Electrically active defects in n-GaN films grown with and without an Fe-doped buffer layer have been investigated using conventional and optical deep-level transient spectroscopy (DLTS). Conventional DLTS revealed three well-defined electron traps with activation energies E (a) of 0.21, 0.53, and 0.8 eV. The concentration of the 0.21 and 0.8 eV defects was found to be slightly higher in the sample without the Fe-doped buffer, whereas the concentration of the 0.53 eV trap was higher in the sample with the Fe-doped buffer. A minority carrier trap with E (a) approximate to 0.65 eV was detected in both samples using optical DLTS; its concentration was similar to 40% higher in the sample without the Fe-doped buffer. Mobility spectrum analysis and multiple magnetic-field measurements revealed that the electron mobility in the topmost layer of both samples was similar, but that the sample without the Fe-doped buffer layer was affected by parallel conduction through underlying layers with lower electron mobility.