The Living Sounds Audio (LSA) Voyager GaN 350 is a class D stereo amplifier with Gallium Nitride (GaN) FET output transistors. It’s rated at 350 watts into 8 ohms, 500 watts into 4 ohms and “2 ohms stable” (not sure exactly what that means?). To my ears, the GaN transistors are a game changer for class D amplification. The GaN FETs are much faster and more efficient than their silicon counterparts yielding a more musical and accurate experience.
I was first exposed to GaN transistor amps from Merrill Wettasinghe of Merrill Audio after he was kind enough to make a Zoom presentation about these transistors to our club (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YL9dxX-e6mE&t=14s).
GaN technology has been around since the early 1990’s, but the implementation is not simple or easy; developing and refining its application for HiFi has taken many years. After the Zoom meeting, Merrill offered to loan us a pair of his Element 116 mono block GaN transistor amps for our club members to try out. I was lucky enough to be able to give them a try and I was very impressed. While I had been quite happy with my Pass Labs XA-30.8 amp, the Element 116s were in a different sonic league. And, unfortunately, at a price out of my league. Since then, I’ve been keeping an eye out for a more affordable GaN amp when I saw the LSA Voyager GaN 350 from Underwood.
The LSA has many of the same sonic characteristics of the Merrills. The LSA GaN 350 has high frequency extension and clarity without being harsh (after at least 200 hours break-in), unless, of course, the source material is harsh. The mids are pure and liquid without being syrupy; the bass is tightly controlled and tonally accurate. The presentation is wonderful with great depth, width and three-dimensionality. Attack and decay are also first class, with the entire listening experience a complete joy. Plus, the LSA barely gets warm to the touch, i.e. it’s very efficient, and I can carry it under one arm!
It should be noted that the number of manufacturers of GaN amps is growing. GaN amps are currently available not only from Merrill Audio and LSA, but also AGD, Technics, Class D Audio and Peachtree Audio. Most likely there are more manufacturers than I’ve listed here and no doubt the list will get longer in the future.
The LSA Voyager GaN 350 is available only on-line from Underwood HiFi: https://www.underwoodhifi.com/products/lsa-electronics.
My System (https://sanfranciscoaudiophilesociety.com/forums/topic/larry-ds-system/):
Speakers: Spatial Audio M5 Sapphires (replacing Wilson Audio Duettes)
Subwoofer: JL Audio Fathom f112
Amplifier: LSA Voyager GaN 350, Pass Labs XA-30.8 stereo amp
Pre-Amplifier: PS Audio BHK Signature
Interconnects: Synergistic Research, Cardas Clear Beyond and Audio Art XLRs from the preamp to the amp
Power cables: Synergistic Research, Furutech, Shunyata, Anti-Cables with Ferrites (thanks Fred!)
DAC: MSB Premier DAC
Source/streamer: Sonore Sonictransporter i5 with 1TB SSD
Network renderer: Sonore Optical Rendu with linear power supply
Streaming Service: Qobuz
Storage: Synology DiskStation DS115j NAS with 2TB HD
CD Transport: Pro-Ject CD Box RS2t
Turntable: Spiral Groove SG2.2 and a Technics SL1200G
Tonearm: Spiral Groove Centroid
Cartridge: Ortofon A-95 on the SG and Shelter 501 II Mono on the Technics
Phono Stage: Boulder 1008
Click and Pop Remover: Sugar Cube SC-1
Power Conditioner: Tripp Lite IS1000HG isolation transformer for source components. Amps plugged directly into the wall.