LH Labs Geek Out review

Crowd-funding for hi-fi kit is changing into a bit of of a trend. When Light Harmonic started a Kickstarter campaign for the Geek Out, the initial target was once set at $28,000.

The final amount raised was greater than a staggering $300,000. Time, then, to see if this moveable DAC was once worth the wait and the funding…

Build & design

Thinner and no longer a lot larger than a field of suits, the Geek Out is available in 4 different colors: white, silver, pink and black.

The colors are for more than private desire, though. Each denotes a unique power output: of 100mW (UK worth still tbc), 450mW (£200), 720mW (£250) and 1000mW (£300) respectively.

Here, then, we're reviewing the silver, 450mW model. The design is functional moderately then flamboyant, however there’s handiest so much you'll do with a tool so small.

It feels forged in hand, even if we’re a bit of concerned that the USB connector doesn’t have a cap for defense (a minimum of a lift pouch is integrated within the box).

To save you you hanging an excessive amount of strain at the connector, LH Labs provides a six-inch USB extension cable. Concave and convex buttons at the DAC’s edge shift quantity up and down, but the Geek Out doesn’t reply very promptly to a press.

It’s easier and faster to modify volume on your pc. The buttons on our review sample additionally rattle just a little, which cheapens our influence of the tool.

The row of indicators running along the center of the unit presentations sample charges being performed. A sticker at the again of the unit tells you what the quite a lot of combination of lights imply, but having to flip all of your pc over to test isn’t excellent.

This set-up is over-complicated and counter-intuitive. The Geek Out DAC can handle a mess of pattern rates natively, including 24-bit/192kHz or even DSD recordsdata must you own any.

You’ll wish to obtain dedicated drivers if you’re a Windows user, however for Mac and Linux operators the Geek Out is compatible out of the box.

Twin headphone outputs are an abnormal function on any DAC, however the Geek Out comes equipped with them. One is to be used with house hi-fi headphones, the opposite more suited for transportable in- and on-ear designs.

The former delivers better refinement and finesse; the latter sacrifices a few of this and just turns out to extend the volume a bit of.

Performance

Play a CD-quality rip of Daft Punk’s Get Lucky and the Geek Out paints an insightful image. The bass-line sounds in particular functional and poised, and there’s additionally a basic feeling of solidity and power to the observe.

There’s quite a few detail and texture available within the hand claps and sparkly highs. Pharrell’s vocal sounds rich, natural and life like.

Pressing the 2 quantity buttons simultaneously engages the DAC’s 3-D “spacialisation” mode which, LH Labs claims, will move the sound from between your ears to outdoor your head.

To be truthful, we really feel you get a greater sense of spaciousness and top, but the trade- off is a slight loss of concord and solidity.

As ever with such tweakery, it can pay to experiment… The DAC isn’t rather as convincing relating to communicating the track’s funky rhythms – we’d like a greater sense of drive and rhythmic precision.

Play a DSD report of Marvin Gaye’s What’s Going On? and, although it sounds rich, warm and packed with resolution, the Geek Out doesn’t somewhat have the texture and soulful flow of the monitor nailed down.

Verdict

The Geek Out is surely a artful little software with an enchanting background tale.

It’s also an excessively competent sounding instrument even supposing it doesn’t rather show class-leading credentials.

You May Like Also

  • What Hi-Fi Magazine Subscription
  • Best stereo amplifiers 2022: the best integrated amps for all budgets
  • Best CD players 2022: CD players for every budget
  • HDMI ARC and HDMI eARC: everything you need to know
  • Best speakers 2022: budget to premium stereo speakers
  • Best Bluetooth speakers 2022: portable speakers for every budget
  • What Hi-Fi Magazine Subscription
  • Best waterproof speakers 2022: budget, portable, smart
  • Best Bluetooth speakers under $100
  • Best internet radios 2022: modern radios with streaming smarts