Lampizator Golden Gate 3 Impressions

Thundersnow

Member
Nov 2, 2021
27
49
13
46
Thanks to my buddy @Golum I think I'm one of the first(?) people to be enjoying the new iteration of Lampizator's Golden Gate DAC, the Golden Gate 3.

First off, a bit of background. I've been a user of the Esoteric digital front-end for some time now. My current Esoteric Setup consists of the K01XD SACD/DAC, Grandioso G1X Master Clock and N03T network transport.

For months now, I've had a nagging feeling that I'm simply not living up to my digital source potential. My phono setup and my Studer A807 were easily besting the Esoteric setup. Not necessarily in all of the usual audiophile tick boxes, but in terms of the tone and the general "life" to the music presentation -- absolutely.

After hearing Lampizator at the Munich Hi end in combination with some horn speakers (full disclosure: not a big fan of horn sound coloration), I was on the fence and actually preferred other digital setups at the show. However, at a friend's house I had a chance to sit down and listen to the Atlantic TRP DAC (I believe one version prior to the latest one), and after hearing what it brought to that system I made the plunge and after discussing with @Golum the various options, settled on the brand new iteration of the Golden Gate DAC -- GG3.

So with that in mind, I can't really give you a good overview of how this iteration of the Lampi DAC fares against other models (especially having not heard them with my setup). But what I CAN tell you with a fair degree of certainty is that Lampi GG3 makes a huge positive difference over what I was hearing with the Esoteric setup.

Hearing the first few notes after firing up the DAC for the first time, I was taken aback by the difference in the depth and audio cues in the soundstage. Everything seemed a lot more similar to my analogue setups -- the images got a lot more body, depth and air around them. This sentiment persisted even after a dozen or so sessions -- where I was continuously surprised by this aspect of this digital music source. It just doesn't add up to my preconceived notions of "digital sound".

Another aspect that became apparent (as I continued to asses the sound of my system and compare with my B system, as well as friends' systems) is that the sound got "bigger" somehow. Not sure how best to explain this, but think of the difference one would hear when going from a pure class A system to a straight up AB system. Time and again, I would hear this effect when going back and forth between my A system with the Lampi DAC and my B system. I heard this same effect when coming back home from my friend's house -- having listened to Atlantic TRP at his place.

Finally, with regards to SQ (and to my huge relief), besides the fact that you get very pleasant and airy highs with my Marten Coltrane 3 and creamy and seductive mids (as you'd expect from top-notch tube gear), the bass has absolutely no woolliness or overhang which was to an extent my fear when going from solid state to tube output digital. If there is such a thing as bass tone, it becomes more enjoyable much in the same way as the mids do, and to top that off, the resolution of the bass notes (easily discernible with instruments like the double bass) become palpable and defined in the entire spectrum (plenty of different frequencies beyond the low octaves when you pluck that heavy string).

I still haven't gotten into the tube-rolling aspect of the whole deal, as I'm quite happy with the stock tube performance. One thing to note as I continue to enjoy the music is that the sound (as is the case with most tube equipment) tips over on that scale of "magical tube tone" after about 2-3 hours of listening.

In closing, I haven't etched out this much enjoyment from a hi-fi piece of gear in literally years. I am very, very happy.
 

Attachments

  • O21bc99oRb2EeNVm0b%+IA.jpg
    O21bc99oRb2EeNVm0b%+IA.jpg
    778 KB · Views: 90
Last edited:

Lukasz "Lampizator" Fikus

Industry Expert/VIP Donor
Jan 29, 2020
164
899
420
57
Thanks to my buddy @Golum I think I'm one of the first(?) people to be enjoying the new iteration of Lampizator's Golden Gate DAC, the Golden Gate 3.

First off, a bit of background. I've been a user of the Esoteric digital front-end for some time now, my current Esoteric Setup consists of the K01XD SACD/DAC, Grandioso G1X Master Clock and N03T network transport.

For months now, I've had a nagging feeling that I'm simply not living up to my digital source potential. My phono setup and my Studer A807 were easily besting the Esoteric setup. Not necessarily in all of the usual audiophile tick boxes, but in terms of the tone and the general "life" to the music presentation -- absolutely.

After hearing Lampizator at the Munich Hi end in combination with some horn speakers (full disclosure: not a big fan of horn sound coloration), I was on the fence and actually preferred other digital setups at the show. However, at a friend's house I had a chance to sit down and listen to the Atlantic TRP DAC (I believe one version prior to the latest one), and after hearing what it brought to that system I made the plunge and after discussing with @Golum the various options, settled on the brand new iteration of the Golden Gate DAC -- GG3.

So with that in mind, I can't really give you a good overview of how this iteration of the Lampi DAC fares against other models (especially having not heard them with my setup). But what I CAN tell you with a fair degree of certainty is that Lampi GG3 makes a huge positive difference over what I was hearing with the Esoteric setup.

Hearing the first few notes after firing up the DAC for the first time, I was taken aback by the difference in the depth and audio cues in the soundstage. Everything seemed a lot more similar to my analogue setups -- the images got a lot more body, depth and air around them. This sentiment persisted even after a dozen or so sessions -- where I was continuously surprised by this aspect of this digital music source. It just doesn't add up to my preconceived notions of "digital sound".

Another aspect that became apparent (as I continued to asses the sound of my system and compare with my B system, as well as friends' systems) is that the sound got "bigger" somehow. Not sure how best to explain this, but think of the difference one would hear when going from a pure class A system to a straight up AB system. Time and again, I would hear this effect when going back and forth between my A system with the Lampi DAC and my B system. I heard this same effect when coming back home from my friend's house -- having listened to Atlantic TRP at his place.

Finally, with regards to SQ (and to my huge relief), besides the fact that you get very pleasant and airy highs with my Marten Coltrane 3 and creamy and seductive mids (as you'd expect from top-notch tube gear), the bass has absolutely no woolliness or overhang which was to an extent my fear when going from solid state to tube output digital. If there is such a thing as bass tone, it becomes more enjoyable much in the same way as the mids do, and to top that off, the resolution of the bass notes (easily discernible with instruments like the double bass) become palpable and defined in the entire spectrum (plenty of different frequencies beyond the low octaves when you pluck that heavy string).

I still haven't gotten into the tube-rolling aspect of the whole deal, as I'm quite happy with the stock tube performance. One thing to note as I continue to enjoy the music is that the sound (as is the case with most tube equipment) tips over on that scale of "magical tube tone" after about 2-3 hours of listening.

In closing, I haven't etched out this much enjoyment from a hi-fi piece of gear in literally years. I am very, very happy.
Thank you for confirming that I am not crazy, because I hear exactly as you described it.
Enjoy
 

Thundersnow

Member
Nov 2, 2021
27
49
13
46

Golum

Well-Known Member
Jun 7, 2018
1,479
1,885
275
Lausanne, CH
Thanks to my buddy @Golum I think I'm one of the first(?) people to be enjoying the new iteration of Lampizator's Golden Gate DAC, the Golden Gate 3.

First off, a bit of background. I've been a user of the Esoteric digital front-end for some time now. My current Esoteric Setup consists of the K01XD SACD/DAC, Grandioso G1X Master Clock and N03T network transport.

For months now, I've had a nagging feeling that I'm simply not living up to my digital source potential. My phono setup and my Studer A807 were easily besting the Esoteric setup. Not necessarily in all of the usual audiophile tick boxes, but in terms of the tone and the general "life" to the music presentation -- absolutely.

After hearing Lampizator at the Munich Hi end in combination with some horn speakers (full disclosure: not a big fan of horn sound coloration), I was on the fence and actually preferred other digital setups at the show. However, at a friend's house I had a chance to sit down and listen to the Atlantic TRP DAC (I believe one version prior to the latest one), and after hearing what it brought to that system I made the plunge and after discussing with @Golum the various options, settled on the brand new iteration of the Golden Gate DAC -- GG3.

So with that in mind, I can't really give you a good overview of how this iteration of the Lampi DAC fares against other models (especially having not heard them with my setup). But what I CAN tell you with a fair degree of certainty is that Lampi GG3 makes a huge positive difference over what I was hearing with the Esoteric setup.

Hearing the first few notes after firing up the DAC for the first time, I was taken aback by the difference in the depth and audio cues in the soundstage. Everything seemed a lot more similar to my analogue setups -- the images got a lot more body, depth and air around them. This sentiment persisted even after a dozen or so sessions -- where I was continuously surprised by this aspect of this digital music source. It just doesn't add up to my preconceived notions of "digital sound".

Another aspect that became apparent (as I continued to asses the sound of my system and compare with my B system, as well as friends' systems) is that the sound got "bigger" somehow. Not sure how best to explain this, but think of the difference one would hear when going from a pure class A system to a straight up AB system. Time and again, I would hear this effect when going back and forth between my A system with the Lampi DAC and my B system. I heard this same effect when coming back home from my friend's house -- having listened to Atlantic TRP at his place.

Finally, with regards to SQ (and to my huge relief), besides the fact that you get very pleasant and airy highs with my Marten Coltrane 3 and creamy and seductive mids (as you'd expect from top-notch tube gear), the bass has absolutely no woolliness or overhang which was to an extent my fear when going from solid state to tube output digital. If there is such a thing as bass tone, it becomes more enjoyable much in the same way as the mids do, and to top that off, the resolution of the bass notes (easily discernible with instruments like the double bass) become palpable and defined in the entire spectrum (plenty of different frequencies beyond the low octaves when you pluck that heavy string).

I still haven't gotten into the tube-rolling aspect of the whole deal, as I'm quite happy with the stock tube performance. One thing to note as I continue to enjoy the music is that the sound (as is the case with most tube equipment) tips over on that scale of "magical tube tone" after about 2-3 hours of listening.

In closing, I haven't etched out this much enjoyment from a hi-fi piece of gear in literally years. I am very, very happy.
I'm really happy You are enjoying your new toy and welcome to Lampi family :) .
To shed some light on the stock tubes - they are KR 45s and KR 5u4g. Next time I'll go back home I'll bring some oldies but goldies output ones (issue is that GG3 is balanced so I don't have abundance of quads) and few different rectifiers so lets see how GG3 reacts on tube rolling but its a phenomenal point that you are already super happy as is.
But as Yoda said - enjoy it in good health my friend!
 

charles1dad

Well-Known Member
Aug 23, 2021
222
203
45
68
Michigan, USA.
@Thundersnow
Congratulations on acquiring your Lampizator GG3 DAC. I thoroughly understand and recognize the sonic quality/presentation distinction you hear between the GG3 and your Esoteric digital components. I believe that the GG3 will keep you happy for many years.
Charles
 

christoph

Super Moderator
Staff member
Dec 12, 2015
4,061
3,386
565
Principality of Liechtenstein
Thanks to my buddy @Golum I think I'm one of the first(?) people to be enjoying the new iteration of Lampizator's Golden Gate DAC, the Golden Gate 3.

First off, a bit of background. I've been a user of the Esoteric digital front-end for some time now. My current Esoteric Setup consists of the K01XD SACD/DAC, Grandioso G1X Master Clock and N03T network transport.

For months now, I've had a nagging feeling that I'm simply not living up to my digital source potential. My phono setup and my Studer A807 were easily besting the Esoteric setup. Not necessarily in all of the usual audiophile tick boxes, but in terms of the tone and the general "life" to the music presentation -- absolutely.

After hearing Lampizator at the Munich Hi end in combination with some horn speakers (full disclosure: not a big fan of horn sound coloration), I was on the fence and actually preferred other digital setups at the show. However, at a friend's house I had a chance to sit down and listen to the Atlantic TRP DAC (I believe one version prior to the latest one), and after hearing what it brought to that system I made the plunge and after discussing with @Golum the various options, settled on the brand new iteration of the Golden Gate DAC -- GG3.

So with that in mind, I can't really give you a good overview of how this iteration of the Lampi DAC fares against other models (especially having not heard them with my setup). But what I CAN tell you with a fair degree of certainty is that Lampi GG3 makes a huge positive difference over what I was hearing with the Esoteric setup.

Hearing the first few notes after firing up the DAC for the first time, I was taken aback by the difference in the depth and audio cues in the soundstage. Everything seemed a lot more similar to my analogue setups -- the images got a lot more body, depth and air around them. This sentiment persisted even after a dozen or so sessions -- where I was continuously surprised by this aspect of this digital music source. It just doesn't add up to my preconceived notions of "digital sound".

Another aspect that became apparent (as I continued to asses the sound of my system and compare with my B system, as well as friends' systems) is that the sound got "bigger" somehow. Not sure how best to explain this, but think of the difference one would hear when going from a pure class A system to a straight up AB system. Time and again, I would hear this effect when going back and forth between my A system with the Lampi DAC and my B system. I heard this same effect when coming back home from my friend's house -- having listened to Atlantic TRP at his place.

Finally, with regards to SQ (and to my huge relief), besides the fact that you get very pleasant and airy highs with my Marten Coltrane 3 and creamy and seductive mids (as you'd expect from top-notch tube gear), the bass has absolutely no woolliness or overhang which was to an extent my fear when going from solid state to tube output digital. If there is such a thing as bass tone, it becomes more enjoyable much in the same way as the mids do, and to top that off, the resolution of the bass notes (easily discernible with instruments like the double bass) become palpable and defined in the entire spectrum (plenty of different frequencies beyond the low octaves when you pluck that heavy string).

I still haven't gotten into the tube-rolling aspect of the whole deal, as I'm quite happy with the stock tube performance. One thing to note as I continue to enjoy the music is that the sound (as is the case with most tube equipment) tips over on that scale of "magical tube tone" after about 2-3 hours of listening.

In closing, I haven't etched out this much enjoyment from a hi-fi piece of gear in literally years. I am very, very happy.
Congrats again on your new GG3 :cool:

Wow, if you like your GG3 already that much with your current tubes, be prepared to be flashed when rolling to other tubes ;)

Don't get me wrong, those are proper tubes but there are other tubes that - at least I - prefer very much over the KR45 (my least favorite KR tube in a Lampi DAC, along with the regular KR 300b :oops:)

Do yourself a favour and at least try some other tubes :cool:
 
  • Like
Reactions: Thundersnow

Golum

Well-Known Member
Jun 7, 2018
1,479
1,885
275
Lausanne, CH

christoph

Super Moderator
Staff member
Dec 12, 2015
4,061
3,386
565
Principality of Liechtenstein

highstream

Well-Known Member
Nov 16, 2013
783
283
298
@Thundersnow. Any recollection about the difference between the TRP and the GG?

To everyone: Any sense whether Engine 11 has closed the gap between models, such as the TRP and GG?
 

Golum

Well-Known Member
Jun 7, 2018
1,479
1,885
275
Lausanne, CH
Gene I'm sure this type of comparison is still not available as they started rolling E11 just recently. Maybe some dealer heard them side by side, possibly Greg from GPoint audio as they just locked a show in UK last weekend with several different Lampi DACs.
Anyhow I heard GG3 at @Thundersnow place last night and indeed it sounds sublime (with 01A quad).
 

highstream

Well-Known Member
Nov 16, 2013
783
283
298
The trade-in program and engine upgrades are on hold now, at least until the beginning of the year when the factory will reevaluate its workload, so it’s a moot question for now. I’ve been advised that a GG2 could be a sonic downgrade vs. a TRP with Engine 11.
 

Thundersnow

Member
Nov 2, 2021
27
49
13
46
@Thundersnow. Any recollection about the difference between the TRP and the GG?

To everyone: Any sense whether Engine 11 has closed the gap between models, such as the TRP and GG?
Hmm… it would be very hard to make that comparison. Different systems, different rooms and its been a few months since I heard the TRP. I hear the similar nature of tone (which I liked), though in my system the sound seems a lot smoother and more refined. Impossible to go beyond this general sentiment without actually having the TRP to test out against my GG3.
 
  • Like
Reactions: christoph

JAB

Well-Known Member
Jul 22, 2015
3
0
131
I understand you are llstening to your new GG3 with 01a what rectifier do you like with these DHT?
One of my favorite tube combinations is a full Lampi Anniversary combo
Can anyone tell me If the 01a or it’s variants get close?
 

highstream

Well-Known Member
Nov 16, 2013
783
283
298
Hmm… it would be very hard to make that comparison. Different systems, different rooms and its been a few months since I heard the TRP. I hear the similar nature of tone (which I liked), though in my system the sound seems a lot smoother and more refined. Impossible to go beyond this general sentiment without actually having the TRP to test out against my GG3.
I picked up the GG2 being advertised in the classifieds here. Turned out Hong Kong owner had picked it up earlier this year, then decided to go with EMM dac. He offered to pay shipping to the States via Poland, and arranged for it to be checked out and upgraded, which is happening now. Comes with Sophia Royal Princess 300B and 274B, along with a new set of EH 300B's.
 

Thundersnow

Member
Nov 2, 2021
27
49
13
46
I understand you are llstening to your new GG3 with 01a what rectifier do you like with these DHT?
One of my favorite tube combinations is a full Lampi Anniversary combo
Can anyone tell me If the 01a or it’s variants get close?
I am using a K-R Tubes Inc. 5u4gb which I believe is a Sylvania tube actually. I preferred it over the stock KR Audio tube in combination with the 01a’s. Took a while for the 01a‘s to show their magic. They were never used and in their boxes. Initially, when I put them in the differences were rather minor over the KR Audio‘s 45. After about a week with the 01’s, however, when I put the 45s back in the difference was clear — and in favor of the 01‘s. Warmer, more organic tone and bigger sound stage. As for the K-R Tubes rectifier, I could only notice a slightly more pleasant tone to my ears over the stock KR Audio tube. I didn’t go back to the stock tube again to make a more meaningful comparison as I’m simply enjoying the current combo very much and don’t feel inclined to experiment.

With that said, there is a set of quad 242 that sort of have my name on them, so hopefully I’ll be able to shed some more light on their performance vs. the NOS RCA 01’s.
 
  • Like
Reactions: christoph and Golum

bonzo75

Member Sponsor
Feb 26, 2014
18,884
9,017
1,615
London
I picked up the GG2 being advertised in the classifieds here. Turned out Hong Kong owner had picked it up earlier this year, then decided to go with EMM dac. He offered to pay shipping to the States via Poland, and arranged for it to be checked out and upgraded, which is happening now. Comes with Sophia Royal Princess 300B and 274B, along with a new set of EH 300B's.

neither of these tubes are good
 
  • Like
Reactions: Golum

highstream

Well-Known Member
Nov 16, 2013
783
283
298
neither of these tubes are good
Hmm... I've yet to find anything short of rave reviews for the Royal Princess. The Sophia KT88 and 274B Aqua sound quite good with the TRP (and the Aqua also with my previous preamp), better than anything else among the many I tried, including the Tesla EL51 and RK 5U4G Anniversary. So I'll find out.
 
Last edited:

bonzo75

Member Sponsor
Feb 26, 2014
18,884
9,017
1,615
London
The RK recti is excellent, I was referring to the 300b especially on Lampi
 

highstream

Well-Known Member
Nov 16, 2013
783
283
298
The RK recti is excellent, I was referring to the 300b especially on Lampi
On the TRP, the RK made me feel like throwing the system out the window. Literally. It is tonally made for radically different tastes than mine. Had I ignored the Sophia naysayers when I got into dealing with tubes and the TRP and Supratek, I would have saved myself a lot of time and money. How things will shake out with the GG and with the new engine, I’ll find out. But given that each of us has different tastes, and you don’t know mine, the phrasing of your initial statement is not a way to start a discussion.
 
  • Like
Reactions: Gjo

bonzo75

Member Sponsor
Feb 26, 2014
18,884
9,017
1,615
London
On the TRP, the RK made me feel like throwing the system out the window. Literally. It is tonally made for radically different tastes than mine. Had I ignored the Sophia naysayers when I got into dealing with tubes and the TRP and Supratek, I would have saved myself a lot of time and money. How things will shake out with the GG and with the new engine, I’ll find out. But given that each of us has different tastes, and you don’t know mine, the phrasing of your initial statement is not a way to start a discussion.

i really don’t care for your tastes I have followed your posts. I am just posting for benefit of others
 

About us

  • What’s Best Forum is THE forum for high end audio, product reviews, advice and sharing experiences on the best of everything else. This is THE place where audiophiles and audio companies discuss vintage, contemporary and new audio products, music servers, music streamers, computer audio, digital-to-analog converters, turntables, phono stages, cartridges, reel-to-reel tape machines, speakers, headphones and tube and solid-state amplification. Founded in 2010 What’s Best Forum invites intelligent and courteous people of all interests and backgrounds to describe and discuss the best of everything. From beginners to life-long hobbyists to industry professionals, we enjoy learning about new things and meeting new people, and participating in spirited debates.

Quick Navigation

User Menu

Steve Williams
Site Founder | Site Owner | Administrator
Ron Resnick
Site Co-Owner | Administrator
Julian (The Fixer)
Website Build | Marketing Managersing