Originally Posted by TEAMPELONE
Hi to everybody, i'm italian, and i'm new to headphone listenings....
I came from a AKG450 and a Fiio E7-E9 combo.
Now i purchased the Alessandro Ms2 because i've read they're good for rock and metal; i've listened them for a cuple of month and i really love them, but i'm really curious for the tube rolling!
I would like to take a low-middle level tube amp that let me start some tube rolling, but i'm very confused about that.
I can pay maximum 500€ or USD i would liketo buy only once a tube amp and have some fun with the tube, so i prefer to spend a little more but only once.
I've read about the Hifiman EF-5 and the Schiit Lyr, but someone says that they both can blow my headphones...
I've read also about the Little Dot I+ and the Project Sunrise II but i think they cuold be too much low quality and cheaper and so if i really will love the tube suond probably i will have to change soon them and as i said before i prefer to spend only once...
Can anybody help me? Thank so much for your time!
Lots of problems here. Let's get to work.
The MS2 is low impedance and sensitive (efficient). It doesn't take much amplification for it to perform at it's peak. Adding a tube amp is not just a matter of plugging it in. Tubes are very different from the idea of solid state amplification. Solid state allows you to just literally use it with anything. Tubes however are designed differently, they are old tech, so they require research to use before just blinding plugging things in and expecting things to work right. Real OTL tubes are for high impedance work loads, and output low amounts of current. This means they are ideal for matching with efficient headphones with high impedance. Tube amps generally have a rating system to show you their performance peak zones, based on work load introduced (read: impedance). Most of them are going to peak into their performance zones in the 200ohm and higher areas. Not usually much lower (though this is in general, there are exceptions). When you get a big expensive tube amp and plug a headphone into it with very low impedance, you're not giving the tube amp much work to do, so it doesn't do much, it just spits out a few milliwatts and is not operating at it's ideal spec. Also, there's a lot to do with matching output impedance of the tube amp to a work load (impedance). This is different from amp to amp, so you have to read the spec sheet (if it's available). In general, tube amps just are not the way to go for low impedance headphones. Doesn't mean it won't work, it will. But just know you're spending all that money to use it in a manner that it wasn't meant to operate ideally at and it may or may not sound good to you.
Tube amps for low impedance work loads exist. But they are hybrids. They have a solid state stage in there. They're not pure tubes. They don't sound the same as pure tubes. But they allow you to get tube sound in a way into a solid state power output, which is more appropriate for low impedance headphones. These amps would be the Little Dot I+ and Schiit Lyr for example.
Another way to use an OTL tube amp with a low impedance headphone, is to simply add a resistance adapter to bring the total impedance up to the peak zone that the amp was designed for. This is generally inexpensive and easy. A simple 250ohm resistance adapter would do the trick just fine. Simply solder a 250ohm resistor (these are like $1) on the positive of both channels on your cable, or in a cable adapter.
The EF-5, Lyr, etc, cannot blow up your headphones. Ridiculous. People saying this are people who have probably never even messed with audio equipment beyond dinky headphone amps. I hook Grados up to 50 watt speaker amps and turned it up as loud as it could go and they did not melt or blow up (I expected the voice coils to melt). I've hooked all kinds of headphones into the Lyr, it doesn't melt anything. It takes tremendous power to do that. It also takes faulty units or things that are broken to achieve that. So let's not even stir this pot. These amplifiers in good working condition with no faults are not going to damage a headphone.
Tube rolling is simply taking different tubes and listening to them. No technical stuff involved. Simple plug and play. But it's costly. Tubes do not come cheap.
That said, here's the tube I would probably look at. Musical Paradise MP301 MK3. It will work with headphones of all impedance, and with speakers even. Kind of does it all. Very universal.