Pros: Sound quality, cost, cool factor
Cons: None to date
I bought this on a recent trip to China (well, when in China do what the Chinese do and buy a valve headphone amp!) after doing some online research. This is my first valve amp but I already owned a Graham Slee headphone amp.
The amp out of the box gives off a good first impression. It is well built and feels solid. The instructions are adequate without ever feeling comprehensive but hey, what do you need to know? Stick the leads in this end and the phones in that and away you go! It is a little bigger than the photos suggested it was but by no means bulky. The volume dial has a good weight to it and the whole thing feels quality.
Once I got it home and installed in my system it was time to see just how good it was. I have done all my listening so far with my trusty HD600s. The impact was immediate. Compared to the Graham Slee amp (which I rate very highly but in a different way) the sense of space and air was amazing. The amp did not need much running in as it had been on display in the shop so I was listening to a more mature presentation from the off. Listening to acoustic material brought more pluck to the guitar and breath to the voices. I could hear Mr Garfunkel standing beside Mr Simon in more focus and almost see the guitar strings being twanged. It was altogether a more relaxed presentation. Moving to more electronic music did reveal slightly less sharp bass and maybe a lack of really deep notes but nothing that was detracting from the overall flow of the music.
I have listened to a wide variety of music styles now through the LD Mk IV and think that acoustic definitely benefits the most. But even the odd Krautrock classic benefited and the new Ultravox album sounded very silky.
I have purchased some higher quality valves than the unit came with (mostly on the advice of others on this forum - thank you to those who have set their research out and offered their advice) so I hope that I can get more improvements in due course. So far I am very pleased and for such a modest outlay! Bargain of the century for me so far.