Gilmore Lite mk2 Amplifier
The Gilmore Lite Mk2 uses the same super-low-noise/distortion amplifier circuit as HeadAmp's flagship dynamic amp, the GS-X Mk2, but at a much more affordable $499 price. The Gilmore Lite mk2 drives drynamic and planar magnetic headphones with up to 1.5W of pure class-A power from its’ fully discrete amplifier section.
The Gilmore Lite mk2 displays all the fine attention to detail and special touches that make it a true HeadAmp original. The volume knob outclasses the competition, and the bronzed engraving and amber LED give it a unique aesthetic. The Gilmore Lite Mk2 has a pre-amp output for controlling speakers, and two switchable RCA inputs.
DAN'S MINI REVIEW
I'll come out and say it; I generally prefer tube gear to solid state. I simply enjoy the music more with tube-gear, it's as if tubes do a better job connecting me to the emotional intent of the artist and as such I’m more engaged and immersed in the experience. That said, tube gear is also harder to find at affordable price points, especially gear that can drive low-impedance planar headphones, and tubes have a shorter service than than transistors and thus higher service cost over time. So even for people who prefer tubes, sometimes, solid state just makes more sense. As a result, I’m always on the lookout for solid state gear that delivers the tube emotional experience. I’ve heard this from some gear, like the GSX2 from Headamp or the Cavalli Liquid Gold, but seldom have I heard a sub $500 component that could pull it off.
Enter the Gilmore Lite mk2. This little beauty arrived on my desk with some excitement I unboxed it and plugged it in right away. I've always enjoyed Gilmore's designs and HeadAmp’s execution of them has been superb. Despite my high expectations the Gilmore Lite mk2 didn’t disappoint. It was instantly engaging, with an effortless high-end sound that was simultaneously superbly clear and lightning fast yet free of the hard edge I hear from too much solid state.
Perhaps the best way I can express it is to say that this amp sounds like a really good tube amp, with a super-low noise floor. As a result, notes just float up out of, and back into, a lovely dark background redolent in texture and detail.
The first thing I note is that the Gilmore is actually a slightly dark sounding amp, something I seldom associate with solid-state gear. Comparing to the much more expensive Cavalli Liquid Glass the bass is powerful and compelling, too, coming close to the heft of the Glass. That’s saying something, as Alex’s amps often sound like they somehow add power to the bass, just a touch of voodoo! Well the Gilmore Lite mk2 has that voodoo that Cavalli do do so well!
The midrange is slightly softer on the Gilmore, delivering a rich tone with great detail, just not quite as present as the much more expensive tube hybrid Liquid Glass. Same goes for the highs, which I particularly enjoy on both amps. The Gilmore Lite mk2 does a particularly good job of rendering high frequency content. Well recorded cymbals have a lovely metallic sheen to them, more Tang than Tsss, and crash cymbals and snares sound really snappy and life-like.
A particularly strong suite of the Gilmore Lite mk2 is soundstage, which is deep, wide, and
In summation, the Gilmore Lite mk2 really is a winner in delivering a robust audiophile amp experience at a surprisingly affordable price. For this reason we’re pleased to make this the latest amplifier addition to our store.