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Review of Little-Dot MKIVse - Page 49

post #721 of 837
Quote:
Well, the MKIVse is turning out to be a far better unit than I could ever hope for. Everything seems past any kind of break-in period and I have about 300 hours on it. Last week, I ordered a setup of tubes (Phillips Jan 5687WB) to take the place of the Mullards.

I ordered a pair of these Phillips tubes and they got here today. I must be missing something because they are not a drop-in replacements for the EH 6N30P's that came with my MKIVse. Yes, I saw that Penchums amp has Mullards, but I'm a tube-noob.

I'm thinking that my amp is not configured the same as Penchums. can anyone advise me about these Phillips tubes? Do I just need to make a jumper setting change or are these tubes not going to be compatible?

Thanks in advance


Edit: Ok. I did a little research and it looks like my MKIVse is hardwired for the Russian power tube. The jumpers on mine are only for changing driver tube families. Oh well. I've heard great things about the 6N30P-DR "supertubes". I just wish they weren't so pricey.
post #722 of 837
I would be interested in hearing from owners of the Mark IVse who have had theirs for three months or more as to their experiences with reliability and their satisfaction overall.
post #723 of 837
Quote:
Originally Posted by FSonicSmith View Post
I would be interested in hearing from owners of the Mark IVse who have had theirs for three months or more as to their experiences with reliability and their satisfaction overall.
On this subject: I've had my MKIVse only a couple of weeks, but when I first got it I was concerned about the heat it generated. Heat is slow death to electronics.

I've converted a spare bedroom to my listening room and there is no ceiling fan. The air in this room does not move much at all even when the air-conditioning system runs.

There happened to be a stand-mounted oscillating fan in the corner so I turned it on it's lowest setting pointed it at my Little Dot across the room from it.

It's amazing how well the aluminum case dissipates heat. With just a very gentle amount or air moving across the amp, it is quite cool to the touch now.

It is standard practice for me to run the fan while listening to music. With my K701's open design I can hear it between songs and during silences though. But I think that an active cooling method like this will increase the amps life-span.

BTW. I've been listening to a Metallica compilation CD this morning. I read all the time that K701/2's do poorly with OTL amps especially for rock music.
As I have only spent time with the MKIVse, I can't confirm or deny this, but I'm enjoying the s**t out of this CD on this system. Penchum was not exaggerating when he said this amp was a "muscle car". I agree.
post #724 of 837
How many of you are using the MK IV SE as a preamp? I'd like to have your comments and concerns.
post #725 of 837
When I posted my question I had not yet seen a thread that is not worth copying here, but essentially questioned the Little Dot phenomenon and devolved into ugliness. That said, it does concern me that the Little Dot reviews, whether by Penchum or anyone else generally fail to compare the performance of the unit to any others of similar price, not to mention higher priced units. This aspect of performance review is critical. In order for a review to be truly helpful, it is vital to know whether a further investment of money will provide a big step up or a little one. The professional reviewers of Stereophile do this almost without exception. It appears to me that with the Little Dot products, mostly newer entrants into this hobby (which includes me) are buying the products and they therefor have little or nothing to compare them to. Because of the extent of LD threads on this forum, it would be of immense help if one or more of the very experienced contributors borrowed a couple of the "top end" LD units and gave us their input. Are they solid in terms of sound quality? Does the Mark IVse give an enthusiast on a budget 90% or more of the very hi-end, or less? I would rather wait until I can order an RSA Raptor without guilt than make an impulse purchase of a Mark IVse (despite being a third of the price) and regretting it.
post #726 of 837
That's a very interesting point FSonicSmith.

I did say I would get back to you now that I've tried the Tong-sol 6A5KW driver tubes. The information on other similar Tong-sols (I can't remember the id number) by previous contributers is right when they say that they are less smooth than the mullards - so much so that I gave them some extra, post 50 hour, burn in time which has helped. In my (amateurish but enthusiastic opinion), for what it's worth, I think that the 6A5KW's are similar - slightly less smooth and slightly more detailed and forward sounding with slightly more attack. However to my ears the difference is less important because the volume can be turned up on the smoother mullards without the pain and so you hear a wonderful well rounded sound which is excellent for all you mp3's and older music, while the Tong-sol's are probably better for a rock sound with slightly more of an edge. I would emphasise that the differences are small - at least to me. I certainly didn't hear spadefuls of bass and treble that I did not hear before.

Thanks everyone for the accurate and imformative threads here without which it would have been difficult to find out anything. One thing I did notice on the little tube forum - the 6H6Pi tubes were not recommended for the mk iv se by David so I am having difficulty finding an alternative power tube to try. Any suggestions?
post #727 of 837
Quote:
Originally Posted by FSonicSmith View Post
That said, it does concern me that the Little Dot reviews, whether by Penchum or anyone else generally fail to compare the performance of the unit to any others of similar price, not to mention higher priced units. This aspect of performance review is critical. In order for a review to be truly helpful, it is vital to know whether a further investment of money will provide a big step up or a little one.
I agree. We need some thorough price and performance comparison.
post #728 of 837
Quote:
Originally Posted by baronbeehive View Post
One thing I did notice on the little tube forum - the 6H6Pi tubes were not recommended for the mk iv se by David so I am having difficulty finding an alternative power tube to try. Any suggestions?
I'm waiting on my Soviet super-tubes to get here. Apparently, there isn't a single tube out there that fits that MKIV SE that is as good as these:

6n30p-dr, Electronics, Computers Networking items on eBay.com
post #729 of 837
Quote:
When I posted my question I had not yet seen a thread that is not worth copying here, but essentially questioned the Little Dot phenomenon and devolved into ugliness. That said, it does concern me that the Little Dot reviews, whether by Penchum or anyone else generally fail to compare the performance of the unit to any others of similar price, not to mention higher priced units.
Has FSonicSmith seen the head-fi review by tbonner1 which does do this.

http://www.head-fi.org/forums/f14/re...e-amps-228751/
post #730 of 837
Quote:
Originally Posted by BombayTheIndian View Post
I'm waiting on my Soviet super-tubes to get here. Apparently, there isn't a single tube out there that fits that MKIV SE that is as good as these:

6n30p-dr, Electronics, Computers Networking items on eBay.com
You don't read about it much on Head-fi (I haven't at least), but I've read on another OLF that the Electro-Harmonix 6H30PI that the SE comes with, are sonically very close to the Russian "supertube". It's the very strict quality control necessary for military and aerospace applications that makes it desirable and expensive, since it's rated to 10,000 hours.

I haven't been able to experience this tube yet and I'll change that in due time. Right now I'm just enjoying what this amp does. It would be awesome if the supertube could take this amp to another level.
post #731 of 837

Tube Rolling

I've been waiting on my Super Tubes to get here from Russia for the past 2 weeks now, the anticipation is killing me!

For drivers, I ordered the Russian 6Zh1P (4 of them for $17, shipped from the Ukraine). Due to that bastardy Audiophile thinking, it's hard to believe that these tubes are going to be as good as some of the other $40-$60 tubes out there, but I love the inexpensive surprises!
I ordered these 6Z's b/c I read on this thread that there's a lot of punch, bass extension, and overall nice fast sound. If I want to switch them out for the complete opposite (smooth and relaxed), what are people's choices?
It seems like the popular picks are:
GE 5-Star 6AK5
Tung-Sol 5654 / 6AK5W

No one talks about the Telefunken 6AK5W's much, are these any good? Their 12AX7 tubes are some of the most desired out there, does this not apply to their 6AK5W/EF95 tubes as well? They're about 35+shipping on ebay.

Like I said, in buying another pair I want the sound to be as completely opposite to the 6Z's as possible, so I'm curious to hear what people's opinions are. Thanks!
post #732 of 837
Wow, who's paying for $40-$60 tubes? Seriously, live by Penchum's rule - try not to spend over $8 dollar a tube including shipping! I've only had my MKIII for a few weeks and I have bought 14 tubes for an average of 4-6 dollars a tube.

BTW the Russion Vohods are nice! I Just got the same set you ordered. They came in yesterday. Sweet mids and nice details. The bass is pretty wooly - i hope that settles down a bit. Excellent for jazz.
post #733 of 837
Oh and the 5-stars which i have sound similar enough with the Voshods but will less bass and bit more treble detail. At least thats my initial impression. Got to keep moving along with the burn in!
post #734 of 837
Quote:
Originally Posted by Max F View Post
Wow, who's paying for $40-$60 tubes? Seriously, live by Penchum's rule - try not to spend over $8 dollar a tube including shipping! I've only had my MKIII for a few weeks and I have bought 14 tubes for an average of 4-6 dollars a tube.
Going by everyone's love on Yen1233 on ebay, these are the tubes that he's selling for the Little Dot right now:
eBay Seller: yen1233: little dot, Electronics items on eBay.com

It looks like the majority of the LD MK tubes are a static 48+shipping, but I wonder if those prices exist because head-fi'ers are continuously willing to pay that much?

Thanks for the insight on the GE 5 stars, I'll probably skip those since they're similar to the Voshods.

Still looking for suggestions for the darkest and smoothest tube though to contrast the Voshods, though!
post #735 of 837
FSonicSmith asked about my experience w/ the LD MK IV SE, I thought I might as well post my response here. I got mine from davidzhezhe on ebay Feb 18th, so 8 days ago. The shipping was fast and the unit arrived in good condition. There is some very minor scuffing on the outside (rounded) edges of the front panel.

The amp has been completely functional from the moment I first turned it on. This amp has only a few ten's of hours of burn in. I am still running the stock tubes, and probably will for a while. I haven't heard any left/right volume discrepancies or static. There is minor background noise at full volume. The background is quiet at anything like sane volumes.

I have two decent headphone amps, the LD and a Shanling PH100. Each of them are fed by a Compact SUPER DAC 707U, purchased from ALO audio (I have two of these, one per amp). These are fed typically by Itunes 256 kbps AAC via usb. My better headphones are (and I feel so cliche) Grado RS 80s, AKG 701s, and Senn HD650s.

As far as the LD and the Shanling: I would rate the LD as a better amp than the Shanling, but they have different strengths. To my ears, the LD has more detail, a more expansive sound stage, and generally a richer sound. The Shanling seems to bring more power to lower frequencies. It is slightly less detailed than the LD, and the sound is somehow less rich. The LD brings out the detail and soundstage of the AKGs, but it also w/ some recordings at least can lead to the 'headphone w/ no bass' sound. The LD sounds truly wonderful w/ the Senns. The Shanling, combined w/ decent source recordings, can make the AKGs absolutely thump along with bass. The Senns seem to be a bit dark with the Shanling, and I have to turn the volume up a bit to break the 'veil'. Both of these amps are quite powerful, and I generally listen at 20% volume or less.

I've had no quality problems w/ any of this equipment, yet. Most of this stuff is fairly new, and the equipment and yours truly will benefit from more burn in. Mid-fi headphone audio has been my wintertime electronic toys project this year! It is a pleasure to have a variety headphones and amps to listen to. They all have their strengths; I enjoy hearing a wide variety of music styles through different amps and different phone. I think it keeps it interesting and keeps my hearing 'in tune'.

Thanks for the learning experience!
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