• WANTED: Happy members who like to discuss audio and other topics related to our interest. Desire to learn and share knowledge of science required as is 20 years of participation in forums (not all true). Come here to have fun, be ready to be teased and not take online life too seriously. We now measure and review equipment for free! Click here for details.

Review and Measurements of LH Labs GO2Pro Infinity DAC & Amp

amirm

Founder/Admin
Staff Member
CFO (Chief Fun Officer)
Joined
Feb 13, 2016
Messages
21,245
Likes
28,593
Location
Seattle Area
#1
This is a review and detailed measurements of the LH Labs GO2Pro Infinity portable DAC and headphone amplifier. It is on kind loan from a member. It costs USD $480 including a 20% discount as of this writing. So full retain price is a whopping $600!

I tested the regular GO2Pro version a while back but it was with my less standardized tests.

The GO2Pro Infinity is a chunky unit the size of a mobile phone but much thicker and heavier:

LH Labs GO2Pro Portable DAC and Headphone Amplifier Review.jpg

I like that the sides are chamfered which makes them fit the hand better and poke you less.

The color and graphics also give the unit a somewhat luxury look, separating it from the crowd of products in this category (battery operated headphone DAC+amp).

There are separate USB jacks for data and charging. I wish the data one could do both for desktop use.

The on/off switch is a stiff slider which I guess is good so it won't accidentally turn on by itself and drain the battery.

I was not a fan of the user interface in the original version and that continues with this unit. I mean how are you going to decipher such controls?


LH Labs GO2Pro Portable DAC and Headphone Amplifier Controls Review.jpg

Not only are the legends almost invisible, the LEDs change color to indicate different things. Fortunately you will mostly be dealing with the volume controls on the side which do the job with decent feel.

There are both "balanced" and unbalanced headphone jacks. Alas, they use the same sized 3.5 mm jack. Most other companies use 2.5mm for the balanced to keep one from accidently plugging the headphone into the wrong jack.

Measurements
As with my test of other combo DAC and Amps, I adjusted the volume as close to 2 volts as I could for the dashboard measurement that emphasize the DAC performance:
LH Labs GO2Pro Portable DAC and Headphone Amplifier Measurements.png


OK, not awful but not that respectable either. SINAD (signal over distortion and noise) barely clears the hurdle to land in tier 3 of DACs tested:
LH Labs GO2Pro Portable DAC and Headphone Amplifier SINAD Measurements.png


In comparison, the direct competitor to the GO2Pro, the Topping NX4 DS clocks at 104. That is a massive 13 dB improvement in noise and distortion.

Dynamic range is good for this class of device and meets spec:

LH Labs GO2Pro Portable DAC and Headphone Amplifier Dynamic Range Measurements.png


Intermodulation distortion versus level repeats the story of THD+N in the dashboard:
LH Labs GO2Pro Portable DAC and Headphone Amplifier Intermodulatino Distortion Measurements.png


Even though I have kept the output below max at 2 volts, distortion starts to set in around -15 dB and keeps climbing. The output buffer is not as transparent as it could be.

Ditto for our 32-tone test signal:

LH Labs GO2Pro Portable DAC and Headphone Amplifier Multitone Measurements.png


Jitter and linearity through are very competitive and good:
LH Labs GO2Pro Portable DAC and Headphone Amplifier Jitter Measurements.png

LH Labs GO2Pro Portable DAC and Headphone Amplifier Linearity Measurements.png


Setting the volume control to max and measuring power versus distortion+noise using 300 ohm load we get:
LH Labs GO2Pro Portable DAC and Headphone Amplifier Single Ended Power at 300 Measurements.png


37 milliwatts is respectable and beats the low gain of our desktop reference (Topping DX3 Pro).

Switching to the other extreme load at 33 ohm we get:

LH Labs GO2Pro Portable DAC and Headphone Amplifier Single Ended Power at 33 Measurements.png


There is again healthy amount of power here at 320 milliwatts.

My balanced load is at 50 ohm so here it is in both modes of operation:

LH Labs GO2Pro Portable DAC and Headphone Amplifier Balanced Power at 50 Ohm Measurements.png


We see that power doubles using balanced output, delivering desktop class amount of energy to such headphones.

Output impedance is comfortably low at just 0.8 ohm:
LH Labs GO2Pro Portable DAC and Headphone Amplifier Output Impedance Measurements.png


This should allow GO2Pro Infinity to drive any headphone without impacting its frequency response.

Listening Tests
As usual, I start my testing with Sennheiser HD650 headphones. Here, once I pushed the volume/gain to max (top LED becomes white), there was ample power for just about anything I played. Comfortable level was a notch or two below max. I imagine if you rewired your HD-650 to be balanced, you would get even more headroom.

Somehow the experience with Hifiman HE-400i was not as rewarding. Not sure if this was my mood today :), or performance of device. Of course there is plenty of power so no worries here.

Conclusions
As a DAC, the LH Labs GO2Pro Infinity edition struggles to deliver good performance. Its output stage distorts early, landing the unit pretty low compared to its competition despite its astronomical price. The headphone output though makes up for that with lots of power, especially if you use its balanced output.

The problem facing GO2Pro is performance/price ratio. On that front, the Topping NX4 DSD runs circles around it due to it costing just USD $159 with prime shipping from Amazon. That is 1/4 of the retail price of the GO2 Pro. Is there enough of a luxury feel here to overcome that massive price gap? I don't think so but you may think otherwise.

------------
As always, questions, comments, recommendations, etc. are welcome.

Crap! Snow came back today. Need money to buy a second snow shovel. Please consider donating funds using:
Patreon: https://www.patreon.com/audiosciencereview), or
upgrading your membership here though Paypal (https://audiosciencereview.com/foru...eview-and-measurements.2164/page-3#post-59054).
 

Jimster480

Major Contributor
Patreon Donor
Joined
Jan 26, 2018
Messages
1,115
Likes
590
Location
Miami
#2
LH Labs is pretty much a joke. Everything I have seen from them in the past years (basically since I got into high end audio) has been a total joke at a high price.
its mostly a marketing company, and they have a scandal open with Kickstarter aswell.... devices never built over years. There are threads about it on crap-Fi
 

Michael Kelly

Member
Manufacturer
Patreon Donor
Joined
Aug 22, 2018
Messages
48
Likes
54
#4
This is a review and detailed measurements of the LH Labs GO2Pro Infinity portable DAC and headphone amplifier. It is on kind loan from a member. It costs USD $480 including a 20% discount as of this writing. So full retain price is a whopping $600!

I tested the regular GO2Pro version a while back but it was with my less standardized tests.

The GO2Pro Infinity is a chunky unit the size of a mobile phone but much thicker and heavier:


I like that the sides are chamfered which makes them fit the hand better and poke you less.

The color and graphics also give the unit a somewhat luxury look, separating it from the crowd of products in this category (battery operated headphone DAC+amp).

There are separate USB jacks for data and charging. I wish the data one could do both for desktop use.

The on/off switch is a stiff slider which I guess is good so it won't accidentally turn on by itself and drain the battery.

I was not a fan of the user interface in the original version and that continues with this unit. I mean how are you going to decipher such controls?
Not only are the legends almost invisible, the LEDs change color to indicate different things. Fortunately you will mostly be dealing with the volume controls on the side which do the job with decent feel.

There are both "balanced" and unbalanced headphone jacks. Alas, they use the same sized 3.5 mm jack. Most other companies use 2.5mm for the balanced to keep one from accidently plugging the headphone into the wrong jack.

Measurements
As with my test of other combo DAC and Amps, I adjusted the volume as close to 2 volts as I could for the dashboard measurement that emphasize the DAC performance:
View attachment 23275

OK, not awful but not that respectable either. SINAD (signal over distortion and noise) barely clears the hurdle to land in tier 3 of DACs tested:
View attachment 23276

In comparison, the direct competitor to the GO2Pro, the Topping NX4 DS clocks at 104. That is a massive 13 dB improvement in noise and distortion.

Dynamic range is good for this class of device and meets spec:

View attachment 23277

Intermodulation distortion versus level repeats the story of THD+N in the dashboard:
View attachment 23278

Even though I have kept the output below max at 2 volts, distortion starts to set in around -15 dB and keeps climbing. The output buffer is not as transparent as it could be.

Ditto for our 32-tone test signal:

View attachment 23281

Jitter and linearity through are very competitive and good:
View attachment 23279
View attachment 23280

Setting the volume control to max and measuring power versus distortion+noise using 300 ohm load we get:
View attachment 23282

37 milliwatts is respectable and beats the low gain of our desktop reference (Topping DX3 Pro).

Switching to the other extreme load at 33 ohm we get:

View attachment 23283

There is again healthy amount of power here at 320 milliwatts.

My balanced load is at 50 ohm so here it is in both modes of operation:

View attachment 23284

We see that power doubles using balanced output, delivering desktop class amount of energy to such headphones.

Output impedance is comfortably low at just 0.8 ohm:
View attachment 23285

This should allow GO2Pro Infinity to drive any headphone without impacting its frequency response.

Listening Tests
As usual, I start my testing with Sennheiser HD650 headphones. Here, once I pushed the volume/gain to max (top LED becomes white), there was ample power for just about anything I played. Comfortable level was a notch or two below max. I imagine if you rewired your HD-650 to be balanced, you would get even more headroom.

Somehow the experience with Hifiman HE-400i was not as rewarding. Not sure if this was my mood today :), or performance of device. Of course there is plenty of power so no worries here.

Conclusions
As a DAC, the LH Labs GO2Pro Infinity edition struggles to deliver good performance. Its output stage distorts early, landing the unit pretty low compared to its competition despite its astronomical price. The headphone output though makes up for that with lots of power, especially if you use its balanced output.

The problem facing GO2Pro is performance/price ratio. On that front, the Topping NX4 DSD runs circles around it due to it costing just USD $159 with prime shipping from Amazon. That is 1/4 of the retail price of the GO2 Pro. Is there enough of a luxury feel here to overcome that massive price gap? I don't think so but you may think otherwise.

------------
As always, questions, comments, recommendations, etc. are welcome.

Crap! Snow came back today. Need money to buy a second snow shovel. Please consider donating funds using:
Patreon: https://www.patreon.com/audiosciencereview), or
upgrading your membership here though Paypal (https://audiosciencereview.com/foru...eview-and-measurements.2164/page-3#post-59054).
If I recall, LH Labs had several videos where they showed performance using an AP analyzer. How do they compare to here and why the apparent discrepancy?

Michael
 

amirm

Founder/Admin
Staff Member
CFO (Chief Fun Officer)
Joined
Feb 13, 2016
Messages
21,245
Likes
28,593
Location
Seattle Area
#5
If I recall, LH Labs had several videos where they showed performance using an AP analyzer. How do they compare to here and why the apparent discrepancy?

Michael
I have not seen them. Do you have a link for them?
 

amirm

Founder/Admin
Staff Member
CFO (Chief Fun Officer)
Joined
Feb 13, 2016
Messages
21,245
Likes
28,593
Location
Seattle Area
#6
I searched and found their youtube channel. Poor guys are getting less than 10 views for each! They need to fire their social media person. :)

I could not find a video on this product. But did see one on Geek out V2:


They do get better distortion numbers than I got but the reason for that is that he sets the output to just 0.6 volts. He avoids the 2 volt output by turning down the volume. As you see in my measurements, the distortion goes down when you lower the level. So that explains the difference.

I do like that they have an Audio Precision analyzer (albeit the lower model APx525) and put out videos like this. This puts them a step above a lot of their competition which drives blind.
 

Michael Kelly

Member
Manufacturer
Patreon Donor
Joined
Aug 22, 2018
Messages
48
Likes
54
#7
I searched and found their youtube channel. Poor guys are getting less than 10 views for each! They need to fire their social media person. :)

I could not find a video on this product. But did see one on Geek out V2:


They do get better distortion numbers than I got but the reason for that is that he sets the output to just 0.6 volts. He avoids the 2 volt output by turning down the volume. As you see in my measurements, the distortion goes down when you lower the level. So that explains the difference.

I do like that they have an Audio Precision analyzer (albeit the lower model APx525) and put out videos like this. This puts them a step above a lot of their competition which drives blind.
I found that video as well, but I wasn’t sure if it was relevant because of the model number differences. However it is the one that I was thinking of.

While I am not fully sold on the need to drive the full 2 volts, I do recognize the value of having a fair comparison at a standard voltage. And in this case, LHLabs measuring at 0.6 V is simply too low to be realistic when driving anything. I had not noticed that, so thank you for pointing it out.
 
Top Bottom