Elekit TU-8200 DX Headphone/Speaker Amp Review
Mar 24, 2016 at 8:00 AM Post #436 of 1,427

SuperDuke

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Thank you Victor for the quick response!  The new manual is fine.  I had started building from the figure on page 8 and it's very easy.
 
 
A different question - several people are driving their headphones from the speaker taps on both solid state and tube amps.  Some are saying that connecting direct to a solid state speaker amp is fine but that the higher impedence of headphones may damage tube amps unless resistors are used at the speaker taps (eg. the hifiman adaptor).   I had planned to use my HE adaptor for the HE6 once I finish the TU8200.
 
thoughts?
 
Mar 24, 2016 at 8:12 PM Post #437 of 1,427

Effusion

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Glad the build is starting to go better!
 
As far as your question/inquiry into using the speaker taps to run your cans, I'm not sure if it would make much of a difference on this amplifier.  I admit that I have never done so, on this amplifier or any others, so my only reference is to my current understanding regarding the design of the 8200.  I believe that the headphone output/jack is virtually the same as the speakers and taps into the same part of the circuit.
 
Victor would be able to clear up any confusion, but below is a portion of the 6moons review, by David Kan, on the Elekit TU-8200 that may help (http://www.6moons.com/audioreviews2/elekit/4.html):
 
 Being an apathetic headphone person and unqualified headfi reviewer, I thought I won’t write a single word on the headphone output to disguise my ignorance. But I heard too many good things about this particular feature of the TU-8200DX. It was with proper what-the-heck attitude that I plugged in my Sennheiser HD598 and cuffed my ears. I was literally stunned when Tchaikovsky’s Romance Op.5 muted on the speakers and came through the headphones. This old 1986/1988 but very touching recording of Tchaikovsky’s sentimental piece under Mikhail Pletnev [Melodiya SUCD-10-00048] seemed to be charged with even more emotions enkindled by the PAДИO 6n3c. The pianistic expression was adorned by warmth and an impassioned touch. Each note shimmered with a glowing accent and lingered on until it whispered its unwilling farewell. The musical rendezvous was simply poetic.
 
This pleasant surprise fermented curiosity. A quick check of the schematic (page 19, user manual) revealed that the headphone circuit branches out from the output tubes and output transformers. Three resistors (R39/40, R41/42, R43/44) on each channel readjust the output impedance to suit headphones from 8-1’000Ω. Being a headfi novice, I asked Victor if this was the typical topography for a headphone section found in integrated tube amps. He referred the question to Elekit and the answer came back within hours.
 
"For those integrated amps with vacuum tubes, there are not many of them with a headphone terminal in the market. Even if they do have it, they usually adopt an exclusive circuit for the headphones which in most cases is solid state. In the absolute sense these headphone circuits cannot realize pure tube sound. For the TU-8200 the headphone circuit is not exclusive and does not bypass the tubes or output transformers. Mr. Fujita our chief designer simply made the headphone terminal an integral part of the tube amp itself, adding only three pairs of resistors to the signal path. This is not as simple as it sounds though. Unlike for solid-state amps, impedance matching is of critical importance for tube amps. Mr. Fujita did not just lower the voltage to maintain compatibility/drive but also had to carefully consider the impedance of the headphones to be connected. He finally optimized the impedance value with minimal components to deliver pure tube sound."
 
The Sennheiser HD598 is rated at 50Ω. Setting the amp to triode (4W into 8Ω) produced more than enough power (640mW into 50Ω) plus the generous bonus of unrestrained articulation. That satisfied even the most complex contemporary orchestral music. And those well-defined images and the airy soundstage were strikingly tangible. Nonetheless I still preferred ultralinear for its deeper bass, richer midrange and unyielding valve bloom. I could not believe that I would volunteer for another round of tube rolling and mode changing. With my modest headphone I could hear all the tube variants in their best light*. None of them sounded excessive now, not even the Mullard EL34 in ultralinear mode. What used to be fat and bloated on the Synergy F2 now was intoxicatingly sweet on the HD598. And with the Genalex KT88, the golden piano tone and pearly touch simply melt my heart. I did try a few headphone amps in the past. This was the first time my perception of headphones was changed forever.

 
So, even though I can't really answer your question, I'm wondering if doing so would even make a difference and also that possibly putting a resistor/adapter between might even suck a bit of the life away.
 
Hearing is believing though, so if you can get an answer and are confident it won't harm the amp nor your headphones, why not try.
 
Mar 24, 2016 at 8:53 PM Post #438 of 1,427

SuperDuke

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thanks for such a detailed reply.  it sounds like the headphone output on the 8200 may drive the HE6.  Only one way to find out and I'll report back given that my build goes well.  I am still putting resistors in and have many more to go.  Limited time w/ family and work and I am enjoying taking my time.  
 
Mar 25, 2016 at 1:46 AM Post #439 of 1,427

Effusion

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Sure, not a problem, glad at least to try to help when I can.  I also see more of what you were talking about now; I'm not familiar with the HE6's, but a quick search shows that they are harder to drive than most.
 
I'm sure Victor could get a more specific answer to the question, however I do know that the TU-8200 does have a lot of power as far as gain.  I use both the 300 ohm HD650 and the 80 ohm Beyer 770 Pro all the time and I never go much above 9 o'clock on the pot as it is just way too loud, for me.  Generally for these phones, and my listening preferences, slightly below 9 o'clock or even right at, for shorter periods, is plenty loud enough.  This is also true on pretty much all other headphones I've tried thus far and others at meets have commented on how powerful the amp is compared to ones they own or have owned.  However more than just gain goes into how well an amp drives a particular pair of cans and since I have yet to try the HE6's, I can't directly comment on the other factors.  The 8 to 1000 ohm range of the kit is impressive in my opinion and many have had great results with lower ohm models, including IEMs, as well.  I believe if power is the issue, switching it to UL or Pentode mode and using KT88s or 6550s, etc. should give you more headroom if desired.
 
Do you happen to know if any other headphones compare to the drive required for the HE6s to sound their best?  There might be others here that have had some more experience with some of them, etc.  Then again I guess you'll know soon enough!
 
Mar 27, 2016 at 5:57 PM Post #440 of 1,427

SuperDuke

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THe K1000 might be closest to the HE6 in terms of difficulty to drive.  I had the K1000 for some time and find that the HE6 when driven properly is much more satisfying.  
 
I am almost done w/ the first circuit board.  Been soldering a capacitor here and diode there.  This kit is crazy fun to build for a novice builder.  I would urge anyone apprehensive about building to give it a shot.  So far not hard at all.
 
Mar 30, 2016 at 10:00 AM Post #441 of 1,427

SuperDuke

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Finished the TU-8200 last night and it works flawlessly and seems to be dead quiet.  I need to let it "burn in" I think.  The dynamics are great and it has tons of power driving the Dharmas and HD600.  I was not overly impressed w/ the clarity.  I may be spoiled w/ the clarity of my solid state gear (Burson and Grace Design m920).
 
I think Effusion said he heard some changes after 30hrs or so and I am using stock tubes.  I've also yet to try the Triode and Pentode modes. This kit was great fun to build!
 
 
 
 
 
.
 
Mar 30, 2016 at 7:49 PM Post #442 of 1,427

Effusion

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Congrats on the completion of the build!
 
Correct, it did take about 30 hours for my unit to tighten up a bit, for the bass to increase, and for the sound to open up.  I only used the stock EH 6L6GCs, briefly, and never used the stock 12au7s with the "China" marked in red.  I did not like the EHs very much at all, to me they had some great soundstage and air, however were less detailed, a bit veiled, and also a bit muddy and too laid-back as well.
 
There are definitely better tubes out there than the stock and I don't believe any of the owners here still use the stock set.  It can be hard to tell at first where you'd want to start looking, but if you feel that there is something that would benefit your cans and/or your own ears, such as bright vs. warm, etc., it does help.  Let us all know what you might be looking for as many here have tried quite a few different variants and would be able to provide good solid advice.  Price ranges always help in giving recommendations as well, in addition to if you want to try NOS or stick to new production (in my experience NOS are the way to go, but are somewhat riskier due to dishonest sellers, however sometimes the quality/life of new production is troublesome).
 
Glad the amp is showing its power and I agree it has a ton!  How does it fair with your HE6's?
 
beerchug.gif
 
 
Mar 31, 2016 at 9:47 AM Post #443 of 1,427

SuperDuke

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I switched my amp to Triode mode for first time and it really was like a different amp all together.  I think the UL mode had too much bass for me.  Interestingly the Dharma D1000s distort in triode mode at not too much volume.  The HD600 and HD800s do not distort that I could tell and sound wonderful. Maybe the impedance difference has something to do w/ that.
 
So it seems I am looking for more mid magic, top end shimmer and tight bass.  My music is almost all Jazz (lots of trio) and acoustic. Tube Depot recommended I try the new production TungSol 6550. I am wondering if the EL34 would also be right for me.  I could go w/ NOS tubes but may try to find some friends w/ tubes I can try before plunking down lots of $
 
Mar 31, 2016 at 10:58 AM Post #444 of 1,427

430011

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I am by no means an aggressive tube roller, but with HD650's I found EL34 tubes in UL mode to be really good. I didn't like KT88 in UL, but recently tried triode mode and found the KT88 to be excellent and the EL34 a little thin in the bass. You might find the EL34 a nice pairing. I've only tried the new production Electro Harmonix, NOS is beyond my budget.
 
Mar 31, 2016 at 11:29 AM Post #445 of 1,427

mhamel

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  I switched my amp to Triode mode for first time and it really was like a different amp all together.  I think the UL mode had too much bass for me.  Interestingly the Dharma D1000s distort in triode mode at not too much volume.  The HD600 and HD800s do not distort that I could tell and sound wonderful. Maybe the impedance difference has something to do w/ that.
 
So it seems I am looking for more mid magic, top end shimmer and tight bass.  My music is almost all Jazz (lots of trio) and acoustic. Tube Depot recommended I try the new production TungSol 6550. I am wondering if the EL34 would also be right for me.  I could go w/ NOS tubes but may try to find some friends w/ tubes I can try before plunking down lots of $

 
I'd suggest giving the new production Gold Lion KT77s a try if you can, too. I'd also suggest going through Jim McShane for them as he has a great warranty.
 
Mar 31, 2016 at 10:13 PM Post #446 of 1,427

Greg70

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I think if your goal is mid magic, shimmer and tight bass.. I don't think find anything better than a pair of NOS Mullard EL34s. They're pricey but it's a rewarding investment.
If you go that way look for the XF2 or XF3s. You will find them in other brands as well, but all made by Mullard and the codes will be etched onto the tube.
 
From my experience the re-issue Mullards are not too far off and are a good way to see if this family of tubes is for you.
 
Congratulations on the build.
 
Apr 5, 2016 at 9:45 AM Post #449 of 1,427

430011

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I had a Stereomour too and loved it. Didn't have it concurrently with the TU-8200, so I can't make a comparison. I don't know if the power difference will be too noticeable, another couple decibels maybe. With the Stereoumour I had used Diy Sound Group horns, but it did run out of power with standard bookshelves. The TU-8200 does pretty well with my Carreras, but I'm in the process of building a DCPP for the extra power.

I will say that the headphone out is an awesome feature and the wide choice of tubes is really nice. It's close to an end game headphone amp for me. As soon as KT-88 in triode gets old I can just switch back to EL-34 in ultra linear for something a little different.
 
Apr 5, 2016 at 10:36 AM Post #450 of 1,427

thebigcanman

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  I switched my amp to Triode mode for first time and it really was like a different amp all together.  I think the UL mode had too much bass for me.  Interestingly the Dharma D1000s distort in triode mode at not too much volume.  The HD600 and HD800s do not distort that I could tell and sound wonderful. Maybe the impedance difference has something to do w/ that.
 
So it seems I am looking for more mid magic, top end shimmer and tight bass.  My music is almost all Jazz (lots of trio) and acoustic. Tube Depot recommended I try the new production TungSol 6550. I am wondering if the EL34 would also be right for me.  I could go w/ NOS tubes but may try to find some friends w/ tubes I can try before plunking down lots of $

 
I'm using the amp with HD800. Can I ask what set up you have? 
 
I am using with Gold Lion KT-88 in UL mode...am tempted to pick up some EL34s and go for Triode
 

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