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Tube Amp - Lack Of Bass.. Suggestions? - Page 2

post #16 of 34
Quote:
Originally Posted by Erieg View Post

Thanks for the input guys. Dubstep Girl, when I say aggressive I might be using the term incorrectly. Classical and Jazz sound great. I was listening to a Bach cello piece on friday that took my breath away but with rock music mostly I hear is guitar and vocals. Bass guitar and drums sound like they were recorded one room over.

 

Scuttle, I can't add VSTs (as far as I know) to either Amarra or Audirvana. I can in Fidelia though so I will keep messing around with it.

 

Kramer, I hear you about the headphones but I am having a really hard time believing they are the cause. I am often wrong. I thought of buying the Schiit boxes simply because I have nothing to use as a comparison to what I have. I want a different amp and dac so I can mix and match pieces and see what sounds like what. Since I don't know any one who is in to this stuff I have to buy it and those wee amp/dacs are cheap (and if they aren't needed would make a great Christmas/Birthday/Anniversary present for my wife! soon to be followed by divorce papers).


The amp simply won´t make much of a difference. I have integrateds here that sound exactly the same as my Little Dot IV. Considering their types are totally different, as well as their topologies... Even if my ears are bad (which they aren´t), differences between amps are small at best - provided they measure well.

You're looking for substantial changes in the way the HD650 presents music, changes the likes of which will never be brought about by switching between adequate amps.

 

I have heard the Little Dot 3 and it's pretty much identical to the Little Dot 4. When I say that, I mean that I don't think I would be able to discern them in ABX testing. In turn, my little dot iv sounds basically the same as my essence and as my marantz integrated.

 

If you already have a great amp (such as the LD3), stop messing with amps and try different headphones. If you are an intelligent user and are able to account for psychoaccoustics, you will find, maybe in hindsight, that anything else you tried to do was foolish.

post #17 of 34
Quote:
Originally Posted by Erieg View Post

 

Scuttle, I can't add VSTs (as far as I know) to either Amarra or Audirvana. I can in Fidelia though so I will keep messing around with it.

 

VSTs are the icing on the cake: I'd suggest that you start by hitting the EQ - you may not need to do anything else to be happy.

post #18 of 34
Thread Starter 

Ok, I get the hint. I will start the headphone research again but I will mess around with the VSTs in fidelia first. 

post #19 of 34
Quote:
Originally Posted by Erieg View Post

Thanks for the input guys. Dubstep Girl, when I say aggressive I might be using the term incorrectly. Classical and Jazz sound great. I was listening to a Bach cello piece on friday that took my breath away but with rock music mostly I hear is guitar and vocals. Bass guitar and drums sound like they were recorded one room over.

 

Scuttle, I can't add VSTs (as far as I know) to either Amarra or Audirvana. I can in Fidelia though so I will keep messing around with it.

 

Kramer, I hear you about the headphones but I am having a really hard time believing they are the cause. I am often wrong. I thought of buying the Schiit boxes simply because I have nothing to use as a comparison to what I have. I want a different amp and dac so I can mix and match pieces and see what sounds like what. Since I don't know any one who is in to this stuff I have to buy it and those wee amp/dacs are cheap (and if they aren't needed would make a great Christmas/Birthday/Anniversary present for my wife! soon to be followed by divorce papers).

 

Guitars, bass guitar and drums falling backstage (or the isolation booth next door) is the signature HD650/600/580 sound.  Its probably the main reason a large percentage of head-fiers don't like these cans for rock.  You CAN get them to rock out, but it takes the "right" amp and source... and even then its NOT going to be a night and day transformation in the price ranges we are looking at here.  Amping simply won't turn an HD650 into a rockin' Grado, or something bass-heavy like a DT770 or MDR-XB700.  Once amplification reaches a certain "class level" (which we are clearly in with amps like the ones you are looking at), its predominantly the headphone that dictates what the overall system will sound like.

 

The headphones most definitely "are the cause"... they are the main factor and player in the overall system.  The way you describe the HD650... is exactly how I'd expect them to sound from these amps.

 

post #20 of 34

I kind of had the same experience as you with the HD650.  It sounded aggressive and not rolled off at all in the upper registers, and the bass was not very powerful.  This is all relative though.  I was coming from a Denon D2000.  The Magni/Modi won't help you one bit, it's just a matter of being used to an even warmer sound.  The headphone.com graphs of the HD650 are old, golden ears and purrin have some pretty stunning results for the HD650 now, it's a pretty flat headphone minus the rolloffs at low-low and high-highs.  That was my experience with it as well.


Edited by TMRaven - 2/17/13 at 11:10am
post #21 of 34

i think the agressiveness of the hd 650 might also have to do with the midrange being more emphasized than the highs. it not a grado though, because the grado also overemphasizes the mids. the hd 650s just have more pronounced mids than highs. i've noticed it sometimes with the LCD-2 too as well (they have a similar sound to the HD 650, they seem to produce a "wall of sound" effect at louder volumes. i think this happens in louder passages and more complicated passages. also contributing to this effect is the fact that neither of these headphones has very good separation or imaging, so it seems to push everything together, making it sound a bit more aggressive. however, its not "aggressive", cause these headphones will sound very relaxed when playing music like jazz, vocals, classical, etc.

 

also adding to this effect, in order to conpensate for the lack of highs, we tend to push the volume more on darker headphones to hear more, as well as the fact since they aren't as fatiguing as a brighter headphone, we can push the volume more, and then the mids might seem a bit more aggressive.

 

also, you feel that bass guitars and drums where recorded one room over because the HD 650 does ultimately lack a fast transient response which helps give the bass definition (and allows the bass to keep up with the rest of the music without muddying up or sounding slow),  also, the lack of air on top as well as the slower transients seem to remove some of the attack and decay on the drums, making them sound duller. 

 

of course, a better amp with better separation, more detail, and more power, will have better control of the HD 650s drivers and improve their sound significantly, but not completely change the phone.

 

hope this explains things a bit


Edited by Dubstep Girl - 2/17/13 at 2:41pm
post #22 of 34
Thread Starter 

So what do you think? I think I am hear votes for me to buy Beats.

 

Kidding. That was fun to type though.

 

You are hitting what I am hearing pretty much dead on. I looked at Grados and I pulled back because I do not like things sitting on top of my ears. I love the way the 650s fit. They were a bit tight to start with but they are really comfortable now but unless I want to change my taste to exclude rock I guess I will move on.

post #23 of 34
Quote:
Originally Posted by Erieg View Post

So what do you think? I think I am hear votes for me to buy Beats.

 

Kidding. That was fun to type though.

 

You are hitting what I am hearing pretty much dead on. I looked at Grados and I pulled back because I do not like things sitting on top of my ears. I love the way the 650s fit. They were a bit tight to start with but they are really comfortable now but unless I want to change my taste to exclude rock I guess I will move on.

 

First off let me start off by saying the HD650s are just fine for nice warm bass. Your problem is the little dot MKII is a piece of junk and should be kicked out the window ASAP. 

 

More specifically the problem is that the tubes on it are AWFUL. I just brought home a custom made amp the other day. Originally it came with some JJ tubes and some russian 12AX7 SOL tubes (I think it might be the same tube that is on the little dot). I was listening to music, and the highs actually gave me headaches. I am not joking either. 

 

Thankfully the guy who built it for me was nice enough to loan me some vintage GE tubes. SOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO much better. 

 

This brings me to your two options. 

 

Option 1) http://www.head-fi.org/t/563884/little-dot-tube-amps-vacuum-tube-rolling-guide follow this guide and make a simple choice for new tubes. 

 

Option 2) Get a real tube amp to begin with. http://www.musicdirect.com/p-12751-jolida-fx10-integrated-tube-amp.aspx I personally think that this is a much better amp at a pretty reasonable price considering the build quality and sound quality. 

post #24 of 34
Thread Starter 

Tjj226 Angel, I went through the tube rolling guide. I picked up a pair of highly (94/100) rated Mullard M8100/CV4010. I also have a pair of Voshkod 6ZH1P-EV (95/100 rating) coming. The M8100s actually made the situation worse. The Little Dot III comes stock with GE 5654s so going the GE route might not gain me anything.

post #25 of 34
Quote:
Originally Posted by Erieg View Post

Tjj226 Angel, I went through the tube rolling guide. I picked up a pair of highly (94/100) rated Mullard M8100/CV4010. I also have a pair of Voshkod 6ZH1P-EV (95/100 rating) coming. The M8100s actually made the situation worse. The Little Dot III comes stock with GE 5654s so going the GE route might not gain me anything.

 

 

Wow. Goes to show what a POS it is. But as for GE, the question is was it new GE or vintage GE? Vintage tubes are going to sound warmer than new ones. 

post #26 of 34

I would not put too much stock into other cheaper tube amps or tube rolling at all for that matter, Erieg.  (Although the reviews for LDMKIII have been nothing but positive around Head-Fi)  I've had experience with tube rolling on Little Dot amps and let me tell you that it's almost entirely Head-Fi hyperbole at play.  You're much better off investing the money into something else.  Don't expect tube rolling to turn your HD650 into a completely different sound signature that you're looking for.  At the end of the day the HD650 will still be a mid-centric headphone with weak sub-bass.

 

After you get the Schiit stack, I advise you to either keep that or the Little Dot, and then sell one and go from there and get a headphone that will actually suit your tastes.  


Edited by TMRaven - 2/18/13 at 7:55am
post #27 of 34
Quote:
Originally Posted by kramer5150 View Post

 

Guitars, bass guitar and drums falling backstage (or the isolation booth next door) is the signature HD650/600/580 sound.  Its probably the main reason a large percentage of head-fiers don't like these cans for rock.  You CAN get them to rock out, but it takes the "right" amp and source... and even then its NOT going to be a night and day transformation in the price ranges we are looking at here.  Amping simply won't turn an HD650 into a rockin' Grado, or something bass-heavy like a DT770 or MDR-XB700.  Once amplification reaches a certain "class level" (which we are clearly in with amps like the ones you are looking at), its predominantly the headphone that dictates what the overall system will sound like.

 

The headphones most definitely "are the cause"... they are the main factor and player in the overall system.  The way you describe the HD650... is exactly how I'd expect them to sound from these amps.

 

 

I understand why you think this, but no, it's wrong.

 

Take a look at the graph for the  Grado 225s  - the rockin-est member of the family you as rockin' phones. I've added the HD25-i-ii's as a second example, as they're notoriously the Senns that sound like Grados - yes, they're THAT rockin'! (And a dance DJ's favourite.)

 

You shouldn't have any problem seeing that their FR is less bass heavy than the HD650s - so what you propose simply cannot be true.

 

 

 

Plus if frequency response was the HD650's problem with doing justice to rock, it would be very easy to fix with a dab at EQ!

 

..Far more important to the quality of being rockin' are the ATTACK and DEFINITION that a headphone can bring to sharp transients in the bass region. This is a failing for a lot of headphones. If you want to study on a graph then possibly the most useful is the 30-50Hz square wave:

 

 

 

 

..And changing amp isn't going to help this either. (The simple answer is to buy either Grados or HD25s, although I think with either you'll give up some of the stuff that HD650 excels at, like soundstage. At least unless you are willing to use DSP to solve this problem, because, hey, you are listening on a computer...)


Edited by scuttle - 2/18/13 at 8:40am
post #28 of 34
Thread Starter 

Do you have a recommendation for a player?

post #29 of 34
Quote:
Originally Posted by Erieg View Post

Do you have a recommendation for a player?

You mean software for an Apple? I don't use Apple, but any modern player should provide a reasonable number of EQ bands. The bad news is that Foobar isn't available to you, and that's what I was going to suggest using as a VST host if you wanted to go crazy with DSP plugins - it looks like Apple have a policy of trying to keep VST off their platform in favour of their own standard "Audio Units", and I suspect these are too pricey to use in audioplayers as opposed to studio tools. But this shouldn't matter - that EQ recipe for warm from hydrogenaudio should get you a decent result.

 

Or if you could use your iPhone as a source (I'm "guessing" you have one) and install SonicMax - this is a player from the studio tech company BBE who license their technology to Cowon, and it will it let you do pretty much what you damn well want to each album with minimal effort - add huge bass, flick in warm harmonics. If the interface is anything like Cowon's you'll be able to set several profiles and choose the one you need for the album playing. BBE will do amazing things - I've used it to save a live Replacements album based on a confiscated bootleg that the studio messed up; adding bass to the Beasties is lightweight stuff for it:

 

http://www.bbesonicmax.com/

 

Or you could try Aphex Exciter:

 

http://evolver.fm/2012/07/11/audio-xciter-makes-iphone-sound-much-better-with-something-called-aphex/

 

- It's weird to read the reviewer calling Exciter "expensive" at $8 when you know that traditionally it's been leased to pros for $30 a minute of studio time...


Edited by scuttle - 2/18/13 at 3:49pm
post #30 of 34
Quote:
Originally Posted by j123my View Post

You should try bottlehead crack. Search around the forum and you'll see why..

 

This. I owned the Little Dot MKIII for a while, and found it to actually be rather lean and light for a tube amp. The Crack is much better, I heard one at a meet yesterday (Speedball upgrade). I'll definitely be building one in the near future.

 

Also, don't dump your DAC. It's one of the best out there. Add the Crack/Speedball, and you'll have one serious rig.

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