Head-Fi.org › Forums › Help and Getting Started › Introductions, Help and Recommendations › $200-300 Tube Amp Recommendations
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:

$200-300 Tube Amp Recommendations

post #1 of 8
Thread Starter 

Hey guys,

I have always wanted to try the tube sound and I have been reading quite a lot of threads about tube amps here on Head-Fi for the past few months but I have been failing to make a decision. So, I want to get a entry level tube amp for my desktop setup. I currently own the Modi/Magni and my headphones/IEMs are DT 880 250 ohm, HE-400, DN-1000 and JVC FX850. Ideally, I am trying to get a tube amp that can drive all 4 of them. I am interested in the Little Dot 1+, Schiit Vahalla, Bottlehead Crack at the moment. I am really interested in building the crack but I read it is only suitable for high impedance cans which I only have one. Is it impossible to drive lower impedance cans like the HE-400 with the crack? I also read that the Little Dot 1+ is suitable for every cans as it is a hybrid tube amp, is that true? If so, what other hybrid tube amps do you guys recommend at the $200 price range? There are so many Chinese amps that seems pretty good at this price range...(The Qinpus I read from Skylabs reviews, or the Darkvoice many people recommending) What do you guys think is the best option for me? Getting a cheaper one like the Little Dot 1+ to experience the sound first, or go for something around $300 like the Vahalla?

 

Thanks!

post #2 of 8

There really is not substitute for taking your four cans to a Head-Fi meet or store that has at least two or three (plus one or two you have yet added to your consideration list) that you can "test drive".

 

If you want to get your feet wet without doing this, I like the very affordable hybrid HifiMan EF2A (which also includes a DAC--but I have never tried it).  I especially like it with the DT 880 in the 250 Ohm flavor.

 

I very much like the hybrid EF5 (I find it does a fine job with cans such as the HD 650 and LCD-3)--but it's well above your budget.

post #3 of 8
Quote:
Originally Posted by KG Jag View Post
 

There really is not substitute for taking your four cans to a Head-Fi meet or store that has at least two or three (plus one or two you have yet added to your consideration list) that you can "test drive".

 

If you want to get your feet wet without doing this, I like the very affordable hybrid HifiMan EF2A (which also includes a DAC--but I have never tried it).  I especially like it with the DT 880 in the 250 Ohm flavor.

 

I very much like the hybrid EF5 (I find it does a fine job with cans such as the HD 650 and LCD-3)--but it's well above your budget.

I dove into with the MK Little Dot 2 have never looked back.  Do you really think that he will regret it.  He can always change the tubes.

post #4 of 8
Quote:
Originally Posted by jay628 View Post
 

Hey guys,

I have always wanted to try the tube sound and I have been reading quite a lot of threads about tube amps here on Head-Fi for the past few months but I have been failing to make a decision. So, I want to get a entry level tube amp for my desktop setup. I currently own the Modi/Magni and my headphones/IEMs are DT 880 250 ohm, HE-400, DN-1000 and JVC FX850. Ideally, I am trying to get a tube amp that can drive all 4 of them. I am interested in the Little Dot 1+, Schiit Vahalla, Bottlehead Crack at the moment. I am really interested in building the crack but I read it is only suitable for high impedance cans which I only have one. Is it impossible to drive lower impedance cans like the HE-400 with the crack? I also read that the Little Dot 1+ is suitable for every cans as it is a hybrid tube amp, is that true? If so, what other hybrid tube amps do you guys recommend at the $200 price range? There are so many Chinese amps that seems pretty good at this price range...(The Qinpus I read from Skylabs reviews, or the Darkvoice many people recommending) What do you guys think is the best option for me? Getting a cheaper one like the Little Dot 1+ to experience the sound first, or go for something around $300 like the Vahalla?

 

Thanks!

Amps that power high impedance headphones should power lower impedance. My Little Dot MK 2 will power anything up to 600 ohms.  It has gain switches inside that you can change for high and low impedance.   Quoting little dot's website "The Little Dot I+ is specifically designed and optimized for driving low impedance headphones that require high current to perform to their full potential."  I love my little dot but recommend better tubes for it because Chinese tubes are not usually good.  

post #5 of 8
Quote:
Originally Posted by whorn View Post
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by KG Jag View Post
 

There really is not substitute for taking your four cans to a Head-Fi meet or store that has at least two or three (plus one or two you have yet added to your consideration list) that you can "test drive".

 

If you want to get your feet wet without doing this, I like the very affordable hybrid HifiMan EF2A (which also includes a DAC--but I have never tried it).  I especially like it with the DT 880 in the 250 Ohm flavor.

 

I very much like the hybrid EF5 (I find it does a fine job with cans such as the HD 650 and LCD-3)--but it's well above your budget.

I dove into with the MK Little Dot 2 have never looked back.  Do you really think that he will regret it.  He can always change the tubes.


Of course there is no way to know with an experience base of 0 concerning tube and hybrid amps.  Add to this a very limited stated experience with solid state amps to only the Schiit entry level products.

 

My interest with tube amps starts with the MK IV SE in the LD line.  But that's me in the current day.  Mileage will vary greatly.  Some don't like tube amps or even hybrid amps at all.

post #6 of 8
Thread Starter 

Thanks for the suggestions. I think both the Hifiman EF2A and Little Dot MK 2 are nice. But I read that OTL tube amps are not suitable for lower impedance cans, and I find the gain switch on the Little Dot? Do you mean it is inside the amp, that I have to open it up and switch? I think I am leaning more towards the EF2A right now, but is the built in DAC worth using? If not can I use my Modi with the EF2A? Also, which of the two gives more tube rolling options?

post #7 of 8
Quote:
Originally Posted by jay628 View Post
 

Thanks for the suggestions. I think both the Hifiman EF2A and Little Dot MK 2 are nice. But I read that OTL tube amps are not suitable for lower impedance cans, and I find the gain switch on the Little Dot? Do you mean it is inside the amp, that I have to open it up and switch? I think I am leaning more towards the EF2A right now, but is the built in DAC worth using? If not can I use my Modi with the EF2A? Also, which of the two gives more tube rolling options?


I suspect that the Modi has/is a better DAC.  Of course you can try it both ways, if you decide on the EF2A.

 

As I said earlier, I never use the DAC of the EF2A.  I have read that it is just OK.

post #8 of 8
Thread Starter 

I listened to the EF2A at a local shop few days earlier, it did smooth things up a bit. However, the higher price than the LDs with a built in DAC I don't really need makes me think the LDs are better options for me. The problem now is choosing between LD 1+ or LD MK 2. Despite the difference of the 1+ being a hybrid and the MK 2 have more power, what are their sonic differences? Or is it all up to the tubes u use? I am still confused whether the MK 2 can drive both low and high impedance cans, if you switch to low gain does it mean it can produce more currents for lower impedance cans? While high gain produce more voltage for higher impedance cans?

 

Thanks

New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:
  Return Home
Head-Fi.org › Forums › Help and Getting Started › Introductions, Help and Recommendations › $200-300 Tube Amp Recommendations