. Thanks in advance!

:stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye: :rofl:

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This is one of those amps that I’d love to hear. I’m with a lot of people about the comparison with the phonitor X or E. I have a phonitor E and a pair of he6se. Those things are beyond hungry.

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64 Audio IEMs confirmed as knowing the release of Half-Life 3!!

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The Update

Five headphones via four-pin XLR cables.
  • Audeze LCD-4
  • Focal Stelia,
  • Hifiman HE-1000 SE,
  • Rosson Audio RAD-0,
  • ZMF Vertie
One DAC
  • ADI-2 DAC fs
    • Outputs:
      • RCA Split into both amps ( I found my monster RCA splinters)
      • XLR out hand moved to each amp
Two AMPS
  • In the first corner is The reigning champ SPL Phonitor x
  • In the other corner is a new incoming contender: Headamp GS-X Mini

Note both amps have an RCA and XLR switch on the front, s,o you can also A/B RCA vs XLR as well to throw another variable into the equation.

Qobuz for the tunes
  • Telepopmusik “Breath”
  • John Lee Hooker “Jessie James”
  • Jimi Hendrick “Hey Joe”
  • The Cure “Just Like Heaven”
  • John Mayer “I Guess I Just Feel Like”
  • Filter “Hey Man Nice Shot”
  • Gary Clark Jr “Bright Lights”
  • Keb’ Mo’ “The Itch”
  • AC/DC “Ride On”
  • Aerosmith “Come Together”
  • Bruce Springsteen “My Hometown”
  • Elmore James “Dust My Blues”
  • Norman Greenbaum “Spirit in the Sky”
  • Fleetwood Mac “Dreams ( Take 2)”
  • Nirvana “Lake of Fire”
  • Ben Iver “Holocene”
  • Smashing Pumpkins “Zero”
  • Ben Howard “Old Pine”
  • New Order “Dream Never End”
  • Moaning “Ego”
  • Depeche Mode “Strange Love”
  • Depeche Mode “Sonata No. 14 in C#m (Moonlight Sonata)”
  • Massive Attack “Angel”
  • Dave Mathews “Two Step”
  • Stevie Ray Vaughn “Texas Flood”

Just reminder on the power needs of each headphone.

After A/B them here how best to describe the two amps

First, the SPL Phonitor is a great amp that is best with RCA-In ( Volume/Gain drops when engaging XLR-in.) that support Balanced XLR In and Out as a feature. For me, It’s the best playback that is single-end via 1/4 or XLR out. Not XLR in the path is still very good just not the optimal audio path for this amp. I do love the VU meters on this amp.

Now the GS-X Mini is an incredible true Balanced XLR amplifier. this is the best audio path for GS-X Mini via full XLR path in and out. It supports Single-ended path RCA-in to 1/4 and XLR out ( note volume/gain drops when RCA enabled ) It still has very good audio down this path but not most optimal for the amp with headphones like the LCD-4. I love having the Gain switch upfront, not as a dip switch under the amp.

The GS-X mini has a darker background, it digs deeper on bass, and more clarity in treble and midrange. It works exceptionally well with the LCD-4, in all frequencies. The RAD-0 loves this amp it opens up its staging, even more clarity. the bass hits harder.

Prefered Amp in Bold, Best Connection into the Amp.

Headphone Phonitor x GS-X Mini.
LCD-4 RCA XLR
Rad-0 RCA XLR
Vertie RCA XLR
Stelia RCA XLR
HE-1000 SE RCA XLR

What did I walk away with, I would buy Headamp GS-X Mini ( $1795) and Bifrost 2 ($699) = $2495 before picking up an SPL Phonitor x $2499

One thing the amp does get warm with all the discrete components, 46 degrees C or for Us in the States 114.8 F in operation.

I think I am starting to sort components.

  1. SPL Phonitor + Chord Qutest
  2. Headamp GS-X Mini + RME ADI-2 DAC fs or the Bifrost 2
  3. TCA HPA-1 + D90

GS-X Mini + Bifrost 2 + Rad-0 with Stevie Ray Vaughn “Texas Flood” is heavenly.

If I keep this up, I am going have to obtain a Spectral Measurements dScope M1 to help with part of the evaluations of the DAC and Amps. Help visualize what I am hearing.

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Thank you @angstorms

Great comparison! I know a lot of us in this community were wondering what the differences were between these two amps.

Again thank you for the great comparison! It is appreciated by myself and I believe several others from this community.

I just recently received my Phonitor Xe and really enjoy it. I would be interested in hearing your thoughts on the different Dacs you have, especially a comparison between the Chord Qutest vs Bifrost 2 and Chord Qutest vs Topping D90. (I have both the D90 and the Bifrost 2 but am very curious how each compare to the Chord Qutest).

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One thing I know it will come up is a comparison to its big brother GS-X Mk2. From what I read, The GS-X mini is warmer then GS-X Mk2.

Quotes from Headphone Guru:

“The GS-X mini added a hint of warmth and meat on the bone so to speak when compared to its bigger brother the GS-X Mk2; while the latter seemed to be a tad more transparent and open sounding.” Headphone Guru

Note, he loves the RAD-0 with this amp. I have to agree with him.

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Thank you so much @angstorms. Very much appreciated.

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I will see what Topping Sounds like against the rest of the stack next

This time it the Bifrost Giants vs Cool Whip Topping D90

How I am doing against the n-combinatorial problem you guys were calculating.

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