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Bravo Audio - funny looking little tube amps

Discussion in 'Headphone Amps (full-size)' started by ear8dmg, Sep 9, 2009.
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  1. HOWIE13
    Thanks for the really informative reply. It's also very depressing reading how the quality of tubes has fallen-though that applies to so many things nowadays. I guess it comes down to finding the best we can enjoy within our budget.
  2. USAstrat
    Iv'e had a V1 for a number of months now (more than the 6 month warranty) but stupidly I didn't realize that was how long it was.  I've only put about 3 hours of listening through it because it makes a ticking sound. 
    Sorry if this has already been addressed, but the thread was too long to read through the whole thing. I don't know anything about tube mechanics, so I was hoping some amp experts could help me and either help me workout a solution or let me know if this is a hopeless cause.
    Basically, ever since the amp was new it would make a crackling noise, then be followed by a ticking sound.  The ticking sometimes goes away, sometimes doesn't.  And then comes back again.  And it doesn't seem to matter whether the tube is warmed up or not.  I know I should probably put more hours on the tube to break it in, but the ticking is annoying and worrying.
    Any ideas what might be wrong and if it is fixable?

  3. UmustBKidn
    Doubt the tube would do that, but on the off chance, you could try swapping out another tube. Breaking in a tube will not cure what you describe. The noise has nothing to do with the newness of the tube.
    I would sooner believe there's a bad connection: power supply, headphone cable, or the line in cables would be what I'd check next. Have everything running, and try wiggling the connections to see if you can induce the sound you describe. If you find that wiggling one of the wires creates the sound, replace that cable.
  4. USAstrat
    Unfortunately, it's not any of the connections, I have already made sure of that.  
    When the ticking starts, it's very consistent and runs at a specific bpm, as if there is a metronome running in the background.
  5. UmustBKidn
    Ok. I'm going to presume that sending it back is not an option. So if it were me, here's what I'd try next:
    1) Resolder all the connections. Remove the bottom cover, and one at a time, touch each solder point with a soldering gun, warm it up so the solder melts. You shouldn't need to add solder, what's on the board should be sufficient. All appropriate safety precautions should be observed - don't get shocked. Also, take care not to drop anything out of the board!
    This will correct any cold solder joints, which might induce odd connections between components.
    2) On the off chance you've got a wonky power supply, try substituting another one. You may also want to check the power outlet you use to plug this into, just to make sure its ok.
    3) Failing this, my only other idea would be to start replacing components, one at a time. I'd begin by looking up the various modifications that folks have done to their Bravo's. You can use this as an excuse to enhance yours. Fortunately the components are pretty inexpensive.
    These things being cheaply made devices from a far away country, I think we're pretty much on our own when they go south. I'm not sure it would be any better had you discovered this problem within the warranty period. They're even too cheap to ship back and forth to China. These things are great when they work right, and it sucks when they break.
  6. DefQon
    I'd point out to either a poor/cold solder joint near the tube area or a bad contact somewhere a long the LM317 and IRF630 fets. The log pot could also be a culprit, if you have a DMM on hand you can quickly measure all the mirrored points for each channel to see if there is a mismatch in vdc, you can alternatively measure the resistors as a failing resistance could be give you a noisy background.
  7. HOWIE13
    If the clicking is absolutely regular in timing and the music is still heard playing normally in spite of the clicking, I would check for external interference.
  8. USAstrat
    Wow, I figured it out.  I'm guessing this is a known thing- again i'm not very familiar with tube amps.
    Turns out my phone was interfering and causing the ticking.  Everytime I place my phone within ~2-3 feet of the amp and receive a text message, the ticking starts and lasts for about 5-10 seconds.  This explains why the ticking would occur at random times.  Pretty dumb of me not to realize, but i'm glad it works again!
    Well, thanks for the help guys.  Now that I know my amp is working correctly, i'll probably start going to work with the mods [​IMG]
  9. White Lotus
    Good job!
  10. money4me247 Contributor
    hey, just wondering if someone experienced cld help me w/ this liddle question: will the bravo v3 tube amp be sufficient to power the HE-400?? thanks :)
  11. UmustBKidn
    Hah. Mine does this too. I keep my cell phone within a few inches of my amp/dac at work. I can tell when I'm about to get a text or a call, by the odd buzzing and beeping sounds coming from the amp.
    This is a Good Thing (TM) for me. Because I use closed back cans at work, I can't hear a damn thing (which is just fine with me). So the weird little beeps let me know I'm getting a text or a phone call.
    For me, its not a bug, it's a Feature [​IMG]
  12. Noob Meister Jr
    anyone know how this thing will drive 250 ohm dt880? In particular I am looking for more clarity in the bass and perhaps a reduction in sibilance.
    How would the little dot1+ compare?
  13. Noob Meister Jr
    but does it give the headphones clarity in the bass? Specifically the DT880 250 ohm. If all that mattered was volume then you wouldn't need an amp at all as the 880 becomes unbearably loud past the 50% volume on my macbook air.
  14. HOWIE13
    Well I don't use a Macbook but, yes, it does firm up the base, but how much depends to some extent on the tube you use. I listen mainly to classical and the lowest notes are on the Church organ and it readily clarifies low base on the DT880.
  15. UmustBKidn
    I'm listening to a DT770 / 250 ohm driven by a Bravo V2, with a Schiit Modi DAC, as I write this. It sounds great to me [​IMG]
    On this particular setup, I also tend to use Mullard 1950's vintage tubes in my Bravo, for a reduction in things like sibilance and brightness.
    I will say that my initial impression was not favorable. But I think that was due to my not ever having heard it before. The human ears are amazingly adaptive devices that can give false first impressions ... as to why, I do not know. But over time I have really come to enjoy this particular combination.
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