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Davestef
113
Sep 17, 2018
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Anyone have suggestions for a solid state amp that compliments the darkvoice well? I have the DV and Modi Multibit with the 6xx and 58x, and its An awesome setup. i recently impulsively joined the he4xx drop and I’m now finding out that planars dont pair well with the DV (low impendance headphones in general). I have grado sr225’s and they don’t sound good at all through the DV. I was looking at the Magni 3, but i was thinking maybe class A might be a better compliment to the DV, but I havent Really delved too far into the solid state amps
Sep 17, 2018
Eli35
573
Sep 19, 2018
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Little Dot I+ works wonders with the HE4XX and most headphones with average or below average sensitivity like your Grados (it might have a bit of background noise, depending on the tubes, but it's only audible on very sensitive headphones or IEMs). I use the LD I+ to drive my HE4XX, Topping D30 as source, sounds amazing (and terrible using the Darkvoice, as expected). LD I+ also adds a bit of warmth and "tubey-ness" to the sound, compared to full solid state amps, and you can replace both tubes and opamp (tubes make some good difference, opamps not that much but they're so cheap it's worth trying). If you want some tube and/or opamp recommendations just let me know.
Another good option is the good ol' Objective 2, pure class A solid state, and if you want the "tubey-ness" you could use the DV as a pre-amp through the rear RCA (source->DV->O2).
Good luck!
Sep 19, 2018
Davestef
113
Sep 19, 2018
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Hey thanks, I just requested another little dot drop.
Sep 19, 2018
Eli35
573
Sep 20, 2018
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You can get the LD I+ on eBay for a reasonable price, on MD it drops just a bit cheaper (depending on shipping, $20-$50 less than eBay), so if you want it ASAP consider it.
Another tip, get better tubes, stocks are crap: microphonics, background noise, harsh treble, closed soundstage, background noise... Just get some NOS tubes on eBay and you're ready to go. Voskhod 6ZH1P-EV tubes are super cheap and easy to find, even on matched pairs (important), so if you're not sure where to go these might be a great starting point, being one of the best sounding tubes for the LD at a really low price.
Finally, if you wanna find out which tubes you could probably like according to your headphones/preferences, I suggest you to check this post: https://www.head-fi.org/threads/little-dot-tube-amps-vacuum-tube-rolling-guide.563884/
Sep 20, 2018
DiMora
223
Sep 28, 2018
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Schiit Asgaard 2
Sep 28, 2018
Davestef
113
Sep 28, 2018
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I ended up getting a “new” Open box LD1+ off eBay for $65. It sounds real nice with the grado 225e but with the he4xx I feel like even though it’s impedance matches, it doesn’t have enough power to drive it.
Sep 28, 2018
Davestef
113
Sep 28, 2018
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That was on my list! Stuck between that and the Magni 3. Do you have any experience with either? Asgard 2 doesn’t seem too popular in the headphone community, at least from what I can find online.
Sep 28, 2018
Eli35
573
Sep 28, 2018
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Strange, my LD has way more than enough power for both HD6XX (much easier to drive, but higher impedance means solid state amps output less power) and HE4XX. Setting the DAC volume to 90%, the LD reaches ear piercing volumes at 40% volume, even with low volume tracks.
Interestingly, tried some time ago using my smartphone as source for the LD, and I had to crank up the LD volume an extra 20-30% to match the output volume when using the D30 DAC as source, so maybe your problem is not the amp itself but the source not being powerful enough (or it's volume not being set correctly to a high-ish value).
Are you using the Modi Multibit to feed the LD? How high are you setting it's volume? As a rule of thumb, you should try to set the DAC output volume as high as possible (usually not maxing it, since it might add a bit more distortion) in order to lower the amp volume and get the best sound (less distortion, cleaner sound).
Sep 28, 2018
Davestef
113
Sep 28, 2018
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Full disclosure, I’ve been running 3.5 mm from the imac headphone jack to rca on my amps. Mainly because I need a new computer. My Mac is too old To update to the latest software. so as of now I can’t use my mimby.
Maybe that has something to do with it. The DV drives the he4xx better than my little dot but i dont hear that low end the 4xx is apparently known for.
Sep 28, 2018
Eli35
573
Oct 4, 2018
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First, make sure your LD is set on high gain. Stock, LD is usually set to low gain, you can easily switch to high gain moving the two gain switches on the bottom of the board (unscrew the 2 bottom screws on the front, same on the back, and the bottom cover will come out, easy). You have to move both switches down to make it high gain, don't move just one. Feel free to ask for help if you can't figure out how to do so, but it's actually quite easy.
Second, I'm pretty sure the LD needs more power than your iMac can provide, so I strongly suggest you to use a dedicated DAC or a DAC/amp combo to feed the LD. If you can't afford it right now and nobody around can lend you some, at least make sure you're maxing the iMac output volume in order to minimize the gain needed from the amp.
Third, stock tubes on the LD are 100% crap, and you can find cheap NOS matched pairs on eBay for under $20. Again, feel free to ask for some help.
If you're sure you've set the LD on high gain, your tubes are ok and and you're using a proper source with enough power to feed your LD, you should try to figure out if there's something wrong with your LD and/or your HE4XX. Try using the LD to drive other headphones like your HD6XX or HD58X, and compare to the sound you get from the DarkVoice, difference shouldn't be "dramatic": DV should sound a bit fuller, low end should be more present, and soundstage maybe it's wider, but not like night & day differences. Also, try finding some other amps capable of driving the HE4XX and test if there's any improvement in the sound.
Good luck!
Oct 4, 2018
Davestef
113
Oct 5, 2018
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Hey thanks for the advice. I adjusted The gain and there’s a big difference.
I also haven’t hit that 150 hour burn in time that hifiman recommends for the he4xx.
Do you have any tube recommendations? Also any idea if this is the right setting for WE408A tubes? The K1,2,3 switches look right, but I’m not sure what the jumpers J1 and J1* are supposed to look like.
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Oct 5, 2018
Eli35
573
Oct 5, 2018
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I'm glad to hear the gain switch made a difference, I just tested setting gain to LO on my modded T-X0 (T50RP MKII) and oh man I'm moving it back to HI, hands down!
According to the pics, yes, you've set the jumpers correctly for WE408A: K1-K2-K3 connected to the right(408A marking on the circuit board) and both J1 jumpers disconnected. Quick note: make sure you don't lose any of those little jumpers, Little Dot also includes two spare jumpers on the RCA cable bag, keep them too in case you wanna switch to any other tube family in the future.
Speaking of tubes, my two favorites are: - Voskhod 6ZH1P-EV (EF95 family): neutral-to-warm sound, realistic, annoying background noise using high sensitivity and/or low impedance headphones. - Mullard M8161/CV4015 (EF92 family): airy & clean sound, a bit bright, 0 background noise, wide soundstage.
Both are great in their own way, Voskhods are great for colder headphones like HE4XX, adding a bit more warmth to the midrange, and Mullards do the opposite with warmer and not-so-open-sounding headphones like the HD6XX. I bough them on eBay for like $20-$30 each matched pair, and it was so worth it. Quick note: make sure you set the jumpers correctly when you change to a different tube family. If you wanna read more about different tubes for the LD, you should check this post: https://www.head-fi.org/threads/little-dot-tube-amps-vacuum-tube-rolling-guide.563884/
I also bough some opamps on eBay, they're so cheap I though "why not trying", and replacing the stock one made some little difference but not like tube rolling. After some testing and not being able to hear major differences between some well known opamps, I decided the 2x Burr-Brown OPA627 will stay there for long, they costed me like $4 both, plus a $1 dual to single DIP-8 adapter to plug them in place. LD I+ requires dual opamps, and the 627 is single, so you have to use this kind of adaptor:
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If you wanna read more about opamp rolling, these posts might be helpful: http://audioreviews.blogspot.com/2005/10/flavors-of-audio-op-amps.html https://www.head-fi.org/threads/best-sounding-cheep-op-amp-for-cmoys-opa2227-opa2228-ad8066-other.243642/
Bear in mind opamp rolling won't make nearly as much of a difference as tube rolling, I'd say 70-80% of the sonic differences come from the tubes and the other 30-20% from the opamp... BUT, you can find opamps on eBay for under $1, and opamp rolling it's just plug and play, so... why not trying?
Good luck!
Oct 5, 2018
Eli35
573
Oct 5, 2018
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Also, in the picture you sent me, your gain switches are set to low gain (yeah, it's ironic, ON means low). I know that the manual shows them in that position at the jumper settings diagram, but gain switches don't have to be moved when switching to different tube families, just the jumpers. I suggest you to leave the gain switches on high gain (down, or "OFF", not "ON") unless you're using high sensitivity and/or low impedance headphones.
Oh, and WE408A tubes are supposed to be on the premium side, so you shouldn't worry about replacing your tubes unless yours are not good (microphonics, background noise, poor gain or mismatching are the most common issues you can find on this kind of tubes). If wanna try out different tubes to appreciate the subtle sonic differences between them (a.k.a. tube rolling), that's perfectly fine, but you don't really "need" some other tubes if yours are working fine. If you were using crappy stock chinese 6J1 tubes, now that'd be a different story, but WE408A should be good.
Oct 5, 2018
Eli35
573
Oct 5, 2018
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Edited my last comment, forgot to say something about your tubes.
Oct 5, 2018
austriandude
46
Oct 10, 2018
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+1 the LD1+ with some nice tubes is a pleasure to listen. The best tubes are the cheapest .. voskhod, EI yugo ... a pair around 14 Euros inklusive shipping and besides they dont have to be matched too. ;)
Oct 10, 2018
Eli35
573
Oct 11, 2018
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You're absolutely right, but I'd say matched pairs are preferable.
Oct 11, 2018
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