Got my DV and am really impressed. I never heard a tube amp and I waited for this one, skipping over the Little Dot and so on because of excellent reviews and how awesome it looks on a wide desk - which is pretty much required due to the Dark Voice's heft and ample proportion as well as it's heat field. The boys get hot, let me just say, and the Voice requires a lot of area with no combustible stuff around it. I do not recommend it for a portable or even really a dorm room; sorry - and I have heard some good stuff. I have been listening, by contrast to an Oppo HA-1, and a iFi-iCan/SMSL M8 setup. I listened to the DV using no DAC and with a couple of different DACs. It is right now being fed 24 bit FLAC digital music files and selected lossless 44/16 FLAC music files via an AUNE X1S (DAC).
I'm listening with Fostex TH900s, TX00 (Purple Heart), ZMF Vibros (Purple Heart) and HiFiMan HE400i and HE500s. I am no analyst and do not know the yammer, so I can't tell you why some people think one electronic combination is better than another, or whether there is a better way to get the same thing, or any of that. I was excited to get the DV because I had just heard a guy talking trash about it and generally about tube amps and I thought he was a fool because of some other reasons, but I wanted to know exactly whether he was a fool or no on the Dark Voice. He was, it turns out, a near-complete fool, he made 1 good point but I think he didn't understand it: The DV changes the way music sounds. Fact. It is an imposition and, to some ears, a distortion, of the original, as-engineered sound. This, as the man quite failed to understand, is no vice. It's like saying don't get all tarted up when you go on a date because, you know, everybody smells good enough all the time, and my hair looks fine, and fun causes cancer, right? On the contrary, music is in the world to delight the heart, so if you can get some extra delight, why not go for it is what I say. Don't forget it's once-removed state and try to figure out how music works if you want with a more neutral machine such as a solid state amp with enough power to drive your headphones. The Dark Voice is fun to play with and it may actually improve some recordings as the way a particular song makes you feel in your soul and your gut, and all of these things, but if you want accuracy and have reason to believe the original sound engineers knew a thing or two, you need a solid state amp as a basic tool. That is my opinion too.
The experience is better on some cans than others - All the Fostex sound better than ever, the Vibros are sublime, but bastard children of the Fostex T50s that they are, they like it best when attached to a tractor engine, and actually push the DV's limitations (I had to turn up the volume nearly full blast to make it just a little too loud, and I don't like pushing the limits of anything that hot. ) Headphone impedence is not the whole story - if it were all headphones would basically sound alike based on their impedence. But they do not. Different cans work better with different amps and that is the expensive truth. Most of my headphones, whether dynamic or planar magnetic, are "hard to drive" but they vary with various amps, and comparing one to other examples with the same impedance, it's hard to see the sense in those nunbers. O well.
I have one more thing: the thing you get in the box is an amp. Extras include a power cord and 2 tubes that fit the tube holes on the amp. Allegedly you can use any kind of tubes you want and get creative with it if that is your way of navigating things, and I for one would like to know more about this. Would anyone who knows about such things be so kind as to say below where a good place to start is, what the size and the model I should look for and anything else. Thanks.