Member of the Trade: Beezar.com
- Mar 1, 2006
Little Dot mk3 amp section does not "blow away" NFB and T1 mk2.
The Little Dot is also not only more expensive, but if tube rolling you have 4 tubes to deal with, while you have only one with the T1.
Does 'tube rolling' mean tube replacements right?
I'm going to have to replace those tubes down the line?
Extra $40-$90 per tube?
Tube rolling is the process of trying different tubes of the same type or equivalent in order to get improved sound. Opamps work the same way. Many different opamps can be swapped out in a totally solid-state amplifier circuit for different responses, depending on the headphone and the amplifier topology. That's not to say that frequency response is not flat - it is. Some people call it "coloration," but that's only a meager expression for the fact that frequency response measurements are like a lot of other measurements - they're only an approximation of a specified assumption. You can have identically flat frequency responses from one amp to another, yet your ear can easily detect subtle differences in improving or worsening sound quality, depending on what you "roll" in the amp.
Many tube-based headphone amplifiers use the 12AU7 as the basis for the signal stage in the circuit. That particular tube has dozens and dozens of slightly different tube types that will also work and there are many brands that are all different when it comes to sound quality. The 12AU7 is also currently manufactured by several manufacturers that still manufacture vacuum tubes (New Sensor, JJ Electronics). So, when someone is saying the Little Dot only allows 4 tube types, that's pretty limited in the world of tube amps.