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20 weeks later: now I have the X1S, I could not resist... it is an excellent setup. X1S can drive my dt880 600 ohm with ease and sounds great! forget the Schitt setup, this one is much better, whole new experience.
AKG K712 on x7s from x1s: amazing... the sound stage... like beign in concert hall... best seats!!
listening to x7s with Periapt xlr cable and hd6xx, simply amazing. I think the extra power thru the xlr makes the headphones sound better, I cannot comment on xlr vs trs. I only know that xlr rigth now sounds amazing with 6xx.
+1 I have the same setup and it’s superb. When I bough my balanced Periapt cable I also had them make an XLR to SE adapter so I could easily use my 6xx with my DarkVoice.
It is not just you, I purchased my X7S specifically for the XLR balanced headphone jack and will not listen to music any other way. The XLR balanced works for everything I have from my LCD 2 closed and Aeon Flow closed to my HD6XX. I have a panda stack that is basically relegated to being used just for the DAC most of the time. Don't get me wrong, I still love the panda stack but it doesn't have that xlr connection that I absolutely can not do without.
I just received an XLR cable for my 4xx from Periapt Cables and all I can say is wow. I feel like I have a new set of headphones. Like with my 6xx the balanced out from the X7S widens the sound stage, improves separation and clarity and tightens up the low end. If you have the X7S get balanced cables for your headphones. After all the balanced out is why you bought the amp in the first place.
If you really want to get your ears blown out by incredible sound you need to pick up a tube amp for that 6xx. I have several amps and magnetic planer headphones that are sitting there collecting dust because the only thing I use anymore is the 6xx on tube. I am not going to speak to all tube amps because I am still new to it but can say with 100% certainty that the Little Dot MKii is great for a beginner and after rolling tubes I found the sound that just makes me go "wow" every time I put the 6xx on my ears. I am sure that there are a lot of people out there that have plenty more experience with tubes that could give advice on much better units but for me, the LD MKii was perfect since I went into this not knowing a damn thing about these amps and the different types of tubes you can get. I was stuck on the precision sound that you get from solid state amps and then I tried a tube amp and that was it for me. It is not the precision and perfect clarity of a Solid State but where it lacks in that perfect analytic sound production it does have the one thing that Solid State does not, Life. Don't get me wrong, I am not bagging on Solid State, I love it with my Mag Plan headphones but it just doesn't do what a good tube does. Tubes (at least in my case) bring a beautifully full warmth to the sound without muddying it up. When I close my eyes and listen to BB King I swear I am sitting 10 feet from him while he jams out (and that goes for about 75% of the music I listen to). There are some exceptions such as EDM, anything bass boosted, and Rap but if your musical tastes expand beyond that then you should really try it. It really is an amazing musical experience and one that you will not regret. I stopped listening to things like cello, 3 piece, 4 piece and acoustical a while ago because it just didn't have the same feel as it did in person. Now, I can't go a day without rediscovering my music collection. Sorry for the long winded reply but I just couldn't find a short way to describe it and even what I have written does not do it justice. Congrats on purchase and glad you are enjoying the renewed sound with the balanced cable. Just an FYI, while a balanced output is great, if you don't have one, you can still use your balanced cable with an adapter and get better sound than with a 1/4 inch cable. Don't know why but I won't question it either, I just know that I will not go back to a non xlr balanced cable.
I am with you on tube amps and the 6xx. I have a DarkVoice 336SE and that is pretty much all I use when listening to my 6xx. Everything you said about the tubes and 6xx are accurate. Acoustic music and vocals sound so good with this combo that I have recently started listening to a lot of bluegrass music. A genre which I never listened to much in the past.
I have a 1/4" adapter for my balanced cables. I use it to connect the 6xx to the DarkVoice.
- I'm With Her - See You Around
- Carolina Chocolate Drops - Leaving Eden
- Amber Rubarth - Session from the 17th Ward
Once on the 6xx/Tubeamp train...it is VERY hard to get off...for most, it's a final destination! The Darkvoice is a bargain especially paired with the Sennies! In fact, I'd recommend this pairing to anyone over other amp's in it's price range!
I will say my Mjolnir/650 combo in balanced is quite mind-boggling! Food for thought if looking at solid-state alternative!
I might give Amber Rubarth a listen very soon, cheers for the Bluegrass recommendations, love me some Folk but Bluegrass is cool ASF!
I am not trying to dismiss people that have a great experience with the DarkVoice but I don't see the hype behind it. Maybe someone can explain to me what I did wrong because I purchased one and found that it had a low hum that would not go away. I read forum after forum and many people commented on it and ways to decrease it. Everything from running it with no power tubes for 100 hours to all out modding it. I just felt that for the amount of money I paid for it that this should not be an existing issue. To be honest, I didn't think that it sounded any better than my LD MKII (of course that could be because I am new to tubes (been doing it less than a year) and with the LD MKII I didn't have that annoying hum. Was it something I did? As I said, I found many forums that commented on it so I would imagine that it was the DV but I could be wrong. Anyone else out there have that issue? As far as the LD MKII goes, it is going to be on my desk for a long time to come, the only thing that can tempt me to maybe replace it will be a balanced tube amp... oh yeah... that would be sexy.. lol would love to hear from you guys on what you think and have experienced with the DV hum as well as any balanced tube amps.
Thanks for the reply and information, I think you may be right when you said that I may have gotten a bad unit. I spent quite a bit of money on different tubes to try and get rid of the hum including the 6as7g which was recommended on a forum I had found. While I was able to get the hum to go down in intensity, I was just unable to get rid of it completely. I have been lusting after the La Figaro 339 since I first saw it on MD but can't quite get there to spend that much (this coming from a guy that spent 2k on stax headphones and 1.6k on my 800S.. lol). I guess for me, getting such an amazing amp at one third the price in the LD MKII I just can't justify $600 just to get that balanced output. I guess I am just going to live life happily with the littledot if I can't find anything at a more reasonable price (or what I would consider reasonable). Again, thank you very much for the input, it was much appreciated.
I don’t think you did anything wrong. It’s not uncommon to have some hum with a new a DarkVoice. It’s old tech and those quirks about it can be charming or frustrating.
I upgraded my tubes and had some hum in those when I initially put them in but it subsided over time and now they are very quiet. Not dead silence, but nothing perceptible when music is playing.
I did the 100 hour thing on a Tung-Sol 6SN7 tube I purchased and the hum went away. Magic. My primary 6SN7 tube is a Shanguang Treasure. It’s expensive, but performs well and was quiet from day one.
I never had any issues with the RCA or the Tung-Sol 6AS7 I have. My preferred setup is the RCA and the Treasure.
I remember looking at the Little Dot before I bought the DarkVoice and don’t remember why I chose the DV over it. The most important thing is enjoying your music.
i have been lusting over a couple of the Woo Audio amps but can’t justify the price. I have a hard time imagining how they can sound much better that my current DarkVoice-> 6XX setup.
Thanks for the info, it drove me absolutely crazy that I could not get rid of the hum. At medium + volume it was not noticeable but at night when I would run it lower because of the sleeping wife and open headphones I could hear that damn hum which did nothing but aggravate me. I was going to do a review on it but being so new to tube amps I decided not to because I could not rule out the human factor. In the end I wound up selling it to a friend who didn't care about the hum, he bought the DV and all the tubes from me and gave me what I spent so in the end it was a no lose situation (except for time .. lol). I have had people ask me how it compares to the DV but since I couldn't get it to work without hum I had to just say I don't know. If pushed I would say the LD MKII because it worked out of the box and when you are a newbee to tubes, that is what you want, something that doesn't have any issues. I said it earlier and will say it again, I absolutely love the LD MKII, it is, in my limited experience, the newbees dream tube amp because it works out of the box and you can get some really nice tubes that are not going to break the bank. I purchased some pretty expensive tubes from one of the bigger tube sites and wound up using the .99 cent special (not literally) off of Amazon because they produced a sound more in line with what I like when I am just chillin and enjoying a little me time music. If I had to say anything negative about the LD MKII it would be that they put that damn on/off switch in the worst place possible. It is on the back left as you look at it, right behind that giant transformer so you learn pretty quick not to reach over to turn it off... yeah... you only have to make that mistake once. With it being in the back you have 3 choices, 1: leave it on your desk in a spot where you can easily get to the back to turn it off. 2: Never turn it off. 3: (my personal favorite) put it on a smart plug and tell Alexa to turn the damn thing off for you.. lol. I also wish they would have put in a gain switch instead of an internal gain jumper, that would have been really helpful for people like me that have everything from low impedance headphones to 600 ohm headphones. That quick flip of a switch would have been nice instead of having to open it and jump it then be super careful so you don't blow something out. Looks wise, I just love it, sound wise, well I'm pretty sure you can tell that I love that as well. All in all I think it is the best buy for everyone but enthusiasts because the 90% of us that aren't can get great results without the huge price tag.