Portable tube amp from china?

Discussion in 'Portable Headphone Amps' started by voodoo do-er, Sep 6, 2012.
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  1. magisterarus
  2. Yobster69
  3. Klaatu
    Last edited: Dec 30, 2017
  4. Klaatu
    I got the B5 in today. It is indeed functional and it seems to be driving the daylights out of my HE-400 cans. I'm going to need some quality time with it, but so far I really dig it. IMG_20180118_182023.jpg Those are definitely tiny little red LEDs behind the tubes, so they don't glow by themselves. IMG_20180118_182007.jpg
    Last edited: Jan 19, 2018
  5. Klaatu
    I noticed that it can be noisy as all get out if it's within a foot of the phone. I may have to dig out my old iPod Classic for use with this. The one time I've taken it out of the house I used a 4ft stereo cable and kept the amp in a separate pocket on the opposite side of my body as my phone and it seemed to isolate it adequately.
    The stereo jacks seem to be a little touchy; if something isn't plugged in snugly enough, the left channel will often cut out.
    As far as power, it was more than adequate to drive my HE-400 cans for my liking (really loud!) and seemed to do really well on battery life. It seems to be doing well within it's limitations.
    Last edited: Jan 22, 2018
  6. nofacemonster
    I am planing on ordering a Little Bear B5 today. Do you think it is good...? because i want a portable tube amp. I love the warm mellow tube sound. I won't be using it on the go but probably i will be using it on a table top or bed in a stationary way. I don't have extremely good high end audio gear, I will be using it with my xiaomi phone and KZ ZS5.
  7. bsoplinger
    I have a little bear 4 and have a 5 swimming its way from China so I'd say that they're nice little amps. The older version 4 has a socket so you can change the opamp where the 5 has it soldered in. However I don't think you would be the type to change opamp considering your simple setup. They also aren't very portable in the stick it in your pocket and have music while going about your day sense. But again your setup is more of the occasionally move from here to there portable sense and either is fine for that.
    nofacemonster likes this.
  8. nofacemonster
    Thanks a load.... i ordered the B5 because i felt that after reading all the reviews it has better battery life but less power. I don't need too much power because i will be driving cheapo headphones with it. Stuff like KZ etc. I just can't wait to couple this up with my KZ ZS1 and see how it might sound because i simply love the sound of ZS1 (very sensitive to highs).

    Thank you for the recommendation.
  9. nofacemonster
    About three days back i received my Little Bear B5 and i think it is a disaster. I really thought it would be better than this, maybe my unit is faulty. I ran it for about 10 to 12 hours thinking that burn in will make things better but nothing improved. Here is my experience.

    B5 has a terrible HISS, i tried it with all my headphones and the HISS is there even when nothing is connected to it ( just headphones ) and the volume is set to zero. I told the place i bought it and they were telling me to change the OP amp. I don't know if it will fix this.

    I connected it to my laptop and while the laptop is plugged there is lot of distortion in the sound. When i ran the laptop on battery it's just like other devices, just the hiss.

    #1. KZ ZS5 ~ Complete disaster, don't even think about using this with B5. It completely cuts off the bass and it is very audible.
    #2. KZ ZS1 ~ It's pretty much alright. Bass is there but not as much as i had it connected directly to source ( probably because ZS1 is super bass heavy )
    #3. KZ ATR ~ Pretty good, bass is there and everything is warmer and sound has definitely improved towards more mellower, sweeter warmer tone.
    #4. Panasonic RP-HTX7 ~ Not bad, warmer tone is there and bass had not being altered.
    #5. Audio Technica S600 (Back band) ~ best pair or headphones i have to go with B5, sounds awesome.
    #6. Philips SBC-HP200 ~ (Very old semi open back) ~ Very laid back, warmer sound, No alteration to bass.

    on all of above HISS is there and on KZ-ZS5 it is very audible. I guess B5 is not good with multi driver IEM's.

    If anyone knows how to get rid of this HISS, it would be wonderful.
    Light - Man likes this.
  10. nofacemonster
    I just did the full sound test again.... in all of above headphones i tested B5 does kill bass for some extent. Is this common or something wrong with my B5
  11. nofacemonster
    I am having a similar problem. Was it a defective unit?
  12. slinkyjynx
    I got the B4 this week and man I love this little thing! Such beautiful, smooth sound for next to no investment. Battery life is good, and it improves just about every source. Anyone wanting to dig into tube sound on a budget can't go wrong with this.
    Light - Man likes this.
  13. bsoplinger
    You might want to consider doubling the cost of your B4 and add the Burson V5i opamp to it. I'm playing around with a review sample I received, primarily to stick in an Xduoo XD-05 but I installed it in my little bear tube amp b4 also. Really nice combination. You get that warmish tube sound and the improved imaging of the opamp although I feel that it does sound nicer in the XD-05. Once I get my review finished up I plan to purchase another one for my b4.
  14. slinkyjynx
    Assuming I know nothing, how difficult is it to replace? :)
  15. bsoplinger
    You need an appropriate sized torx screwdriver. I want to say T6 but it might be a T5, I think the correct size is in this thread and if not I can make sure to get the correct one. Then 4 screws on the corners of the front panel, the one with the knob. You carefully slide the panel, attached circuit board and battery out by about 2 inches. The most difficult thing will be prying out the existing opamp if you don't have a DIP removal tool. Careful, slow, gentle prying with a small flat blade screwdriver works fine. You then must orient the new chip properly. There's a semi circular depression on the DIP8 socket and on the opamp (new Burson or old stock one) that you align in the same direction. Push firmly and gently to seat the opamp. Then you push the battery, board and front panel back into place and replace the screws. Probably take you 10 minutes, 8 of which are just you being extrda cautious because you haven't done anything like that before.

    Honestly if you know what you're doing and have the correct torx screwdriver handy it really is literally a 2 or 3 minute operation.

    I'm pretty sure there are even pictures and a description of exactly what to do here on head-fi. If not this thread then the Xduoo XD-05 thread. Topology wise the cases and board, battery and where to place the opamp are very similar so instructions for one will be good enough to do the other. Last place to look is the Burson V5i review thread. The directions are somewhere here.
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