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Head-Fi Buying Guide (Desktop Amps & DACs)
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- Head-Fi Buying Guide (Desktop Amps & DACs) 2Last edited: 12/16/16
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- Head-Fi Buying Guide (Desktop Amps & DACs) 2
New hybrid amp by Little Dot, I+ - Page 41
Gear mentioned in this thread:
I'd like a better pot and perhaps a dedicated power supply
would that be hard or nearly impossible?
Could I just use something like this for the power supply or is it more complicated than that?
The question I have not been able to answer despite reading almost the entire thread (and the tube rolling one as well), is if the LD I+ retains all the characteristic smooth/liquid sound of tubes (immediately recognized), or if it has more of a solid state sound. I am not after tubey sound or coloration, but just after smoothness/sliky sound of tubes... I already owned a LD MKIII in the past as well as a Manley Stingray, and I am somehow missing them...
Thanks for your help.
I had a solid state headphone amp in past and the first thing that came in mind about my LD I+ was the smoothness of the sound. I never have the MKIII and can not compare with the sound. You have quite a range of tubes and op-amps that can be switched in the LD I+. I do not think you will need the 100 ohms adapter with the LD I+ since its headphone impedance is low.
pd: I will only use the adapter with the Beyer DT48 because they are intended to be driven from a nominal source impedance of 120 ohms for optimal performance.
So is the general consensus that the I+ doesn't work well with high impedance 'phones? The specs say its good up to 600 ohms but some times spec can be overly optimistic. Anyone have personal experience with the I+ and 'phones like the HD650 or the 600 ohm Beyers?
You might want to inquire David about this.
OTL amps for senns. I wouldn't buy senns until I had something capable of driving what the I+ does into 32ohms, into 300ohms.
I'm thinking of buying the NuForce uDAC-2 and this little amp. I have Alessandro MS-1i's and planning to buy Denon D2000 some time later.
This is supposed to be a pretty decent budget setup, right? What tubes would be best for this setup? I listen mainly to indie/alternative rock, and electronic music (minimal/techno, dubstep, IDM).
I just placed an order for the I+ via eBay. I want to hear this "tube sound" for myself and I figured this should be a good way to do it without spending lots of money. I'm going to pair it with my Sennheiser HD-25 II and NuForce uDAC. I ordered it with stock tubes which I'll use until it is burned in. This should give me ample opportunity to get used to the sound signature and then I'm going to have some fun rolling opamps and tubes to see what difference they make to the sound.
It was a pleasure to experience David's excellent customer service for myself. He was honest (recommending the I+ over the MK II - which is more expensive, as the better pairing with the HD-25 due to its lower impedance), helpful and lightening fast with his replies.
I'll post again with my initial impressions, and later on when it's burned in.
One thing I can say is sound signature isn't really native to this amp. Once you change tubes and op amp it sounds completely different. I can't find anything with this amp personally that sounds the same once you change those things out. That's a good thing though, if you ask me. You can get this thing sounding perfect powering low imp cans because it can morph so much. =)
I use to own this little amp, I was never happy with it even after I changed the tubes to some western electrics 408a, I always thought it sounded kind of muddy and veiled it did add some weight to the sound but this wasn't enough for me to like it, I preferred to listen to my headphones straight from my computer most of the time.
Now I know a little more about electronics, I think that this is just a solid state amp with a tube buffer, so the tubes are added after the solid state amplification to add coloring to the sound but this also takes clarity away, this does give you a taste of what tubes sound like the same way eating frozen milk would gives you a taste of what real ice cream taste like, I would just get the little dot mk ii which I a real tube amp and is not that much more, which is what I wish I would have done.
I've owned some solid state and tube amps since then and these always sounded better than the little dot i+, anyways now I don't use amplification I just use my Ultrasone Hfi-2400's (soon to be replaced with Pro 2900's) which sound fantastic straight from pretty much any source and I dont feel the need to amplify them they have all the detail and weight and realism to the sound that I need and sound better than many other headphones sound with amps
Edited by Kawai_man - 8/18/10 at 1:51am
So, as per my previous post, I placed an order for the little dot I+ via e-bay on 15/08 and began the patient wait to receive my first (hybrid) tube amplifier. I received a useful e-mail from David that evening setting my expectations RE delivery etc. David said to wait 3-6 business days for processing and a tracking number. Sure enough, on 22/08, I received another e-mail with my shipping ref. Then, to my surprise, my amplifier arrived the next day!
To give you a bit of context, my previous setup consisted of the uDAC > Sennheiser HD 25-II. Now the I+ sits between them and I'm using the uDAC purely as a DAC (oh and I brought some £3 OFC shielded RCA interconnects off ebay). See my sig/profile for more detail RE my setup.
I think I've got around 8 hours of listening on the amp so far. The change in sound by introducing the LD I+ into the mix - instead of using the uDAC headphone out - is subtle. I've noticed a tinge greater warmth, smoothness and space. Treble harshness (experienced previously when listening to Joni Mitchell's Blue, for example) has been tamed. Those are really the only observations I feel confident making at this stage. I suspect I may have lost a hair of detail, this is especially apparent during the first half-hour or so of listening, while the amp warms up.
The consensus RE the uDAC appears to be that the headphone amp section is on the warm side, and given the LD I+ isn't a true tube amplifier as I understand it - incorporating a SS element, may account for the subtly of change. That, and the fact it doesn't have many hours on it, and I'm running the stock tubes.
Once warmed up I can hear a humming noise (though not with headphones on) emanating from the amp. With the uDac's volume knob set at 3 O'clock, 9 O'clock on the LD I+ is too loud, but there is plenty of room for adjustment in this range. Cranking the LD I+ volume all the way up reveals no hiss whatsoever to my ears.
I wasn't expecting to be blown away by the LD I+ - especially given it's price and hybrid design (I'm not saying hybrid amps are inherently bad, I just didn't expect it to be worlds apart from other SS amps, vs. pure tube perhaps), and I'm not at this point in time. I'm certainly happy enough with it to keep it in the chain and I look forward to any improvements resulting from further burn-in. I will also be experimenting with better tubes and opamps of course; I've just started working my way though the LD I+ tube rolling thread. I'll post any further changes I observe.
A couple of pics of the LD I+ in situ:
- New hybrid amp by Little Dot, I+
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