Stock Voyager GaN amp (350/600) Contrasted with my EVS1200 (600/1200)
The Voyager (V) I received is well broken in, and as the title says, it is stock. An upgraded version will come later.
I let the V warm up for ~ 24 hours while I listened to my beloved EVS 1200 (~$2300) playing a wide variety of Redbook CDs; The Judds, Chris Issak Heart Shaped World, Leonard Cohen remastered collection, Willie Nelson Across the Borderline, the Eagles Hell Freezes Over, and Jennifer Nettles Playing with Fire (love the music, but the mastering has a few ear bleed cuts- or does it???). I capped the session off with Roger Waters Amused to Death SACD, a huge, occasionally very dynamic, and intentionally phasey recording. While I enjoyed the hell out this listening session, but
afixed in my mind was reading others reporting on their not fully broken in V amps frequently mentioning detail/clarity, the music via the EVS 1200 wasn't as focused as I felt it should, but have accepted for 2 years, as it easily outperformed my PS Audio M700s (MSRP $4000), FYI, their M1200s are based on the same IceEdge AS1200 modules as my EVS 1200, but untouched. They simply added their own tube input stage (MSRP $7000), and Audio Alchemys DPA-1 ($2000), wish I could have tried the monos ($4000), but...
Could the lack of focus be elsewhere, like the Wire World
Electra 7 Power Conditioning
my Audio Alchemy DDP-1 + PS 5, which is IMO, my weakest PC, all the others are $700+, or my $150 Pangea XL coax cable? How would the V stack up? Im thinking it can't be THAT much better, and what about the huge power disparity in my ~ 26 x 38 X 12 lively room with lots of glass and open beam ceilings, which adds up to brightness?
I connected the V, but didn't want to start with any of the same discs, just in case the V needed to see some signal before being ready for the comparison, so I chose Getz/Gilberto Jobim and Astrud
SACD as a nice way to ease into the Voyager. I haven't listened to this disc in months, so no recent memory to taint hearing it now. Did I say 'ease'. Silly me.
I'll cut to the chase hear/here, from the first note, it was obvious that this is a special amp, but at $3500 MSRP? OMG: What a steal!!! The focus reminds me of how much sharper and with greater depth of field pictures taken with Leica camera lens are, compared to all other cameras and lenses. GaNs magic is the equivalent of Tesla EV motor speed- immediate: The V grabbed me from the first note.
More to come after I go through the Redbook CDs that I started with, but I already know it's a moot point. And wilder, still, LSA has already made a few tweaks, like the internal wiring for an additional $175.
Ric Schultz was right when he said expensive amps will be boat anchors
It’s $3000 MSRP.....same as the new Peachtree GaN 400.....and we shall see soon if they are the same amp or not. Maybe Peachtree or Wally can chime in here and let us know. We will know for sure after someone opens the hood on the hot rod Peachtree. Wait till you hear these non boat anchors with serious mods.......yippee!, for great sound at not so great a price.....we all win!
Happy with my current class A/B, but if/when I was in the market for a new powerful amp, would HAVE to audition these new GaN technology amps. Reports seem almost too good to be true, so guardedly optimistic.
A couple price corrections; the PS Audio M1200s are ’ONLY" $5998 LOL, while the Voyager is $3000.
I haven’t yet relistened to the CDs from my initial redbooks, but will do so over the next couple days. I've been getting reacquainted with other CDs.
I am expecting Emerald Physics 2.8s soon (2 years and counting). A book could be written about their travel and delays. Anyway, they have dual 15" carbon fiber woofers per side, and can be bi-amped, so I will likely investigate using the EVS 1200 to power them, just because I already own it
While there is already a comment about being happy with their current AB amp... I’m guessing the word will spread faster than a CA wild fire, which will likely mean a big backlog for it, and a huge sales dump of AB amps. Also, they certainly could raise the price. IMHO, $6000 would still be a bargain. Just sayin’
Hey tweak, you told us your previous amp was the best in the world for the price a hundred times. And now that you have the new best in the world for the price, after careful listening for hours, you probably are wondering why we aren’t all tripping over each other running out to sell our AB amps.
I’m guessing the word will spread faster than a CA wild fire, which will likely mean a big backlog for it, and a huge sales dump of AB amps.
Ric Schultz was right when he said expensive amps will be boat anchors
Adding to my previous post, what kind of person delights in repeatedly writing (along with his sidekick schultz) that the very people that he shares his posts with are going to suffer financial losses???
I hear you! I've been racking my brain trying to recall what amp I had when the music was this pure. ~ 30 years ago I had Accoustat 2+2s with 4 of their servo amps/OTLs (somewhat modified). After I sold the whole system, a friend who built a room on the side of his house to accommodate his custom frame Accoustat 6 + 6s with 4 servo amps found a guy who was able to stabilize the amps. Also when Judd Barber was alive he made a pair of small OTL mono blocks that he sent me to evaluate. I think I had Reference 3A mm Decapos at the time I was never able to afford Ralph's OTLs, but lusted after them. Which ones do you have?
True enough, though in my defense, I ran through quite a few class Ds prior to the EVS1200 ($2300!), and as I recall, there were no GaN amps available 2 years ago that the average guy, like myself, could afford. At that time, Viber 6 (I assume you are aware of his classical violin training) heard the Merrill's and was not impressed, but the magazines were, and they hear a lot of $$$$$ AB amps.
I finally played something that I played yesterday, pre V: Hell Freezes
Over. The music was slightly softened, which affected everything. The culprit is the sorbothane footers . I never understood why they were ever popular, IMO, they have no benefit.
I placed 4 of my Machina Dynamica Springs near the footers and everything tightened up-
better focus, everything sounded faster and clearer, drums had a better thwack. Im sure the people who have the Voyager have some kind of isolation, vibration devices. Feel free to post your thoughts
So, the stock footers on the LSA are sorbothane? How do you know they are sorbothane and not some other type of rubber footer? All soft things are bad...so no matter. Just curious. I cannot imagine putting soft rubberish feet on anything. I included some rubberish footers with my EVS1200 amp but the below was in the instructions:
"The 4 feet should be installed underneath the amp before listening. These feet are made by EAR and are used by Audio Research and others but are not anything special. If you have other feet, please try them. I am currently testing other better feet (Ginko, Teo, Ceraballs, Mad Scientist, etc.) and will have information on my website about footers and mounting platforms. The stock feet are OK to start listening but this amp deserves some mucho better footers."
Everything makes a difference. Please experiment. Still loving the best Mad Scientist footers.....on top of 1.5 inch maple.....on top of bamboo cutting board from IKea......on top of tractor tire innertube with hardly any air in it. I have tried some very low frequency tuned springs underneath instead of the air bladder and it was essentially the same (excellent).
Why Walter is keen on them I do not know. When I bought my/his EP 100.2SE class D amps, I specifically told him no sorbo! He challenged me, and I basically said what you just said. Hopefully, the ones being shipped to customers don't have them affixed, but Machina Dynamica Springs are tall enough. I also placed a ~ 10 pound marble slab on top.
Last night I relistened to the Eagles Hell Freezes Over and Willie Nelson Across the Border Line. Both sounded amazingly better with springs, but Willie freaked me out as to how life like it sounded. Today, I will relisten to Jennifer Nettles and the Judds, then move on to some classical
A few more discs under my belt, including Jennifer Nettles, which as I have mentioned is a mixed bag, and through the Voyager the well recorded cuts sound significantly better, as in more life like, smoother, more continuous, but the poorly recorded cuts still sound bad. Linda Ronstadt Living in America sounded great, far better than it ever did via the EVS1200. So, to answer the question asked "is it better or just different", oh it’s better. A lot better!
I would say that George @georgehifi was right about the lack of processing speed (if that’s the correct term) in typical class D is its Achilles Heal when compared to the vastly superior GaN, but GaN in and of itself is not the be all end all. The execution of the power supply etc. is the key, and it seems the team behind engineering the Voyager have mad skills, preferring to wait 2 long agonizing years through many trail and errors before being satisfied and bring it to market. Kudos!
I agree that at different times of the day or night the music can sound different. To minimize that I have a 20 amp dedicated line, and my Oppo 105 and Audio Alchemy are plugged into a Core Power 1800 which is plugged into the dedicated line
I will add, that I think what Ric meant is not that people who already own very expansive amps will be quick to sell them and at a huge loss, just to buy a Voyager, though some might, but if the Voyager is compared to a lot of the uber expensive blingy amps pre-purchase, those might not be the purchase of choice
It will be interesting to hear the "real story" of the development of the Voyager, etc. Apparently, LSA and Peachtree are buying the power supply and the modules from a 3rd party? So, maybe they had nothing to do with the development? Maybe their own initial amp was a dude? Would be nice to know the story......but, I doubt they would want to say. It really does not matter. We now have two versions to choose from and play with and mod.
It will be interesting to see how the Voyager/Peachtree actually compares with the mega buck class A amps. So far, it is not killing the $3K Benchmark or the $6K Coda.according to yysantabarbara. Of course, mods are yet to come.
George was always going on about the switching speed of the output stage.....1.5meg being his number that he likes to throw around....and only Technics is switching that high. I believe the LSA/Peachrtree probably switches at 500K....but it is not stated. However, the speed of the GaN itself is way higher than a mosfet....so possibly allows lower distortion even at normal switching speeds (less overshoot, less ringing, mo betta dead time control)..
It will continue to get better and better.....this is for sure. Later this summer we have two GaN amps being released from Mytek....then there is Wyred for Sound....then Orchard.....then Atmasphere.....lots of toys ahead.
Would be great if there were some details of the difference between the amps.....better means what? Can you describe the tonal balance difference, bass response, naturalness, soundstage, air, high frequency extension, detail, speed, dynamics, slam, decay, depth, purity, separation of instruments, noise level, ability to handle complex music, etc, etc.....something?
"Switching Speed" that’s the term I was unable to pull from my brain lol
When Ric asks "
Can you describe the tonal balance difference, bass response,
naturalness, soundstage, air, high frequency extension, detail, speed,
dynamics, slam, decay, depth, purity, separation of instruments, noise
level, ability to handle complex music, etc, etc.....something?
Perhaps the Voyager has revealed the limits of my Audio Alchemy dac, and possibly the limits of my Oppo 105 as a transport, or one XLR interconnect (Surf Cables Silver), although when I say that, listening to say KD Lang Ingenue last night,which sounded ’good’, but not crazy good, until the 4th song, which was properly recorded and sounded amazing. It just depends on the recording. I'm guessing analog 'philes will be overjoyed
Also, a discrete input seems the logical next step
In further assessing my stock Voyager, I finally got around to
classical. First up was Yellowstone by Chip Davis. I have a connection
to this as I visited Yellowstone and hiked around. On one hike along
close by a river a small herd of Buffalo came by some 30 yards away from
us. I took a picture of a calf suckling on its mother. We stood and
watched without moving, and yet the bull came between us and his herd,
non threatening, but certainly sending a message.
has cuts with nature sounds, as though they were recorded in the open.
Expansive, open, transparent, well recorded. It's this kind of recording that makes
the Voyager special
To answer the question "How does it sound?" I recommend reading the Absolute Sound Technics Integrated Review in the July 2021 issue, under the heading enough of the technobabble... I couldn't have said it better myself
My EVS 1200 slightly warmed the recordings, and while that has a place, I much prefer the Voyager
Interesting. I did not find the EVS warm. I did find the tone of this amp is greatly influenced by the footers used and power cord. It could go from slightly warm to razor sharp leading edges and copious amounts of inner detail.
I neglected to mention "power". My last 4
Class D amps were: Emerald Physics 100.2SEs (100wpc?), Audio Alchemy DPA 1
(125/200), PS Audio M700s (350/700) < none of these adequately coupled to my
room; ~26 x 35 x 12, lots of glass and terrazzo floors, meaning it's a lively
room. So I bought my EVS1200 (dual IceEdge AS1200 modules!) direct from Ric
(600/1200 per module!!!) and it did the job of coupling the room to the music.
Let that sink in, BECAUSE, the Voyager (350/600 per, as it has dual modules) is
every bit as energetic/powerful, but on good recordings, blows the EVS away.
Can you and will you articulate the fine details of the differences between the two amps? Blow away......means what? So far, I know nothing except you think it is more lifelike, smoother, more continuous, purer and now "blows away". What about tonal differences, dynamics, bass, midrange, detail, micro detail, treble extension, air, imaging, depth, soundstage, etc. into infinity?
Ha! I laughed a bit at the “blows away” comment. All subjective and based on the system the amps are placed in. The EVS amp, in my rig with a $15,000 preamp, sounded great. No way another amp would ever, ever “blow it away”. However, even the phrase “blow it away” is subjective. I have heard DHT and triode tube amps that sound more tonally enjoyable to my ear than the EVS, but I certainly don’t want anymore detail or razor sharp info. I value tone over detail.
tweak1, Appreciate your input. Since you received the V last Thurs, you have only had them 150 hours, with probably much less play time. How do you know how many hours Wally put in for you, as a good customer? Someone on the LSA Voyager GaN thread said that initially the V was harsh, then later it became tubelike. Perhaps you are in the transition phase from hyper detailed/harsh to tubelike. Perhaps your EVS1200 has become warmer sounding with age, since you wrote after a month or so of ownership, that the EVS was neutral/detailed. Let's see what you find after 500 hours or so on the V.
I have been breaking in my Rouge 1200 amp with the same CD of Mozart violin concertos on repeat, 16 hours/day, now about 365 hours. I listen attentively on and off, and I know the tonal characteristics of all the music on this CD very well by now. This is more informative than switching between different recordings. Of course, when we live with the system, we want to hear all kinds of music, but for testing purposes this leads to confusion. Also, trying various footers, cables and such is confusing because of all the variables introduced. Just use the same ancillary equipment to A/B the V and EVS amps. It doesn't matter that Machina Dynamica springs are better than sorbothane footers, because the same relative differences between the amps will be found.
"Blows away" in this case means the sound stage is bigger, wider, deeper , significantly more life-like (micro-details are much more evident) than the amp I had such high praises for, but compared to what? Certainly not to the Voyager, which, BTW does not make mediocre recordings sound better (very neutral), but on really good recordings, it is very life-like, especially on large orchestra where I get a real sense of how big the orchestra is, and where the various sections are.
When I first started my EVS thread, and mentioned that I was going to be receiving a Voyager, I was scolded by Ric for supposedly preventing hundreds of sales (actually, I think he said thousands), but he knew that GaN done right was the future. And we know it took them 2 years to bring it to the market. Numerous times in that thread I tried to tell those potential hundreds of EVS 1200 customers, who needed the power, not to wait. My big concern was would literally 1/2 the power fill my voluminous room. Little did I know the Voyager @ 350/600 would be every bit as powerful in delivering the power and authority, only better, much better.
When I first hooked up the EVS1200 ~ 2 years ago, I was using Surf Cables silver XLRs between Audio Alchemy DDP-1 and the EVS 1200. I used it until maybe 9 months ago when I switched them out for WireWorld Series 7. Draw your own conclusions.
As to the many assumptions on Vipers part... well I’ll just leave it at that, other than to say this amp was WELL BROKEN IN before I received it
Last night I listened to Alison Krauss + Union Station New Favorite. Listened to it at least 50-100 times. It was always entertaining, but I simply wasn't prepared for how everything sounded so clear, so focused and natural. Not even thinking about it, when the banjo played I was floored, as I never noticed it before, because it never had its own space or sounded so natural. Ditto all the musicians and singers.
I remind anyone interested in this amp to read the Absolute Sounds Technics review in Jul 2021 issue. As I read it the other day, he nailed everything Im hearing, which should help you decipher my scribblings on how the Voyager sounds
What I said is not what you stated.....I will leave it at that.
I am very pleased that we have new and better amps for everyone to enjoy. Yes, the world moves on...we all move on...don’t get stuck in the past. I am very excited to receive the fully burned in LSA and tweak it and compare it to a tweaked out (as of today, 4 straight days of playing into a load)
Purifi amp that I have here......this is gonna be fun!
tweak1, So you don't find the Voyager tubelike, which are the impressions of others here? The promotional materials for many GaN amps assert that they are smooth/sweet/tubelike. This is true with Voyager and the upcoming Mytek GaN amps. This is what I heard with the Merrill 114 I had for a few weeks.
Everything is relative. Amp A sounds neutral and clear until you hear amp B which sounds even more neutral and clear, and shows A to be tubelike by comparison. So is A the EVS1200, and B the Voyager?
I remind anyone interested in this amp to read the Absolute Sounds
Technics review in Jul 2021 issue. As I read it the other day, he nailed
everything Im hearing, which should help you decipher my scribblings on
how the Voyager sounds
Viber6, It is not black and white like you always describe. There is an infinite shade of things. Did not you read how the LSA became faster and clearer (less tube like, to you) after he got rid of the rubber feet? My mods will make it even faster and clearer.....but hopefully even more harmonically correct....maybe even warmer sounding. There is a scale of warmth....and a scale of detail.....you can mix them anywhere along both lines......you could have super clear amp with various amounts of warmth. What is neutral is unknown. What we like is. When some describe "tube like".....they mean something that portrays the correctly warm harmonics of real music (something most transistor gear has a hard time with)........that is what some mean by tube like. Old tube sound always adds color and loss of detail.....new tube sound does very little to the sound. There are no absolutes.....just shadings.
Remember when Jay put those footers under his amp and it sounded cold and super fast?......well, some people might say that is more neutral.....he thought it was bad sound. We all tune to our tastes. The older Boulder gear had a rep for dry, cold sound......now they are even more detailed....yet are more harmonically juicy.......go figure.
Someone just told me this story yesterday. He was at a show and the sound in this room using a particular transistor amp was terrible.....even the rep came outside the room and apologized for the bad sound saying they are looking for a tube amp to compliment the system. The guy came back Sunday and with a tube amp there the sound was way better and he did not have to run out of the room, as before. The guy running the room tells him that he sold several complete systems (that included the zippy transistor amp) when the sound was zippy as hell.......they both laughed......some like it hot!
ricevs, Yes, there are many tweaks that affect the sound. Suppose you have sorbothane feet on amp A and B, then you put better feet on both amps. The essential differences between A and B will still be approximately the same, although both A and B will advance by the same X increment. Mathematically, (B + X) minus (A + X) equals (B minus A). At home, everyone has a different system, but we should use the same ancillary components no matter how good or bad they are, in order to zero in on the essential differences between A and B amps.
Another meaning of the "infinite shade of things" is that there is a continuum of the tonal spectrum ranging from muddy, old style tube 1950's sound to the other end, which is raw, brilliant, sterile. Sometimes we think A is neutral, until we hear B, which makes A seem tubey compared to B, even by small degrees. Vocabulary is usually vague, so there is no substitute for careful, educated listening.
And it’s not JUST audio tweaks, as getting my roof siliconed proved to be very beneficial. More though, speaker XOs are typically done by ear in a specific room, to a specific amplifier, or taste. My Emerald Physics 3.4s (12" concentric drivers with 1" polyester dome tweeters) are plenty adequate for most rooms, but in my voluminous room I supplement with 2 SVS 12" down firing subs. I had the XOs set at ~ 80 (which works with some bass shy, or overly bright discs), but as I kept turning them down to ~ 45 speed significantly increased as well as detail, yet still providing the fullness of notes say from a hollow body guitar, or banjo, and I suspect a violin, cello...
Whatever your preferred system and acoustic tweaks you use, listen to the Voyager for many more weeks in a standardized way, and then go back to the EVS1200, to report on your findings. I got lost trying to follow your findings with so many changes going on. Thanks.
Tweak1 - Leitz lenses are great, but they are not inherently better than other lenses just because they're Leitz lenses. Oh, and 'depth of field' is adjusted by changing the aperture, it's got nothing whatsoever to do with who makes the lens.
As you know, I have enjoyed my EVS 1200 for 2 years, giving it tons of praises. Every song I have played through the Voyager was played many times through the 1200. There is no reason to go backwards. The Voyager/GaN technology at least how LSA has implemented it is that much better. And keep in mind the Voyager is a ground up design with many hiccups along the way
My critique is not about Rics ability. I know there were things Ric would have liked to have done, but the modules simply didn’t allow for it, so he did the best he could, and I was very happy, until...
It’s going to be interesting to hear what people think of his mods to the V. It’s so damned good stock, and I trust Rics tweak ability
Last night I listened to Jackson Brown Solos Acoustics Vol 1 and Janis Ian Breaking Silence Both have been played hundreds of times, with Janis having been played on lots of different systems over the decades. I also saw her live in a tiny Musicians Exchange venue in Ft Lauderdale back in the 80s. Both were spooky real, sounding live. Never heard either sounding so alive
Viber, another guy asked the same q. He and I both searched, but could not find a link. Looks like you will need to buy the issue if it’s important to you
Absence of earsplitting pain suggests that the Voyager softens the bad music even just a little. My Rouge IceEdge is quite neutral, whereas the V may be slightly warmer, according to the comments of most V users. I suppose Ric's mods retain the neutrality and further enhance the clarity, but......
If Ric's mods warm the stock IceEdge a bit, this might correlate with your finding that the V has more clarity. Strange.