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Darkvoice 336i & 336SE Tuberolling PartII

post #1 of 274
Thread Starter 
Back on 08-25-06 Superpredator started a thread on tube rolling with the Darkvoice 336 & 336i. It was that thread that really caught my interest in the DV. Before I went ahead and bought it, I wanted to know the certain tubes it used and the different combinations it was capable of, as well as the ins and outs and how it compared to other amps. I began reading it one night and did not stop until the last page.
There is so much information in that thread, by so many different people, about everything 336. Opinions, favorites, hum, maintenance, you name it, it's there. Outstanding....I go back to it everytime to see if I missed anything or to see if any new developments have been posted.

If you are considering a Darkvoice 336i or 336SE, it is suggested reading so you can be ready to really enjoy this amp.
http://www.head-fi.org/forums/f5/dar...-tubes-193214/


So why am I starting a new thread on this? Well, really, I see it as a continuation of something that was started two years ago. A sort of reference #2. More tubes, more music, more gear= new ideas....

Before I add my tidbits on the DV, I have included some pics, so you can see that I really like this little amp...




My listening station at home



Cousin Beyer & Senn hanging out enjoying the tubes. (2 of the sweetest sounding phones with the DV). I know they should be on my head, but I had to take them off to take the pic.



Did I mention tube rolling with the DV can be hazardous to your wallet? But it's so much fun... I see it as collecting vintage electronic parts



First and foremost- this is not a review of anything. Just MY experience with the DV336SE. I leave the reviews to the pros- Skylab, Pataburd, Fitz, Penchum, Negatron, Mazuki and others...

In case you're wondering- "Why do you have two and not the 332 or 337 if you like the DV amps so much?" Good question...My take on it-

1) I really like this amp and all its possibilities.
2) The 6SN7 is a great tube to play with.
3) It's not hybrid (don't have to wait 6-12 hours before rolling) (I love my x-can, however, I don't open it up)
4) We all know about the "hum" with certain tubes. I was getting tired of trying to rid the hum from some tubes while not being able to listen to music. Problem solved... (The hum does go away- Thanks Nick)
5) Could not pass up the live.com 25% & ebay 10%= 35%...


Let's talk tubes...
The beauty of this amp is that you can tailor it to your headphones or your music. Example- "My Grados are so bright, I can barely open my eyes"- Throw in some warm sounding tubes before you reach for your sunglasses (Tung Sol, VT-231, Sylvania brown base...etc), "My Senns seem so dark with this CD"- Liven it up with some RCAs, GE, Raytheon etc..)....POSSIBILITIES

Before I get flamed- I love Grado & Senn.....

One thing I have noticed when using a real good power tube (TS5998, Bendix6080WB...) is that they seem to wake up the weaker driver tubes. It sort of brings out the best in them, so to speak... Again- POSSIBILITIES


My favorite combo so far (we all have them)- TS5998 & TS6SN7GTB (tall tube, short black plate)....I also like the Sylvania JAN-CHS 6SN7WGT (brown base). Next week it will probably be a different combo. Different flavors, music, moods....Mix and match-Synergy...Find out what works for you...


Would like to share a little maintenance that I do with the tube pins. I use DeoxIT and a toothbrush and clean all the pins, then add a very thin layer of SilClear. Works really well. I received a Ken-Rad VT-231 that had so much noise- static, crackling...I took a good look at the pins and they had some sort of residue on them that you really could not tell unless you looked really close. I put on my cleaning hat and after about 3 min. threw it in and it was dead silent....I was about to dump it, thought it was no good. So I now use that process on all my tubes. A bit tedious but worth it...

Another tidbit of info- A lot of the tube sellers on ebay (not all), do not have headphone amps to try them out. They only have testers. The tube will test good, however, they can't hear the nuisances from dirty pins like we do.


Like I said before, this is just basic info that I have dealt with and hopefully it will help others as the previous thread helped me.


Well, that's enough for me. Let's hear some new combos, tricks, ideas and keep the DV336 following going strong...


***All the usual disclaimers apply to the above- MY gear, MY ears, your mileage may vary....


On a final note, to give props to this wonderful forum- Everything in the pics (except my laptop & CDP-CE335) was purchased due to research on head-fi...


Thanks for reading

Jesse

Gear mentioned in this thread:

post #2 of 274
Hi,
New guy here looking for advice. I have the DarkVoice 336se, I have Grado 80's, 6080 Mullard in the rear and a Raytheon 6SN7GT in the front, IPOD 5th Gen running RockBox using audio cables not the Earphone jack!! recordings are FLAC,WMA but I still don't get the Audiophile WOW factor..Please advise what next..I don't want to risk £100's on rare valves so lets keep it real...
post #3 of 274
hey heatfan nice setup you got there!

For you 1bit, the reason you not getting the wow factor is because you have a crap source. No matter how much you spend on valves/tubes you are not going to get massive improvements!

You need to buy a decent source before you spend big on valves/tubes, cables etc etc!

Cheers
post #4 of 274
Wow!! Not so sure it's a crap source, I have read quite a few other members quote the Ipod as having hi quality audio ability but hey we are all open to opinions and alternative views. I have used my Cambridge Audio 640c with quality interconnects but still I am missing the point ..back to you guy's....8-P
post #5 of 274
Thread Starter 
Quote:
hey heatfan nice setup you got there!
Thanks cafe z...

1bit, I also run my ipod (rockboxed, flac) sometimes from my DV and it sounds great. From your post, I'm assuming you are running it through the dock, not the headphone out. It does not matter how good your cables are if you are running the ipod to the DV from the headphone out. What line out dock and interconnect are you using?

Jesse
post #6 of 274
Quote:
Originally Posted by 1bit View Post
Wow!! Not so sure it's a crap source, I have read quite a few other members quote the Ipod as having hi quality audio ability but hey we are all open to opinions and alternative views. I have used my Cambridge Audio 640c with quality interconnects but still I am missing the point ..back to you guy's....8-P
Sorry nothing personal mate.

Maybe you need to try something better than a 640c.

Cheers
post #7 of 274
cafe zeenuts,

No offence taken, you opinion is valued!! Any positives to inject to my quest?

HeatFan12.. (Jesse)

Thanks.. I am using the dock "out" as you guessed.

I am new to the whole Tube Amp, IPod source adventure so I only spent £20 on the RCA interconnects off e-bay, cheap with reasonable reviews..Copper, twin shielded gold plated blah!.

Back to my source CD with Cambridge Audio £40 interconnects, nothing great either it's just ok. So hence me asking about the tubes, or headphones being the problem!!

I don't want to try and justify my purchase nor discredit any other views but a £250.00 cd player with 5 star rating, £40 interconnects straight into my DV and it only sounds marginally better than using my Grado sr80's straight out of my IPod via the earphone jack has to be questioned!

If I wanted to spend thousands of pounds I would not be using a sub £200 valve amp!!

I would be happy to spend more on my interconnects for the IPod but I need advice on the products available..

Back to you guys.



1Bit
post #8 of 274
Thread Starter 
1bit

There is something definitely wrong there, if your ipod without an amp sounds better. If it were the tubes and you're using Grados, you would notice static, noise etc.. What is your volume pot on the DV? Mine never goes past 9 o'clock with any source and it's plenty loud.

I'm guessing it's not your interconnect either. Somehow the DV is not getting the juice it needs.

As for the Cambridge and ipod, they should sound very good on the DV. I'm still guessing a connection problem. Just to confirm everything- you are using an RCA (DV) to mini and dock for ipod and RCA (DV) to RCA for the Cambridge?

Jesse
post #9 of 274
HeatFan12

I have 2 options for my iPod, RCA to mini iPod dock plus an iPod 30-pin male connector to RCA, both sound pretty much the same though.
No I am not sure it's the cables either, oh and as for my "source" cd player I used RCA to RCA.

It all sounds just about ok, but if counting the DV, headphones, tubes, 5th gen iPod and the few interconnects I am in for about £600, I thought it would sound quite good for that amount.

The DV volume is fine as you said 9 o'clock is well enough and it shows plenty more if necessary. I have a couple of tubes on order, 6080 GE 6AS7ECC230 BLACK PLATE and a Vintage Sylvania 6SN7GTB.

I will see how it sounds after a few hours on these tubes and post back.
post #10 of 274
Thread Starter 
Quote:
It all sounds just about ok, but if counting the DV, headphones, tubes, 5th gen iPod and the few interconnects I am in for about £600, I thought it would sound quite good for that amount.
Absolutely, it should...One last thing that came to mind. On your rockbox have you set your preamp and do you use replay gain on your flac files?

Keep us posted on any results...

Jesse
post #11 of 274
I love the picture of the tube drawer. Collecting tubes is GREAT fun, IMO, but it sure is bad for the wallet
post #12 of 274
HeatFan12

I have not set any parameters, could you please advise as to what they should be set to..I just left them as default ..Cheers

1bit
post #13 of 274
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Skylab View Post
I love the picture of the tube drawer. Collecting tubes is GREAT fun, IMO, but it sure is bad for the wallet
Thanks Skylab...Yes it is....But IMO it is all part of this beautiful journey...


Quote:
I have not set any parameters, could you please advise as to what they should be set to..I just left them as default ..Cheers
If you have rockboxed and encoded in FLAC, I'm assuming you are using Foobar to manage your music before putting it on your ipod...I encode with dbPoweramp to FLAC or WavPack (ah, the beauty of rockbox), then transfer the music to my ipod...If you used the RG (Replay Gain) feature, the preamp feature comes to life...---Settings--General Settings--Playback--Replay Gain--Pre-amp....I set my pre-amp to 7.5db.....Remember, this only works if you use the Replay Gain on your files...

It took me a little while to get the right setting, but once you find yours, it's great.

I'm just trying to figure out why your DV is not playing nice....

Let me know if that helps...

Jesse
post #14 of 274
Hi Jesse,

Thanks for the advice on the RockBox & Real Gain codec’s.. I think the issue must have been with my Mullard 6AS7. I am now using a 6080 GE 6AS7ECC230 BLACK PLATE and an old Brimar 6SN7, all of my other tubes sound fantastic!!!.
I have a KEN-RAD 6SN7 and a few others to try later down the line.
Loads of late night listening sessions since I have ripped my music collection. I have not listened to some of them for years and yet they sound better than ever. I must say I have noticed the real difference between quality sound recordings and some of today’
One more question, I have a Sylvania 6SN7GTB...It's only audible on one channel, no broken bits of filament/debris in the tube, it all looks ok so any advice as to what can be done, is it a bin job? Could I run it in for longer and hope for some miraculous change?
Regards

1bit
post #15 of 274
If you have a tube that has one channel dead, it needs to go in the trash. Using it could cause some really bad problems.
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