Ask B2G: Is the GIGABYTE OP-AMP Kit Worth it?

Time to re-ignite this little segment of our site where we share your questions to our readers. Today we have a question from reader IceVox:

I know you guys have the GIGABYTE G1.Sniper 5 and I know its got the replaceable OPAMP feature. I am just wondering is it really necessary to have such a feature? Can’t just GIGABYTE put the best OPAMP in there which leads me to ask if the OPAMP kit is worth it.

Thanks.

There’s really so much involved in this its hard to answer you straight. So let me answer your question one by one to hopefully share more insight to help you in your purchase decision (assuming you’re interested since you asked about the value.)

Ask B2G: Is the GIGABYTE OP-AMP Kit Worth it? -

First off, there really is no “best OP-AMP” or operational amplifier. Op-amps usually offer distinct characteristics which make them suitable for certain types of listening experience that some might enjoy and others may not. In simple terms, its highly subjective. Majority of people who tweak their audio devices find that certain op-amp that offer the best listening experience for their genre of music or listening style. Basically, its all up to you so to answer your question of “why GIGABYTE didn’t put in the best op-amp?” is because it is up to you which is the best.

Moving on your other question of “is the op-amp kit worth?”, we actually have a review of the kit brewing but to give you the quick version, then yes, it is worth it. GIGABYTE isn’t charging much of a premium compared to when you get these op-amps individually plus you get an IC puller, too which is another extra. The op-amps included are pretty good, especially if you’re just starting out in hi-fi audio gear.

Here is a list of the included op-amps in the kit for your reference:

OP-AMP
Typical Sound characteristics
Ask B2G: Is the GIGABYTE OP-AMP Kit Worth it? -
OP-AMP A 
Burr-Brown – OPA2111KP
Similar to LM4562 with added tender and sweet touch of sound. Suitable for light music, new age & instrumental.
Ask B2G: Is the GIGABYTE OP-AMP Kit Worth it? -
OP-AMP B 
Linear Technology – LT1358CN8
Thick and charming mid-frequency range with average definition. Suitable for operas and vocals.
Ask B2G: Is the GIGABYTE OP-AMP Kit Worth it? -
OP-AMP C 
Analog Devices – AD827JNZ
Very good at sound filed forming. Extensions to high and low frequency are superb. Suitable for big sound filed playback such as symphonies.

Source: GP-OP AMP Product page

Also related, GIGABYTE has just released the G1.Sniper Z87, a cutdown version of the Sniper 5 but retains the excellent audio quality of the more expensive Sniper 5.