APPJ 1502A Tube Headphone Amplifiersearch

APPJ 1502A Tube Headphone Amplifier

APPJ 1502A Tube Headphone Amplifier

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Did anyone get an invoice in the shipment that had a listed price of $50.00? My shipment has that listed price on the invoice yet Massdrop charged full price of the drop and will not honor the price of the invoice. I have been in communication with Massdrop support but they say it was an error and the price is the price listed on the drop not the invoice. Needless to say I am not happy with the price but the product I am very happy. But know I am thinking I overpaid by $90.
Setup: iTunes ALAC --> optical/TOSLINK cable --> Schiit Modi 2 multibit DAC --> APPJ tube amp --> Sennheiser 6xx headphones or HiFiman HE-4xx headphones. I've only been listening for about an hour now, but so far so good. The sound is deep and rich while maintaining mids and accentuating highs. I bought some Mullard NOS preamp tubes and 6v6 replacements, but haven't used them yet. I'm sure they will add even more depth and clarity to the sound.
Didn't think it was shipping till August 14th but today I received my tube amp. Did not arrive in usual Massdrop box. Of course no power cord so I have to wait until my ordered cable arrives. I have some Electro-Harmonix tubes coming also. High hopes abound for this little tube amp. I am looking forward to see if it will pair well with my Advanced Alpha's as the Little Dot MKII did not.
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oh bummer, I hope that you find the package. If not, I hope that Massdrop will work with you on a replacement.
Wonder who signed for it, the neighborhood cat? Sorry that you have to deal with a stolen shipment. I hope it all works out for you quickly so you can enjoy your tube amp.
Is there any decent DAC i can connect this tube amp because i want to connect it to my PC?
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Topping D10, D30, D50 are not bad options
This would be an interesting pairing; a "low" cost, $476, Soekris R-2R. Feed it some 24/192 or DSD, missing for me on the MD R-2R,,, into the 1502A and a nice pair of cans,, damn now I want to try this... You would want to give it clean separate 5V on the USB -< a split cable or completely separate, so as to excel here.
is this the best tube amp you can get at this price point? That can adequately power HD6XX/ HD650?
It is just about perfect (at this price point):
  • Output voltage: 18Vp-p
  • 0.13W / 600 ohms 0.26W / 300 ohms 0.5W / 100 ohms 1W / 32ohms
There's a few OTL Tube amps you can also get at this price point. If you don't mind building one yourself, you can go with the Bottlehead Crack which pairs absolutely amazingly with the HD600 series. I haven't tried this APPJ amp, so I wouldn't be able to compare the two.
My budget "starter" tube amp, read; start spending money... that with a little help - is still with me, sounds just wonderfully, sonically, lubricious (musical) with the Elex's... a nice DAC and DSD...
Keep the tubes that come with it for test purposes, esp. if you replace caps.
Listen to those tubes first though, it's a baseline, then move on, i.e. ship the unit back or replace them (the move to prepare for).
Needful things to get your reward:
Replace the interstage caps with 0.47uF; Mundorf supreme's will allow you to put the cover back on (retain shielding), got mine here:

I also replaced the cathode caps with 1000uF Elna SIMIC II's:
The CBS (Hytron) 6V6GT's are the best I have used in the 1502A, a very open stage:
Preamp tube,, many choices,,, mine now goes between a 12BH7A or an E80CC:
Thread fyi:
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Do you have any other tube amps to compare to in your inventory @ratus, I've got a Darkvoice and love it with my 650's, looking at adding another tube amp for a second setup. Would the APPJ be in the same ball-park with the DV in terms on sound?
I really love the look of this thing too!
I'm the opposite, listening to a SET, but intrigued by the OTL, taking the problem noisy/distorting transformer out of the path... OTL gets rid of the noisy things, but at a price, you add caps. But,, you can get nice caps... you can also get nice transformers,, they just cost more... I have almost picked up a used La Figaro 339,, but I want a nice 300B SE for my speakers first...
To answer your other question; if you are willing to upgrade this 1502A with the caps and put some nice NOS tubes in it, it's worth it I feel. You will have a nice SET that will now work better with some cans than your OTL, and you can play around. Why you see it noted (elsewhere) that it has Japanese Z11 steel transformers, it matters, still a budget amp,, that I may never part with... would gift first.
I sometimes carpool with a fellow who now heads an audio R&D department, who also ran the soundboard for the Dead at one point. We got to talking about transformers, Tango, Tamura et al. and how critical the material/orientation is to the end result, shit goes deep, like Tamahagane... The C-Core amorphous transformers look interesting to me, such as Audio Note uses,, or the Lundahl's with silver wire winding,,, just takes money.
Doe anyone have any idea if a 12BH7 could be dropped in for the 6N4?
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No worries. The 12AX7 can be run off 6V or 12V so I can see what the thought process was.
It should be noted the preamp socket on this amp actually supplies 12V instead of 6V like most other headphone amps. So you can't use 6V-only tubes like 6DJ8 or 6FQ7. You must use their 12V equivalent instead (like 12FQ7) or a dual-voltage tube like the 12AX7 and 12BH7. The good news is 12V-only tubes are often cheaper than their 6V-only equivalents but sound the same.
Thanks, that is very useful to know!
The ad says RCA input and output, the specs show only RCA input and 1/4" jack out?? Which is it, I'd use this primarily as a preamp in stereo setup so I need RCA out.
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Looks like it's using a Lynn Basik cartridge ~ do you have any recommendations as far as tube phono stages?
As I mentioned before I was looking at the PS audio sprout or the Deckard Class-A (Audeze) since I definitely appreciate the source switching and headphone out on the front. Would I need an additional Phono Stage preamp to use them with the Lynn? or would those work without?

Thanks again for the help, trying to wrap my head around what gear is ideal for my needs.
The Sprout claims it has a built in Phono stage so you would not need an additional outboard phono stage with that unit. The Deckard however has no such thing so you would need an outboard phono stage with that unit. I would suggest looking into Yaqin or Little Bear for budget tube phono stages. If you are not familiar with how tubes work, do look into it before you buy, they are not for everyone. Tube equipment is often accused of "distortion". This is misuse of the word. What they do is introduce harmonics into the sound. Even ordered harmonics, octaves, fifths. These are subtle (and natural) but add a dimension to the sound that is hard to describe. "Magical", airy, three dimensional, are good ones. These results can be obtained with really fine tubes, the ones made during the heyday of tube production, 1940's-1980's before the transistor boom killed the tube. Poorly made tubes or bad tubes will sound awful. They need TLC to function properly and will need to be replaced eventually. Many people can't be bothered and opt for the transistor sound. Phono stage amps are needed to amplify the extremely small signal coming from a moving stylus in a record groove. The phono stage increases that tiny line signal for further amplification by the Pre-amp stage which then sends that signal to the amp for further amplification and out to the speakers. It's a LOT more "hassle" than digital sourced sound (-; Also, the turntable will have to be set up properly, leveled, skating and tracking pressures properly adjusted, and the stylus kept CLEAN. (-; A good disc washing system for the vinyl is also very desirable. I know that's a lot of stuff one needs to go through but please realize, VINYL was the true and original High-Resolution sound reproduction system, considerably outperforming the 44khz/16bit standard chosen for Compact Discs. Enjoy.
This amp has terrible static. I just looked at massdrop's return policy and found I have no hope of returning it so I am stuck with a piece of junk. If this drop becomes active again stay away. Far away. Massdrops crap return policy has me thinking hard about ever ordering from them again.
You can try buying a $10 ground loop isolator and using it. If this is anything like my Little Dot, it could have ground loop issues and that'll get rid of the static.
audible static or touch static?
Is this a better headphone amp that my Schiit Valhalla II? There aren't any output specs to compare too. I am being funny here. Charles DeWitt
Valhalla always better :D just my opinion
Well, I guess I am going to answer myself. It appears that there should be a power transformer but it is a tiny switch type on the circuit board.
I have roll a lot of tubes in this amp and this one is best. But before you have to change some capacitors. Check
I wonder whether this can really take the 12AU7 and 12AT7. Apart from differences in gain, there are other differences between these and 12AX7.
I use Genalex Gold Lion 12AU7.
Thanks. How does it sound when compared to 12AX7 or the stock 6N4?
Hi, just a noob question here: I'm keen to start getting into some more quality audio gear, and this seems like it might be a good place to start. I'm currently using a pair of Kingston HyperX Cloud headphones just plugged directly into the audio out from my computer. Would this amp give me a better experience do you think, or do I need to fork out for a dedicated DAC or better headphones first?
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Hi, go for the Massdrop x AKG K7XX Red Edition and add a micro to it (ModMic 4.0). You can still add a o2+odac (dac+amp system) later if you need it.
This comment makes me sick
All of the orders have been shipped and are now on the way to you! Once tracking is available, you will receive a confirmation email with tracking information. Please allow 24-48 hours for this information to update in the courier’s system.
If you have any questions, please visit our Help Center (
We're also on Instagram! We'd love to see photos of the drops you've received. Give us a follow @Massdrop and tag your pictures #massdrop.
Awesome, mine has shipped. I have a JJ Electronics 12AU7 and T-6V6-S-JJ-MP ready to be put in it.
Awaiting confirmation! We are still in contact with the vendor and just awaiting updated shipment estimates from them. We have a call scheduled first thing tomorrow morning and should get a bit more visibility in regards to when we can expect these in our warehouse.
Expect another update from us on 5/18 or sooner if something comes up.
If you have any questions, please visit our Help Center (
I received mine yesterday, Dit run it few hours with original tubes. Not bad. Im now trying few tubes. Reissue tungsol 12at7 with reissue Tungsol 6v6gt's both 100 hrs on them. Sounds great, very balanced. Then swapped 6v6's for Raytheon 6Y6G en Raytheon 6414. That sounds almost scary, very dynamic. But Best combo sofar for is JG6414 GE with 2 1958 Raytheon 6v6GT. This little cheap amp is best buy in long time :)
Thanks again for joining this drop! We have submitted the group's order with the vendor for the APPJ 1502A Tube Headphone Amplifier and they are working hard to prepare it for shipment.
As soon as the group's order is ready at the vendor's location, they will send the bulk shipment to our warehouse in New Jersey where our warehouse team will break it up into individual orders and ship them. The current estimated ship date from our warehouse is 5/24.
We will keep the group updated throughout the fulfillment process. You can expect an update from us by the end of the day Pacific Time on 5/11.
If you have any questions, please visit our Help Center (
Can't wait for this amp! So happy lowest price was unlocked!
Awesome! Lowest price unlocked!
4 hours left. Just need one more person to buy for lowest price. So close.
I know this is a headphone amp, but would it have enough amplification power to drive a set of bookshelf Pioneer SP-BS22-LR speakers from my turntable? I'm not sure how to tell... Thanks!
It is power enough for sure, but you'd probably want the APPJ 1501A or PA0901A which has preamps out. The 1502A is for headphones. Here is the listing on Amazon with pictures that might help:
This amp is too high an impedance to work well with speakers, but whatever amp you get you'll also need a phono preamp for your turntable. The phono signal has to be processed differently because of the LP's altered frequency response.
All of the orders have been shipped and are now on the way to you! Once tracking is available, you will receive a confirmation email with tracking information. Please allow 24-48 hours for this information to update in the courier’s system.
If you have any questions, please visit our Help Center (
We're also on Instagram! We'd love to see the photos of drops you've received and you can do that by following @Massdrop and tagging your pictures #massdrop.
Mine arrived today. I'd love to write a review, but since it didn't ship with a power cord , I can't right now. No power cord? Really? I'll let you know after I go out and buy one. It's this lack of attention to detail that starts a relationship out on the wrong foot.
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Mine arrived but was faulty, sent back for a refund. The audio was unbalanced, also rust around the tube.
Many items come from China sans power cord. I think it may be to exempt it from a duty classification as a non-corded electronic device, to save money (for you too).
Anyway, who does not have extra power cords, really,, and... you never threw that extra unsed one out...?
Some companies are doing this:
"The goal of this initiative is to reduce the number of power cords that end up in the world’s landfills each year. Customers have communicated that, for a variety of reasons, they do not always use the power cords supplied with the products. When power cords are automatically included with each product, these un-needed power cords are then discarded by the customer. "
Hello im kind of a noob when it comes to amplifiers so what is the difference between Tube Amplifiers and normal Amplifiers?
Go on for some of your audiophile info But here's a good answer from a similar question found on that website: Tube [amps] sound can be described as warm, smooth, musical and other esoteric terms. Their soundstage are also typically wider. ... SS (solid state) amps when done right, are said to be totally revealing, transparent, resolving and sometimes, a black background(low noise)
Has anyone tried the Peachtree Shift? For $299 it's an amp and DSD DAC that has two inputs and many other high-end features . I have one right now for review (stereomojo) and it looks and sounds extraordinary. Nice real leather accents.
Right, but the Shift is a PORTABLE, solid-state DAC. So far different from the APPJ 1502A drop this discussion is about. Maybe you meant in conjunction with this tube amp? In that case I have not but if you already like the sound out of the Shift, stick with it. Only if you can't drive 600ohm cans should you consider this, or want some coloration the shift isn't providing.
How does this compare with Little Dot MK 3 or MK 4?
The vendor informed us that the group's order was picked up and is on its way to our warehouse. Based on the tracking provided, the order is scheduled to arrive 4/21.
Sometimes shipments get delayed en route, but we will keep the group updated throughout the fulfillment process and notify you all if anything causes delay.
Thank you for your patience. Expect an update from us on 4/25 or sooner if something comes up.
If you have any questions, please visit our Help Center (
Our vendor has informed us that inventory will become available to them within the next few days. They will be working hard to prepare this order for shipment and aim to send it from their location by the end of the week. We are currently trending for everything to be shipped out of our warehouse before the estimated ship date of 4/22.
Expect an update from us by the end of the day Pacific Time on 4/18 or sooner if something comes up.