Head-Fi.org › Forums › Equipment Forums › Headphone Amps (full-size) › Audiophile transitioning to headphones
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:

Audiophile transitioning to headphones

post #1 of 12
Thread Starter 

First I'm confessing that I have never really gotten into headphones, to me headphones were mostly for the gym. Like car audio was for listening while driving and certainly not for critical listening, headphones were for listening when you really couldn't listen to your system but wanted to hear some music. I purchased several pairs of in-ear headphones and a couple mp3 players then gradually moved into headphones like the Senn PX100 and Koss Porta Pro. What started all this was a CMOY I purchased on "Feebay" from biosciencegeek that used a socket for the op-amp. It came stock with a OPA2227 and although it sounded good I wanted to see the affects of rolling op-amps. After a long and quite fun experience rolling many different op-amps I found the TLE2082 op-amp and realized the sound I was hearing was amazingly good. I then purchased some Denon over the ear headphones and a Qinpu A-3 and was hooked. After swapping the stock tubes on the Qinpu with some JAN GE black plate 5670's the sound took on an almost acceptable character. True the sound stage was stuck between my temples and the height was...well right around ear height but I was intrigued on how far the sound had come.

I recently purchased a Little Dot MKIII and was wondering if someone could give me some in-site on setting gain relative to the Superlux HD668b headphones I have been listening to lately. When I first bought these they were bright and harsh but have morphed into a detail resolving delight to listen to. The factory gain setting of 3 on the LD sounded good but I have switched to either 4 or 5 (I'm not sure due to not knowing if the settings are with the front facing me or away from me). Also I swapped the stock tubes with Sylvania 5654 black plates and I think they are an improvement. If someone could advise me on gain setting for the Superlux headphones and perhaps give some insight on interconnects I would like to hear it. This is my first post and this short headphone journey has been great fun and I hope to continue on it with advise from site's like Head-Fi!

post #2 of 12

gain of 3-4 sounds just about right. I don't see a gain switch from pictures of the ld mk3. 98dB isn't terribly bad. Compared the the he-6 or k1000's rolleyes.gif

 

As for interconnects, I wouldn't spend too much on them. The sound difference is rather minimal compared to buying new phones, dacs, and amps. 

post #3 of 12

My friend, I was right where you are about a year and a half ago. I had a high end Magnepan system with Butler amps, tube preamp, etc, that I loved dearly. I still have that gear, but in terms of music my preferences have shifted almost entirely to headphones. I started small with a few pairs under $100 to get a feel for what's out there, and that gradually transitioned to what I have now, which a nice gathering of quality gear that I get a tremendous amount of enjoyment from. Like you, I've found the Little Dot amps to my liking...I've had mine for about six months or so and I've upgraded to some Telefunken/AEG tubes. It's a very solid budget piece. 

 

I didn't really have anything helpful to say, just wanted to welcome you to this side of the hobby and to say, have fun!!! 

post #4 of 12
Thread Starter 

Thank you so much for the warm welcome. I have been an audiophile for many years now and headphones have given me a new option for listening to the music I've heard many times and love in a new way. I have been blessed (or cursed) with a very sensitive ear so the presentation of the music is analyzed by my brain unlike most all people I have met. The placement, the separation, the decay, the sound stage itself with width and height are all processed and inspected by my brain for verisimilitude. My current system is the closest I have come to the “audio nirvana” my mind seeks. I vertically bi-amp a pair of Monitor Audio speakers with McCormack amplifiers using a Placette Audio preamp with a NAD cd player as source. It took me over 6 months to place my speakers and I believe people don’t give this part of the process enough time and effort. The results can be staggering. I lucked out with a perfect sized room (24’ x 18’) with each wall having a different texture. I am very happy with my current audio system and look forward to taking my time (I’m older now) and enjoying headphones. BTW which Little Dot do you have and do you have any tips for tube rolling? It is difficult for me due to having to warm the amp up, listen and then wait to roll another tube in and attempt to make a comparison. Great to meet you!

post #5 of 12
Quote:
Originally Posted by CADCAM View Post

Thank you so much for the warm welcome. I have been an audiophile for many years now and headphones have given me a new option for listening to the music I've heard many times and love in a new way. I have been blessed (or cursed) with a very sensitive ear so the presentation of the music is analyzed by my brain unlike most all people I have met. The placement, the separation, the decay, the sound stage itself with width and height are all processed and inspected by my brain for verisimilitude. My current system is the closest I have come to the “audio nirvana” my mind seeks. I vertically bi-amp a pair of Monitor Audio speakers with McCormack amplifiers using a Placette Audio preamp with a NAD cd player as source. It took me over 6 months to place my speakers and I believe people don’t give this part of the process enough time and effort. The results can be staggering. I lucked out with a perfect sized room (24’ x 18’) with each wall having a different texture. I am very happy with my current audio system and look forward to taking my time (I’m older now) and enjoying headphones. BTW which Little Dot do you have and do you have any tips for tube rolling? It is difficult for me due to having to warm the amp up, listen and then wait to roll another tube in and attempt to make a comparison. Great to meet you!

 

Nice, I am a huge fan of Monitor Audio, and my McCormack MAP-1 is one of my favorite pieces of gear...Steve McCormack is a great guy...even though he's not running McCormack Audio anymore, he still took the time to give me some pre-sale info prior to me purchasing the MAP a few years ago. Really a class act! 

 

I just have the Little Dot MkI hybrid. I didn't really give it a lot of time with the stock tubes, cause I have a tube guy who has re-tubed hundreds of Little Dot amps, so I just went with his suggestion of the Telefunken/AEG tubes and called it a day. It sounds great to my ears and I haven't really had any desire to play around with it much more than that. In fact, the other night I had a real eye opener with my Atrio IEMs...I had never tried a full sized amp with them before, so when I fired them up on the Little Dot I was blown away by how much better they sounded. I'm typically not a believer in "night and day" differences in this hobby, but this came very close to that. I know you said in your first post that you had several pairs of IEMs, so you may want to give your little dot a chance to impress with those. 

 

I really think you'll find that this side of the hobby is a lot of fun, though...I've been having a blast :)

post #6 of 12
Thread Starter 

I switched to the Sylvania's but if it's not too much trouble could you ask your guy what he thinks I should go with in the MKIII?

Thanks so much.

post #7 of 12
Little Dots are nice amps and Sylvanias are fine tubes that I use a lot in my other tube amps because they perform great and are relatively inexpensive.

Just be careful not to spend too much money on other tubes and cables. If you end up spending a good amount of money it seems pointless to have purchased the Little Dot, which is known to be a budget amp.

It would be much better to buy a bigger and heavier amp with stock tubes and cables than to buy a budget amp with pricey tubes and cables.
post #8 of 12
Thread Starter 

Point well taken. 

post #9 of 12
Thread Starter 

I was wondering if anyone could suggest the next level headphone for me? Don't get me wrong I thoroughly enjoy the Superlux HD668b headphones but the high end is a little rough and the lows are a little subdued. They do have great detail and I just made a pair of interconnects that really lets them sound their best but I'm feeling there's better sound to be heard...

I am using an Oppo DV-980H as a source to play cd's and my amp is a Little Dot MKIII with Sylvania 5654 black plates, I also have an Onkyo Integra cd player that I could use as a source. Thanks for any and all input.

post #10 of 12
Quote:
Originally Posted by CADCAM View Post

I was wondering if anyone could suggest the next level headphone for me? Don't get me wrong I thoroughly enjoy the Superlux HD668b
 headphones but the high end is a little rough and the lows are a little subdued. They do have great detail and I just made a pair of interconnects that really lets them sound their best but I'm feeling there's better sound to be heard...

I am using an Oppo DV-980H as a source to 
play cd's and my amp is a Little Dot MKIII with 
Sylvania 5654 black plates, I also have an Onkyo Integra cd player that I could use as a source. Thanks for any and all input.
I think the Sennheiser HD 650 will be right up your alley, its a very nice, relaxing, warm, open heaphone that has been a top audiophile recommendation for about a decade now. Definitely worthy of the title "audiophile".
post #11 of 12
Quote:
Originally Posted by brunk View Post


I think the Sennheiser HD 650 will be right up your alley, its a very nice, relaxing, warm, open heaphone that has been a top audiophile recommendation for about a decade now. Definitely worthy of the title "audiophile".

 

+1

 

the hd 650 was my first serious headphone, and it just blew me away how good it sounded.

post #12 of 12

x3 for the 650  Also could look at the he-400

New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:
  Return Home
  Back to Forum: Headphone Amps (full-size)
Head-Fi.org › Forums › Equipment Forums › Headphone Amps (full-size) › Audiophile transitioning to headphones