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OTL Tube amps and Grados.

post #1 of 58
Thread Starter 
Hi everyone,

I am currently planning my next upgrade, and am looking into going all tube. At the moment I am running a Little Dot I+ into my RS1i/325is. Essentially, i have read mixed things about running a OTL amp into low impedance cans like Grados. Then again, i have read of people finding great synergy with grados and amps like the earmax pro/LD MKIII/LD MK IV/ Etc.

I realise, on paper, that OTL designs like these are perhaps better at High impedance cans which aren't as reliant on current supply.

Anyhow, I have my eye on getting something like an LD MKIV SE as i can then look into getting a high impedance can further down the line. Any people have much experience with running this type of amp with a grado? Am i barking up the wrong tree? Any suggestions?

Thanks in advance.
post #2 of 58
Quote:
Originally Posted by St3ve View Post
Hi everyone,

I am currently planning my next upgrade, and am looking into going all tube. At the moment I am running a Little Dot I+ into my RS1i/325is. Essentially, i have read mixed things about running a OTL amp into low impedance cans like Grados. Then again, i have read of people finding great synergy with grados and amps like the earmax pro/LD MKIII/LD MK IV/ Etc.

I realise, on paper, that OTL designs like these are perhaps better at High impedance cans which aren't as reliant on current supply.

Anyhow, I have my eye on getting something like an LD MKIV SE as i can then look into getting a high impedance can further down the line. Any people have much experience with running this type of amp with a grado? Am i barking up the wrong tree? Any suggestions?

Thanks in advance.
I have heard both opinions. I have heard people say that OTL amps are great for low impedance phones because of their high sensitivity, and not to use them with high impedance phones due to their power need, and I've heard those who say to use OTL amps with high impedance phones and not low impedance.

I suppose you will have to try yourself and make your own opinion. Try a meet.
post #3 of 58
Like almost everything, it depends on the piece you're talking about. The best OTLs (like the Zana) can pretty much drive anything well. I personally would stay away from any OTL that's not a Zana, but I'm a bit biased towards that brand.
post #4 of 58
Unfortunately, you have to let your ears be the judge. I purchased my Woo Audio WA2 for my Senns and Beyers and ironically use it more with my Ultrasones, Denons and Grados. Go figure...
post #5 of 58
Thread Starter 
Ok, thanks for the response. I realize there is great diversity in the amp world, I just wondered if there was any consensus on OTL amps with low imp. cans. If not, then I guess I am fishing for the testimony of those who have such a pairing.

To be specific, anyone using a grado with the LD MKIVSE?
post #6 of 58
I will be interested to know which way you go, in the same boat as you.
post #7 of 58
berning micro zotl
post #8 of 58
Quote:
Originally Posted by St3ve View Post
Ok, thanks for the response. I realize there is great diversity in the amp world, I just wondered if there was any consensus on OTL amps with low imp. cans. If not, then I guess I am fishing for the testimony of those who have such a pairing.

To be specific, anyone using a grado with the LD MKIVSE?
I don't usually use my MKIVSE with Grados, but can change the gain on it tomorrow and let you know.

Quote:
Originally Posted by kunalraiker View Post
I will be interested to know which way you go, in the same boat as you.
I figured you would have purchased the WA6 by now sir, to pair with the D4.
post #9 of 58
Quote:
Originally Posted by kunalraiker View Post
I will be interested to know which way you go, in the same boat as you.
X3
post #10 of 58
Aren't OTL tube amps a bad, bad idea for low impedance cans like Grados? I thought this was (or, at least, should be) common knowledge.
post #11 of 58
Quote:
Originally Posted by sampson_smith View Post
Aren't OTL tube amps a bad, bad idea for low impedance cans like Grados? I thought this was (or, at least, should be) common knowledge.
Well, this is Head-Fi. Theoretically and on paper, yes. I also thought the same until I tried my lower impedance phones with the WA2 and I was hooked. Everyone was jumping on the WA6 and I went with the WA2 about a year ago. I am going to plug in some Grados tomorrow into my MKIVSE and see what happens. I'll fit it with some CBS Hytrons 6AK5Ws to add a tad of warmth.
I don't like my Grados with my DV336SE, though. Unless, I throw in a TS 5998 and a Sylvania brown base 6SN7. But for the most part, that amp loves Beyes and Senns...
post #12 of 58
Most tubes and tube output circuits simply perform very poorly with low impedance loads. Not that they "can't work", but tubes generally perform considerably "better" (more linearly, less noise/distortion, etc) with higher loads.
post #13 of 58
I really like my Woo 3+ with my Alessandro MS-1's and Senn HD580's. But my amp is really upgraded, have some of the best tubes, and my headphone are recabled. Sum of parts with the whole rig is something to consider in the direction you are looking into?
post #14 of 58
I've said it before, and I'll say it again: I don't care for cheap tube amps, OTL or otherwise. I listen exclusively to low impedance phones, and cheap OTLs simply don't have low enough output impedance to damp them well. Grado's are easy enough loads, but my ATs just lose all their bass with most OTLs. That's why I don't currently own a tube amp. The reason why the Zana and Microzotl were mentioned here was because their output impedances are extraordinarily low. The Microzotl's is especially crazy, but it's a weird amp, and opinions are mixed.

Anyways, it's up to your own ears, but I would personally choose many things over Little Dot. Namely the CKKIII.
post #15 of 58
Quote:
Originally Posted by atothex View Post
I've said it before, and I'll say it again: I don't care for cheap tube amps, OTL or otherwise. I listen exclusively to low impedance phones, and cheap OTLs simply don't have low enough output impedance to damp them well. Grado's are easy enough loads, but my ATs just lose all their bass with most OTLs. That's why I don't currently own a tube amp. The reason why the Zana and Microzotl were mentioned here was because their output impedances are extraordinarily low. The Microzotl's is especially crazy, but it's a weird amp, and opinions are mixed.

Anyways, it's up to your own ears, but I would personally choose many things over Little Dot. Namely the CKKIII.
How about the WA6 for RS1i and DT880/600? I'm looking for one tube amp that will warm up both. Is this even doable?
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