Showing 1 of 959 conversations about:
SkidMarc
32
Jan 12, 2019
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I purchased the DV at the recommendation of a co-worker who had previously enlightened me to Massdrop. I am a big fan of planar technology for speakers and the opportunity to pick up a pair of HE4xx at half the price of other high-end cans was enticing. Needless to say, no iPhone/iPad is going to power them adequately, so the AQ Dragonfly Red DAC (excellent and portable!) was purhchased. This ignited the desire to build-up a dedicated headphone “rig” for critical listening. However, I didn’t want to spend anywhere near what I’d invested in my main stereo setup!  Enter the Darkvoice 336SE. I was initially impressed with the sound but sensed there was plenty of room for improvement. The initial setup consisted of the DV and an old hi-end Sony disk player for a source while determining how I was going to actually use the DV. Settling on my iPad Pro/iPhone X as sources, I purchased a Schiit Modi3 DAC. It should be noted that I did quite a bit of reading on the DV while awaiting shipment. Many cited how the DV didn’t work well with their HE4xxx and other planar (low impedance - the HE4xx are rated at 49ohms) headphones. In my experience, nothing could be farther from the truth.  After three weeks of ownership, I was considering my options to improve the sound. There seems to be several options for upgrading the DV from tube rolling to internal mods like updating the caps and going to a better volume pot. The decision was made for me when my stock power tube failed. It was off to eBay where three power tubes were purchased (RCA 6AS7G, RCA 6080, and GE 6AS7GA), and two driver/output tubes (Tung Sol 6SN7GT “mouse ears” and 6SN7GTB).  I started with the 6080 with the stock 6SN7. Much improved sound. Fuller, especially in the bottom-end. However, it wasn’t a “open” as I would have liked. It should be noted that the Dragonfly Red was my baseline and I was looking to improve on its excellent sound. Going to the RCA 6AS7G - again with the stock tube, was a game-changer. Wow! I was met with a far broader and deeper soundstage with a separation of instruments that is the hallmark of planars. Bass and lower midrange was improved slightly, but there’s a definite upper mid-range bias. Curiosity getting the better of me, I plugged in the 6SN7GTB. This shifted the bias to the bass-end and, for me, it was too muddied and was decidedly less “open” than before. This setup epitomizes what folk refer to the “tube sound”. However, 6SN7GT “mouse ears” brought it home with a rich lower-end and a sparkle on the top end though more decidedly more “digital” in overall character. BTW, I was surprised that with all the changes in the tubes, only the GTB possessed any “hum” which dissipated over a few short hours. If you get into tube rollin’ with the DV, this is where I would start. The costs and availability of these tubes are excellent and you should be able to source them both from eBay for less than $75 for NOS pieces. What’s next? I have some other power tubes on the way: Tung Sol 5998A, GE 6AS7GA, and Tung Sol 7236 with the 5998A really piquing my interest. For now I’m going to let the RCA 6AS7G and Tung Sol 6SN7GT combo settle in more before any further evaluations.  I’ve never really been into “cans”. The Darkvoice 336SE (and the HE4xx) has changed my perception of headphone listening. For less than $600 invested (including headphones), I encourage anyone interested in trying a tube amp setup to give this a try!  -M
Jan 12, 2019
TheDisruptor
25
Jan 13, 2019
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Tried a similar set-up and found that the HE-4xx and DV sounded pretty good overall, but the low-end would misbehave with pretty average bass response and high distortion on certain tracks (primarily with electronic music). Did an ABX test with a non-tube amp and it disappeared. It's possible the tubes you were rolling might change the character of the amp with the 4xx though.
Jan 13, 2019
SkidMarc
32
Jan 14, 2019
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I’ve not had that problem. It could be the music I’m listening to (jazz, classic rock, classical). None of these genres are particularly bass-intensive. Could bass and mid-range be improved? Yes. At some point, I may upgrade the caps as recommended in the Head-Fi forums. Admittedly, a pair of Focal Elears is a bit enticing..... Funny thing is, most recordings can’t take advantage of the equipment we have. I’ve chased this stuff for too long with stereo hi-fi seeking perfection and lost my way. There’s a lot of really music out there. I’m changing my focus to discovering it - OK, with a few tweaks here and there ;^) -M.
Jan 14, 2019
ls13coco
77
Jan 15, 2019
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Thanks for the review. Would love to hear more thoughts once you get those other tubes going!
Jan 15, 2019
SkidMarc
32
Jan 17, 2019
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Update: Well, the three tubes have arrived namely the GE 6AS7GA, Tung Sol 7236, and the GE 5998A. Candidly speaking, I was really getting spoiled with the 6AS7G/6SN7GT combo. Sooo open and detailed. I conveyed in one of my responses that chasing perfection with $600 worth of gear is just a waste and time and possibly money. What I'm after is a combination that plays well with a myriad of music and sources. Lord knows "perfect" recordings are rare. Tuning for them doesn't necessarily guarantee it'll make other music sound nearly as good. I'm playing the middle here somewhat. This combo just sounds great whatever the music or source. All four were vast improvements over the stock tubes. Some were better than others. The GE 6AS7GA and Tung Sol 7236 sounded virtually the same. Both exhibited a rich, full bodied sound, but with the HE-4xx, the sound was not nearly as open and I felt the music on top of me. I also realized that there was a definite lack of lower-end detail. Compared to the 6AS7G/6SN7GT duo, they just didn't inspire. Before trying the 5998A, I thought I might have taken this tube rollin' exercise as far as it could go. I couldn't be more in error. During the previous night's listening session, I secretly wished that my beloved combo could be a bit warmer without losing the "air" and detail. The 5998A answered those prayers. This tube possesses the same high-end sparkle, detail, and impact but with added bass punch. What wows is the lower-end detail! For a moment I wept for those who confuse boom for bass not understanding that there are layers and detail that they are missing. Welcome the new standard. I should note that the 6SN7GTB was tried with all combinations. In my experience here, changing the driver didn't have nearly the impact as the power tube. For me, the GT sounded "cleaner" and a bit more open than the GTB. To all who have appreciated my comments and responded or gave me a thumbs-up, thanks!. It's greatly appreciated. Please understand that my comments represent one man's experience. As they say, your mileage may vary. Spend the time tuning your rig for your cans and musical tastes and call it a day. For me, I'm off to discover more music! -Marc
Jan 17, 2019
Beestonite
11
Jan 18, 2019
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Hi Mark, I am looking at getting more back into music.i did have quite a good HiFi system a few years ago but don't want to go back down that road. What I would like is a portable dac to use with my phone and pc, but has my collection grows I would like to be able to connect whatever I get to such as the darkvoice 336se and a good pair of cans. Is this possible and could you suggest a starting point for me ? Regards John
Jan 18, 2019
SkidMarc
32
Jan 18, 2019
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Hello John, Thanks for the endorsement! My approach was to get something high-quality and moderate cost. I looked at Cambridge, Audio Engine, and Schiit. At around $100, for the Modi3, one would be Schiit out of your mind not to consider it. I’ve had no regrets. It’s small, flexible, reasonably attractive, and transparent. Most of all, it’s in scale of the rest of the project in terms of price. A word of caution should you purchase the Modi3: make sure you get a MICRO USB-c cable. I made the mistake of getting a standard USB-c cable in advance. Hope this helps, Marc
Jan 18, 2019
Beestonite
11
Jan 18, 2019
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Thanks mark. That is something I will look into a couple of points I should have mentioned are that the files I will be listening to will be flac, and dad. The other point is that I live in the UK I don't know if your suggestion is available to me here. Regards John
Jan 18, 2019
SkidMarc
32
Jan 19, 2019
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John, I’m confident that you can source the Schiit and Cambridge DACs (Cambridge is UK-based I believe) in the UK. The primary goal of a DAC is to convert digital sources into analog thus sitting between the source (computer, tablet, smartphone, digital player) and destination (amp, preamp, etc.). The format has no bearing in this case however the chosen DAC should support the desired sample rate (typically 16 or 24bit) and bit depth (ex. 44.1k - 192k). My recommendations assume you’re planning to use it to connect to an amp/preamp or speaker system with a built in amp. If you are trying to convert your digital signal to support headphones or IEMs, you may want to consider a DAC/headphone amp combination unit. Both of the aforementioned manufacturers have offerings in that space. Marc
Jan 19, 2019
mindhead1
482
Jan 26, 2019
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Thanks for your review and the tube rolling info. I love my DarkVoice and have settled in on an RCA 6AS7 power and Shuguamg Treasure 6SN7 tube as my preferred combo. The perfect combo of low end, openness and separation to my ears with my 6xx. I too have the 4xx and don't like how they sound with the DarkVoice. Specifically, the low end get recessed and muddy. This could be a function of the tubes I use. It could also be that my reference point is the DarkVoice/6xx combo which is the best I have heard. Don't get me wrong I love my 4xx . Especially since I got some balanced cables to use with my Aune X7S. That's a winning combo for me. Enjoy your DV.
(Edited)
Jan 26, 2019
SkidMarc
32
Jan 27, 2019
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Thanks Mindhead. I appreciate your observations. I’ve been dying to try a pair of the HD6xx to see how it compares. However, my audiophile partner-in-crime hasn’t taken the hint. He loves my HE4xx, but hasn’t really gotten on-board with cans ....yet. I’m curious as to the type of music you listen to? I listen to mostly jazz, classic rock, and classical/symphonic genres which are demanding of sonic detail and accuracy than say, R&B, hip-hop, etc. To that end, could you recommend some test tracks to try? I’m on TIDAL. As I mentioned, the 5998A JAN power tube gave me the best low-end response. Not boomy or muddled, and very detailed. Continued research seems to suggest that the 5998 family is friendlier to low impedence cans than others. The 6AS7G certainly held it own and is my alternate/backup tube. My audiophile buddy (and avid electronics hobbyist) has suggested some upgrades that I’m sure I’ll try later in the year. I’ll keep everyone informed of my progress and experiences. Enjoy your DV as well!
Jan 27, 2019
gkprabhu
8
Mar 6, 2019
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Hi SkidMarc, thank you so much for your detailed review. I listen to mostly Jazz and some rock, what tubes would you recommend for me ? I have the Hifiman 400i, Senn 6xx, Monoprice planars and some others. Thanks in advance. Best Gopal
Mar 6, 2019
SkidMarc
32
Mar 6, 2019
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Hello Gopal: Thanks for the compliment on my review. I’m glad that you found it helpful. As for a recommendation, I’d go with the 5998A for the driver paired with the 6SN7GT or GTB. Initially, I wasn’t a fan of the GTB, as it had a lot of noise requiring a couple days worth of burn-in to clear and settle in. I have since found that it has more low end impact and high-end “sparkle” than the GT at the expense of low/lower-midrange detail. You’ll have to be the judge of what performs best for you. Wow, you certainly have a diverse collection of cans! I’ve been dying to hear what the hype is all about with the Senn 6xx and the DarkVoice 336. You’ll have to let us know what your experiences are with your different headphones. Take care, Marc
Mar 6, 2019
gkprabhu
8
Mar 6, 2019
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Hi Marc thanks so much man. I will report back to you after I get the tubes. Just so that I am getting the right ones, please look at these links and let me know if they are what you are recommending https://www.ebay.com/i/372530291640?chn=ps
https://www.ebay.com/itm/Vintage-GE-5998A-Tube-Black-Plate-Top-O-Getter-Made-in-USA-Tested-Strong/263998238175?hash=item3d77856ddf:g:aIoAAOSwGohbopNI&frcectupt=true I appreciate your help. I will send you an update after getting the tubes you mentioned. but for now, with stock tubes the 6xx sounds pretty darn good to me. So do my Hifiman 400i , Monoprice m1060, vmoda lp2 and akg K550. I think that I am in love with this amp. I am also using it as a preamp to drive my desktop system , and I tell you that it makes them sing...truly amazing. Thank you kindly best Gopal
Mar 6, 2019
SkidMarc
32
Mar 7, 2019
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Gopal, The link for the 6SN7GT is for a new, but untested tube. For that price, it could be worth the gamble. Here are my recommendations: GTB: https://rover.ebay.com/rover/0/0/0?mpre=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.ebay.com%2Fulk%2Fitm%2F162379894970 GT: https://rover.ebay.com/rover/0/0/0?mpre=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.ebay.com%2Fulk%2Fitm%2F264218973985 For the 5999A, might I recommend: https://rover.ebay.com/rover/0/0/0?mpre=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.ebay.com%2Fulk%2Fitm%2F121586619378 The JAN tubes are mil-spec and are supposedly built to higher standards. So pleased with my purchase, I got two (the second as a backup). For my purchases, I leaned toward matched pairs and returnable offerings . This may be something for you to consider also as these tubes are becoming increasingly expensive and hard to find. One last thing - if you like the stock sound, you will be ABSOLUTELY blown away after you upgrade the tubes. I/we look forward to hearing of your experiences. Marc
Mar 7, 2019
gkprabhu
8
Mar 7, 2019
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Marc, sorry man..but all the links just take me to ebay.com Is the problem on my end ?? Please let me know. I want to get the tubes asap....thanks man
Mar 7, 2019
Beestonite
11
Mar 9, 2019
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Thanks for your comment, I did sort myself a dac out . The Roksan K3, it's quite a capable dac, at the moment I have the schitt magni 3, but I am still very interested in pairing the K3, and my Hd 650's with the likes of the Dark voice.
Mar 9, 2019
Wingnutt
5
Mar 9, 2019
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Hi. If you use DSD for your sources then don't go with the Schiit dacs. They are great for the money and support Flac files up to 24bit 192khz just fine, however no Schiit dac supports DSD.
(Edited)
Mar 9, 2019
Wingnutt
5
Mar 10, 2019
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Hmm. I haven't heard about the K3. How do you like it? I also have an HD650 (HD6XX). Although I have never heard the DV336SE I do find it interesting. At the moment I have my Senns paired with a Schiit Valhalla 2 for tubes. I really like this pairing with them. From what I have heard the Dark Voice is on the dark side though so as the Senns are a dark set of cans I am uncertain if that would be a good pairing for me. The Val2 is neutral to very slightly bright so it sort of lifts the veil on the Senns giving them very detailed and sparkling highs. It also helps increase the soundstage nicely giving them a very full sound.
Mar 10, 2019
Beestonite
11
Mar 10, 2019
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My concern also about the darkvoice,/hd650 is also the possibility of it been a little bit dark and muddy, but some reckon it is a great combination, especially with tube rolling. Roksan is a very good British hifi company. What hifi did not give the k3 a glowing report at all, but if look at the review from hifi pig and several others it's a different story. The dac is a full size hifi component as opposed to a desktop version. When it was launched in 2016 it priced at the same as all other components in the K3 range £1295. However not long after its launch, Roksan were taken over by monitor audio and the dac was discontinued, one company called audiovisual bought all the remaining stock and are selling them at £399. Which is where I bought mine, and I love it take a look and at the reviews you can find.
Mar 10, 2019
gkprabhu
8
Mar 16, 2019
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hi SkidMarc, just a quick question for you. I got the Tung Sol 6sn7 from ebay and it does not glow at all and gets very mildly hot to touch. The amp is working though, if there was something wrong with the tube , the amp would not work, right ? Sorry for the stupid question, I don't have any way of testing tubes. Thank you.
Mar 16, 2019
SkidMarc
32
Mar 16, 2019
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I’m no expert, but if it doesn’t glow, it probably isn’t working properly. I’d return for a refund or replacement. Marc
Mar 16, 2019
gkprabhu
8
Mar 17, 2019
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Hi Marc Just wanted to send you an update you on my experience. I now have an RCA 6as7g and a tung sol 6sn7gt  in my dark voice amp. I have to tell you that it does indeed sound like a totally different amp. I am blown away by this combination. Thank you. I will look at the other tubes you recommended in a few days, I just want to enjoy this sound for now. You were right !!! I have a feeling that I am going to be spending quite a bit of time and money on this amp ;) . Best Gopal
Mar 17, 2019
SkidMarc
32
Mar 17, 2019
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Great to hear (pun intended)! Just wait until you try the 5998A. That tube is a real game-changer. Marc
Mar 17, 2019
gkprabhu
8
Apr 7, 2019
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Hi, just got the 5998A. what a difference !! i am loving it. can't wait to try it with my silvertone 6sn7. thank you very much. Glad to have met you. thanks.
Apr 7, 2019
gkprabhu
8
Apr 7, 2019
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listening to it with the silvertones and the 5998A. truly sublime!!!
Apr 7, 2019
SkidMarc
32
Apr 7, 2019
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Glad To have been able to assist. You can expect the sound to improve slightly after 50 or so hours of listening. It's subtle. YMMV. I just purchased a Tun Sol GTB. Took almost 3 days to get the hum out. I had been previously swapping between my two Sylvania GT and GTB. The jury is still out. It's a cleaner sound, but it seems I've lost something? I think it's just different. Where did you get the Silvertones? What music are you listening to? Marc
Apr 7, 2019
gkprabhu
8
Apr 8, 2019
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Hi man. I got the silvertone from ebay. Got it for 11 bucks with shipping. What a deal. I like it better than my tung sol , or GE . I listen to mainly jazz and rock/ progressive / pop/ blues. On a side note , I'm getting the Little Dot MKiii this week. Can't wait. Also , am getting a sub for my pc rig ( where I have the dark voice connected ). It's going to be a good week !!!
Apr 8, 2019
NanoSword
0
Nov 4, 2019
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Hi , can you please share me links for best power tube for this amp
Nov 4, 2019
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