Elemental Watson Class-A Valve/Mosfet Hybrid Headphone Amplifier (Review added)
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avitron142

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Hi @chaotic_angel,

Depends on several factors :

1. If you are using stock tubes which I presume you are when you say it is standard version, then by nature, stock 6AK5 are 'noisy' or potentially high noise tubes also with potentially high gain as their original purpose was in military specific communications so they tend to be rather sensitive overall.
Which essentially means at any significant volume &/or with low impedence head gear the listener is subjected to the noise generated by the stock tubes regardless of whether amp is touched or not.
So it is normal to a degree, just depends on whether it is louder than the music though if it is most classical, sadly, this is not hard.

2. Elemental Watson M1 & M2 have comparable hiss noise though M1 tends to be a little more sensitive & has no gain control on the PCB which does affect how much noise will be heard.
So if you have the M2, try reducing the gain as much as possible as well as not using any head gear which is overly sensitive.

Hope this makes sense.

Hope you have a great day !
Just got my Watson II - it sounds great, but has a ton of noise with even over-ears such as the K7XX and HE400S. This is the first time I've had hiss problems with these (not extremely easy to drive) headphones... I noticed you mentioned a gain control on the PCB? Where could I find this, and adjust it? My RCA's are on the back, but I don't recall having the two screws everyone else was talking about.

I know you also mentioned the IEMatch didn't do much for you here... one is coming, I'll share my findings on that front after. When I can take out the AK's and put in the GE JAN 5654W and Voshkod 6ZH1P-EV, I'll do so as well.
 
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Just got my Watson II - it sounds great, but has a ton of noise with even over-ears such as the K7XX and HE400S. This is the first time I've had hiss problems with these (not extremely easy to drive) headphones... I noticed you mentioned a gain control on the PCB? Where could I find this, and adjust it? My RCA's are on the back, but I don't recall having the two screws everyone else was talking about.

I know you also mentioned the IEMatch didn't do much for you here... one is coming, I'll share my findings on that front after. When I can take out the AK's and put in the GE JAN 5654W and Voshkod 6ZH1P-EV, I'll do so as well.
I post the pict one or two pages back, blue and yellow color
 
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I post the pict one or two pages back, blue and yellow color
That is for M1, correct? M2 does not have RCA's in the front.

BunnyNamedCraig's side by side pictures on page 17 seem to show the V2 missing those switches, mine are the same.
 
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post-14785473
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Shane D

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Hello. I am looking at this amp and had a few questions. I did read the whole thread through before writing this.:grinning:

1) Will this sound different enough from an SS amp to make it worth it?

2) Would it work well with easy to drive 'phones (Beyer T5p.2's, Grado GH2's, Meze 99's and HiFiman HE4XX's)? Ideally, I would like a little more bass in my Grado's and Beyerdynamic's.

Just trying to learn.

Thanks!

Shane D
 
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Hello. I am looking at this amp and had a few questions. I did read the whole thread through before writing this.:grinning:

1) Will this sound different enough from an SS amp to make it worth it?

2) Would it work well with easy to drive 'phones (Beyer T5p.2's, Grado GH2's, Meze 99's and HiFiman HE4XX's)? Ideally, I would like a little more bass in my Grado's and Beyerdynamic's.

Just trying to learn.

Thanks!

Shane D
I'm getting a lot of noise with my K7XX and HE400S. It's possible it's just the tubes though (AK's are noisy).

I should be able to swap tubes and work with an IEMatch this week, so I'll let you know if I get the background black somehow. From what I can tell, the sound is definitely different enough from SS to make it worth it.
 
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I'm getting a lot of noise with my K7XX and HE400S. It's possible it's just the tubes though (AK's are noisy).

I should be able to swap tubes and work with an IEMatch this week, so I'll let you know if I get the background black somehow. From what I can tell, the sound is definitely different enough from SS to make it worth it.
Thanks for the reply! I will look for your follow up.

Shane D
 
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Has anybody here owned both this a Darkvoice 336SE?

If so, any comments on what would be better for low impedance hp's? I am guessing the Watson because of it being a hybrid.

Shane D
 
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@Shane D,

Have no experience or interest in the Darkvoice for various reasons so can't comment but Elemental Watson M1/2 cannot be used with low impedance headphones for more than eight hours at a time at normal listening levels (60 db +) or at four hours at high listening levels (80 +).
EWM1/2 definitely cannot be used with sensitive IEMs.


Will this sound different enough from an SS amp to make it worth it?

Short answer...depends on you.
Also, what do you mean by better or different?
Are you looking for a different sound experience over solid state?
Tube sound tends to be warmer & smooth with nice clarity over just clean & varying ranges in sound, etc with a solid state amp.
There are so many reasons to choose tube or solid state, personally, I like both for various reasons though I lean towards tube sound but have more solid state amps due to availability & budget.
If you're not sure about tube amps to begin with, a suggestion would be as a good affordable starter tube head amp would be the Loxjie P 20 instead.
The P 20 stock 6N3 tubes have similar sound to EW M1/2 6AK5 tubes but without the high noise the latter has due to its military comms specifications.
Personally & subjectively, I like the P 20's added versatility with all head gear & when paired with a good source, offers ridiculously good synergy.

Hope you have a great day !
 
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I'm getting a lot of noise with my K7XX and HE400S. It's possible it's just the tubes though (AK's are noisy).

I should be able to swap tubes and work with an IEMatch this week, so I'll let you know if I get the background black somehow. From what I can tell, the sound is definitely different enough from SS to make it worth it.

@avitron142,

Be interested in what you find but you won't get the blackground black, even if you change out the tubes though you will get close to black, depending on what tubes you choose.

Hope you have a great day !
 
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Have no experience or interest in the Darkvoice for various reasons so can't comment but Elemental Watson M1/2 cannot be used with low impedance headphones for more than eight hours at a time at normal listening levels (60 db +) or at four hours at high listening levels (80 +).
EWM1/2 definitely cannot be used with sensitive IEMs.

Aslo, what do you mean by better, sound, comfort, clarity, etc

Hope you have a great day ![/USER]
Three of my four headphones are 32 Ohm. My fourth set is, I believe, 50 Ohm (HiFimanHE4XX's).

My listening levels could best be described as low to medium levels.
The Little Dot has been described as being NOT good with IEM's or low impedance headphones, but I was curious about the Darkvoice.

I prefer "fun" headphones as opposed to accurate/transparent.
I would like an amp that could maybe add some bass or offer a different sound.

To illustrate my point, I used to own an IFi ICann MICRO SE. Tons of power, but my favourite features were bass boost and 3D sound enhancement.

Shane D
 
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@avitron142,

Be interested in what you find but you won't get the blackground black, even if you change out the tubes though you will get close to black, depending on what tubes you choose.

Hope you have a great day !
How did you switch out the tubes? I can't seem to be able to take them out... do you also take out the white piece the tube is in?

I'm a bit upset, to be honest. I can't use these with headphones without it sounding like vinyl from the 1920's.... In 20 pages of posts, I would expect someone to say this already. It should be stickied that anything under 100 ohms won't sound good with this.

Edit: And just as I say this, I plug this in at the hotel with the HE400S, and I'm only getting a slight hiss. Not the crackling and buzzing I heard before. With the IEMatch (which I have on me, but have a damn hard time connecting it because of the 6.35/3.5mm converters), it should be silent.

I still can't take the tubes out though. Do people unscrew the glass top with a wrench first? I don't know how people do it. My tubes won't seem to budge.
 
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Have yo


How did you switch out the tubes? I can't seem to be able to take them out... do you also take out the white piece the tube is in?

I'm a bit upset, to be honest. I can't use these with headphones without it sounding like vinyl from the 1920's.... In 20 pages of posts, I would expect someone to say this already. It should be stickied that anything under 100 ohms won't sound good with this.

Edit: And just as I say this, I plug this in at the hotel with the HE400S, and I'm only getting a slight hiss. Not the crackling and buzzing I heard before. With the IEMatch (which I have on me, but have a damn hard time connecting it because of the 6.35/3.5mm converters), it should be silent.

I still can't take the tubes out though. Do people unscrew the glass top with a wrench first? I don't know how people do it. My tubes won't seem to budge.

@avitron142,

I never said I changed out the tubes on the P 20, I strongly suggest you do not attempt to remove the P 20's tubes.
In fact, Loxjie themselves recommend not to tube roll, even if you are an experienced tube roller &/or familar with 6n3 tubes or any equivalent or variant tubes for that matter.
All tubes require careful handling to be removed when necessary, nor do they require any tools.
Think of the tube similar to a light bulb, being one whole piece, you would only use your hands, nothing else.
So I would advise caution & not touch these in future.


Just out of curiousity, what other tube amps have you listened to which don't sound similar to the P 20?
Depending on source, P 20 is absolutely crystal clear with virtually no noise or hiss & I have used it with very sensitive IEMs & other sensitive head gear easily.
On the scale of most decent tube amps, personally & subjectively, P 20 has a good sound which is almost not tube like but that also depends on what source & head gear you are using.
As a sidenote, HE400S aren't exactly easy to drive & require a certain level of power to be driven properly.
While I don't personally own the HE400S, I can't comment on this pairing where the P 20 is concerned but in my humble experience with a lot of Hifiman gear, said brand sadly doesn't synergise well with certain gear, etc
But of course, your mileage may vary.

In this past time we are in, there seems to be this misconception something like the IFI IEMatch will solve all noise, hiss, etc potential issues, subjectively & personally, something like that adapter doesn't work for me for various reasons.
The fact you say should indicates you perhaps don't understand how impedence adapters work as that is basically what the IEMatch is, an impedence adapter.
As a basic function, all impedence adapters do are reduce noise to being barely perceptiable, if one is lucky, that is, they don't completely eliminate said noise, hiss, etc, just potentially make it almost unnoticable so the average person can use sensitive gear, etc.
Perhaps, you may be better off using something like a hum isolator which is used in the pro audio world as well as many IEC power boards & sockets do have these as extra resistors built in to combat line noise, etc.

So in closing, P 20 should be able to be used perfectly without the IEMatch, etc.

Hope you have a great day !
 
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@avitron142,

I never said I changed out the tubes on the P 20, I strongly suggest you do not attempt to remove the P 20's tubes.
In fact, Loxjie themselves recommend not to tube roll, even if you are an experienced tube roller &/or familar with 6n3 tubes or any equivalent or variant tubes for that matter.
All tubes require careful handling to be removed when necessary, nor do they require any tools.
Think of the tube similar to a light bulb, being one whole piece, you would only use your hands, nothing else.
So I would advise caution & not touch these in future.


Just out of curiousity, what other tube amps have you listened to which don't sound similar to the P 20?
Depending on source, P 20 is absolutely crystal clear with virtually no noise or hiss & I have used it with very sensitive IEMs & other sensitive head gear easily.
On the scale of most decent tube amps, personally & subjectively, P 20 has a good sound which is almost not tube like but that also depends on what source & head gear you are using.
As a sidenote, HE400S aren't exactly easy to drive & require a certain level of power to be driven properly.
While I don't personally own the HE400S, I can't comment on this pairing where the P 20 is concerned but in my humble experience with a lot of Hifiman gear, said brand sadly doesn't synergise well with certain gear, etc
But of course, your mileage may vary.

In this past time we are in, there seems to be this misconception something like the IFI IEMatch will solve all noise, hiss, etc potential issues, subjectively & personally, something like that adapter doesn't work for me for various reasons.
The fact you say should indicates you perhaps don't understand how impedence adapters work as that is basically what the IEMatch is, an impedence adapter.
As a basic function, all impedence adapters do are reduce noise to being barely perceptiable, if one is lucky, that is, they don't completely eliminate said noise, hiss, etc, just potentially make it almost unnoticable so the average person can use sensitive gear, etc.
Perhaps, you may be better off using something like a hum isolator which is used in the pro audio world as well as many IEC power boards & sockets do have these as extra resistors built in to combat line noise, etc.

So in closing, P 20 should be able to be used perfectly without the IEMatch, etc.

Hope you have a great day !
I'm actually still on the EMW II, not the P20... But I was hoping to change the industry-noisy 6AK5 tubes with something more clean. I'll accept the risk as it is, I just hope the tubes are removable and that tube rolling is possible on the Elemental Watson II. What steps did you take on the Watson to change the tubes, given the glass roof over the amp?

And yeah, my terminology isn't really correct - the noise would still be there, but inaudible noise works for me.
 
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PaganDL

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I'm actually still on the EMW II, not the P20... But I was hoping to change the industry-noisy 6AK5 tubes with something more clean. I'll accept the risk as it is, I just hope the tubes are removable and that tube rolling is possible on the Elemental Watson II. What steps did you take on the Watson to change the tubes, given the glass roof over the amp?

And yeah, my terminology isn't really correct - the noise would still be there, but inaudible noise works for me.

@avitron142,

No problem, noise wise, 6AK5 is my issue too but as I am nowhere near where I get decent equivalent or variants for a good price just means I don't use the EMWII all that much which is a shame as it is a good amp given most of my head gear is sensitive.

As stated before, regarding tube rolling on ANY TUBE AMP, just gentle pulling on the tube should release it from its socket while holding down the unit though it is important not to damage the pins on the tube or the socket.
If you're worried about it hitting the 'roof', then find applicable screwdriver or wrench, sorry can't remember mounting system, my EWMII is stored away at present, to remove first but as mentioned above, gentle pulling should suffice.

Hope this makes sense.

Hope you have a great day !
 
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avitron142

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@avitron142,

No problem, noise wise, 6AK5 is my issue too but as I am nowhere near where I get decent equivalent or variants for a good price just means I don't use the EMWII all that much which is a shame as it is a good amp given most of my head gear is sensitive.

As stated before, regarding tube rolling on ANY TUBE AMP, just gentle pulling on the tube should release it from its socket while holding down the unit though it is important not to damage the pins on the tube or the socket.
If you're worried about it hitting the 'roof', then find applicable screwdriver or wrench, sorry can't remember mounting system, my EWMII is stored away at present, to remove first but as mentioned above, gentle pulling should suffice.

Hope this makes sense.

Hope you have a great day !
Hmm, thanks for the help - I appreciate it.

I'll be patient with pulling it, and maybe there's some dust or otherwise making it hard taking it out for the first time. I really do want to switch out tubes and see if there's a less-noisy type I can substitute instead with good sound. If I get that to work I'll let y'all know.

Thanks!
 
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