With the Phone-Amp G111 MK II, Lake People present a powerful, flexible and impressive sounding headphone amplifier “Made in Germany” at an attractive price. With its seven-way switchable pre-amplification, it can be operated optimally with a wide range of headphones and receives a real recommendation from us.
The Phone-Amp G111 MK II lines up below the current top model G108 and next to the G105 MKII in the German manufacturer’s line-up of products. A seven-way switchable pre-amplification to adapt to different headphone models, an extended frequency range from 0 Hz to 200 kHz for audiophile sound enjoyment, and power reserves are just some of the features of this remarkable headphone amplifier.
About Lake People – short and sweet
The Lake Constance-based company Lake People has been developing equipment for recording studios since 1986 and also offers products for the hi-fi sector under the brand name Violectric (overview of reviews). The company’s philosophy is to carry out most of its development and production in Germany. The company’s portfolio includes microphone, headphone and phono amplifiers. High-quality A/D and D/A converters are also on offer.
Connections and operation
The current G111 MK II model is the latest development in the G-series of headphone amplifiers, a range which has been around for several years. The unit under review here comes with Lake People’s typically simple thick-walled aluminium design. In addition to high manufacturing quality, the focus is on functionality and ease of use. The front panel is kept simple, with just connections for two pairs of headphones, volume control and the power switch, including an LED status display. Lake People have set their sights on professional users as its target market, so it limits connection to the common 6.3mm jack format and, unlike the G-108, doesn’t include symmetrical headphone connections.
The rear panel is equally tidy and allows the connection of two devices via symmetrical XLR input or switchable, asymmetrical RCA sockets. There is also the obligatory mains connection for the internal power supply. Inside, there is a seven-way switchable pre-amplification to adapt to different headphone models. Due to the small size of the housing (168 x 47 x 165mm), the device is suitable for both stationary and portable use.
Technology – what’s in the Lake People Phone-Amp G111 MK II?
Headphones not only differ in terms of their design but also in technical terms related to the electrical voltage with which the amplifier signal is processed. The amplifier has the thankless task of meeting the needs of each of these models and providing sufficient output power for even the quietest headphones. Lake People addresses this problem with a switchable preamplifier. It enables optimised level adjustment for the selected headphones – comparable to the level control of a microphone for a defined working level. Once this has been achieved, the final listening level can be determined via volume control.
The G111 MK II boasts an overall pre-gain of up to +26 dB without raising the noise level above the value of < -98 dBu. Assuming a high-quality recording, the amplifier delivers an extended frequency range from 0 Hz to 200 kHz (-3 dB).
For this review, a wireless MTX monitor with an integrated headphone amplifier served as the playback device so direct comparisons were possible. Other playback devices used were a Cambridge Audio CXN V2, a CD player (NAD 512), a smartphone (Samsung Galaxy S7) and an iBasso DX240 Reference DAP. The headphone section was covered by models from Stax, Hifiman Edition XS (18 ohms) and the Sennheiser HD 25 MKII (70 ohms).
Our tests started with the Hifiman Edition XS, which demands quite a lot from a headphone amplifier. The magnetostat thrived with airy overtones, distinctly fresh mids and punchy bass. There were still enough reserves left to have allowed the Hifiman Edition XS to play even more brilliantly.
The much cheaper Sennheiser HD25 MKII also benefited from the performance of the G111 MK II, coming to life with a hitherto unheard richness of detail in the midrange. Here, too, we felt the lightness of the shimmering overtone spectrum – as if detached from the speaker.
With both pairs of headphones, I experienced a lightness and calmness that was quite comparable to my Stax model in combination with the associated preamplifier. In particular, the Hifiman Edition XS operated with comparable sonic characteristics to the Stax and clearly benefited from the external headphone preamplifier. Here, the pre-gain circuit for impedance matching created a basis that does not exist in comparable integrated amplifiers. Added to this is the extended frequency range, which enables the headphones to reproduce deep bass and airy treble. On the horizontal plane, the G111 MK II delivered a wide virtual stage with a fine breakdown of the individual musical elements. At the same time, the depth of the sound was convincing. Sound sources were differentiated in the room and effortlessly delineated themselves from each other. An additional positive aspect was the volume reserves. The G111 MK II could also be used as a headphone amplifier for a loud drummer.
But the G111 MK II can also fulfil its task satisfactorily in the studio control room due to two headphone outputs. So the sound engineer isn’t the only one who can listen to a recording undisturbed.
With the G111 MK II, Lake People demonstrate that quality does not have to cost a fortune. Switchable pre-amplification to adapt to different headphone models, a wide frequency range for audiophile sound enjoyment and high power reserves are just a few aspects of this remarkable headphone amplifier. For about 500 Euros, you get a high-quality device that combines functionality and audiophile sound enjoyment. In addition, you will be supporting a traditional manufacturer whose production takes place entirely in Germany. The G111 MK II definitely earn our recommendation to buy!
- high resolution sound
- high amplification
- Pre-gain 7-position switchable preamplification
- frequency range: 0 Hz - 200 kHz (-3 dB)
- two headphone sockets
- Ear couplingAmplifier
- Frequency response (headphones)0 Hz - 200 kHz
What's in the box
- power cord
- Dimensions: 168 mm x 47 mm x 165 mm
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