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.