Little Dot MKII Tube Headphone Amp
Little Dot MKII Tube Headphone Amp
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Product Description
A great introduction to the world of tube headphone amplifiers, the Little Dot MKII is ideal for pairing with a desktop amp and can also function as a preamp to your speakers. It uses a single-ended push-pull OTL circuit operating in Class A, and delivers plenty of headroom and dynamic impact, along with a touch of tube warmth and tonal richness Read More

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dicynodont
27
Nov 7, 2019
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WTF is a "single-ended, push-pull, OTL" amplifier? These are three mutually exclusive tube amplifier configurations. Obviously, this is a cheap-azz product trying to convince unsuspecting people that this is high-end audiophile gear. It's not... buyer beware!
Nov 7, 2019
nofacemonster
2
May 25, 2019
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I would like to share my personal experience with you. I bought the HD6XX (slightly used off the eBay because massdrop still doesn't ship to me) and i was looking for a way to amp it properly without breaking my bank. OTL was highly recommended but the bottlehead crack was far out of my reach, then the next affordable match was Magni and it is absolutely impossible to get it shipped to me with tax and shipping. Then out of luck i came across the Little Dot MK2 on eBay and the brand new price was amazing. So i bought it and it came with the stock tube. For me it sounded like night and day difference with my FX Audio DAC-X6 right out of the box. It sounded so full and warm even with the stock Chinese 6J1. I would absolutely wholeheartedly recommend this amplifier to be used with HD6XX. I also thought the same question.... why arn't there many people using this combo instead far more expensive others. Before proceeding any further i must let you know that the manual that is shipped with my amplifier was incorrect, especially in the gain settings section. The correct manual is available online and i found it. I am sharing it with you. Incorrect settings on HD6XX gave me a hum. (I don't know about massdrop edition but the one that was shipped to me by eBay seller has incorrect information) https://www.dropbox.com/s/gg0mt2gi99wmt7j/LittleDot_MKII_Guide.pdf?dl=0 Next came the tube upgrade time, out of curiosity i bought GE JAN 5654W because i went through "Little dot tube rolling guide" in Head-FI and they were highly recommended there. Those were the only cheap tubes i could find on the eBay other than the 6J1 and Voshkods. Also i have some experience using this because my 6N3 Matisse Clone amplifier runs on GEJAN5670 W and the sound is amazing on that. So i bought them off and the results were very unlikely, even after 30 ~ 50 hours burn in time on my amplifier it sounded far worse than the Chinese 6J1 stock tubes. I switched them back and forth with Chinese and Russian power tubes and nothing changed. I tried burn in further more and still it doesn't work. So with my current experience i wouldn't recommend these tubes to be used with GE JAN 5654 W (Green letters, probably from 1980's). I have a matched pair of Mullard M8100 / CV4010 tubes coming on their way from England, I hope they will sound as they were described in the Head-Fi thread. I will share my experience with you once i receive them. My current set up is Laptop (Source) - > FX Audio DAC-X6 (USB) - > Little Dot MK2 with Stock tubes - > Massdrop HD6XX
(Edited)
May 25, 2019
racsorrac
1
Jan 13, 2019
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I'm having issues with this amp. When I plug my headphones into my DAC which is USB connected to my computer, there is no background noise of any type. When I connect my DAC into my amp and listen through it, I get noise when doing any activity on the computer - e.g. opening a program, scrolling my mouse wheel and watching a video. This noise increases when I increase the volume on the amplifier. I don't think it's a ground loop.
Jan 13, 2019
Nickvdbm
0
Jan 10, 2019
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I got a 110V version but I live in the EU. Will this work with a simple 110-230 tanfsormer? Because is the frequency also not different? 60hz vs 50hz in EU.
Jan 10, 2019
AP95
0
Jan 29, 2019
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Yes it should and how much tax and import fees did you have to pay?
Jan 29, 2019
nvroom
1
Jan 3, 2019
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Would the Russian 6H6P-I Power Tubes and Voshkod 6ZH1P-EV work well for this AMP?
Jan 3, 2019
2toasty
11
Jan 20, 2019
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I have Russian 6N6P driver tubes and Voshkod 6ZH1P-EV tubes for the pre and it made a remarkable improvement in sound
Jan 20, 2019
nvroom
1
Feb 11, 2019
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My set just came today and dang its a major difference.
Feb 11, 2019
Zecomm
8
Dec 22, 2018
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Amplifier: Little Dot Mk. II Power Tubes: Soviet 6N6P Gold Grids (matched) Driver Tubes: Soviet Voskhod 6J1P-EV / 6ZH1P-EV (matched) Components: Gain switched to Medium Impedance (Switch 1 On, Switch 2 Off) DAC: Topping D30 Headphones: AKG 7XX Massdrop Exclusive Source: Linux Mint using DeadBeef, utilizing USB direct to output, and FLAC ≤ 24bit audio Listen, this amp is great, especially with the power of the former Soviet Union; however, I wanted to post something just in case someone is having the same problem I was. I was under the illusion that my amp was just defective. Audio was unbalanced to the left side. I tried so many things; I even took my Littledot MKII to a supposed audio expert. It ended up costing 70 dollars, and the only thing I got was some fixed cold solder joints, which I could've done myself since that's pretty much what I do for a living. The guy apparently didn't know how to google, because he said that he couldn't find the schematics online. Well, I had been afraid to mess with the gain switches that I had heard about, given my knowledge of audio equipment was sparse. That was until I decided to read the damn manual. After I learned exactly what the gain switches did, I opened the unit up to discover that they were set for high impedance. Now, most of the websites I could find listed high impedance as being greater than 25 ohms, so this led me to believe I had hit a dead end. That is absolutely not true though. This random blogger seemed to be the only one who actually had a clue as to what ohm rating correlated to what impedance level: WHAT’S CONSIDERED “HIGH IMPEDANCE”? I’m not aware of any hard rule but generally it’s safe to say 100 ohms and higher qualifies as “high impedance”. Such headphones are usually not designed for portable use. And it’s safe to say 32 ohms and lower qualify as “low impedance” and typically work well for all applications. That leaves a gray area between 32 and 100 ohms where other factors determine how suitable the headphones are for a given source. As it turned out, my AKG 7XX headphones had an impedance rating of 62 ohms, and according to "nwavguy", that would put it into the medium range. Utilizing this new found information, I referred to the table in the manual:
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I set it to a gain level of five from the default setting three, and jesus tapdancing christ it works. I no longer have to adjust the balance levels because I had apparently taken the time to learn the meaning of a single word. I only hope that this helps someone who is just as uninformed on this as I was. Do your research. Thanks for coming to my TED talk.
(Edited)
Dec 22, 2018
racsorrac
1
Jan 5, 2019
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I'm afraid the manual I have gotten very recently with my amp says gain 10 is for high impedance headphones and gain 3 is for high sensitivity headphones. Sorry if I have misunderstood you in any way.
Jan 5, 2019
Zecomm
8
Jan 6, 2019
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Then that clarification is indeed important. No apology necessary! It might be from an earlier or newer run, not sure.
Jan 6, 2019
ethanchan
185
Oct 31, 2018
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I did not purchase this item from massdrop which I am guessing is a requirement for leaving reviews, so I will post it here. A review for the rest of us: If you are a hardcore tube amp user then I would suggest you skip this because this is not for you, this is for those people that are like me, a noob with tubes that has no clue. First let me say that this was not my first tube amp, the first time I purchased a tube amp I figured I would go big, buy the best rated, expensive, and best reviewed with the most tubes because all of that would mean I am getting the best tube amp I could get... correct? Maybe.... but I wouldn't know because I had no clue what I was doing, listening to or listening for. Tube amps are not as simple as plugging in your headphones and BAM! all new sounds and stark differences. I quickly found out that no matter what I did or what tubes I put on it, I wasn't getting that, so of course I had a faulty tube amp and immediately sent it back swearing that everything I read about tubes was a bunch of crap and a waste of time and money. After spending some time with high end headphones and a decent dac/amp, I began to hear the changes in music quality and when going back to my $30 and $80 headphones I could immediately tell the difference and understand what I was and was not hearing. It was at this point that I thought back to the tube experiment and decided to try it again, but instead of going all out and spending top of the line money for top of the line equipment I decided to look around for what was believed to be a good starter tube amp, enter the LD MKii. (all explanations from here forward are my noob terms and do not require expert dissection and argument) LD MKii - black box with box and four tubes on top. Blue power led, audio jack and volume on the face. [what the smaller black box encases is beyond me, nor do I care at this point. All I know is it works for me] Tubes - Large tubes are power tubes, Small tubes are pre-amp tubes. [This is where the magic happens, there is more to it but it was in *"tube rolling" that I found my sound] Headphones - Here is another thing that I did not understand where tube amps are concerned, for best results, dynamic driver headphones are the way to go. So now that I was armed with my HD800s, HD6xx, 1More triple driver and the LD MKii I started plugging things in and checking the sound. First thing I did was try it with my Sanskrit pro and then with my Aune X1S while cycling through my headphones on each. There was a slight difference between the two but to my ears (which are admittedly compromised) it wasn't enough for me to say you should use one over the other. Next I took a few days to listen to different types of music and compared it between the tube amp and Aune X7S because the X7S has an balanced xlr connection that I love on my planars. As I did this I began to hear the subtle differences and where the tube shined and where it did not. To me, the tube and my HD6xx were the best match based on what I like. Lastly, I began the task of *tube rolling. I did some research and found some of the more popular tubes that are paired with this amp. I eventually settled on the 7-Pin GE JAN 5654W for my pre and the Novosibirsk 6N6p / 6H6pi for my power. This pairing gave me the most amazing improvement on sound, again, based on what I like. I love all genres of music and have found that when listening to jazz, blues, quartets, trios, Cello, and classic rock (AC/CD, Metallica, Eagles and many others) that the combo flourished. The beauty of the sound in its fullness, warmth, separation and clarity was absolutely stunning. I will listen to other genres such as EDM and others that actually sounds better on my LCD 2 Closed to my ears. I have watched movies and it performs great in that space as well but again, it depends on the the type of movie it is, would I use it for Jurassic park or an MCU movie, sure, but again, I would prefer the LCD 2 Closed for that. The point to all this is that while you can buy a dac/amp combo or individual unit pairings and get perfect sound and balance, the tube will take the edge off of the perfection and dirty it up but in a most wonderful way. Tube amps are more about the perfection of imperfection like smudges on charcoal art and mayonnaise in a cake recipe. You wouldn't expect it to work but then you try it and you get that WTF moment when you realize how good it is. To me, the beauty of this amp is its simplicity and ease of use. Are there better amps out there, sure, but from personal experience, the LD MKii is the most inexpensive, easy to use introductory tube amp that will give great results. Annotation *Tube rolling does not mean place it on your desk and roll the round tubes across it over and over (you laugh but that is exactly what I thought it was until I looked it up). As best I understand it, rolling is when you install different types of tubes (they come with different materials and resistances) to get a different sound profile. You can mix and match different power and pre tubes to one another, but, never mix and match them to itself. From what I understand, you want your pre tubes to be the same to itself and power tubes to be the same to itself. Mixing them across brand and type to itself could have catastrophic consequences for your tubes and even the amp. Next thing of note is that you will want your tubes to be tested and matched, I can not explain the how, what and why but from everything I read, that is the best practice. Tested and matched means that the type of tube (pre or power) will be a tested and matched pair to itself not across types. Last thing I will say is that there is a jumper inside the unit that will effect the power output. I have not tried it and would suggest that if you feel you need to do this, go check out some of the reviewers that do a deep dive into the LD MKii, there is a lot of good information about this unit out there so don't be afraid to look it up or even ask questions because it is better to ask when you don't know than to assume and possibly cause irreparable damage. I hope this helped and congratulations for making it to the end of my never ending post. Ethan
Oct 31, 2018
Motologist
74
Oct 30, 2018
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Below is my brief review of the Little Dot Mk. II v. 4.0 which I purchased in June of 2018 from somewhere other than Massdrop, hence why I'm not posting this in the reviews section. Amplifier: Little Dot Mk. II Power Tubes: Soviet 6N6P Gold Grids (matched) Driver Tubes: GE Jan 5654w (matched) Components: Stock DAC: Schiit Modi 3 Headphones: Sennheiser HD58x with custom Canare cable and Dekoni Elite Hybrid earpads Source: PC streaming Tidal HiFi Exterior Build Quality: 7/10 The Little Dot's exterior is a bare bones affair, there are exactly eight Phillips screws required to separate its two aluminum halves. The front and back panels have their text thinly etched in and don't match up perfectly with the aluminum shell. The four rubber feet on the bottom of the unit are good enough that I don't worry about the amp sliding around. This little guy is dense and I generally like the exterior, but I don't like that it is sized such that it doesn't really sit atop any DAC I've used thus far. Board and Component Build Quality: 4/10 This thing has some old school Made-in-China build quality when you crack the two halves open! After one week of normal use with a pair of Sony MDR-7506 and the amp set to the second lowest gain, the rectifier let its smoke out and died. This was a known problem with the newer LD's. I opened the amp to discover a cheap and undersized full wave bridge rectifier rated for between two and five watts. That is completely unacceptable, I replaced mine with a 10 watt unit. I also discovered poor solder joints throughout the board and tube sockets, but the components are generally decent. I re-soldered every connection on the board, sockets, and power plug. All of the components are standard, off-the-shelf items which could be easily upgraded for very little money. The stock vacuum tubes are nothing special, I replaced mine shortly after purchase. Tube Rolling: 10/10 I can't give the tube rolling ability for the Little Dot anything less than a 10 considering price vs. performance vs. availability. The 6n6 and 6j1 tube layout opens the door to a large selection of tubes across the price spectrum. Vacuum tubes manufactured in the former Soviet Union ($10/EA-$100/EA) are well liked, as are the GE 5654 ($10/EA.) Sound Quality: 8/10 This is entirely subjective and based on any number of other variables, take anything I say with a grain of salt. My two go-to artists are Mark Knopfler and Daft Punk, both are particularly well mastered. I personally like my Little Dot a lot paired with the HD58x. Bass reproduction is tight with just the right amount of 'kick' for my taste. Mid's are sufficiently clear, I don't have a strong opinion one way or another; I have nothing to complain about. The combination of LD Mk. II and HD58x does result in slightly rolled off treble. This is another positive for me as I'm not a big fan of ultra-high treble that makes my ears feel like they're ringing. Overall sound is clear, perhaps not crisp. This is a OTL vacuum tube amplifier after all, it's slightly muddled by nature. The Little Dot Mk. II as I've configure mine does a good job of adding the human aspect to music we can so easily lose in a highly analytical solid state system. Speaking of analytical, I was not impressed by the performance of my trusty MDR's when powered by the Little Dot. Everything seemed muddy and over-saturated while the headphones seemed under driven. My experience with the MDR-7506's is pretty normal when using lower impedance headphones through a vacuum tube amplifier. The Sony cans simultaneously pick up every little fault in the system while being fed insufficient current. Returning to the listening experience with my HD58x's, Daft Punk's work on the Tron: Legacy soundtrack is simply mesmerizing. From the driving beat of 'Recognizer' and the punchy bass of 'Arena,' I was thoroughly impressed. Listening to Dire Straits' live work in Live at the BBC and Alchemy: Dire Straits Live I really enjoy how forward Mark Knopfler's masterful guitar playing is through my system. The drum, cymbal, and high hat really drive their music while reinforcing Knopfler's guitar work. Note: If you're wanting to pair this amp with headphones rated for less than 80 ohms of impedance, look elsewhere. This is an output transformer-less vacuum tube amplifier, it outputs a bunch of voltage and not much current. Your low impedance headphones need a bunch of current and not much voltage. Your needs would be best met by a solid state amplifier, or a hybrid tube amplifier if you must have the vacuum tube sound signature. TL;DR: If you're not a hobbyist with a basic knowledge of electronics repair, I wouldn't recommend the Little Dot Mk. II. The quality control leaves a lot to be desired, especially if you're in the feet wetting stage of audiophilia. If you are a hobbyist like me, this little guy is a great entry into modifying audio equipment in our conquest of all things music listening. The sound quality is what I wanted in a tube amp with a low price and excellent customization potential.
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Oct 30, 2018
crizzle
8
Sep 14, 2018
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Super Disappointed with this drop. Amp showed up DOA. I just opened a support request so will have to see what my options are.
Sep 14, 2018
crizzle
8
Sep 15, 2018
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no response yet from Massdrop suppprt. Is that normal?
Sep 15, 2018
crizzle
8
Sep 20, 2018
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Now over a week. One comment, asking me to be patient because they are experiencing high contact volume. Meanwhile I have a DOA tube amp and I am considering a chargeback. This is absurd.
Sep 20, 2018
Heavyboxer
302
Sep 3, 2018
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I tried using this unit sideways due to space constraints for about 2 hours.
Long story short, i cleared my desk for more space and is now upright. The somabeech gets wicked hot sideways.
Sep 3, 2018
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