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Little Dot MK8SE / MK6 Super Mods (All verified mods are on first page)

Discussion in 'Headphone Amps (full-size)' started by redge78, Sep 26, 2015.
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  1. baronbeehive
    Nearly ready to fix in place, I might test it outside first but it will fit alright anyway:

    upload_2018-9-20_17-59-32.png upload_2018-9-20_18-0-25.png
    Last edited: Sep 20, 2018
  2. Maxx134
    Hey Baron is it possible to do only one side (right or left) so you can compare sides ?
    Is the expected improvement just noise floor ?
  3. MrCurwen
    Not adressed to me, but I'll chime in:


    No, the expected improvement is no difference at all.
  4. baronbeehive
    I decided to go ahead and fit the filter in place, it just might provide yet more improvements! I think everything is the right way round, caps etc. Haven't switched on yet though, if anyone can see why I shouldn't then say so now....

    • new B- goes out from M1 source to CCS
    • ground connection goes from opposite end from B- to ground on board which I've taken from the original driver stage cap negative where some of us put the driver stage decoupling caps. I measured this at under .5 ohms.
    • old B- is the board circuit input from the 5K1, which we used for the CCS without the filter, to filter via R6

    upload_2018-9-21_16-11-44.png upload_2018-9-21_16-12-48.png

    upload_2018-9-21_16-13-46.png upload_2018-9-21_16-14-34.png
  5. baronbeehive
    As MrCurwen said I don't think there will be any improvement, I didn't hear any nasty harmonic distortions needing cleaning up, but they might be hiding there somewhere lol. But it's nice to know the filter is there anyway just in case!

    Re: your suggestion to try one side at a time, I tried this originally but was unable to get along with that method so I used my own method of first impressions which works for me. I think you need to practice at that to get used to it, but maybe you could try this when you do your implementation.

    Edit: When I tried that method back with the listening tests I found it very difficult to get any impression of soundstage with one ear, also I think my ears are each slightly different so can't compare very easily!

    I don't think I will be able to tell any difference atm anyway due to an ear infections so I'll have to put off any impressions for now.
    Last edited: Sep 21, 2018
  6. baronbeehive
    ….. so in the meantime here's a pic showing how well it fits:

    tinger1 likes this.
  7. SonicTrance
    Good job baron! It’s nice to see that you’re going at it!
  8. baronbeehive
    Massive relief..... active filter + CCS works! The caps haven't blown... which is always a good sign. I can't say what it sounds like atm though.

    Yes, I'm a complete nervous wreck lol. Always worried about the circuit board when I make any changes.
    Maxx134 likes this.
  9. baronbeehive
    I'm very happy with the LD now but if the Nichicon Muse does this to bass and treble compared to the Kaisei's then I'm interested, but I'm not changing anything in the other amp, including tubes!

    Good luck with your move, I hear that New York apartments are getting mighty expensive lol.
  10. Sam-Fi
    The mk8SE is one of my favorite amps. Keep up the great discussion guys. I'm watching all this intently. :)

    Interesting mod baronbeehive
  11. baronbeehive
    Hi Sam-Fi!

    Yes the CCS. We've been talking about this for ages, better to make sure the amp is balanced properly than rely just on the tubes to do this.

    So what other amps have you got, and are you modding yourself?
  12. baronbeehive
    I made another alteration to the amp at the weekend, and first impressions are very positive!

    I swopped out the OCC copper output wires for OCC silver in an attempt to sharpen up the sound so that it was more like the other amp, the APPJ in that respect. I didn't really think that changing the wire composition from copper to silver would have any effect on the component side within the amp.

    At first I didn't think there was much difference, maybe a slightly brighter sound perhaps because I noticed some high frequencies that I hadn't noticed before. Well after comparing it with the other amp I can confirm that the sound is indeed brighter in the higher frequencies and that has the effect of opening up the sound somewhat.

    I compared the 2 amps, the LD and the APPJ and they are now performing surprisingly similarly. Bear in mind that they are both pretty well top level to me but the main superiority in the APPJ was in bass and treble performace with these having a sharpness that was slightly deficient in the LD by comparison. Well to summarize the 2 amps now:

    Resolve - the same
    Soundstage - pretty similar, the LD having a slight superiority
    Bass - pretty similar, the APPJ possibly slight superiority in articulation but the LD having slightly more heft
    Midrange - pretty similar, the LD possibly slightly richer sounding still, but now with a brighter sound in the higher frequencies making it sound a bit more open
    Treble - pretty similar, the APPJ possibly slight superiority
    Textural details, the same
    The differences are now so slight that to all intents and purposes they sound the same which is a very positive result to me.

    Bearing in mind the APPJ is a SET headphone amp and the LD is a push pull speaker amp this is quite a surprising result I think. The increase in brightness in the treble frequencies is the right thing for the LD I think because before it was very refined sounding but possibly at the expense of some dynamics and articulation to the sound.
    Last edited: Oct 24, 2018
    tinger1 likes this.
  13. baronbeehive
    Hey Maxx, I just tried those Nichicon Muse KZ's! I was going to wait for your impressions but as you're still relocating I decided to go ahead and give them a try, very cheap upgrade so what's not to like. First impressions are that we are now in another level of transparency as you said, sharper bass and treble. This on top of my OCC silver wire upgrade and things are really looking good. I will have some time with this to acquaint myself with the new sound and come back with some observations, I really want to be sure about the sound before I comment.

    For now though the OCC silver wire upgrade from the OCC copper that I had in originally is highly recommended, the change is most definitely for the better. I think the quality of silver is key here, I don't think the sound would be the same with the cheapo silver plated wire.
    Last edited: Nov 3, 2018
  14. Maxx134
    So far from my, what I would call average experience, I feel the headphone cables are more critical than rest.

    For internal small signal stage wiring, it seems fine to go with many choices, but for output & especially headphone cable, it gets very demanding.

    The only place I felt silver plated was advantageous was in small signal(line level) stage.

    The circuit board's output wire to connectors, is very thin & anemic, (and it ends up being an extension of your headphone cable, once plugged in.)

    Silver plated for larger signals like headphone cable always gave me slight adverse effects like slight upper spectrum shift, confusion or fatigue, or general change of perception to excessive brightness due to a "change")

    I myself installed OCC copper, but doubled & twisted

    Another point I like to mention, is wire type.
    For my best choice of internal wiring of a headphone (an HD800 I had switched internal wire three times besides stock).

    I am convinced the Neotech stranded AG/GD in PE (OCC Silver with slight Gold blend mix, insulated in teflon) was the best wire for that application.

    For me it gave the positive benifits of both silver & copper(!), (even tho it used gold).

    I also switched from the excellent cardass solder (which flows smoothest), to the mundorf silver/gold solder, to closer match that wire type.

    These cable type benefits were noticeable in that specific application ( in the headphone.)
    I do not know if these characteristic ,, carry onto other applications.

    Yes it is actually both a good and yet sad thing that the cathode cap position has ability to affect the sound, because of the traditional designs used... Yep...

    A general design "reliance" on parts quality, that 99.999% of all current tube circuit designs based on.

    Then you have the 0.0001% newer design approach, getting away from those designs, like the SonicTrance design approach (based on Mr.Curwen).

    I am grateful to have an opportunity to hear such a design.
    Last edited: Nov 9, 2018
    SonicTrance likes this.
  15. baronbeehive
    Yes, that accords with what Atlas cables themselves said about the interference that you get when mixing different metals in the same cable. I was surprised that the pure silver Neotec wires that I used for the output wires, not the silver plated, had such a good effect at line level but the change was definately for the better over OCC copper, if you value transparency, on the high frequencies which the LD was previously somewhat deficient at. I compared the 2 amps after this change and can vouch for the improvement. I remember you saying that the silver plated output wires added a touch of harshess which is why you added the OCC copper. Some top level amp manufacturers use pure silver internally so I thought about trying it. I was concerned about losing the refined sound the LD has but pure silver is raved about by many. This change alone was an improvement but this was added to by the increased extension in treble that came about with the Nichicon caps.

    Having noted the beneficial change with the OCC silver 6 output wires to the line level XLR outputs, I wondered why you stopped there at the XLR lineouts and I am therefore considering completing the wire run from the XLR's on to the headphone socket with 6 more pure silver wires, I think it is perhaps possible to achieve yet more transparency.

    That's interesting. I also am considering this change to headphone cable, atm I just have the standard HiFiMan copper cable, incidently their silver headphone cable was crap which is why I think you have to go pure silver, or silver/gold. However having changed the output wires this has become less of a necessity now, but maybe in the future I could gain yet another increase in SQ!
    Maxx134 likes this.
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