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Review of Little-Dot MKIVse - Page 45

post #661 of 833
Quote:
Originally Posted by cswann1 View Post
That's a tough call. And ultimately you are the only one qualified to make that decision. Penchum wrote a paragraph in his review (in the OP) that pretty well sums up his take on the MKIII-IV-IVse lineup. It's, of course, just an opinion of one guy, so you can put as much stock in it as you feel comfortable.

He seems to be a fan of Little Tube products, and there is nothing wrong with that (I am too), but you must consider any gear purchase as objectively as possible imo.

Personally: I thought the $200 was worth it. I don't want to buy a product and think, "It's nice, but would I be happier with the higher-end model". Of course the answer to that is almost always yes for me. Then it just comes down to, can I afford the additional cost. If I can, I do it. Is it twice the amp? No, but with almost anything audio, there are diminishing returns the higher in price you go.



EDIT: SilverShadow. I have a question for you. What gain setting do you use when you run your K701's through your MKIV? And does your amp run hot with this pairing? I've got mine on the gain setting of 10. I usually don't have to go past 12 o'clock on the volume knob but the amp gets very warm.

If I were to buy the MKIII, I would probably end up buying the MKIV SE later anyhow, and therefore spending the money twice. The I+ is good enough to satisfy me in the meantime. (I have ruled out the MKV and MKVI. The V is solid state, and my experience with the I+ has taught me that I prefer tubes. The VI is balanced, and that would require an expensive recable for my phones.)
post #662 of 833
Quote:
Originally Posted by intoart View Post
If I were to buy the MKIII, I would probably end up buying the MKIV SE later anyhow, and therefore spending the money twice. The I+ is good enough to satisfy me in the meantime. (I have ruled out the MKV and MKVI. The V is solid state, and my experience with the I+ has taught me that I prefer tubes. The VI is balanced, and that would require an expensive recable for my phones.)
X2

In fact, I'd probably buy MKIV SE instead of MKIV with the experience I have now gained. I thought that I can always buy better tubes later and the connectors don't matter. "Connectors can't possibly make a difference in overall (esp. sound) quality." Well, as it turns out, the plating on the connectors is slowly but steadily wearing off because of my overly tight Schulz cable's connectors. I have to move the amp and disconnect the cables every now and then. I bet things like that don't happen with Van Den Hull RCA jacks...

Well, connectors could always be replaced later but IMO, overall, MKIV SE would be well worth the extra price. I agree totally with cswann1:
Quote:
I don't want to buy a product and think, "It's nice, but would I be happier with the higher-end model".
There's a Finnish proverb that fits in perfectly here. I'll do my best to translate it: "Poor man can't afford to buy cheap stuff". In the long run it's more economical to buy good products in the first place and save you from (some of) the money you'd otherwise have to spend on future upgrades.

intoart, if my memory serves, I have my MKIV set to lowest gain setting. But, my DAC has adjustable output power up to pro audio standard +4 dBu so I have set the output power to half the maximum. So, I have no idea if the signal level fed to my DAC is anywhere close to the typical -10 dBV cosumer line-level signal. All I can tell you is to experiment. K701s seem pretty sensive, so the defalt setting, max gain, is probably too high. Sorry I can't be of more help.
post #663 of 833
Quote:
Originally Posted by Rinshin View Post
Long time lurker, first time poster here. After a lot of reading here, I decided to take the plunge and buy a Little-Dot. I went from thinking of a LD II.. to the III (which I was sure I was going to get), then I read this thread and decided on the MKIVse! Ouch to my wallet.

I received my MKIVse from David a few days ago and just wanted to reiterate how great David was with customer service! I've been putting some hours on the amp and can't wait to hear what it sounds like after more maturing.
Welcome to Head-Fi, and I urge you to take this seriously, you've apparently already seen what I mean: sorry for your wallet. I myself was first just planning to get a cheap amp to get the best out of my K141 Studios. I was considering an LD II+, then MKIII... When I finally got the amp I listened to it for some minutes and thought: "I seriously need better headphones". And here I am, hoping to get some money to buy a new DAC in the next few months.

And X2 to your impessions of David's customer service. He sure is a great guy to do business with.
post #664 of 833
Quote:
Originally Posted by Rinshin View Post
Long time lurker, first time poster here. After a lot of reading here, I decided to take the plunge and buy a Little-Dot. I went from thinking of a LD II.. to the III (which I was sure I was going to get), then I read this thread and decided on the MKIVse! Ouch to my wallet.

I received my MKIVse from David a few days ago and just wanted to reiterate how great David was with customer service! I've been putting some hours on the amp and can't wait to hear what it sounds like after more maturing.
Welcome! I haven't done much posting, but I plan on changing that soon myself!

As a previous LD II++ owner, the first thing I noticed with the IV SE was the HUGE difference in power & presentation, and the forceful bass! Even though the MK IV SE comes with some nice stock tubes, I would recommend upgrading the driver tubes as soon as you can. There's nothing wrong with the stock M8100s, but you'll notice some dramatic (IMO) changes in how the sound tightens up and sounds even more detailed, revealing, and natural. it certainly helps the focus of the imaging, too. As I'm sure you've noticed, the folks on this thread have done an incredible job of documenting all the types of tubes you can use, and the impact they'll have on the sound. I ending up buying the Russian Super Tubes (power tubes) b/c of everyone's opinions of them.

Side Note: IMO Those Super Tubes just sound cool, don't they? "Originally manufactured for use in Soviet space and military operations, these tubes are hand selected for the utmost quality control" I love it
post #665 of 833
Quote:
Originally Posted by SilverShadow View Post
X2

In fact, I'd probably buy MKIV SE instead of MKIV with the experience I have now gained. I thought that I can always buy better tubes later and the connectors don't matter. "Connectors can't possibly make a difference in overall (esp. sound) quality." Well, as it turns out, the plating on the connectors is slowly but steadily wearing off because of my overly tight Schulz cable's connectors. I have to move the amp and disconnect the cables every now and then. I bet things like that don't happen with Van Den Hull RCA jacks...

Well, connectors could always be replaced later but IMO, overall, MKIV SE would be well worth the extra price. I agree totally with cswann1:
There's a Finnish proverb that fits in perfectly here. I'll do my best to translate it: "Poor man can't afford to buy cheap stuff". In the long run it's more economical to buy good products in the first place and save you from (some of) the money you'd otherwise have to spend on future upgrades.
SilverShadow: I heard that proverb for the first time last year, and it really is one of the most accurate things you can say! I've found that out the hard way, by buying a less expensive thing, realizing exactly why it was cheaper, than only recouping some of the costs when upgrading to something else. I suppose what this hobby is all about some times, though... At least it's great for the experience and knowledge

Also, in regards to your worn-down connectors. You may already know this, but I thought I would share this nice, cost-effective performance enhancer: cleaning the terminals and connectors with something (I use Kontac). If you've got worn looking terminals, then you've probably got all sorts of tiny particles of gunk and metal on the jacks and on the cable. By doing two cleans of both of those, you may find that the sound was either increased back to the performance it used to be (but you hadn't noticed the slowly declining quality b/c of the dirty jacks, or it opened up to sounds you never even heard before!
post #666 of 833
Newbie here. How would the Little Dot MK IV compare with something like the Gilmore Lite? I know the latter is SS, but what about other differences, such as power output? The Gilmore Lite says it outputs 1 watt of power: HeadAmp - Audio Electronics (Gilmore Lite Headphone Amp)

How does that compare with the MK IV, and how much difference will it make in sound quality?
post #667 of 833
Quote:
Originally Posted by Rob T View Post
Newbie here. How would the Little Dot MK IV compare with something like the Gilmore Lite? I know the latter is SS, but what about other differences, such as power output? The Gilmore Lite says it outputs 1 watt of power: HeadAmp - Audio Electronics (Gilmore Lite Headphone Amp)

How does that compare with the MK IV, and how much difference will it make in sound quality?
The Little Dot MK IV outputs this for power:
# 500 mW @ 300/600 ohm
# 300 mW @ 120 ohm
# 100 mW @ 32 ohm

Remember that as a general rule, though, 4 solid state watts = 1 tube watt.

A concern with some tube head-amps vs solid state is that the bass/overall power is inferior. I can tell you from personal experience comparing the LD MK IV SE to a Creek OBH 21 SE Creek OBH 21 SE 800-229-0644 Creek OBH 21 SE Creek OBH 21 SE, the Little Dot wins hands down. The bass and power is even stronger than some of these higher end solid state head-amps, and you don't have to deal with over-analytical brightness that comes from CDs when you've got a tube amp. Hope this helps!
post #668 of 833
Quote:
Originally Posted by BombayTheIndian View Post
The Little Dot MK IV outputs this for power:
# 500 mW @ 300/600 ohm
# 300 mW @ 120 ohm
# 100 mW @ 32 ohm
This explains much to me. I've noticed that I really have to crank the volume knob to get a significant output to my K701's. There impedance is 62Ohms and have been told that pairing these cans with an OTL tube amp will yield mediocre results.

I more or less agree with that. I really love the sound of this combo, but these headphones really seem to me like they'd shine more with a SS amp. I say this because when I plug them into the headphine jack of my Logitech PC speakers wired remote, I can go as loud as I want without going past 2 o'clock on the knob. It may not be a dedicated hp amp but it gives the power.

J&R Music World has new HD650's for $319. I think I may get a pair to use with the LD. I've been considering building an M^3 or a single ended Beta 22 and I think the K701's would probably benefit more from either of these.

Thoughts and opinions on any of this??

Note: K701 haters please do not respond. I don't want to sound rude but it seems every time I mention these AKG's I end up trying in vain to defend them to someone who dislikes them.
post #669 of 833
My Little Dot MKIV just came in today. So far I am not impressed. The soundstage seems week, and I have the thing at about 70% which I think is too high for my HD580s (gain is set correct). Of course I have only been listening for 10 mins. And this is my first tube amp so I just might not be used to the sound.

The manual says to clean the tube tips. I have de-oxidizer, but I'm not sure how to safely remove the small tubes with the metal grill thing in the way. Am I supposed to take that off first?
post #670 of 833
Quote:
Originally Posted by GuruSY View Post
My Little Dot MKIV just came in today. So far I am not impressed. The soundstage seems week, and I have the thing at about 70% which I think is too high for my HD580s (gain is set correct). Of course I have only been listening for 10 mins. And this is my first tube amp so I just might not be used to the sound.

The manual says to clean the tube tips. I have de-oxidizer, but I'm not sure how to safely remove the small tubes with the metal grill thing in the way. Am I supposed to take that off first?
That seems kind of odd... About getting in there, I would definitely recommend removing the tube grills before you do anything. They come off easily with a screwdriver. You may be able to get the power tubes off without removing it, but those driver tubes were in mine really tight, it would have been impossible without it.

In regards to cleaning, make sure you do two rounds of cleaning! That second round helps quite a bit. Also, some people recommend round #1 using de-oxidizers; round #2 using a cleaner like Kontak. I only use cleaner, but that seems to work great for me if you use something as powerful as Kontak!
post #671 of 833
Yeah something is definitely wrong with this. I tried a Rammstein song instead of the Opera that I was initially listening to... it sounds horrible. The volume is fading in and out a bit, like I need to smack it to come in or something.

I can't even hear the vocals in a 3rd song that I tried, even though the guitar and drums are loud!!! When I play it unamped the vocals are front and center!!

Hopefully cleaning the pins will solve this otherwise I'm sending it back.
post #672 of 833
Quote:
Originally Posted by cswann1 View Post
This explains much to me. I've noticed that I really have to crank the volume knob to get a significant output to my K701's. There impedance is 62Ohms and have been told that pairing these cans with an OTL tube amp will yield mediocre results.
Holy crap, I didn't realize the K701's impedance was 620 Ohms! You'll need your own nuclear power plant to run those things!
post #673 of 833
Quote:
Originally Posted by GuruSY View Post
Yeah something is definitely wrong with this. I tried a Rammstein song instead of the Opera that I was initially listening to... it sounds horrible. The volume is fading in and out a bit, like I need to smack it to come in or something.

I can't even hear the vocals in a 3rd song that I tried, even though the guitar and drums are loud!!! When I play it unamped the vocals are front and center!!

Hopefully cleaning the pins will solve this otherwise I'm sending it back.
GuruSY, don't send it back, I beg you! David is absolutely phenomenal with assisting everyone, I'm sure he would be more than happy to replace it for you. When I bought my LD II++, I got a DOA unit that he not only replaced, but comped the shipping charges back to China. He's even fulfilled warranties on 2nd buyer units before. They're one in a million, I'm telling you!

Sounds like more than dirty/bad tubes, though...
post #674 of 833
Quote:
Originally Posted by BombayTheIndian View Post
Holy crap, I didn't realize the K701's impedance was 620 Ohms! You'll need your own nuclear power plant to run those things!
Not 620 Ohms, 62 Ohms

I just got through listening to Nora Jones, Come Away with Me (the whole album) on the MKIVse and the K701's.

OH MY GAWD!! On Painter Song, I could almost feel her breath on my skin. This is one of the most phenomenal recordings I've ever heard from a technical standpoint, but this amp, even with the stock tubes (not fully burned in I might add) makes listening this album a truly moving experience.
post #675 of 833
Quote:
Originally Posted by BombayTheIndian View Post
GuruSY, don't send it back, I beg you! David is absolutely phenomenal with assisting everyone, I'm sure he would be more than happy to replace it for you. When I bought my LD II++, I got a DOA unit that he not only replaced, but comped the shipping charges back to China. He's even fulfilled warranties on 2nd buyer units before. They're one in a million, I'm telling you!

Sounds like more than dirty/bad tubes, though...
Yeah I pulled out a power tube and it was perfectly clean. Then I pulled out a little driver tube... the pins look like they were dipped in tar lol. I'm betting once I clean these real good I'll be fine. Sorry for being a tube amp noob!

I'll report back if this fixes it.
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