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i have low impedance headphones and this amp will blow em up right after 9 O'clock. cant wait to test them with some 300 ohms
This is effortless for high impedance cans. Out of my Explorer, I only need to turn up to 9am to drive DT990/600.
I havn't tried it for low impedance phones, bottom line, it's one of the most cost-effective amplifiers.
Highly recommended amp.
8am for my 650/6xx
I have had this headphone amp for two years. I really enjoy its sound. There is a noticeable difference in the spaciousness and warmth compared to running my output straight into my power amp or listening to the direct output of my external DAC. I purchased a used Tung-Sol tube to replace the stock tube, and I also noticed an improvement (or at least a change that I prefer) in the sound stage. The stock tube sounded compressed or flat. It might have improved if I had given it more time to burn-in, but I had planned to replace it from the start. I have never owned another tube headphone amp, and I cannot provide a comparison. All I can say is I paid the same as the drop here (with free shipping), and I am completely certain that I received a high quality audio component that improves my listening experience as much or more than I would expect at this price.
This looks beautiful. Anyone know how this would compare with Sony PHA3?
Well done Massdrop for the introducing this little workhorse!
I've owned the Bravo Audio Ocean headphone amp for awhile now, and first thoughts I had about it was its nice built quality. Full aluminium shell, with a good protection bar to protect the tube in the unfortunate you drop your amp.

First of all, this is not a full tube amp, could qualify for a preamp / buffer amp or purely a headphone amp. One thing that is impressive is the capability to power hard to drive headphones easily. This little amp is a beast!
I have tried my HD6xx, AKG 612, Beyerdynamics DT990 with it, and it was just effortless in giving the power needed for high ohm headphones.

Secondly, the fun part of tube amps, is tube rolling. Trying it out with different tubes will give u different sound signature, and of course this is based on personal preference once again. The stock 12AU7 tube that comes with it, does NOT glow. So those who are looking for pretty aesthetics, probably have to change out the tube.
A word of caution, for those who intend to buy / have bought the Bravo Audio Ocean amp - ***do NOT let kids touch them, or even yourself during operation*** For my unit, it was really hot. I could not lay my finger on them for more than 3 seconds. I am not sure if this is still the same, but I am guessing it is as that's what class 'A' amps do.

Definitely clarity is not as clean as compared to solid state amps. However, it does add more warmth, body, to my music / vocals sound fuller than it was on a solid state. Then again, sound signatures will vary according to the burn-in period of the tubes, headphones, environment you're in. Too many factors for them to all go wrong....or right.

For those interested, I have actually tested it against the recent Topping D30 DAC+ A30 Amplifier combo. Which I have also given a short review in there. Did A/B comparisons, there are definitely differences, better or worse is really up to you to judge.
Tubes are fun to listen to, given that it sounds more natural. But if you are looking for a first headphone amplifier, a solid state would build a good foundation.

Then again, I am by no means an audiophile, just here to share some of my thoughts about this product.

I reviewed this amp a while back, it works a charm and is nice and powerful but in my opinion not really built to last (had issues with my 1st unit, got replaced)

This vs. a Schitt Magni 3?
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I honestly have very limited expirience with tubes to be honest.. but from what i've heard the Little Dot Mk1 is one of the best "cheap" desktop tube amps and the next step up would be a darkvoice, although i heard the Little Bear B4 portable tube amp (70 or so $ on amazon) is awesome and delivers a good tube-sound BUT it only can be operated while on batteries..
Well, there's also the Little Dot MKII, the "big brother" of the I+ and the cheapest OTL amp (full tube, no solid-state). Problem with the MKII is that, being an OTL amp, it has high output impedance and it's only good while driving high impedance headphones (like Sennheiser HD600/650/6XX, Beyerdynamics 300 or 600 ohm versions, and so on). For low impedance headphones, it won't either deliver much power or sound too good, and it'll probably have strong background noise. But the sound you'll get from that is supposed to be the entry level of "real" tubey-ness, not a compromise like hybrid amps (LD I+, Bravo Ocean, Little Bear B4...).

My main headphpones are the HD6XX, I also have some low-impedance planars & IEMs, and I'm really considering buying a LD MKII just for driving my 6XX, even when I already own (and like) the LD I+. That good it's supposed to be the MKII. It all depends on your headphones and personal preferences, perfect amp doesn't exist. But if you only plan to have one amp for a vast range of headphones, Magni 3 seems to be the price-performance king.
Hi All, is there a big difference between tube amps that have one or two tubes in the configuration? I imagine there is, however I am thinking of choosing this drop over a little dot mkii. Mainly due to the price/performance factor. I am looking to pair the Bravo ocean with the smsl ad18. What do you guys think? Good start to my audiophile awakening? Pardon my ignorance and I thank you all for any feedback or advice.
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Thanks mate! very helpful. I have heard wonders regarding the magni 3 and will look into it with intent. I was looking at the LD MKi earlier; but didn't pull the trigger as there were discussions comparing the MKI & MKII and basically the hybrid aspect of the MKI put many people off. I am fascinated by way the tubes look and an very keen to discover the sounds that tubes offer. I will look to join this drop with the intention of tube rolling. I would have loved to join the O2 with SDAC but it does not look like the drop will be coming anytime soon.
I think Magni 3 is the way to go if you're coming from nowhere, have a vast variety of headphones, and plan to drive them all with the same amp. And it might be a long-term safe investment, because it has enought power and flexibility (inputs, gain switch, preamp output) to be useful on a wide variety of setups. And yeah, LD I+ is a compromise that tries to offer the best of both solid state and tube amps, but falls off somewhere in the middle and it's not as good as a pure SS for low-impedance and not as good as OTL for high-impedance. It's said to be a great match for Grados and some Audio Technica tho, if you had some of these it might interest you (I don't). Also for planars, LD I+ is great because it's the most "tubey" sound that you'll get without dealing with the high output impedance from OTL amps (I own a Fostex T-X0, almost the same as Fostex T50RP-mk2, and they sound great from the LD I+).

O2 with sDAC was not the deal of the century, because of the low quality included power supply that basically forces you to spend an extra $20 buying a decent one (same as Massdrop O2). Also, having a DAC/amp combo might not be the best for the long-run, because probably later you'll upgrade your amp and you'll be stuck with the O2/sDAC combo (or you'll have to buy a new dedicated DAC). It's usually better to have separate DAC and amp, in case you upgrade/sidegrade/whatever, because it offers you the best flexibility being able to replace any component separately.
This is my first tube amp. I can assure you, the soundstage is wider than my E10k. Not so warm (maybe very slightly) and smooth. Powered my 650 and 600 very well. My volume knob didn't even pass 10 o'clock (depending on audio file, but mostly my knob always at 9)
For me, I personally like the stock tube because of its bass (pretty punchy and smooth) and good high (not aggressive but smooth) but will rolling few tubes when I feel like.
The tube does its job and not some decoration.
Should I get this or a Soundcard like the Creative Soundblaster Z/AE-5 or the little bit more expensive little dot.
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Best budget amp or dac or dac/amp for he 400i?
Probably a Schiit Magni3. You won't ever actually need to upgrade and it'll be able to power everything. You can get a Modi 2 with it if you're looking for an external DAC, the Schiit stack (Magni + Modi) is a really popular option and sounds great for the price. Depends on your budget exactly though.
Regular price for this on Amazon is $89.99 w/ free Prime shipping right now. So if 10 people buy this here, $79.99 is a decent price. Otherwise, you're over-paying.
Owned this for a while but traded it in for the 02. Paired mostly with my HD600s. Never really noticed any of that "tube warmth" (paired with an after-market TungSol 12AU7 tube). I read that most of the amplification was done by the transistor with the signal being run through the tube for added warmth (like most hybrids I guess).
Made a big "POP" noise when powering on or off as well.
Great little hybrid tube amp! Works well with my Audeze EL-8 Closed, as well as with my AKG K712 Pro and other headphones.