Showing 1 of 959 conversations about:
Danbstein
254
Dec 28, 2017
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This amp is the PERFECT pairing with the HD 6XX (650). I was originally using a very good solid state Kyocera receiver (killer headphone out) with the 6XX. Once I got the darkvoice, it became my go-to amp for the 6xx. There's absolutely no comparison to solid state. Of course, solid state can work great with the right headphone (for example, most of my planars USUALLY sound better with a SS amp). But with the 6xx tubes are the way to go.. especially the Darkvoice which has the juice to properly drive them (the 6xx, in my experience, is VERY source dependent). The Darkvoice is an OTL amp which works best with high impedence cans. Plus, it uses the 6sn7 driver tube which is magical with the 6xx.
This is an exceptional amp that is a hell of a lot of fun to experiment with (this is where my love of tubes began). First of all the 6sn7 tube is a phenomenal tube (check this thread on headfi if you really want to learn about this tube https://www.head-fi.org/threads/the-reference-6sn7-thread.117677/). Since buying the Darkvoice, I've purchased over 50 different 6sn7 tubes...all of them remarkably different from one another). I change them constantly depending on what I'm listening to. Obviously, you do NOT need 50 tubes to get alot out of this amp (but be careful of the tube bug... it's hit me really bad :) ).
If you get this amp, DEFINITELY replace the stock tubes. For the 6sn7, my favorites have been the vt231 varieties (pretty much all are good, but the Sylvania vt231 and Raytheon vt231 pair very well with the 6xx.. both are generally available in the $30-50 range... just be sure the seller has excellent feedback and experience selling tubes..and they should test as close to NOS as possible). Another tube I have really liked with the 6xx are ones made by Brimar (cv1988....the British variant of the 6sn7). The brimars can be pricey, so you'll need to be patient until you luck upon a deal. I got an amazing NOS Brimar from a seller in Cyprus for $35, but it took a while until that came along). There are also PLENTY of great 6sn7's under $20 (Sylvania 6sn7gta and national union 6sn7gt are two of my favorites in this range).
I also recommend changing the power tube. For about $20, the rca jan-6as7g is a very good bet. My favorites are the Tung Sol 5998 (can be pricey, but a decently priced one comes along every now and then) and lately I've really liked the tung sol 7236, which is VERY similar to the 5998 but can found for much less (I just picked up a very good one for $10).
I have found that different pairings of power and driver tubes make a big difference with the 6xx. My current favorite combination is the Sylvania vt231 and the Tung Sol 7236 (truly sublime). It's staggering how good this amp sounds with the right tubes and the right headphones.
A couple of other comments if you buy the Darkvoice. The 6sn7s tend to hum when you pop a "new" one in ("new" meaning you just bought it). In nearly all cases, unless the tube is defective, the hum will go away. The best way to get rid of hum is to remove the power tube (with the amp turned off of course), put the 6sn7 with the hum in and then turn on the amp. And then leave it on like this for several days straight (at worst a week). After doing that I haven't had the hum return for any of those tubes.
One final note... this time about the 6xx. I strongly recommend making some relatively easy mods that will truly bring out the best in these cans. I did the dynamat and felt mods recommended here: http://www.superbestaudiofriends.org/index.php?threads/sennheiser-hd650-love.44/#post-446
Ok, that's enough for now
Dec 28, 2017
MrNefarious
38
Dec 28, 2017
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Really appreciate the advice, seems really solid. Thanks for the tube recommendations, they are a little spare on here and it's devilishly difficult to dig through those epic threads on Head-Fi trying to find reasonably priced replacements.
Dec 28, 2017
Danbstein
254
Dec 28, 2017
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Glad to be of help. Anytime.
I've spent many an hour going through those epic headfi threads as well as Brent Jessee's website...then learned alot through trial and error. It's become an obsession of late :). But, yes, sifting through the BS can be overwhelming. If you do end up buying this amp and want additional recommendations let me know. Good luck and enjoy the 6xx's. The best thing about those cans is how they have the seemingly limitless ability to improve in quality depending on what source is used.
Dec 28, 2017
pccisfubar
45
Dec 28, 2017
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Agree, the DV matches the HD6XX well. I use different tubes and have done the Fitz-mod but only because I couldn't get my most expensive output tube (Sophia Electric 6SN7) to not hiss before that. I am one of the lucky ones whose stock tubes actually sound decent, but I have picked up a few different tubes for each socket. Like you, I based those purchases on extensive research and think I've found my sweet spot for now (RCA 6AS7G w/black plates and Sylvania 6SN7GTB, both NOS) so I've effectively squashed the tube bug early on, but I like to keep an eye out for deals on some of the more elusive/rare tubes. I just ordered a replacement power cable based on some audiophile reviews elsewhere, but that won't arrive until Sunday, so I can't comment on that just yet.
Only mods I did on the HD6XX were the Venture Electronics balanced cable upgrade offered here (to pair with CEntrance HiFi M8 for a portable, SS option) and I swapped out pads with a Brainwavz HM5 Angled Hybrid set, much more comfortable to me and the increased space inside the cups moves the drivers further from my ears, but the stock pads are quite sufficient.
Just got the Massdrop O2 + SDAC this weekend and it sits perfectly atop the DV for a more compact footprint. Doesn't need to be hooked up to power when using it this way, the signal from the Mac is sufficient to power the DAC. I run Amarra Luxe 4 for streaming Tidal or playing local albums, or I'll use Amarra sQ+ for other streaming sources, but even bypassing those pricey signal mod programs, a direct line in to the O2 sounds very nice, open and detailed with the DV/Senn combo.
It's all made for a fabulous trifecta of sound about 2 years and $550 (minus the mods) in the making... DV 336SE, Grace Design 02 + SDAC, and the Senn HD6XX. Plus there is still plenty of opportunity for tweaking things to dial in to your preferred sound. I've auditioned set-ups 100 times that expensive at RMAF that don't sound any better. Great job, Massdrop!
Dec 28, 2017
Knut
290
Dec 28, 2017
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how does your 6XX setup pair with planars?
Dec 28, 2017
Danbstein
254
Dec 29, 2017
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By set up, do you mean the Darkvoice? For the most part, the DV and most of planars don't play nice together (OTL amps generally don't work well with planars). Admittedly, most of my planars are vintage models (several of the Yamaha Orthos, the Fostex T10, T20, T40...all modded) and a heavily modded trp50, so I can't comment on newer models. Although, I did just get the hifiman 4xx, which at first listen sounded good on the DV (a little bright). They did sound a hell of a lot better on my solid state amps.
Dec 29, 2017
Lontonglah
0
Dec 30, 2017
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Any specific links to purchase the recommended amps that you mentioned?
Dec 30, 2017
Danbstein
254
Dec 30, 2017
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Not sure I understand your question. I didn't reference any amps except the one in this drop, the Darkvoice. The model numbers I stated are of vintage headphones.
Dec 30, 2017
Lontonglah
0
Dec 30, 2017
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Sorry, i mean the tubes you referring here My current favorite combination is the Sylvania vt231 and the Tung Sol 7236 (truly sublime)
Dec 30, 2017
AndrewX58
94
Dec 30, 2017
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Dec 30, 2017
Danbstein
254
Dec 30, 2017
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I get most of my tubes via eBay. If you want guaranteed top quality tubes at top prices try audiotubes.com
Dec 30, 2017
H1F1_M4N
5
Jan 11, 2018
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Thanks for your tips, really appreciated! However, I was wondering, can it handle harder cans to drive? I mean, does it still sound great, or you can get the best sound out of it using (mostly or only) the HD600/650? Do we need something more powerful (like, i.e., its bigger brother LaFigaro 339) for more inefficient cans?
Jan 11, 2018
Danbstein
254
Jan 13, 2018
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The Darkvoice has plenty of juice to drive anything I've thrown at it. I have never gone beyond 11 oclock on the volume. Most of my headphones are 300 to 600 ohm. Since it is an OTL amp, it's not intended for low ohm headphones.
Jan 13, 2018
H1F1_M4N
5
Jan 13, 2018
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Oh that's good to hear. I was just wondering because on their site (https://www.shenzhenaudio.com/darkvoice-336se-tube-headphone-amplifier.html) I've read:
a customer: can be use for audeze lcd 2? shenzhenaudio's support: it can use for audeze lcd 2.But i suggest La Figaro 339 Headphone Amplifier + Tube Amplifier .http://www.shenzhenaudio.com/la-figaro-339-headphone-amplifier-tube-amplifier-2013-upgrade-version.html  
Can I ask you which headphones have you tried with it so far? Thanks.
Jan 13, 2018
Danbstein
254
Jan 14, 2018
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I've never heard the la Figaro, but from what I understand, it handles low impedence headphones better than the Darkvoice. It also appears to handle planars like the LCD2 better too. In my experience the Darkvoice does NOT pair well with planars. However, the price difference between the two is over 500... making a comparison between them irrelevant. At Massdrops price of 200, the Darkvoice is a steal, especially when used with the right tubes and headphones.
In response to your question about headphones I've used....Most of my headphones are vintage, so not sure how helpful this will be, but here goes: Headphones that worked well with the DV: AKG models 240DF, 240 sextett, k340, k141 (600ohm), k551, k280, k270 (playback and studio)Sennheiser models 6XX, hd540 (600ohm), hd530, pioneer monitor 10.
Headphones that worked well with the DV (but sound better with my little dot mk2 or my solid state amps): AKG k702, hifiman 4XX, thinksound on2
Headphones that did not pair well with the DV (all are planars/orthos):. Fostex models TR50rp (Mayflower version and my own heavily modified version), T40, T10, T20, Yamaha models hp1, hp2, hp3, yhd3
If you have planars or low impedance headphones you may want to consider the little dot 1+ (under 100) or the little dot mk2 (130 on massdrop). To get amazing sound from them you'd need to upgrade them. I really like both of these amps (I use the 1+ at work and the mk2 as my bedroom set up). Here's how I upgraded them:
1+ : changed the opamp to burson V5i (the opa2107 is a good inexpensive alternative). I like the c3g tubes (with c3g to 6ak5 adapters), the mullard 8100's, or the Sylvania gold pins.
Mk2: c3g tubes (with adapters) for driver tubes and 6sn7 tubes for power tubes (with 6sn7 to ecc88 adapters)
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Jan 14, 2018
H1F1_M4N
5
Jan 14, 2018
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Thanks a lot, really helpful like always! At this point, since the DV is currently out of stock and my actual headphones are HD650, DT1990, DT880 600ohm, T50RP and Monolith M1060, I don't know if it's worth buying the DV mainly just for the 650. Maybe it would be better for me the little dot mk2, considering my lineup. What do you think, if I will change tubes, will I still get a sound as good as the DV's one? And how does the little dot mk2 sound with the HD650?
PS: I've just seen there is also the little dot mk3 and 4. Do you know if they are even better - compared to the mk2? Or would they sound different, since from I've understood they are hybrid amps?
Jan 14, 2018
Danbstein
254
Jan 14, 2018
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Hi: That's a tough one. The DV is a very different sounding amp than the LD. I like both alot, but the DV is, IMO, in a different league. I think it mainly has to do with the tubes. The 6sn7 is considered to be one of the best audiophile tubes out there. The tube rolling possibilities are truly endless. Plus the 6as7g/5998/6080 power tube options are excellent. You get a more substantive powerful sound out of the DV. It drops pretty regularly, so I do think it's worth the wait. Also of your headphones, the 650, by far, is the superior headphone. The great thing about the 650 is it's "scalability" (the better the amp the better the sound,). It's such a good match to the Darkvoice that I think it's worth it even if it's the main headphone you use with it.
The LD 3 and 4 are both full tube amps (I believe the 4se is hybrid). They have better circuitry and a higher output voltage than the mk2. Depending on how much you want to spend, the 3 (and moreso the 4) are better than the mk2 (although as a second amp, I really do like the mk2.. and with the price difference, I was able to invest more in the c3g tubes (which run about $70/pr). Since I have the Darkvoice, I already had 6sn7's for the power tubes.
The hd650 works "ok" with the LD. I actually like it with the 1+ better. Still, neither compare to the DV.
Again, not sure what your budget is, but you may want to do the DV for your hd650 (this may become your go-to setup) and the 1+ (with the opa2107 opamp) and mullard 8100 tubes for your other cans. Having both would give you more versatility for your (likely) growing headphone collection :)
Jan 14, 2018
H1F1_M4N
5
Jan 14, 2018
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Thanks again for your tips! To be honest, I think I still have to hear my HD650 to their full potentials, since they didn't blow my mind yet. Don't get me wrong, I already think they are a really good pair of headphones, but since I actually hear to many different genres, I don't think it does a great job with that, since the area where it really shines is mostly the midrange (vocals are really intimate indeed and kinda magical), but bass is really lacking as well as soundstage, imaging and the overall definition is not the best. That's why I felt in love with the DT1990, I heard almost all Beyerdynamics and even if I think - of course - the T1 2nd gen is the best one so far, I don't think they are twice better than the 1990 - as its price suggests. They shares the same new Tesla driver at the end as well as other sound characteristics. When I heard the T1/1990 for the first time (coming from the HD650) it was like I was listening my albums for the first time, since there were a lot I was actually missing with the Sennheiser. And the really good thing with the 1990 is that they perform well with almost all kind of genres, whereas other headphones (like the HD650) outperforms only in a few areas (like vocals), plus the 1990 got a really neutral and linear sound with a slight warm touch (like the HD600, but again, with more details, soundstage and bass - that's why it has become my reference headphone). But, at the same time, that's also the point of having different types of headphones. And that's the main reason why I've always choosen to buy less expensive headphones, instead of only 1/2 flagships. Infact I also like to experience different sound signatures and use the best headphone according to the genre I wanna listen to. And that's also the reason why it's quite a bit I was thinking on buying a tube amp, since changing tubes will allow me to experience different sound signature within the same amp. And that's kinda cool!
By the way, going back to the amps, if you say that the DV kills the LD mk2 at the end, I guess I will just wait a bit more and buy the Darkvoice. I was just wondering if I will enjoy it also with other headphones and not only with the HD 650 (even if you and other people say that combo is really good, if not the best).
About the 6sn7, didn't you say before it's actually possible to use on the LD mk2 as well (using adapters)? And, if yes, do you think the sound is still better on the DV?
Jan 14, 2018
Corinth
22
Jan 17, 2018
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Bear in mind this is one persons opinion! I have heard a loooot of reviews that say the opposite way, that is LD > DV. I too am considering both. Personally I like the look of DV more but out of all the reviews I have read, majority favours the little dots...
Jan 17, 2018
H1F1_M4N
5
Jan 17, 2018
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Yes, of course. At the end music taste is subjective. I also prefer the DV's look though. But I think more important is the sound both products will deliver. I just wonder I would be able to try them out before to decide which one to pick. But they are also pretty inexpensive to be honest, so I may end up buying them bot lol. I didn't really understand if it's possibile to use the same DV's tubes on the LD as well (using adapters). If yes, I will be really attempted buying them both.
PS: I've just seen the LD mk3/SE is back, which looks really nice with its full balanced output port. I just wonder if it's a tube amp as well (like the LD mk2 and DV) or an hybrid one..
Jan 17, 2018
pccisfubar
45
Jan 17, 2018
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From a purely economical perspective, all other arguments and opinions aside... there are only two tubes in the DV. The LD takes four... which must also be closely matched if you want the sound balanced. Getting a supplier to match a pair for you usually involves another cost beyond just the tubes themselves. Once you start rolling tubes, that can get expensive. That's one of the reasons I went with the DV as an entry-level tube amp.
I'm sure either (or both!) will suit you fine, though, and if you aren't in too big of a hurry, you can check at Head-fi.org to find out when the next CANJAM near you is scheduled. Then you can take your headphones/music source there and give everything a listen before you decide.
Best of luck.... and sorry about your wallet.
Jan 17, 2018
H1F1_M4N
5
Jan 17, 2018
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Good point pccisfubar!
By the way I looked for canjam in Italy on head-fi, but sadly couldn't find anything.. :/
Jan 17, 2018
AndrewX58
94
Jan 18, 2018
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Just going to leave this here: DarkVoice 336SE with 1W(1,000mW) output.
Jan 18, 2018
H1F1_M4N
5
Mar 3, 2018
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Hello Danbstein, I wanted to let you know that I finally ordered my DarkVoice, so as soon as I will have it and test it out, I will let you know what I think about it:)
However, meanwhile I've been looking on ebay for some good (but not so expensive) tubes for the DV and I ended up with these:
_ "6as7 RCA = 6080, t.1: 62ma/t.2: 62ma = 100%, bene. lgnr. r4364" _ "6080 GE USA Scatola Verde Stampa Selectron NUOVO VECCHIO STOCK VALVOLA TUBE 1PC A17D" _ "6as7ga GE USA bianco stampa 6080 NOS VALVOLA TUBE 1pc j17b" _ "6sn7wgta Jan PHILIPS ECG non." _ "Sylvania JAN CHS 6SN7WGT Tested Double Triode Tube Gitaar Fender Amplifier"
What do you think? Do you know any of them? And do you think they will be fully compatibles with the DV?
Thank you again for your help.
Mar 3, 2018
Danbstein
254
Mar 7, 2018
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Hi. Yes, they are all compatible. I think you will find that different combinations of power and driver tubes will give you different signatures. The RCA 6as7g is a good all around tube. The 6as7g tubes tend to be "cleaner" sounding than the 6080 tubes. Although I do like some of the 6080's with brighter sounding driver tubes (your Sylvania might sound better with a 6080....that Sylvania BTW is a great tube). Pretty sure the Philips is the same as the Sylvania (same tube different name)
Nice start!
Mar 7, 2018
H1F1_M4N
5
Mar 7, 2018
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Hello and thank you for your advice! So far I've bought only the first 3 tubes (since they were very cheap) and a 'Ken-Rad Jan-Ckr 6sn7gt', which is not in the list. Whereas I was waiting for your answer before to buy the Philips or Sylvania one. And I also thought the Sylvania to work only with 'guitar fender amplifiers' (and not with the DV) or to sound good only with acoustic/electric guitar type songs..but I guess I just misinterpreted the description lol..
However, is that specific Sylvania's tube the one a few weeks ago you said to be the best pair with the Tung Sol 7236 (which so far I've been not able to find in Europe:/)?!
Mar 7, 2018
Danbstein
254
Mar 7, 2018
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I think the Sylvania will a bit bright with the 7236 and the 6as7g. Better with one of the 6080's. The Sylvania is a great tube though and worth getting if it's not too expensive. The Ken rad is a very good tube... warmer than the Sylvania. That will likely pair well with the 6as7g and the 7236.
For the 7236 have you tried eBay in the US? there's a dealer who's been selling them for $35 (US) and seems to have a large stock of them. If I remember correctly he accepts"best offer" and took a$25 offer from me. I've purchased several through that seller and have had no problems. There may be other 7236's available in US. they seem to come up regularly
Mar 7, 2018
H1F1_M4N
5
Mar 7, 2018
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Yeah, I also heard good things about the Ken rad. I just hope it works first of all, since it's a NOS and the seller said he never tried it nor tested it out. So I still have to wait for my DV and then I will let you know if the ken rad works lol.
About the 7236, I know in USA market is pretty easy to find it, but due to extra costs for shipping and import duties, I preferred to stick with the European one so far.
Also, I wanted to ask you if you know any 6sn7 tubes which are taller and bigger than the Ken rad I've just bought or even the Sylvania/Philips's ones.. like the one is already in the DV's package. I'm asking that only because I think it looks cooler and sexier (whereas I don't know if bigger and taller means also better regarding sound signature) :D
Mar 7, 2018
Danbstein
254
Mar 7, 2018
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The 6sn7s come in a wide variety of sizes (even within type). If there's a significant variation within type they are usually distinguished by labeling them as short or tall bottle. Sometimes tall bottles are referred to as tall boys. In some cases the size does influence the sound (for example there is a difference between the 6sn7w black base tall and short bottles). Usually it doesn't play a role.
Tung Sol tubes from late 50's to 60's tend to be tall boys. In order of preference, I'd look for 6sn7wgt brown base, 6sn7gt mouse ears, 6sn7gtb tall boy (all Tung Sol). All are decent tubes, readily available, and should be cheap (especially the 6sn7gtb).
Mar 7, 2018
H1F1_M4N
5
Mar 7, 2018
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I've just looked up on ebay and the 6sn7gtb seems to be the most expensive one (and it's sold only in pair with another one). So I guess I will wait a bit for others cheaper as well as sold alone. Whereas I've found a "TUNGSOL 6SN7GT 6SN7 VT231 B65 MOUSE EARS NOS" pretty cheap nearby where I live, so I guess I won't have to pay the shipment costs, which is always a good thing. However I don't think the 'mouse ears' is a 'tall tube'..
I will attach you also some pic of my 'Ken-Rad Jan-Ckr 6sn7gt' - which seems to look fine from the outside, after I've cleaned it up:
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Mar 7, 2018
Danbstein
254
Mar 8, 2018
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That Ken rad looks great. If you can get your hands on a vt231 black glass version, that's even better (amazing tube).
I thought of another option for a tall driver tube. The 6f8g (sometimes labeled as vt-99) tube is the tube made prior to the 6sn7. Its a gorgeous tube with a small coke bottle shape. It's electrically identical to a 6sn7 (so it's an even swap). You will just need a 6f8g to 6sn7 converter (which are about $13 shipped from Hong Kong...go with HK not China).
These are fantastic tubes and generally cheaper than equivalent 6sn7s. If you can get your hands in a tungsol (6f8g or vt99) that's the cream of the crop. There are plenty of other makes out there (RCA is certainly a safe bet). If you are looking for"sexy" looks WITH brains this is the way to go
Mar 8, 2018
MrNefarious
38
Mar 8, 2018
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You guys are killing me with your nice pickups. I got the fever and just lucked out on two 1950's Tung-Sol 6SN7GTB Tall Boys for $22 with shipping. Supposedly both are 90+ rated. Fingers crossed! Any suggestions for the 6AS7? Stick with the coke bottle 6AS7 or go 6080? Pairings? I've been on the stock tubes for awhile so this is my first venture into tube rolling.
Mar 8, 2018
Danbstein
254
Mar 9, 2018
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Be forwarned: tube rolling is more addictive than buying headphones. Once you get started down this road there's no turning back. But, it's FUN AS S#*! :)
If you search my posts, I wrote a bunch of stuff about power tube rolling for the DV. So for details go there. A quick answer to your question:
Different power tubes pair well with different driver tubes. In order of preference: My favorite power tube is the tung Sol 7236 (a seller I've used and trust has a bunch of them on eBay for $35). This pairs particularly well with warmer tubes. (RCA or Ken rad vt231, Sylvania 6sn7gtw or 6sn7gt, etc).
6080's are hit or miss. Most I'd skip. However, the Sylvania gold brand is excellent (make sure it's gold brand.. not the standard one with green lettering). This is a warmer tube than the 7236 and works very well with brighter or drier tubes like the Tung sols you just purchased or a Sylvania vt231, etc. If you can find a GEC or mullard 6080, those are on another plane (and cost anywhere from $70-200 which is a little nuts)..if you can get them for $50 grab one.
I've been liking the 6as7g less lately. They sound fatiguing over long listening sessions. Still, everyone's ears are different. For the 6as7g I'd recommend the tungsol/Chatham ,(best) or RCA (JAN or grey plates... both are inexpensive and good starter tubes).
The tungsol 5998 (or 2399) is considered to be one of the best of this family of tubes. I have both the 2399 and the 5998. While they are fantastic tubes, I like the 7236 better. The 5998 is not as clean as the 7236 IMO. Plus they are absurdly priced.
Well this was longer than anticipated. Once I get talking about tubes.... hard to stop.
Mar 9, 2018
H1F1_M4N
5
Mar 9, 2018
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Yeah, it looks nice indeed. I just hope it works as well lol. However, I wasn't able to find the 'vt231 black glass version' you were suggesting me. Is it still a Ken-rad (vt231 black glass version)?
I also looked for the tungsol (6f8g or vt99) on ebay and the only one I found in Europe costs 80 euros + shipping + converter (so pretty expensive, I guess) and it's kinda a 'black glass version'..whereas I prefer something 'all transparent' to be honest..where you are able to see every tube's details :) I will post you a pic of it though, just to be sure it's the one you had in mind..
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Mar 9, 2018
H1F1_M4N
5
Mar 9, 2018
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PS: Have you ever tried this 'Sophia Electric GR A 6SN7' out?
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It seems to be good from the reviews, but still pretty expensive..
Mar 9, 2018
Danbstein
254
Mar 9, 2018
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Yes. This is a KILLER tube. One of the best IMO. Holds its own with the best 6sn7s, including the famed tungsol round plates (which this is apparently nearly identical to). If the one you show is NOS that's a decent price.
Mar 9, 2018
Danbstein
254
Mar 9, 2018
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This is a Korean tube made today. Personally I'd skip any modern tube. Plenty of inexpensive outstanding vintage NOS tubes out there. For the price of these you could get some of the best 6sn7s out there
Mar 9, 2018
MrNefarious
38
Mar 9, 2018
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I'm already addicted, been scouring ebay for your suggestions, going to pull the trigger on one later. I appreciate it very much! Dumb question, why stay way from those new reproductions? I've heard that before but never knew why! I saw they are making a red base tung-sol 6SN7 that's a reproduction of the old tube everyone loved and is pretty cheap. Would it not sound the same? Sorry for the newbie question.
Mar 9, 2018
H1F1_M4N
5
Mar 9, 2018
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Yes, the '6F8G TUNG-SOL ***ROUND PLATE***' seems to be NOS. But which converter would I need to buy in order to use it on the DV?
I also like very much the 'Chatham 6as7g' you were suggesting to MrNefarious, if it's this one:
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-> tall, transparent, beautiful sound (?) and sexy..what else? (and it costs around 30euro)
Other tubes I've found: _ 6080 CV2984 MULLARD NOS (30euro) _6080 CV5008 GEC NOS (140euro)
And one of this for 80euro..
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Mar 9, 2018
H1F1_M4N
5
Mar 9, 2018
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(I already feel I'm gonna spend a lot of money on this..and it will be all your fault..hahhaha)
Mar 9, 2018
Danbstein
254
Mar 9, 2018
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Definitely not a newbie question! To be honest, I only got into tubes a few years ago--but once I did, I completely went off the deep end. I read ENDLESS discussions online...MANY good headfi threads....several very knowledgeable people post regularly there--in particular "SKYLAB" who I have come to trust completely. check out the 6sn7 ("tube addicts" and "reference"), 6as7g "tube rollers", and the little dot threads. I also strongly recommend checking out Brent Jessee's website (audiotubes.com). I have learned ALOT about tubes there.
So, a quick answer to your question (hopefully quick...I don't seem to do that well): Historically, tubes were made for a variety of reasons: consumer electronics (radio, TV, medical, audio) and for military applications. The ones made for military applications had to pass more rigorous quality control checks and are therefore more reliable tubes today (in general). The "heyday" for 6sn7 tubes were the 40's and 50's. By the 60's they started to be replaced by smaller "mini" tubes. Once solid state circuits became widespread, tube production faded out (although tube use continued well into the 70's). Once the military stopped using tubes, many of the major tube companies moved/sold their operations to companies in the Soviet Union (and later Russia) and China. Both China and the Soviet Union used tubes for military applications well after western countries stopped doing so, mainly because of being behind the technology curve. SOME of the early Soviet tubes (not 6sn7's) are decent tubes, but most are not. Today, Russia and China mass produce tubes for numerous audio applications (stock tubes for guitar amps, headphone amps, tube amps, etc are often Chinese or Russian). The quality control in these factories aren't any where near the quality control in the original western factories. This is why the reproductions are not even close to being the same as the originals.
Some people insist that this is audio snobbery (which is certainly rampant and something I avoid at all costs), but in my experience, the quality of Russian and Chinese tubes aren't even remotely close to the vintage tubes. These views are shared by people like Brent Jessee and "Skylab" who, as I said, I completely trust.
Hope this answers your question somewhat.....
The more I learn about tubes, the more I realize how insanely complicated they are. But I also find them endlessly fascinating and enjoy reading about them. For a while, I focused entirely on tubes that worked in the Darkvoice and Little Dot amps (which was PLENTY). I recently purchased a "Project Sunrise 3" amp (made by Garage1217) which redefines tube rolling (the number of possible tubes you can roll in this amp is truly staggering). It's almost overwhelming how many different tubes there are, never mind which ones sound the best (for a small taste, go to audiotubes.com and click on 12ax7 and then on 12at7.....scroll down and read the endless varieties of tubes for just these two tube types). BTW, the Project Sunrise is a PHENOMENAL amp and fun as hell. It's a wonderful compliment to the Darkvoice.
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Mar 9, 2018
Danbstein
254
Mar 9, 2018
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Any 6f8g to 6sn7 adapter will do. I purchased this one from this seller and it has been fine: https://www.ebay.com/itm/1pc-gold-plated-6F8G-6C8G-TO-6SN7-6SL7-tube-converter-adapter-/200905127802?hash=item2ec6e0f77a:g:t2IAAOSwPcVVqIXT
DEFINITELY pick up that Mullard 6080....that's a great price for a truly phenomenal tube (this particular tube is tough to come by in the US, so I haven't listed it among my favorites, but this is a very special tube and is one of the best of the 6as7g/6080 tube types). While the GEC is supposed to be amazing (I personally haven't heard it b/c it is VERY rare in the US and VERY expensive when it does come up for auction), I've read that the Mullard is better (and that one I can vouch for). Plus, I personally wouldn't spend more on a single tube than you have on the amplifier...140 euro is quite a lot, especially since you will likely notice little improvement, if any, over the Mullard.
DO NOT get the Sylvania's. The GTB's are late vintage (60's I believe) and are "average" tubes (IMO). They are worth maybe 8 euros....definitely NOT worth 80!!
I think I will put together a list of my favorite 6sn7s paired with various power tubes and will post that next. Perhaps that will help (and may be of use to others as well).
Mar 9, 2018
Danbstein
254
Mar 9, 2018
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Here's a list of tube combinations for the Dark Voice that I like. Obviously different people have different tastes....so for what it's worth, here's the list (with pics)
A. With power tubes Tung Sol 7236 (better) or Tung Sol 6AS7G:
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1. National Union (CNU 6SN7GT) Grey Glass
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2. RCA VT231—Grey Glass
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3. Ken Rad VT231—Black Glass Staggered plates
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4. Sylvania 6SN7w
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5. Sylvania 6SN7GT “Bad Boy” (1952 vintage, bottom getter)
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6. Brimar 6SN7GT Black base
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7. Brimar CV1988 Brown base
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8. Tung Sol 6SN7GT Round plates
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B. With power tubes Sylvania Gold Brand 6080 or Tung Sol 5998/2399
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1. Sylvania VT231
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2. Raytheon VT231
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3. Raytheon 6SN7-W-GT Brown Base
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4. Tung Sol 6SN7GT—Mouse Ears
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5. Tung Sol 6SN7WGTA Brown Base
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6. CBS 5692 Brown Base
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7. Sylvania 6SN7GTA (“chrome dome”)
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8. Sylvania 6SN7GT (1950’s vintage, bottom getter)
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Mar 9, 2018
Corinth
22
Mar 9, 2018
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Woah good read here! Also really appreciate the pictures.
Also, in what way does the Project Sunrise compliment the DV?
Sounds like for pairing with the hd6xx you like the DV?
Mar 9, 2018
Danbstein
254
Mar 9, 2018
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Yeah, it seems like the DV was made for the 650's or vice versa. None of my other headphones sound as good on the DV as the 650's.
The project sunrise is for all of my other headphones. It is a ridiculously versatile amp. Every tube I put in there changes the sound significantly.... making it ideal for a wide variety of headphones. It works best with lower impedence cans, but was able to drive some of my 600 ohm headphones. It also has output RCA jacks which allows me to use it as a buffer for my Kyocera 451 receiver. That will give me plenty of juice when needed. Best of all, my planars sound amazing through the sunrise. Better than any other amp I have. The hifiman 4xx sound especially good with the right tubes.
Mar 9, 2018
H1F1_M4N
5
Mar 9, 2018
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Thank you very much for your list, very helpful as always!!
Regarding the 'Project sunrise', I've never heard about it yet, but it seems to be a really interesting product. As you probably already know, I like 'transparent things' (lol), so I like the option to choose the PS in black version or all transparent. I just wonder if there are already some converters which will allow us to use DV's tubes on the PS. If not, we will need to buy all new tubes for it (which means we gonna spend even more money, rip). However, when I purchased the DV, I knew it wasn't really good with planars as well as with low impedance cans. That's why I'm pretty interesting to the PS as a future purchase. Also, the fact that its sound signature change a lot according to the the tube we are using, I think it's also a (big) plus! I looked at their site though but I couldn't find PS's cost. So I don't know if it's more on the cheap or expensive side (as well as the tubes which will fit in it), nor if is it a full OTL amp or an hybrid one.. And used as buffer, you find it to be even better than the DV? If so, why do you think so?
Mar 9, 2018
H1F1_M4N
5
Mar 9, 2018
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Nevermind, I've just talked with a Garage1217's support guy and he told me the Project sunrise III is an hybrid amp (like all others Garage1217's amps): tube input + solid state Class A output. The cost seems to be pretty the same as the DarkVoice. But the real good news is that it can use the same DV's 6sn7 tubes (with their '6sn7 adapter' - which they sell, as an option, with the PS itself). So, if it will be a real good option for lower imp cans as well as planars, I really think this could be my next amp purchase.. ;)
Mar 9, 2018
RayF
13265
Mar 12, 2018
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Nice tubes shorty, but I got you beat:
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I don't know Mary, are sure this tube is mine? Of course, Bob--you're the only boy I've ever rolled with!
Mar 12, 2018
H1F1_M4N
5
Mar 12, 2018
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Oh I forgot to ask you, any advices for first use of the Darkvoice? I just have to wait for ~20min and then I can use it? Of is it better to leave it on for more time the first times?!
Mar 12, 2018
Danbstein
254
Mar 12, 2018
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Awesome :). Love it. Tube humor :)
Mar 12, 2018
Danbstein
254
Mar 12, 2018
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You should be fine after 20 minutes. You may have more of an issue with driver tubes. Most tubes I've purchased have anywhere from a slight to a significant hum. If you experience that burn the tube in by removing the power tubes (amp turned off) and running the amp with just the drivers anywhere from 1 to 5 days. Or tolerate the hum... after playing the tube for a while the hum will dissipate
Mar 12, 2018
H1F1_M4N
5
Mar 12, 2018
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Thanks a lot!!!;)
Mar 12, 2018
H1F1_M4N
5
Mar 19, 2018
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Hello Danbstein, I've finally received the DarkVoice and - as I promised you - I'd like to let you know my first impressions.
Even if I used it for few days and only with stock tubes (I want to use them at first so that I will be able to understand the differences in sound signature compared with the other NOS tubes I'm buying) I finally felt in love with my HD650. They've never sounded better to be honest and I finally understand the quality of these headphones as well as how much their sound change according to the amp they are used with. I also tried the DV's preamp section with my Yamaha CA-2010 and I was really surprised how much the sound benefit from the tube's magic. Of course it didn't sound like a full tube amp, but in some areas it was really closed. So..I'm really really satisfied! The only 'flaw' maybe was that my planar monolith 1060 didn't sound great with it, but I wasn't expecting planars to sound well with an OTL tube amp. So that's not really an issue. I guess I will have to buy the Project Sunrise soon or later..hahah
About tube rolling, before I will make any mistakes, in the front hole I read '6SN7', whereas on the back '6AS7'. So I guess I have to put my NOS '6SN7GT JAN-CKR KEN-RAD' on the front whereas the '6080 GE' on the back. And, if that is true, I guess the tube I liked to be bigger should be the 6080/6AS7 one and not the 6SN7 (as I previously supposed) - since I prefer to have the bigger tube on the back, like with the stock tubes. And so far I've bought x3 6080/6AS7 'little' tubes, so..rip me lol.
PS: Oh, I forgot the main flaw I found mainly with the HD650..the bass were almost completely gone! The HD650 already doesn't have much bass, but with the DV there were even less.. so I hope it's mostly because of the (shitty) stock tubes, even if I know that solid state have more impact basses compared with tube amps.. but now it's like there aren't at all! :/
Mar 19, 2018
MrNefarious
38
Mar 19, 2018
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What a fantastic read. Thanks so much for all your replies and advice. I loved seeing the tubes in hand, what a cool reply! Taking your advice and scouring those Head-Fi threads I ended up with the following tubes to replace the stockers: RCA JAN CRC 6AS7G for the back, Late 1950's Tung Sol 6SN7GTB for the front; early version with the Tall Bottle and Top D getter. I was really hesitant to pull the trigger on a GTB Tung Sol until I saw this little note in the 6SN7 reference thread: “The first version - tri-plate/D-getter tall bottle - was actually the same tube as the identically constructed WGT and WGTA, I have seen them mixed together in a factory bulk pack with identical date & batch codes - so they are all the same tube. Bonus, because it's a very nice sounding tube and because some unknowledgeable people look down on GTB's, they are easier to find & less expensive. Well balanced, rounded tone, reasonably good and tight bass, the highs are smooth and not excessively bright. A good all round tube. –Robert H"
Clearly not the super pickup like the early Tung-Sol's but this combo does sound pretty darn good with my HD650's. I've also been eyeing a Sylvania 6SN7 for the sound stage and a Hytron/CBS 6SN7 as there are a lot of comments about it being a "soft and sweet" tube. I was a brass player in a symphonic orchestra and we're getting pretty close!
Also now I can't stop researching Project Sunrise. I'm officially addicted.
Mar 19, 2018
Danbstein
254
Mar 19, 2018
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I'm loving the sunrise. Be careful though. I've gone off the deep end. I've purchased literally more than 30 tubes in 3 weeks. I keep running to the mailbox before my wife gets to it and I've been hiding the cardboard boxes... otherwise I am a dead man :)...kind of pathetic huh?
Glad my recommendations helped. That tungsol GTB is a great "sleeper" tube. Should pair well with the RCA.
My recent tube obsession for the dark voice is the 6c8g tubes (with adapters). These are pre 6sn7 tubes. I just got a nos national union (military grade) for $15. It's one of the best tubes I own. Great thing about 6c8g or 6f8g is they are much cheaper than 6sn7s and in some cases better. I'll put up pics later ..
Mar 19, 2018
Danbstein
254
Mar 19, 2018
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Glad you are enjoying the DV with the 650s. They seem to be made for each other.
No Bass? Definitely should be the opposite. The Ken rad should solve that. Are you using a DAC from your source (what is the source btw). That could play a huge role.
The 6080 tubes are certainly larger than 6sn7s, but they are smaller than the 6as7g which are coke bottle shaped. I'm not crazy about the GE 6080 tubes. No "magic" and pretty muddy with the 650s. It will likely sound even more muddy with the Ken rad. You should be able to get a RCA Jan 6as7g NOS for about $20. That will fit your large tube asthetic and will give contrasting sparkle to your Ken rad. I definitely recommend a that.
Mar 19, 2018
Danbstein
254
Mar 19, 2018
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Here are pics of the 6c8g (national union) and 6f8g (Tung Sol)
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Mar 19, 2018
MrNefarious
38
Mar 19, 2018
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Man that's a pretty and huge tube. I haven't even considered getting an adapter... any trustworthy adapter recommendations? 6c8g sounds like a very interesting tube, especially considering the price. What are some of the sonic differences between the 6080 tubes and the 6AS7's? A lot of the 6080 tubes are very reasonable in price. On a random note my father worked for Bendix while they were manufacturing that legendary 6080. Wish he'd known and stockpiled a ton of em at employee pricing back in the day!
Mar 19, 2018
Danbstein
254
Mar 20, 2018
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That's really cool about the Bendix! A box of those and you could retire! I haven't heard one, but from what I understand they are overrated. The price is definitely inflated.
6080 tubes are quite different from 6as7g tubes. They tend to be warmer, but IMO more sluggish. Less "air." That said, I do like the Sylvania gold brand 6080 and the mullard 6080. They are fantastic with more clinical (less warm) driver tubes (like the Sylvania vt231).
6as7g tubes are completely different. Generally punchier, clearer, more expansive soundstage. The RCA JAN 6as7g is a great start. One of the better 6as7g tubes is the Tung Sol (sometimes labeled Chatham). These are generally around 40 to 50 dollars.
The adapters are almost entirely from Hong Kong or China. I'd go with a HK seller. I believe I got mine from a seller called tubemalls. You should be able to get one for about $15.
If you go for the 6c8g, hold out for a NOS JAN version national union. It will blow you away (pairs better with a 6as7g or 7236...I didn't like it with the 6080).
Mar 20, 2018
H1F1_M4N
5
Mar 20, 2018
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Mmh..are you sure? I've always heard that bass is more present and deep/have more impact with the solid state amps.. However, I pretty always listen to hi res files (PCM and DSD) with Audirvana + and my trusty iFi iDSD micro BL (which, i.e., deliver incredible amount of bass with my planar m1060).. but maybe I've just to change the stock tubes I guess (if you never had this issue with DV+HD650).. Regarding this 'bass issue' though, I read different treads on head-fi which were suggesting to upgrade some internal DV's parts in order to bring the basses back.. something like this:
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Regarding the RCA tube, do you mean this ?
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This one just arrived today! The other 2 GEs are on their way.. can't wait to try them all! The only 'negative side' is that you can't swipe tubes while you are listening to the same song (since they are hot), so can't make a 'real/live' swap..and I guess it will be a bit more difficult to understand which one is better if 2 tubes got similar sound signature.. but I hope I will be able to find pretty easily my best combo!
PS. Now that you said that '6c8g tubes (with adapters) are better than 6sn7s, I guess I'm gonna start looking only for them (and no more 6sn7s).. lol
Mar 20, 2018
H1F1_M4N
5
Mar 20, 2018
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Oh and regarding your second picture, what's that white (?) thing which goes from the bottom over to the top?! I've already seen that thing somewhere else, but always wondered what was it for..
Mar 20, 2018
Danbstein
254
Mar 20, 2018
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That white thing is the anode cap. From http://www.fourwater.com/files/hist6sn7.txt : "The 6F8 like the 6SN7 uses an octal base, but the grid of the first triode section is brought out to a cap on top of the tube." The 6sn7 makes this connection inside the tube.
Mar 20, 2018
Danbstein
254
Mar 20, 2018
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Yeah I've looked at those improvement threads...way beyond my skill level. Messing around with a tube amp incorrectly can be deadly (literally). Can't hear that improvement if you are dead :). But if you know what you are doing go for it.
The RCA you show is a 6080. The 6as7g is completely different.
Mar 20, 2018
H1F1_M4N
5
Mar 20, 2018
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Yeah, I know. They are also beyond my skill level. Infact I was thinking to ask to someone else (who've been working in this field for years) to do the upgrade for me ;P
Oh rip..it was written RCA 6080/6as7g, so I thought they were the same..but I guess they are not and you meant this one..
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didn't you?
Mar 20, 2018
Danbstein
254
Mar 20, 2018
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Yup. That's it. Many eBay tube listings identify all of the tube equivalents. It's annoying.
For power tubes for the DV you can use any of the following: 1. 6as7g 2. 5998 (all are Tung Sol or Chatham) 3. 6080 4. 2399 (same as 5998) 5. 7236 (all are Tung Sol or Sylvania) 6. 5998a (same as 6as7g) 7. 421a (supposedly same as 5998, but like anything audiophile, it's debated... don't bother with these...waaay overpriced)
I'm sure there are a few obscure ones I'm missing
Mar 20, 2018
H1F1_M4N
5
Mar 20, 2018
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I'd have bought that one if only I knew it to be honest..and it's also tall..the size I like lol
Which one do you think is better tough between RCA 6as7g, Chatham Electronics JAN CAHG 6AS7G and SVETLANA 6AS7G WING 'C'?
Mar 20, 2018
H1F1_M4N
5
Mar 20, 2018
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Apart from that, do you know which tube is used when the DV is used as a preamp? 6sn7 or 6as7?
Mar 20, 2018
Danbstein
254
Mar 20, 2018
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Definitely the Chatham. The Svetlana is Russian (avoid). The RCA is good but not as good as Chatham.
I'm pretty sure both tubes are used in the preamp section (just read that somewhere). Makes sense since you won't get sound with one or the other missing
Mar 20, 2018
H1F1_M4N
5
Mar 20, 2018
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Oh I see..I thought one was used only for the output/amp section, but not for the preamp's one...I guess I was wrong then
Mar 20, 2018
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