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Darkvoice 336i & 336SE Tuberolling PartII

Discussion in 'Headphone Amps (full-size)' started by heatfan12, Jul 31, 2008.
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  1. JKDJedi
    Not really, Darkvoice shines at it's best with high impedance headphones. I have the Hifiman 400i and it suffers on the Darkvoice.
    19844 likes this.
  2. Slade01
    Ok so this is a good question. I've got my Grado SR80e on the darkvoice, and it doesn't seem to suffer any sound wise. It is a 32ohm impedance rating, and only thing is that i can barely put the DV volume past 7 as it is already loud, but these are dynamic headphones. Is the consensus that low impedance cans just can't take advantage of the DV (can't handle it in the range where it is worth listening to), or is there just something inherent with planar magnetics that makes it "suffer" (makes it musically sound like crap?) with the DV?
  3. JKDJedi
    It's the OTL design of the amp. Output Transformer-less . High impedance headphones get the max output of this design. And yes planars suffer with this design, at least with the Hifiman...they Excel with more power. Dependent on the headphones design and make too. If your headphones sound great on the Darkvoice, nice! Just know OTL was made/or at their best with high impedance headphones. Reason why the Sennhieser sounds so good on them.
    These guys have a gang of info,. https://www.head-fi.org/threads/otl-amp-and-headphone-impedance-matching-question.702109/
    And from my quick read through that thread..

    "take the common 6080/6AS7G OTL cathode follower amps. Output impedance is roughly 1/transconductance for a cathode follower. That puts the 6AS7 with transconductance of 7000 at about 142ohms. Changing the tube to a 5998 with transconductance around 14000 gets you down to 72 ohms. Even better is the 421A at 20000 which gets you close to 50 ohms. For OTLs with two output tubes (like WA2), cut those in half. I find the HD558 sounds good (to me) driven with a WA3 in the 5998 or 7236 configuration and it goes loud enough before distortion....but not to ear bleeding levels".
    Last edited: Aug 7, 2019
    19844 and sennfan83261 like this.
  4. Slade01
    Yup. It was a good experiment. I actually never used low impedance cans with the darkvoice before last night. Agreed. Was just trying to help shed light for that user (19844) asking about his sundaras. Lol. I'm sure if i turned up the DV any more than i had, it would distort all to hell and destroy the drivers.
    19844 likes this.
  5. JKDJedi
    And I'm seriously thinking of getting a
    It's hit and miss, and my experience with the Hifiman is that the bass just sounds out of place, compared to playing it on a solid state, and somewhat distorted. (this at 35ohms) BUT my Fidelio X2 sound really good, (dynamic drivers) and those are 30ohms! GGillies has planars (Oppo) that sound good for hiim on his Darkvoice, so yeah, a crap shoot of the dice I guess. My understanding is the lower the Ohms, which power tube you use will play into the introduction of distortion at said volume level.. o.O (what did I say?) The higher the impedance, the less you really have to think about it. That's why I almost exclusively use my Sennheiser with the Darkness (300ohms). And technically any headphone will play on the Darkvoice, Same can be said for any smartphone, You could play any headphone on a smartphone, some will shine better than others though. And again it's all on the impedance design, my Sennheiser can play on my smartphone, barely, just not as enjoyable. So when you hear "no that headphone can't be played on the Darkvoice" it's not in the literate sense, it's just that they're feeling it won't be that enjoyable.
  6. ls13coco
    Just to add to the above - The HD6XX and AKG K 712 Pro definitely are sounding beautiful on the DarkVoice, but planars do suffer. They do not sound bad running off of the DV, but compared to how they sound with a SS or hybrid amp you can tell that they just aren't getting the proper power. I'm sure plenty of people could be happy with the combination, but it kind of reminds me of messing with polarity with the way it just sounds a little.. off. :)
    JKDJedi likes this.
  7. Gallic Dweller
    I'm amazed that so many put up with the volume control as supplied. (1) The easy/lazy way to have at least a reasonable volume range is to attenuate the pot's output by using appropriate resistors before the pot see www.goldpt.com/mods.html. (2) Remove the pot (really easy) and sub with a standard Alps Blue 50K shunted with Z foils see www.world-designs/forum, look for the FAQ forum and 'shunting the pot. (3) just remove the existing pot and use an external volume control like - Stereo Coffee.

    Whatever type of h/phones you use up rating the o/put caps from 30uF per side will give a real solid bass to the overall sound. Removing the PCB to do this is easy enough but it's hard to replace because the Tx wires are so short. Much simpler is to destroy the existing Chinese caps but making damn sure you leave the very thin legs intact. You can then solder new caps to these with no degradation in sound as long as your nifty with a soldering iron.

    The only effective way to remove the hum is the Fitz/Pink Floyd way. These 3 mods elevate the DV to an entirely new level.
    sennfan83261 likes this.
  8. JKDJedi
    That doesn't sound hard at all.. so your an electrical engineer?
  9. Gallic Dweller
    These mods don't require special expertise, just common sense, a decent soldering kit that's all. I'm surprised that no commercial enterprise has addressed the obvious remedies and produced a problem free example. There are questions over the Tx - 220v instead of 230v / the 6SN7 should be seeing 6.3V not 6.8V. Whilst the side panels do allow a lot of heat to escape, a much deeper chassis would allow a PC fan to be sited underneath. A larger PCB would allow more space for bigger o/put caps - a good h/amp would become an outstanding one.

    There's no question that h/amps are a growing market, the advantages of using h/phones in many situations are clear - late night listening, not disturbing sleeping children/neighbours/wife/partner. When modded the OTL DV sound creams everything but the best speaker based system sited in a room suited to play music - at a fraction of the price.
  10. JKDJedi
    Wish you were my neighbor! These amps are entry level amps so not surprised by the said compromises.Ignorance is bliss I guess, up till now i thought my headphone amp was the best thing since the evention of ice cream, now I don't feel pretty anymore :frowning2:
  11. Keno18
    Just because the DV can be modified to sound "better" doesn't change the way it sounds now. Most amps have mods that can be made to them, even hi-end ones. I happen to like what I hear right now, it beats my Vali 2 which if you read the Vali 2 thread is saying something.
    JKDJedi likes this.
  12. Towa
    Just bought one of these recently and after listening to the stock Chinese tubes for the last week, I am ready to roll something else... Does anybody have a good budget (let's say $100) combo to recommend?

    I'm primarily using my HD 6xx with the DV btw
  13. Keno18
    I've been using the Tung-Sol 7236 and Tung-Sol 6sn7gt mouse ears to great effect. But you'll also find people like th= rca grey glass 6sn7gt as well. There's a whole bunch of tube rolling info in the posts just prior to this one.
    Towa likes this.
  14. Towa
    Thanks I'll take a look.

    This thread can be a little intimidating for someone like me who has no idea about tube rolling or the intricacies involved. I'm not even really sure where to buy from or if the prices are fair. Just trying to get a grasp and not lose myself in the process, definitely don't want to end up getting hooked and spend a fortune on these things lol
  15. JKDJedi
    You don't know the power of the DARK SIDE...
    Towa likes this.
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