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Hi, im yet to hear a tube. Im thinking of getting a budget amp such as the darkvoice or little dot mk3. How well do these pair with the 600s? And what do they do to the sound exactly?

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Most tube amps go well with the HD600. OTL ones especially (like the DV).

 

They tube it up.

 

So the soundstage usually widens. Sound warms up a bit. And the highs get a bit euphoric / sparkly. A tube amp basically introduces distortions that are pleasant sounding. So where a solid state is dead silent, punchy, clear. Tubes can have bcakground noise, be susceptible to desk knocks and nearby baby monitors, and crackle and pop now and then.

 

Of course it all depends on the amp and the tubes, but thats the general idea.

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3 minutes ago, Bengineer said:

Most tube amps go well with the HD600. OTL ones especially (like the DV).

 

They tube it up.

 

So the soundstage usually widens. Sound warms up a bit. And the highs get a bit euphoric / sparkly. A tube amp basically introduces distortions that are pleasant sounding. So where a solid state is dead silent, punchy, clear. Tubes can have bcakground noise, be susceptible to desk knocks and nearby baby monitors, and crackle and pop now and then.

 

Of course it all depends on the amp and the tubes, but thats the general idea.

All the tube headphone amps I’ve built have none of the bad things you mention and all of the good things. Don’t know which make or model of tube HP amps you have been listening too but they don’t sound the best. I’ve built three or four bottle head amps for others from the most basic to the top of the line. None have any bad habits. 

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Have you already got a descent DAC?

 

As Bengineer mentioned, OTL tube amps pair extremely well with HD600/650.

 

You should definitely also consider the Bottlehead Crack + speedball combo, if you dont want DIY then you can buy a used one when it pops up again. Alternatively, you can pay someone to build it for you.

 

 

 

 

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3 minutes ago, mwhouston said:

All the tube headphone amps I’ve built have none of the bad things you mention and all of the good things.

 

Its true, you can get a pretty quiet or silent tube/OTL amp, but they are definitely more susceptible to noise than a solid state amp.

 

I suffered noise with my OTL amp in the past, but discovered it was related to my USB connection, which was easily solved by running optical cable instead.

 

Solid state on the other hand never has any noise issues, no matter what input I feed it.

 

 

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8 minutes ago, bruc3 said:

Have you already got a descent DAC?

 

As Bengineer mentioned, OTL tube amps pair extremely well with HD600/650.

 

You should definitely also consider the Bottlehead Crack + speedball combo, if you dont want DIY then you can buy a used one when it pops up again. Alternatively, you can pay someone to build it for you.

 

 

 

 

I currently have a klispch heritage amp and a chord mojo.

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20 minutes ago, mwhouston said:

All the tube headphone amps I’ve built have none of the bad things you mention and all of the good things. Don’t know which make or model of tube HP amps you have been listening too but they don’t sound the best. I’ve built three or four bottle head amps for others from the most basic to the top of the line. None have any bad habits. 

Bottlehead Crack. DarkVoice. Valhalla. McChanson.

 

Stick your baby monitor near one and see if it has issues! Or sit there with no music playing and listen. It's nature of the tube. Can't avoid it, you hear them warm up. You hear them when you bump your desk. Just how it is.

 

I've seen some of your amps! Think you did Benjets crack?

 

I should add that I'm very sensitive to this sort of thing. Pops, crackles, hums, interference, channel imbalance. Levels that don't bother a lot of people tend to niggle at me.

Edited by Bengineer
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8 minutes ago, Clint37 said:

I currently have a klispch heritage amp and a chord mojo.

ahhh..chord mojo should be a fine dac.

 

Anyway, I suggest you read about the Bottlehead Crack + speedball, as that is end game for many people using Sennheiser HD6xx series. According to most people it is better than the Darkvoice and Littledot.

 

Keep an eye out on the classifieds as I have a strong feeling a used one will pop up very soon ;)

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7 hours ago, Bengineer said:

Or sit there with no music playing and listen. It's nature of the tube. Can't avoid it, you hear them warm up. You hear them when you bump your desk. Just how it is.

 

Sorry to be harsh...but that is rubbish...it is not the nature of the tube...it is the nature of shitty amp design. Most likely the designer uses cheap arse valve sockets (poor connection to the tube), some dodgy soldering, have jammed things in too small a case and the iron talks to one another and/or the chassis and hence the valve, or the power supply is so 'cheap' that it cannot get noise down to a reasonable level.  I do not believe there is a reasonable excuse for any of those things at any price point.

 

For reference I have 110dB/w/m sensitive horn loudspeakers with almost 50 vacuum tubes in the amplifiers/preamplifier/sources and you can put your head in the horns and hear nothing but silence.  I can flick the glass on my 10 DHT preamp and not hear a single thing come through the speakers either playing music or when the system is idle and DHT's are notoriously prone to microphonics and hum.  Saying all this, I've had SS amps unable to be quiet on 86dB/w/m speakers...but have never tried my HD650 with a tube amp...

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Maybe I should have been more specific.

 

It's the nature of the tubes.....found in these headphone amplifiers. It's a thing on all of them. Using the cheap glass, and using some decent glass. 

 

No doubt it could be reduced with better components. The crack used to rataattatata at me when the baby monitor turned on. Ting ting ting when I bump the desk.

 

DarkVoice was the same. Valhalla had a thick metal body, but still had the tube warmup snaps and cracks and pops.

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7 hours ago, acg said:

 

Sorry to be harsh...but that is rubbish...it is not the nature of the tube...it is the nature of shitty amp design. Most likely the designer uses cheap arse valve sockets (poor connection to the tube), some dodgy soldering, have jammed things in too small a case and the iron talks to one another and/or the chassis and hence the valve, or the power supply is so 'cheap' that it cannot get noise down to a reasonable level.  I do not believe there is a reasonable excuse for any of those things at any price point.

 

+1 here and don't those cheap ceramic gold spring tensioned tube sockets drive you mad when they bounce up the tube and refuse to accept it after the 5th or so roll and they need to be replaced or the whole flimsy PC board bends like a Rolf Harris bendable board when changing the tubes?

 

These things are definitely built to a budget but can still shy away from sounding microphonic if the right tubes are used with them; new production or vintage stock with reinforced internal construction to specifically reduce microphonics - triple mica military spec construction comes to mind.

 

Totally agree with the quality and proximity aspects mentioned above and absolutely detest the use of the 240v label concealing the 220v PSU used inside that exacerbates the issue even further.

Edited by xlr8or
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20 hours ago, Clint37 said:

I currently have a klispch heritage amp and a chord mojo.

Put that Mojo on bypass and use with the Darkvoice or Bottlehead crack. Personally I would get the Bottlehead crack. I think this is great value for money with the RIGHT tubes. Will set you up well for future headphone changes too. Just be aware the right tubes is where the money is at but the good thing with either of these amps is they only use 2 tubes. I bought the best tubes I could get my hands on so I didn't use any money on tube rolling. I try to only use the tube amp at the weekends but it sounds great with everything. When watching a movie or program on the PC, where the sounds come from and when music plays in the soundtrack is amazing let alone listening to a well recorded concert.

 

I see you have some Focal headphones, I have the Elex and Elegia as well. The Elex pairs very well with tubes, this may be due to the higher impedance. Sounds can really come from different directions.

 

A future upgrade from that could be a Chord Qutest DAC but tbh I think you'll be very happy with what you have. The Mojo is a great little unit and is what convinced me to invest in a Qutest and have no regrets. I use a Mojo daily at work.

Edited by Tarzan
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