LSA Voyager GAN 350 versus Merrill Audio Element Amps or AGD Grand Vivace and Vivace Amps

The Underwood HiFi website compares the Voyager to far more expensive Class D amps costing $32,000 to $7,500 - presumably Merrill Audio Element Amps and AGD Vivace and Grand Vivace amps.  Has anyone directly AB'ed the Voyager amp to any of the Merrill Audio Element amps or AGD Grand Vivace or Vivace amps in a system with which they are familiar?   
Ag insider logo xs@2xsoundhound
I have not done a compare but I do know one thing, AGD is the only company using GAN Modules that are specifically designed for audio.  Even Merrill's are repurposed. It may not make a difference ultimately (as I said, I have not done a direct compare) but it is something worth considering.   

Incidentally, I am considering signing up to be an AGD dealer and have to say I am impressed with the gear.  
Very good question you ask.

I have the voyager on a very good power cord, spring pods and 10lbs of weight on top.  I am very pleased, but have spent no time with any higher priced class D amps—GaN-fet or other.

In case you didn’t see it,
It was reported (by Chorus, I think) that a guy who replaced his Pass Labs amp with a Voyager spent time with Merrill Amps that cost many multiples of the Voyager.  That guy thought the Merrill sounded a little better in some ways.

Post removed 
Thank you rc22 for pointing out this post by Chorus regarding the Voyager and Merrill amps.  It appears that the Voyager is a good value, but as we all know, the cost benefit curve of high end electronics reach a point of diminishing returns.  The value of differences between very good and excellent to outstanding audio components are often viewed differently by different individuals and may be more apparent in some systems.  I do not know if anyone has done such an AB comparison, but, if it has, it might help to define how close a current high value Class D amp comes to the best currently available Class D amps.  
I had the Voyager and in stock form it was not as good as the CODA #8 which I also own. I should add that another person that did the AB comparison of the stock Voyager and CODA #8, on my system, liked the Voyager more than the CODA #8. He was a musician and audio hardware vendor so maybe he has a better ear. I got the Voyager modded by EVS ($500) and the clarity of the unit approached Benchmark AHB2 levels (I also own). For me, the mod really transformed the unit to CODA #8 levels, but with less powerful bass. The Voyager seemed a bit more clear than the CODA #8 after the mods. I recently heard a CODA #16 with the CODA 07x preamp and it was better than everything else mentioned above.

The modded Voyager was not that great with my RAAL SR1a headphones (neither was the AHB2). So I sold it to keep the CODA #8 with my CODA 07x preamp. I recently got a Parasound A21+ for my RAAL SR1a and CODA 07x preamp (preamp has 2 XLR outputs). The Parasound is not as good as the Voyager but sonically aligns better with the RAAL SR1a. It is warmer with more bass, but not as clear.

Hifinews had a report for AGD gran vivace couple weeks ago. I do found that the lab report numbers doesn't seem to be good, but personally haven't had the chance to hear it yet.
yyz, I forget was your mod from Ric or from Underwood?

FYI: Today's Underwood sale email has special price on a stock Voyager and their moded version. I have no idea how it compares to Rics mods
@tweak1 My mod was from Ric at EVS. I did not get the mod from UnderwoodHiFi. In fact, they did not offer a mod when I purchased the amp. I think the thread on A'gon may have spurred UnderwoodHiFi to offer the wiring upgrade.

The mod from EVS is much more dramatic. He even removes the power switch. An excellent mod.
@soundhound  I believe it's the AGD Audion model that starts at $7500.

@verdantaudio  I too am very intrigued by the Audions.  And I believe that now, too, Atmasphere's beta-stage class D monoblocks are also proprietary/purpose-built.

Soundhound, you covered the moving parts of the matter rather well, in my view.

The words “current” and “currently” are meaningful, however, as more and more choices will come, beyond what we already know is on the horizon: Atma-sphere, Mytek class D’s.

And as forum member, ricevs, and perhaps others have posted in some detail, the new offerings will offer advancements in design and sound quality. I can’t wait to see how manufacturers up the ante in performance and value to gain our business.

With respect to diminishing returns, I get that once you hear a difference you really dig, you can’t un-hear it.  So, to the the extent that it is within your means, you decide if you want to pay up for the delta. Or…look at other ways to get a meaningful delta in one’s system—which includes the seat and room.

Really disappointed with AGD. They could of brought out a stereo amp at $3500 but instead went for higher price so it does not upset the market for their more expensive versions......I mean, if a $3500 stereo amp sounded as good as a pair of $7500 Audion’s then who would buy the Audion:s.......guys who like bling? There is absolutely no reason why they have to charge so much. They use just tiny heasinks and a pair of GaNs per channel and some other relatively inexpensive parts. Look at what VTV is giving you for a little over a thousand $.......Their baby Purifi based amp has a 1200 watt power supply and two Purifi modules and the Purifi input board, case, jacks, 2 year warrantee, 30 day return and free shipping. An inexpensive mod (by me) makes it way better again......and at 29 per cent of the price of the stereo AGD. I sure hope the AGD is way better than the modded VTV.

Ralph’s amps are shipping and they are $5300 for a pair of mono blocks.....still way too much money for practically nothing inside. Look at what Van Alstine gives you for $3400. 225 mono blocks that have 300 watt toroids in each one....heatsinks.....lots of stuff. They are suppose to sound outrageous. I can make them sound out of this world. Check out this thread for pics:

The modded Voyager at $3500 is really great for the money and has enough power to drive hard to drive speakers (the Atma-sphere amps and the baby AGD amps are only 100 watts a channel). What you get by spending more money will only be known when someone A/Bs the modded Voyager directly against these other more expensive GaN amps......there is also the $6000 Mytek GaN stereo amp to be released soon.

And you can add the Cherry Class D amps......people love them.....I can mod all $4K or less amps for better sound.
Another option. Perhaps some of the other amps mentioned above were among the other amps reviewed prior to this one. The i.V2 is the two channel version.

“The i.V Ultra amplifier has handily outdone all other amps reviewed, regardless of genre, which is unprecedented. I invite the community to peruse the entire listing of amps I have reviewed from the past 14 years; there is not a one of them, not a single one, that I would prefer to be hearing. It’s not just a matter of being somewhat better, or in some respects having advantage, but rather a wholesale superior experience.”

The Legacy amps are stock IceEdge modules in a box. Same as the Rouge Audio Design Studio N-10DM that you can have delivered to your door for $1600 (Legacy i-V2 stereo amp is $4700). There is a thread here about a super modified dual mono IceEdge amp (EVS 1200) that is way better sonically than Legacy/Rouge and it was found wanting in direct comparison to the STOCK LSA Voyager.

Taking one person as a reference to anything is not wise. Please do your own A/Bs in your own home on your equipment. Then you will really know something. People who A/B things directly know something.......those that don’t know nada. So, what I say is just words....what anyone says is just words. Do no believe words....believe what you hear in a super controlled environment.

You want to know how two amps compare?.....then go buy them on trial and A/B in your home. Do not be lazy and just keep asking questions on a proactive.....go find out for yourself. There as so many products that most people just want someone to tell them what to buy.......this is laziness. Test drive these is the only way to know. Then you can be the one to come on line and tell us what you hear. At least it is WORDS from someone who listened.
Please provide proof about your Legacy i.V4 claim; schematics, photos of the interior. Have you listened to the i.V4? How do you know the Legacy isn't an enhanced design like the EVS?
The i.V2 is the two channel version of the i.V4 Ultra. Exactly same design, just 2 vs 4 channels.
Okay, but our last four posts are the only mention of V4 in this page?
I did a "find in page" (search function in my browser), and you and I are the only two posters who have V4 mentioned, as I was thinking I may have misread, misunderstood or something.

A close friend just purchased the LSA Voyager 350, I can’t wait to go over for a listen. By all accounts, he’s thoroughly impressed with the more detailed and authoritative sound being presented by this GaN class D amplifier.
Yes, it's especially confusing since the i.V2 is not called an Ultra like the i.v4 Ultra version.

The i.V2 is a dual mono design.

The i.V4 Ultra is a quad mono design (the one reviewed in my original post).

Comparing the i.V2 to i.V4 is apples to apples. Both should sound the same.

The plain i.V4 shares one power supply per two channels. This would be an apples to oranges comparison to the two above.

Yes, I agree, GaN class D certainly does appear to be the class D flavor of the week.

I hope this helps.
The new AGD stereo amp is encased in a Single billet CNC-machined cabinet, which does cost a bit of $, but in my experience, benefits in SQ by lowering the electrical and mechanical noises to the amp's electronics by a considerable margin. As much as I have dampened amp chassis's ( as does ricevs ) for 50 + yrs, I cannot claim it would be the equal of a single billet cnc-machined cabinet, if it were available. This is how important I find, of the minimization / elimination of vibration, resonance and chassis tuning.
How did you test this?  Did you mount the same circuit boards in a super damped chassis and then inside a single billet chassis?   Did you damp the circuit board and the standoffs in both cases?  Did you try copper plate underneath the circuit the standoff are on copper instead of aluminum?  In my EVS1200 amp I used a thin sheet of soft copper underneath the IceEdge modules and then under that a quarter inch aluminum plate and then the aluminum chassis under that.....also the IceEdge has its own aluminum heatsink above the copper.  Thick copper sheet did not sound as good.  Aluminum by itself rings (billet would ring less but its still there).  Magico went through a lot to use less and less aluminum and damp the heck out of it when they use it.

Lot's of things make for great sound.  Don't think having a Billet chassis is that important in the grand scheme of things.  Every single thing you do makes a difference.  Do the things that make the most difference first and then mess with the subtle things.......I do some damping to the chassis on the helps.

These three pics on this page show the inside of the Legacy I.V4 amp.....same as V2 except 4 modules. You can clearly see from these pics that these are completely stock stereo IceEdge modules using just one channel of each one (hence used as mono blocks). One of the three pics on that page shows the brackets holding the modules up and the ground wire from each one. Nothing but ordinary here.
Please provide more information about the power supplies which can play a major factor in sound quality. What can you tell us about that?

"At least it is WORDS from someone who listened."

Please tell us about your listening impressions of the i.V2 or 4 Ultra? Did you do this audition in your home system? Which other amplifiers did you compare the Legacy to?
I never listened to the Legacy amps with bone stock IceEdge modules.  I made a dozen amps with those modules and spent months modding the modules and the chassis and cables before releasing them.  What I did is far, far superior to a stock module in a box (I did one mod at a time and each mod made the amp better).  Now the Voyager is found to be better by two people than my tweaked out IceEdge.  What Legacy did for $4700 you can get the same thing delivered from Rouge Audio Design for $1600.......I can then mod it to make it better......but it will not be as good as the Voyager (stock or with my mods).  The power supplies in the IceEdge modules are beefy.....very good.  I do modify them for better sound. 
As one of the few who own a EVS1200, highly moded by Ric, and loved the heck out of it ... until I got the LSA Voyager 350 GaN amp, I assure you, done right, GaN is way beyond flavor of the week. The one I have is bone stock, to boot, and I'm confident Ric's mod to it will take it even further


I'm very keen for some dust to settle on some issues, as I understand that despite class D being well established it currently seems to be in an acceleration phase.  How current is the release of AGD Tempo?  There are at least a couple recent threads exploring this topic in one way or another, and I anticipate a lot more.

So, while Legacy/ICE, AGD and others (even "budget") are well received, I'm at that point where I'm in no hurry but will be definately seeking and looking forward to have to make a choice at sometime in the foreseeable future.

Another issue for a lot of people, including myself, is that these objects of desire are generally only available in the United States of America, and perhaps Canada and a couple other places.  That reaches perhaps less than 10% of the worlds population.  I trust that the technology may be licensed out to other manufacturers for it to become more widely available.  


There are plenty of Purifi-based units in Europe: check out Nord, Apollon, Rouge [not Rogue], etc. To say nothing of Technics' products.

In addition to the Purifi based amps mentioned by twoleftears, promising new Class D  GAN FET amps have recently gone on sale from Atma-Sphere  (100 wpc, $5300) and AGD, i.e. the Tempo amp (100 wpc, $5500).  New models will soon be available from other manufacturers , i.e. the Wyred 4 Sound Aura amp (200 wpc, est. price $3,000), a higher powered version of the Atma-Sphere amp (est. 200 wpc, ? price) and the LKV Power 3 amp the (175 wpc, $3500) .  While the the LSA Voyager is an excellent value at $2,500 - 3,000 providing 350 WPC at 8 ohms, the differences between the Class D amps under $6,000 and higher priced Class D as well as higher priced class A and AB amps may be narrowing. If your speakers are compatible with the Benchmark AHB2, it can be remarkably good with transparency rivalling the best in both stereo and mono configurations at a not unreasonable price. 

@twoleftears , I am also intrigued by the Starkrimson Ultra Stereo. I do not find much discussion about that amplifier. I am wondering if Marantz will at some point think of getting out a Purifi or GaN based amplifier.


Yes, thanks.  I am in the Oceania corner. Singapore dealer/s is the closest.  Still, another country which is not ideal.

This licencing thing I mentioned - yes, I mean to more "mainstream" credible brandnames that already have a wide distribution network already in place, without wishing to foreshadow anything.  A couple names are already appearing, that's good I think - this surely cannot remain in the realm of niche players, however defined.


Another option. Perhaps some of the other amps mentioned above were among the other amps reviewed prior to this one.

I have read that review with much care.  Two things - one, it was a standalone review, a very well considered one.  Mr Becker who provided a review of AGD at Enjoy the music had previously provided a review of a Legacy Class D amp (unclear if it was ICE, but it was 2019 so??).  Its an unknown whether his opinion would change were he to review the newer i.V series.

The second thing in the Dagogo review was the rather offhand deflection provided by Mr Dudleston who, when commenting on Gan, took the opportunity to just talk about ICE.  Yeah, I suppose that's to be expected, but still.  Good to see some competition amongst technologies!

The only multinational that I know that's got into this in a significant way is Technics.  NAD is still stuck on Purifi.  I have no idea what kind of modules are in the latest offerings from Bel Canto, but I suspect they're from one of the longer established technologies.

SPEC amps from Japan are very interesting.

GAN amps should be taken seriously. Orchard Audio is running an Starkrimson Stereo Ultra GAN amp tour on Hoffman’s site. When auditioning is finished just ship it to the next person. Enjoyed my time with the amp.




Another kid on the block.

It is very versatile with bi amping and active croosvoer



Hi Could you put me also in audition list of your amp?


I am located in Washington State.





Post removed