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DarkVoice 336SE OTL Headphone Amp
$240
$300

DarkVoice 336SE OTL Headphone Amp

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$240
$300
2.8k Sold
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Product Description
Headphone amplifiers come in a variety of circuit designs, each with its own advantages and drawbacks, but there’s one main determining faction: distortion level. Credited with having the lowest possible distortion, Output Transformer-Less (OTL) headphone amps cut out a key part of conventional amplifier design to eliminate a major cause of audible distortion Read More
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All of our reviews are from verified customers.
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250
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88%
would recommend to a friend
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Orthodoxe007
64
Nov 20, 2021
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Gorgeous sound with very quiet background
For most tube headamps, noise is usually a problem, however, it’s not the case with DarkVoice336SE, I find the background very quiet. The driving force is also good, after half an hour warm up, the control is even better. I am satisfied with the purchase.
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Would recommend to a friend.
dropaccount
0
Nov 14, 2021
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Great sound, poor quality control
I ordered this about a year ago, the first few months the amp sounded great but over the past few months there's been an increasingly loud buzzing/humming sound coming through in the left ear. Beyond opening up the whole amp to try to fix the problem, I've tried every solution available online. The buzzing is getting to the point where it is unlistenable.
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Would not recommend to a friend.
G3n3r1c
177
Nov 11, 2021
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The Darkvoice 336SE is an OTL amplifier. If you don't know what this means, learn about OTL designs and what they can do. This is not a general purpose amplifier, nor should it be your first headphone amp. It's meant for high impedance headphones and is ideal only for some of those. Do you homework before buying. Points of consideration: This is a traditional full tube amp, and it requires more thought and maintenance than a solid state amp or tube hybrid. If you are not patient and careful with things that can burn, electrocute, or cut, just move on. Tubes serve to smooth rough edges, adjust tone, and typically add harmonics/resonance. They thereby reprocess music sources, but the difference need not be dramatic or fit tube amp stereotypes. They need not be warm or thick sounding either. You must try for yourself and test with compatible hardware. This amp is inexpensive in the OTL market and has several obvious flaws. These include (1) a long and fragile power switch that wants to be broken, (2) a sensitive volume pot that reaches listening levels with a few millimeters of movement, and (3) a tendency to hum with replacement 6SN7 (front driver) tubes. The hum issues has been discussed to death in forums, with some advocating internal soldering and parts changes while others saying to burn in new tubes for 72 hours. No matter how you respond, expect hum headaches. My factory tubes never hummed, but most of my 6SN7s did or do continue to hum. The factory tubes DO NOT SUCK. They are fine and get in the ballpark of what an unmodified amp can do. In comparing with a variety of well known and common replacement tubes, they are about average versus the compatible options. DO NOT FALL FOR "NEW OLD STOCK" TUBE HYPE. Before you start swapping tubes, UPGRADE YOUR DAC. People seem to fixate on the most obvious point of change without considering how the amp interacts with other equipment. For this and other tube amps I've read plenty of comments about "cheap factory tubes, so I threw them away." In my testing I've found that new headphones amps reach the point where end users notice the limitations of their DACs, as hissy, whining, jittery, etc, and actually dislike the DAC rather than the tubes. Tube amps draw attention to tube swaps as the only logical fix, but new tubes often result in pretty minor changes. Instead, move away from Delta Sigma DACs to multibit if possible. With lower priced DACs I prefer iFi products (Burr Brown chips) as the least offensive option. This amp is named "Darkvoice" and has a naturally warm tone. This follows from the inherent character of 6SN7 tubes (as each tube tends to sound similar on another amp), and the factory design decisions. As such, I don't like or recommend this amp for already warm headphones such as the HD 6XX. I prefer it with neutral to bright headphones that benefit from the warmth (e.g., HD 600, HD 800 S, Beyerdynamic DT 880, etc). The Bottlehead Crack is designed as a brighter OTL amp and its stock setup pairs better with the HD 6XX. This amp serves well as a speaker preamp. When fed into a solid state amp or receiver, much of its smoothness and expansive stage comes across through the speakers.
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I.AM.ME
3
Nov 12, 2021
Your* lol
I.AM.ME
3
Nov 12, 2021
I think I found my new method of preferred hearing loss.
CasualMariachi
3
Nov 4, 2021
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I sadly cannot in good faith recommend this to anyone.
Sadly, after having received not one, but TWO units from Drop, I am unable to say I can recommend this product to anyone. The sound is incredible when working, but when any product lacks any quality-control assurance whatsoever, I cannot stand by it. My problems appeared within a few days of use, and for something that I expect to be working long-term, this is unacceptable for me personally. Filed for a refund/return as soon as my unit stopped working appropriately.
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Would not recommend to a friend.
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darkside89
44
Nov 1, 2021
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Best bang for your buck if you want an introduction to tubes
I absolutely adore how this makes my Sennheiser HD6xx's sound, it's difficult to explain, it just makes things sound more full, natural, and rich. Be prepared to buy new vacuum tubes with this (which you should probably do anyways, the chinese tubes that are supplied with it are low quality) My power tube was shattered in transit, so i just searched for some new old stock tubes and got a nice pair for around $120, i didn't even bother with the included tubes. I wasn't happy i had to replace the tubes right out of the box, but i shrugged it off and kept moving forward. The Darkvoice 336SE is quite bulky as well, make sure you have a solid surface to place it on. The experience while using this tube amp was honestly worth the trouble, if you're looking to get into tube amps, definitely start here.
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Would recommend to a friend.
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Nice intro to tubes!
I've been wanting to try a tube amp, and this was a good deal for an amp I'd heard a lot about. I'm really enjoying it so far!
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Would recommend to a friend.
diethylad42
16
Sep 23, 2021
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I love it
The tubes should be tube swapped for more classic tube 🎵sound
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Would recommend to a friend.
oanhtonsoup
8
Sep 18, 2021
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Using it right now!
The shipment arrived very well packed. I'm still using the original tubes, haven't need to upgrade it at the moment. It works wonderfully with my HD6XX and DT990, however, for the HE400i 2020 version, it didn't play well. It made the headphone really hot gradually and the sound seems to be veiled/dampen. Found out since it's a planar so it doesn't do well, but when I got my LCD-2, it runs perfectly fine with it.
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Would recommend to a friend.
jaxtrauma
1852
Oct 28, 2021
It made the headphone hot? Or did you mean the amp got hot? Thanks for the info.
1bigcoop
6
Sep 11, 2021
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Perfect amp for my 6XX period!
Did a tube swap right out of the box and after burn in I couldn't be happier with this amp. There's no going back to solid state with my 6XXs. So happy I listened to all who recommended a tube amp for Sennheiser headphones.
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Would recommend to a friend.
aquirlan
14
Oct 19, 2021
Which tubes did you use?
1bigcoop
6
Oct 19, 2021
Sovtek 6AS7G, Tung-Sol 6SN7. There was some hum in the left channel until they burnt in, after burn in it's been good.
Mrudy
12
Sep 8, 2021
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Excellent sonics with some caveats
This is my first foyer into the world of tubes, and I got to say, I'm hooked. That being said this amplifier is by no means analytical like my thx amp. It's pretty much the opposite. Warm and gooey, the instruments sound so natural and the vocals are enveloping. Be forewarned, though, the stock tubes sound flat. I first upgraded to some Russian reissue 6sn7GTB tubes and they sounded fantastic but there was the known issue of hum in the left channel and they distorted easily. So I returned them to Amazon and ordered a 6sl7 Russian tube. Better harmonics and less distortion on my 2nd try. And down the rabbit hole we go. Overall, a highly musical and highly recommended piece of kit. Enjoy.
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Would recommend to a friend.
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