My Little Dot I+ Review (PICTURES!!!)
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AndreyS

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Greetings, Head-Fiers! It's been a while. I'm glad to say that I have returned after having spent a ton of time with the Little Dot I+ with my Grado SR325is and the Music Streamer II.

I guess it's time for a review!
 
Because I don't have any fancy equipment, this review will be short and qualitative.
 
The built quality of the I+, for a start, is pretty dang good! I don't have any complaints in that department. The enclosure is extremely solid, and all protruding features (volume knob, vacuum tubes, rear plugs) are as solid and unmoving as they each should be. 
 
Sound quality is very good! Overall, though, the combination of the Music Streamer II and this Little Dot is an extremely subtle improvement over MacBook Pro headphone jack quality. I noticed that the highs become more pleasant and the bass impact improves a tiny bit. Acoustic plucks are improved a bit. Once again, this $138 investment results in an extremely small improvement in sound quality. Maybe I have bad ears or something, but I just cannot hear much change in the sound. Maybe I should tube roll to notice more profound improvements, but I am confident in my opinion that there is no "night and day" difference between the MacBook Pro built in amp/DAC combo and the Music Streamer II & Little Dot I+ combination.
 
As for power, of course, the Little Dot powers my low-impedance Grados to much higher volumes than the MBP's headphone jack.
 
My final point is negative...
 
Interference.
 
This thing is super-sensitive to ... everything. When I wave my cell phone around the tubes, I here hissing. Every so often, when the amp is just sitting idle (on with no music playing), I'll hear a subtle pop. The tubes themselves seem to be fine. Also, if your stereo RCA plugs cross the power cable, you hear an unpleasant 60Hz hummmmmmmmmm...........
 
I'm happy that this can be explained by simple E&M, but it is still annoying.
 
In conclusion, the Little Dot I+ provides a small improvement in sound quality with a huge amount of sensitivity to interference.
 
PROS
Small improvement in sound quality over MBP
Excellent built quality
Comes with a ton of jumpers
Looks cool in the dark due to tubes' glow
Pretty in full light as well
 
CONS
Small improvement in sound quality over MBP
Extremely sensitive to its surroundings
 

 
Any questions/comments!?
 
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AndreyS

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I ordered some Western Electric 408A tubes from Yen Audio yesterday!
 
I have to commend Yen Audio for their effort to uphold customer satisfaction! My dumb self sent the tubes to my college address. I told Yen Audio, and their representative graciously offered to conditionally send a replacement pair to my home address! I was floored with the trust! GO YEN AUDIO!

Despite the enticing offer, I decided to set up temporary mail forwarding with USPS (for $1.00).
 
Anyway, the purpose of this post is really to commend Yen Audio!
 
...and to result in a bump...
 
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fabio-fi

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I've heard good things when pairing grado's and little dot, after reading this..it seems like a good value amp. 
 
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shipsupt

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Great write up AndreyS.  You should definitely give a few opamp/tube combos a try, it's fun and you might find a you hear something that really shows off the upgrade.  If you haven't already done so I'd recommend the tube rolling thread http://www.head-fi.org/forum/thread/364043/little-dot-i-tube-rolling
 
I have noticed the same issue with RF interference.  It seems worse with certain tubes.
 
X2 on Grados and the LD I+.  Solid performance at a great price.
 
 
 
 
 
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zero7525

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I've heard that grados (especially the sr225) match well with this amp.
I've posted my impressions in the Little Dot 1+ tube rolling thread. Check it out! I'm using LM4562 and WE408A tubes btw.
 
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