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I received my Dark Voice a few days ago. Here is my initial review:
Massdrop kept the delivery date promise. I received the item before the estimated date. Thanks! The Dark Voice and both tubes were well protected in its original foam pads within its shipping box.
Initial first 2 hours testing:
The Dark Voice functions properly. I tested Dark Voice with HD-6XX (300 Ohm) and DT 800 (250 Ohm). They both sounded good but with the frequently mentioned left ear humming sound. The humming was very noticeable. Nevertheless, the sound from HD-6XX was really impressive.
To remove the common humming, I followed our Massdrop members’ recommendations and took out 6AS7 (larger tube) out and left only 6SN7 (smaller tube) installed and turned the Dark Voice on for about 50-60 hours. After that I added 6AS7 back to Dark Voice and turn on the Dark Voice again. The humming is about 90% gone. I expect the further use will eventually remove the humming.
First day of the actual use of Dark Voice:
I used to listen to HD-XXX & HD-600 on Topping DX7s with balanced cable. I thought HD-6XX was good back then. BUT NOW, pairing HD-6XX with Dark Voice (even with unbalanced cable & RCA input), I was SO IMPRESSED and SURPRISED how great this pair can reproduce beautiful music. Simply for this reason, Dark Voice is worth every dollar well spent. After I switched to Hifiman planar headphones and Stax electrostatic headphones two years ago, I stopped using about 35 different dynamic driver headphones I owned. I tested about 12 of them with higher ohms, such as Sennheiser HD-600, HD-660s, HD-6XX, HD-58X, Beyerdynamic DT 880, JBL, AKG …even Superlux HD660 and Samson SR950. I have to say that Dark Voice gives these headphones very different and much more enjoyable sounds. I am so glad that I bought this Dark Voice.
Since the Dark Voice & its tubes can get warm and breakable, I decided to place the Dark Voice in a protective box so that my very curious and naughty miniature poodle would not accidentally burn its cute fuzzy paws or face.
If you are into music listening and have some headphones that you suspect they have not yet reached their full potential, Dark Voice is something worth your attention and investment. So far, I am very happy even with the original tubes. I think I will start tube rolling soon like many others are doing here. I give this Dark Voice 9.5/10. I highly recommend it. Please also see my photos for Dark Voice & Halloween headphone holder.
If you want to roll tubes in the future, vintage GE 6080 tubes inplace of the stock 6AS7 are much, much cooler to the touch.
Hi! Thank you for the information. Which tube(s) would you recommend for sound improvement? The current (original) tube combination sounds good but the highs are a little harsh and lows need some more strength, from my 2-day listening experience.
I run a vintage GE 6080 power tube and a NOS Philips SilverTone 6SN7, buttery smooth highs (even on a Beyerdynamic DT990) and exceptional texture on mids and very little drop in the lows.
Tubes in general seem to dampen low range extension; which is why I love the combo of the DV and Beyerdynamic cans, they're crazy, v-shaped house sound actually comes out sounding really, really good on the DV.
I really appreciate the update on tubes. I will follow your suggestion and try to find those two tubes to upgrade. I find that many older recordings (CD, especially recordings 80's- early 90's) sound so much better via Dark Voice than via modern digital DAC/Amp. To be able to hear these older recording sounding this alive and open is just amazing. Thanks again for your advice.
Where can I get the Philips silvertone 6NS7 ?
I got mine on Ebay. It's a Silvertone 6sn7GTB to be exact.