Tubes and Transformers, My New Best Friends.
The amp just arrived a handful of hours ago, this is purely an initial frothing at the mouth review.
First off, I'm a rather big fan of the Voskhod 6ZH1P-EV tubes. I run them in any amp that can accept 6J1/6AK5/5654/6ZH1P. The default tubes that arrived all appear to be Voskhod, with the same construction style as the 6ZH1P-EV. I'll have to inspect them a bit more when I'm done with my ferret-shock of new toy and start applying DeoxIT.
I wired it up to use the Airist R-2R DAC. Figured, if I'm going tube, I might as well take an even larger analog path. Totally worth it. Extra low end on top of the already posh bass of the tubes? Yeah.
I spent the first few hours enjoying some of my collection on random while listening through some new Fostex TR-70-250 cans. Very nice pairing that, comfortable, loud, and clean. Once I switched to using the Fostex T60RP and classical musics (Leonard Bernstein - Adagio, check it out on tidal) I fell in love. It is like being in the concert hall and hearing all of the detail (breathing, chair movement, etc.). Strings plus Voskhod tubes is always a great combination.
This is without any break-in time on the tubes. How freaking awesome is that. I think it is just pure win. Totally getting back to why I like these Rocket tubes, they sound great from the get-go. They only get better as they age, so in a week or two this amp is going to really kick some ass. I don't hear any easily noticed imbalance between the channels, and the volume pot is silky smooth. No crackle, hum, or anything off-putting comes from any component in this amp.
Looks wise, the AMP is very basic and classic. It totally wouldn't be out of place in a 60s or 70s studio. I can totally dig that retro feel with the 7sided volume knob, and the burly power switch.
So far, I'm rather glad I got this. Also rather pleased that I ignored the initial drop. If you likes the tube sound, and don't have an endgame single-ended amp, seriously consider this guy.
Lots of TV and cartoons. Not much music listening till the end. This amp is still kicking some seriously tube ass. Most of the non-music stuff was with the HD6xx cans, totally a great pairing. For the music listening I decided to give the amp a whirl with the HE-4xx. 3 hours later, I was rather surprised that I didn't have a splitting headache. One of the few times recently that the Hifiman cans didn't make my brain bleed, my problem definitely has to be settings. Via the ZDT driven by the Airist, no problems whatsoever.
Started the day by using the Meze 99 Noir and blasting some Bad Company. In the low impedance socket I can only run these cans with volume at 9'oclock position. That said, I can actually use them unlike with the CTH. Very win, these cans have some nice sound when driven via the tubes. Still happy.
Still need to really check out the tubes... when the unit is cold.
Finally got around to investigating the 6J1P/6ZH1P tubes about the time they were mostly broken in. Looks like I received basic Voshkod 6ZH1P from ~2004 (if I'm reading the markings right), and most sadly... not the mil-spec version. The tubes themselves don't sound horrible, just a touch microphonic... which is a problem seeing my desk has a bit of vibration from fans and pumps. Was only a problem when there was no sound going to the amp, but I can fix this.
Sorry my LittleDot1+, you lose your delicious sounding matched 6ZH1P-EV pair from the 80s. Similar sound (same tube design, more or less), just higher tolerances and older... and already fully broken-in.
Still digging this amp. Well worth the price.
Many Moons later (Final):
Upon seeing mention of 6FC7/ECC89 making a major difference in the ZDT, I sourced a pile (30) of these Pro/Comm labeled and likely Mullard made 6FC7/ECC89. Grabbed two from one of the same books, and threw them in the amp in place of the 6N24P, pure lazy without testing on the TV-7B/U. Instant silence. No freaking power hum, even on the ultra-sensitive Meze 99 Noir which worked before, but were prone to catching the power hum.
Very much a major win. Quite worth it as it makes this already awesome amp that much more awesome.
New New Tubes:
Old New Tubes:
With stock tubes:
Would recommend to a friend.