HeadAmp Gilmore Lite

Say hello to one of the most well known entry level amplifiers in the industry. Most people will be shocked to find how small the Headamp Gilmore Lite really is. The shocker is when you realize that an amplifier this small can deliver such a clean and powerful sound. Physically, it is smaller than a typical paperback book, yet it has enough juice even for the Sennheiser HD800. The gain is quite monstrous too, and at 12 O’clock, I find the HD800 to be really loud on the Gilmore Gilmore Lite. This gain level is more suitable for full size headphones, as it doesn’t give you enough conntrol when using sensitive IEMs. But in most cases, we wouldn’t be using a desktop amplifier for IEMs.

Build quality is first class, just what you would expect from a reputable brand like HeadAmp. Though it doesn’t really scream high end or boutique, the Gilmore Lite would be a fine object to grace your work desk. It’s small enough to fit in just about any desktop environment.

The sound on the Gilmore lite is everything that you’d expect from a solid state. Depending on the amplifier you’ve been listening to, the Gilmore is a little forward in its presentation. It definitely complements the laid back Sennheisers, but don’t expect a radical change. Other than that, everything about it is quite solid state. Clean power, and plenty of it. Exactly what amplifiers are meant to be.

One nifty feature that you don’t see with a lot of entry level amplifiers is the loop out feature — basically it passes through the signal from the line in without going through the amplification circuit. Useful when you have more than one amplifiers to power from a single source. For example, using a single DAC, I can pass the signal to the Gilmore Lite and connect one headphone there, and then pass the signal to another amplifier through the Gilmore Lite’s RCA loop out. This makes it possible to have multiple set up without having to plug/unplug your interconnects everytime you want to listen to the other set up.

gilmorelite_1With the abundance of cheap amplifiers from Chinese manufacturers, the Gilmore Lite, now priced at $499, is hard to be considered entry level. For the price, you might be tempted to go with other offerings that offer more bells and whistles. While cheaper alternatives are plenty, things like build quality and reliability may be an issue on less reputable brands’ products. Also, I have found some cheaper entry level amplifiers to sound dry and harsh. Not so with the Gilmore Lite. You can be assured that the money will buy you years of good performing solid state amplification, backed by one of the most trusted brands in the industry.

The Gilmore Lite has been providing headphone enthusiasts with a lot of musical enjoyment all these years, and just recently, Justin stated that he is close to ending production on the Gilmore Lite. So, like the TTVJ Hybrid Portable, this is one of the grab-it-while-you-can amplifiers.

HeadAmp Gilmore Lite
5 (100%) 1 vote

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9 Comments

  • Reply May 27, 2010

    h.rav

    Mike, is there any audible hiss with IEM? Where is exactly the 'sweet spot' for IEM? I know it's not made for IEM. I'm just curious 😀

    • Reply May 27, 2010

      Mike

      Gosh, I don't think I can answer that for you. 🙁 I no longer has the amplifier with me (it was a loaner, anyway). But I did say 12 O'clock for the HD800, so you probably can still use an IEM at around 8 O'clock. Not too ideal though. But I'm just guessing here.

  • Reply October 8, 2010

    Zuqi

    Hi Mike, I am still looking for an amp for my headphone lol.
    Acturally, I want to buy an amp which could stay with me for years, and I may not going to listen to my music in the outside, so could you please recommend me some ‘classic’ desktop headphone amp around 400 dollars?

    I heard that Glimore lite have been sold out, could you please introduce some other ‘well known entry level amplifiers’? Thank you!

  • Reply October 9, 2010

    Mike

    Zuqi,

    This for a solid state: https://www.headfonia.com/matrix-m-stage/
    and

    This for a tube/hybrid: https://www.headfonia.com/hifiman-ef5-review/

    Both are excellent amps. 🙂

    • Reply October 8, 2010

      Zuqi

      Thanks for your fast reply, have your tried GS novo before?

  • Reply October 9, 2010

    Mike

    Sorry, I'm quite foreign on the Novo.

    • Reply October 9, 2010

      Zuqi

      Thanks for your advise.

  • Reply December 23, 2012

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