What are the best GaN Amplifiers available today?

There have been a number of threads discussing the wonder of GaN and some of the individual amplifiers that have caught peoples attention, including those from AGD, Atma-Sphere, Peachtree, LSA, etc. Has anyone done a shootout against two or more GaN amps? If so, which did you prefer, and why? And on what speakers?

Also, of the one you preferred, do you prefer it over every other amplifier you’ve ever heard? If not, what non-GaN amp do you enjoy more?

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I found out later that Class D amps and linear power supplies don’t really go hand in hand, for reasons I forget why.


There isn't a reason. The kind of power supply makes no difference if its properly designed. We use a linear supply in our amp.

All power supplies have a sound. "Properly designed" is not a static thing. The more you know (by listening tests) the more you know that changing one cap or diode or whatever on a power supply makes a serious difference in sound.....as I stated before, how you mount a linear power transformer makes a sonic difference. One advantage of linear power supplies is that they are simple (especially, if unregulated). So there is less listening tests to do. Switching supplies are lighter and take less space....they also run at higher frequencies so there is no 60 hz ripple to filter but they need high frequency filtering....hence, usually an inductor is series with the output.

I learned a lot about how parts effect sound in the early 80s when designing a power supply for the Sota turntable.....this was a 30 volt pre-regualtor. There was already a 12 volt regulator inside the turntable and all it was doing was spinning a belt with a motor. But every single thing I did to this 30V pre-regualor changed the sound.....even the power cord.......what was really interesting was all 4 power transformers I tried had completely different sounds. What a crazy game this is. So, what is properly designed? Is it something you do with theory or do you have to listen like crazy?.......only to find out later in time there is even a better way to get better sound......it never ends.

The best amps to mod are the ones that sound the best stock. I modded the latest IcePower IceEdge ones.....but would not recommend it or any other IcePower modules......they are not bad....just not as good as: the VTV amps using the Purifi modules or latest Hypex NCX500 modules, the VTV D300 GaN amp, the new Nilai amps, the Orchard amps, the LSA Voyager and all the Peachtree GaN amps. All these sound great stock......and much better modified. Of course, the Atmasphere amps would sound much better modded but usually if someone spends that kind of money they are afraid of mods.....plus they would not be manufacturer approved.

The two main types of mods I do are parts replacement and also parts removal (most gear has parts that are not needed that mess up the sound....for instance, all the hardware on a toroidal transformer........or extra switches, connectors, and wire, etc. not needed). I also damp things, add mass and also can add modified Wima bypass caps on the power supply....etc.

How do these various GaN amplifiers perform at low volume (ideally, when paired with speakers known for low volume performance, e.g. horns, BBC monitors, etc).

Full disclosure: as I mentioned in another thread, I heard and very much liked the R1000 driving TADs at low volume, but I suspect that machine, because of Panasonic’s capacity and the Technics brand’s relative lack of cachet, is something of an outlier (and therefore likely a bargain too).

Thanks in advance for any info.