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Little Dot MK VI / Little Dot MK VIII SE Owners Unite

Discussion in 'Headphone Amps (full-size)' started by reiserfs, Nov 9, 2010.
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  1. reiserFS
    Finally getting down to making a thread about these truly brilliant amplifiers. For me, the VI is an amazing piece of amplifier, driving my T1's with ease and transforming them into a beast that conquers everything. Currently rolling with RCA 6AS7G grey plates in the back and Tung-Sol VT-229 in the front, great combo so far. I also managed to catch a quad of RCA 6AS7G black plates, as there have been rumors that these sound better. Shuguang Treasure 6SN7 replacements are also on their way to me.
    Hoping to see some tube rolling going  and reading your impressions on this, in my opinion, underrated amplifier.
  2. DjAmTraX
    Pictures please.  I've been thinking of getting the MKVIII SE.  Haven't pulled the trigger yet.
  3. reiserFS
    Here are some pictures of my VI (note that this is not the + version, previous owner replaced loud fans with silent ones). Definitely replace the stock russian driver tubes as soon as possible, they sound utterly harsh and cold with minimal detail to me.
    Gram2 likes this.
  4. nkoulban
    I am interested in a VIII SE.  I currently have a balanced headroom with a HD650 and would like to try tubes.  Looks like this amp is not getting a lot of love around here... seems like a potentially fantastic amp esp when you do a bit of tube rolling.  Love to hear more impressions.
  5. musico
    Hi, I am about to get the Little Dot Mk VI, as I am getting my headphones modded. I was wondering about buying tubes, in this case 4 power and 2 driver.
    Does this mean that I need to get a matched quad for the power ones, or can I get 2 matched pairs to make up the quad? I have not purchased tubes before from the net and am wondering how to go about this.
  6. reiserFS
    You can buy two matched pairs, one for the left and one for the right channel. A really great upgrade would be the RCA 6AS7G grey or black plates.

  7. nkoulban
    I was looking at the little Dot website and it looks like the VIII SE has no fan and 2w per channel, so it's suitable for dynamic cans only.  The VI+ has 5w per channel and has fans, but could be used with Orthodynamics like the LCD2 as well.  Can anyone confirm if my understanding is correct.
  8. reiserFS
    Sorry for the late reply. Yes, your understanding is absolutely correct as the VI+  drives orthodynamics such as the LCD-2 flawlessly due to it's immense output power.

  9. Maxvla Contributor
    Just noticed this thread. I've owned my MKVI since January 2008. I'm shocked it's not more popular than it is. It's an absolute steal.
    I'm not much a tube roller, but I'm curious what driver tubes you would recommend, Reiser, that would, in your opinion, improve the sound, but not be too expensive. When I replaced the Raytheon 6080 power tubes (1 was defective from the start) with some generic West Germany 6AS7G tubes, there was virtually no difference. Another reason I've not done much tube rolling is that I don't know when I'll move on to another amp (speaker amp for HE-6) or a different headphone solution (IEMs/Stats) and have this amp with left over tubes I probably won't be able to sell easily.
    As for the ortho comment, I'm currently running the Hifiman HE-6 (listening right now!) phones on my MKVI with the gain set to high. The only other phone that would require this level of power is the K1000. It drives both the K1000 and HE-6 with ease (I've listened to both on this amp). You can listen to both on low gain setting, but I think it sounds better (like it's being driven easier) on high gain.
  10. Roscoeiii
    As I posted on the HE-6 thread, I was very excited to try the HE-6s with my Little Dot VI. But I had it on the low gain setting. Doh! I will hopefully be able to track down a pair to give them a go on the high gain setting. So for those of you who were at the ChiUnifi meet and heard my lament that the VI couldn't adequately power the HE-6s, my apologies. The amp was not on the best setting to pair with the HE-6s. 
    Look forward to hearing how the Treasures sound in the VI. Been thinking about them or the Create/Synergy 6SN7 tubes. 
    But am I happy with my VI. Oh yes. lovely sound with the HE-5LEs on low gain. Maybe I will give these a go on high gain setting, since HE-5LE owners are also reporting improvements on speaker amps for the HE-5LE as well as the HE-6s. 
  11. Maxvla Contributor
    The MKVI can easily power the HE-6 on low gain. The first 10 or so hours I listened to my HE-6 was on low gain. The only problem is on some rare tracks/albums the volume needs to be raised a good bit (around 2 o'clock) and I felt at these higher volumes that the sound wasn't as dynamic as it could be. I switched it to high gain and those albums do sound much better down around 11 o'clock. Normal albums on high gain are listened to at about 10-10:30 with the HE-6.
  12. reiserFS
    You're still using the chinese driver tubes LD supplied, right? That's probably why you didn't notice a change when you rolled in the 6AS7G. A really nice tube would be the Tung-Sol VT-229 with round plates, which will literally kill the chinese stock tubes. Here are some comments from the previous seller about the VT-229: "These are vintage NOS military tubes from the 1940's. Very good sounding tubes. Suggest you use them in preference to the Chinese junk (ie. the driver tubes which were supplied with the LD - also included)." I will probably get the Treasure's tomorrow, will comment about them a bit then.
    Generally speaking, you have a huge selection for the driver tubes, as it takes 6SN7, 6SL7 and with adapters even more types. I recommend you to read through the reference 6SN7 thread, which has a lot of information and comments about the sound of each NOS tube and can get you started. Found here.
  13. Maxvla Contributor
    Nice thread. Will take a while to absorb all of that. I'm going to try the 'impedance box' Fang is going to have out for the HE-6 to plug into high watt speaker amps (>70wpc) to see if my vintage pioneer receiver will do the job so I can sell my MKVI. If it doesn't I'll return it and try the tube route. Should have the box in a month or so. In the mean time I'll see if there are any cheap but worthwhile tubes I can try for little risk.
  14. Roscoeiii
    Yes, I found that I was had the VI at around 2 o'clock, but compared to the HE-5LEs at the low gain setting, the sound really suffered due not to insufficient volume, but what I'd call heft and slam. I read this from a review today, and found my self nodding in agreement based on my low-gain VI experience with the HE-6s: "this is probably the quality that benefits most from upscale gain—bass displacement, impact, extension and mass." This is what I am hoping the high gain setting on the VI will provide. Without it, I preferred the HE-5LEs on the VI, despite preferring the HE-6 on the EF-5 and the prototype new balanced portable (!) amp from Ray Samuels. 
    Look forward to hearing your experience with a speaker amp on the HE-6s. 
    BUT for anyone interested in the VI, let me be VERY CLEAR that the HE-6 is a very current hungry and difficult to drive headphone. I imagine that the low gain setting would be great and would produce great results with almost any headphones. Balanced Denon 7000s for example sounded fantastic on this amp yesterday. 
  15. Maxvla Contributor
    Yes, technically this amp is not an ideal match for low impedance, high current phones, as it's designed to run 300ohm primarily and also 120ohm on high gain (K1000). It still gets the job done though due to the sheer power it produces. A purpose built amp for the HE-6 at the same price as the MKVI will likely beat it due to this. I do hope the speaker amp works better, because my plan for buying these HE-6 was to recoup money by selling the MKVI and using the speaker amp for both my headphones and my speakers. It's a very nice mint condition 1983 Pioneer 125wpc that I happened to get for free ($900 in 1983).
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