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MAD Ear+ Purist HD thread.

Discussion in 'Headphone Amps (full-size)' started by lmilhan, May 22, 2007.
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  1. TheMarchingMule Contributor
    Quote:
     
    Thanks, jaywillin! It's definite that the Mad Ear+ has a proven track record (and absolute synergy with Grados), but the Lyr2 is the newest kid on the block with the latest and greatest (and at half the price).
     
  2. jaywillin
    I have used the lyr with great success with grados , and the lyr2 should be even better, it's supposed to be more quiet than lyr 1
     
  3. N15M0
    Hi guys, I have just gotten the MAD Ear+ HD which is also my first tube amp. What are the recommended tubes I should get? Thanks. 
     
  4. DeadEars
    Congratulations on your MAD Ear+ HD.  This amp is good enough that it might be all the headphone amp you'll ever need, with the right cans and tube choices.
     
    The tube that makes the most difference is the 12AX7 and its variants.  Fortunately, you can find many good alternatives for that tube, although the NOS vintage tubes have become quite expensive.  Most folks are searching for pairs, so single tubes are often less expensive.   You can also try fussing with the 12B4A's but the upside potential seems small compared to what happens with the right ECC83's!  Lloyd's choices there are pretty good.  I'd recommend focusing on the input tube as the place to start (and end).
     
    I find that the 5751 variants are often better-sounding than many 12AX7's, but they do have lower gain, i.e. they amplify less, require higher settings on the volume control for the same loudness.  The "definitive" ratings of these tubes can be found in "Joe's Tube Lore" which also has driven up the prices of the NOS tubes that he rates highest.  See http://www.audioasylum.com/scripts/d.pl?audio/faq/joes-tubes.html for example.  Over the years, I have tried many of the tubes discussed and don't always agree, but in general this is a good starting point if you want to know more about what everyone is talking about.
     
    Don't take it as gospel, nor as an indication of the best way to go for your amp.  Sometime's it's just a matter of what you can find.  The current production Gold Lion (Genelex brand) 12AX7's are a nice starting point, and should provide a nice upgrade over the stock tubes.  These use the British designation ECC83 which are equivalent to 12AX7's.  You might be happy to stop right there.  Psvane 12AX7 tubes are also getting good reviews, but I have no personal experience with them.
     
    I've tried various Mullard's and Amperex variants, and find the Mullards are often rich and creamy, but reticent in the treble, whereas the Amperex tubes tend to be more open-sounding and retain nice mid's.  Finding good ones is a crap-shoot, especially on the big auction sites.  I've had better luck through Audiogon, or the vintage tube $$ellers like Vintage Tube Services, Brent Jesse or TubeMonger, but the prices are much higher.  On the plus side, these guys test the tubes and provide guarantees.
     
    My current faves for the MAD amp are some GE 5-star triple-mica black plate tubes that I found cheap at a yard sale.  Like $10 for 4 of them.  Sylvania 5751's are also extremely nice.  I did not care for the Telefunken 12AX7's I've tried (ribbed plate), nor the Siemens.  I had some Mazda Cifte 12AX7's from Japan that were pretty nice, with a lively presentation that I keep coming back to.
     
    My recommendation would be to spend some time with the stock tubes and get to know the sound well.  Then try some other current production 5751 or 12AX7 tubes and see how much difference they make, and whether you like what they do in combination with the cans you use.  Then, try a few cheaper NOS tubes.  And your own opinion is all that matters, despite thse who worship Joe's Tube lore. 
     
    Also your choice will likely change depending on what headphones you use.  WIth Grados, you might love Mullards.  I like frame-grid Amperex 12AX7's when I want higher gain, and the GE 5751's when I have more sensitive cans that don't require the extra gain. 
     
     
    Find what makes you happy and enjoy the trip! 

     
  5. DeadEars
    Oh, here's another thread you might find useful looking for alternative 12AX7 variants
     
    http://forum.audiogon.com/cgi-bin/fr.pl?aamps&1326387515&openfrom&1&4#1
     
     
    Enjoy!
     
  6. stephanemtl
    Guys, my Ear+ (the amp itself... not the sound output) is a bit noisy. What about yours?
     
    I can hear a faint (yet clearly audible), very high-pitched noise coming and going. It seems to come from the power supply (black box), but I am not 100% sure (as the frequency is so high).
     
    Feedback greatly appreciated :wink:
     
  7. whirlwind
     


    That does not sound right....mine is dead quiet.

    Maybe you should send the good dr. an e-mail.
     
  8. parbaked
    Should be quiet!
    Unplug your source and see if it goes away.
    If not, move your amp. Plug it into a different outlet (with nothing else plugged into that outlet) and see if noise persists.
    Lot's of things can cause hum in power transformers.
    It could be your power or something wrong with the amp...
     
  9. stephanemtl
    Thank you guys. I will first try a different electric outlet.
     
  10. stephanemtl
    The noise comes directly from the two 12B4A tubes. It is a very high frequency hum or ringing that comes and goes. It can be clearly audible or very, very faint.
     
    No big issue (as it is so faint), but two days ago it got loud that I could hear it even with my headphones on (listening to music at very low volume). Since I have removed the tubes, and put them back, the noise has mostly disappeared.
     
    Not sure what to make of that. I will wait and see.
     
  11. whirlwind
    Grab yourself a couple of new tubes....I just bought one at the cost of $5
     
  12. stephanemtl
    That makes sense, although my current tubes (which came with the amp) are only 6 months old.
     
     
    In fact, I find the purchase of new tubes a bit overwhelming... so many choices... so many sellers...
     
    I wish I could try two new 12B4A tubes with a stronger bass, rounder, and a bit less bright (than the ones I got with the amp), but I do not know where to start.
     
    Piece of advice? :wink:
     
  13. jaywillin
    could be tubes going bad ? 
     
  14. whirlwind
     


    Those two tubes have nothing to do with the sound....only the 5751 or the 12AX7 will have an effect on the sound.
     
  15. parbaked
    ^ That!
    Try 5751 for your low impedance and more efficient cans and 12AX7 for high impedance and less efficient cans...
     
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