DarkVoice 336SE OTL Headphone Ampsearch

DarkVoice 336SE OTL Headphone Amp

DarkVoice 336SE OTL Headphone Amp

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(70 reviews)
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Just plugged my Istotek mains cable into the amp Powered up and sounds good...expect as it burns in it will get obviously better Very nice
I have a Dark voice, using the Massdrop x Grace design DAC and am using Shure SRH1840s I mostly listen to older 80/90s Hip Hop. Looking to upgrade tubes. What would you guys recommend me?
contact information for darkvoice
Would a knowledgeable audiophile please jump in and help me with one thing? What tube should I get in order to retain as much bass as is possible with with darkvoice (which Z said reduces bass by 3db)? I use the HD6xx, HD600, and HD58x. Primarily the 6xx.
Also, if there are any mods which boost or at least help retain bass, would you share their names, and any other tips?
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Lociinthesky
after a lot of reading i went with a CRC-6AS7G (RCA) NOS and a cv181-z (shuguang treasure).
not knowledgeable, i still dont know what im doing but this is what i decided on after hours of reading. they sound great btw. anyway good luck.
Jello
lol, I asked for the cheapest tube replacement worth buying and you send me a $130 tube! Get outta town, rich guy! Anyway, thanks for jumping in to help with this question.
Just bought this for my new HD 6XX. I can't wait until it arrives. In the mean time, could anyone please recommend some good tubes to buy for my DV336? This is my first tube amp.
Thank you :)
Who else from the UK has made the leap and bought one of these then? And what headphones will you likely be using them with. Looking forward to trying out some different tunes already!
I received my Dark Voice a few days ago. Here is my initial review:
Upon arrival: Massdrop kept the delivery date promise. I received the item before the estimated date. Thanks! The Dark Voice and both tubes were well protected in its original foam pads within its shipping box.
Initial first 2 hours testing: The Dark Voice functions properly. I tested Dark Voice with HD-6XX (300 Ohm) and DT 800 (250 Ohm). They both sounded good but with the frequently mentioned left ear humming sound. The humming was very noticeable. Nevertheless, the sound from HD-6XX was really impressive.
Waiting/Baking: To remove the common humming, I followed our Massdrop members’ recommendations and took out 6AS7 (larger tube) out and left only 6SN7 (smaller tube) installed and turned the Dark Voice on for about 50-60 hours. After that I added 6AS7 back to Dark Voice and turn on the Dark Voice again. The humming is about 90% gone. I expect the further use will eventually remove the humming.
First day of the actual use of Dark Voice: I used to listen to HD-XXX & HD-600 on Topping DX7s with balanced cable. I thought HD-6XX was good back then. BUT NOW, pairing HD-6XX with Dark Voice (even with unbalanced cable & RCA input), I was SO IMPRESSED and SURPRISED how great this pair can reproduce beautiful music. Simply for this reason, Dark Voice is worth every dollar well spent. After I switched to Hifiman planar headphones and Stax electrostatic headphones two years ago, I stopped using about 35 different dynamic driver headphones I owned. I tested about 12 of them with higher ohms, such as Sennheiser HD-600, HD-660s, HD-6XX, HD-58X, Beyerdynamic DT 880, JBL, AKG …even Superlux HD660 and Samson SR950. I have to say that Dark Voice gives these headphones very different and much more enjoyable sounds. I am so glad that I bought this Dark Voice.
Protection Box: Since the Dark Voice & its tubes can get warm and breakable, I decided to place the Dark Voice in a protective box so that my very curious and naughty miniature poodle would not accidentally burn its cute fuzzy paws or face.
Summary: If you are into music listening and have some headphones that you suspect they have not yet reached their full potential, Dark Voice is something worth your attention and investment. So far, I am very happy even with the original tubes. I think I will start tube rolling soon like many others are doing here. I give this Dark Voice 9.5/10. I highly recommend it. Please also see my photos for Dark Voice & Halloween headphone holder.
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I run a vintage GE 6080 power tube and a NOS Philips SilverTone 6SN7, buttery smooth highs (even on a Beyerdynamic DT990) and exceptional texture on mids and very little drop in the lows.
Tubes in general seem to dampen low range extension; which is why I love the combo of the DV and Beyerdynamic cans, they're crazy, v-shaped house sound actually comes out sounding really, really good on the DV.
ohsigmachi
I really appreciate the update on tubes. I will follow your suggestion and try to find those two tubes to upgrade. I find that many older recordings (CD, especially recordings 80's- early 90's) sound so much better via Dark Voice than via modern digital DAC/Amp. To be able to hear these older recording sounding this alive and open is just amazing. Thanks again for your advice.
I’m VERY VERY UNHAPPY The amp had wrong plug and just to take the piss my Cardas Cable DOES NOT WORK
LesX55
Yeah same here they gave me the wrong plug, i just sold the lead from my kettle
Will a USA version (60Hz) work in Tokyo (50Hz)? Also is the power cord 3 prong grounded?
Just opened mine Have a few issues 1) Huge deep scratch from the volume dial to headphone output and down to the blue label 2) Wrong plug!! Asked for 220V so expected a UK plug-which it does not have
If I order the 220V model will it come with a UK mains plug? I am currently in the US, but this will be for my flat in the UK. Also just wondering if I could run it in the US off of my clothes dryer circuit?
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cledry
American outlets for 220v are phase to phase, not phase to neutral. That means that in Europe the brown wire is 220v with respect to neutral (blue)  or ground. In America you will have a black and a red that are your "hot"  wires, either of which have a potential of 120v to neutral (white) or ground, and a potential of 220v to each other (red to black). Neutral wires typically have no (or little)  potential to ground when all is well. This means that were you to run a European appliance on a US 220v outlet, one of the wires going into it that was intended to be neutral (blue) is now live with 120v to ground! While it may very well work (also may not), it was never designed to do so and may present a serious safety hazard!
cledry
What is the wattage draw at idle and under load of this amplifier. I think a step up stepdown transformer will be the way to go.
My brother has a SMSL M8 Day lying around doing nothing, will it pair with the Darkvoice? USB from my Mac to M8 and RCA cables connecting M8 to Darkvoice? New at this. Thanks.
Phuncure
Yes, it will.
Heefty
Great. Thanks :)
Are the QC horror stories about this amp true? If so are there any tube amps that fit the HD6XX around this price range besides the Bottlehead Crack?
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Interesting, maybe the QC is a hit or miss.
Epic_Taco_Dude
Probably. The most common things I've seen are hum and the power switch being broken in transit. The hum has several fixes some are quite easy, some more invasive. Not much you can do about a broken switch though.
Why does massdrop keep selling this garbage tube amp when there are better ones out there for the price. QC is terrible on DV.
I purchased the Audioromy M6v6 and can't be happier. Dead silent and runs everything.
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Interesting product. Why are the reviews so few?
AudioFaze
My guess would be that the manufacturer is concentrating outside the USA. I was hesitant to purchase from China because of their return policy at owners expense which Is why I bought it thru Amazon so I can return it at sellers expense if the product was defective. No regrets, with the right tubes, the sound is nothing short of jaw dropping.
Just got one used off Head-Fi too...
Is this 100% tube or is it a tube solidstate hybrid design? The reason that I ask is that the claimed specs are a bit too good for a tube amp. 100db snr especially.
Calaverasgrande
It’s 100% tube, not hybrid
JoweyN
does anyone have pics of the inside of it?
Where can I buy tubes for this amp? I am ok with stock tubes
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I'm using a GE 6080 power tube. It doesn't look pretty but it's as tough as nails and gives good power to all the audio tubes I have thrown at it. From reading around the forums the power tube is not as big of a factor once you get a decent one. I haven't noticed a ton a difference in the power tubes I have tried.
geeker342
The only power tube that have gotten that I didn’t much care for was a Svetlana “Winged C”. I do like the Western Electric, Brimar, Mullard, RCA, and Tung-Sol power tubes, especially the WE and the Mullard.
Figured I'd share my initial experience with the DV and my specific cans.
Immediately swapped the stock tubes out. GE 6080 6AS7. Started with a new production Tung Sol 6SN7GTB but it had terrible hum on the left side. I hear that goes away with burn in, but I decided to swap in a Silvertone 6SN7. Smoooooooth. Great combo with the GE. I'll be comparing the DV (tube amp) versus an Emotiva A-100 (solid state amp).
My listening pleasures at the moment are Fostex TH-X00 Purpleheart, Grado Head-Fi HF2, Monoprice M1060 V2, Focal Elex. As expected, the M1060 were not ideal for the DV (harsh highs, dull lows, muffled mids) and fair better on the A-100. Not as expected, the Purplehearts were noticeably worse on the DV. So congested. The biggest difference for sure. I haven't noticed a huge difference on the Elex. They sound fantastic on both amps. No real preference there. The big and most welcome surprise was with the Grado set. I've tried five other amps and nothing has ever made them shine the way they do with the DV. Opened up a whole new world for those. I've been considering selling them for a while, but I will be holding on to them for the foreseeable future .
It'll be interesting to see if any other tube combinations or burn in change things much. I am happy with my purchase right out of the box, and hope to get some good mileage out of it.
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YES. Schiit Vali 2 and a Monoprice tube amp.
Krankcolc
Oh okay, I see you have tried them on tubes, but actually what I like Sennheiser wise on the DV, is the HD-600s.
DarkVoice has shipped!!
This is a good value OTL tube amp and I found it to pair exceptionally well with HD600 for rock, pop & rap songs (but not EDM obviously). For some reason, it didn't pair well with my HD650 as it made the overall sound too muddy. I expected it to pair well with HD800 but it also didn't pair well either as it made the bass muddy and loss in details. This was with Tung sol 7236 and Sylvania 6SN7W. So things might be different with other tubes. From what I'm hearing, I think Valhalla 2 or massdrop x alex cavalli CTH tube hybrid amp might be more suited for HD650 & HD800 as a budget tube amp.
My DarkVoice worked well for two months, it sounded amazing with the HD6XX, specially after upgrading to some NOS tubes. The problem is that after two months, the right channel suddenly stopped working for unknown reasons. I've tried everything: replacing tubes, different sources (DAC, PC, smartphone), different RCA cables, different headphones... Nothing, right channel is dead.
Massdrop does not offer any warranty or support on this: I contacted support, it took them a week to basically say "sorry, you're screwed, good luck". I've tried contacting the manufacturer, but according to my readings the company "Orphean Sound Audio-Video" does not exist anymore and/or there's not a way to contact them. 2 of the 3 founders of this company created "Yuking Audio-Video Lab" and developed the newer La Figaro tube amp, but there's no info around the former company, even their old website is down.
Now I'm basically stuck with a $230 paperweight, and some weird vintage light bulbs I can't plug anywhere else. I'll have to figure out how to repair my unit, if possible, by my own. If anyone knows a way to contact the manufacturer for a RMA/repair/whatever just let me know please!
Eli35
Did you change the tubes, to check if that is the cause for the channel to drop out? Just switch back to the stock tubes and check If you haven’t. Good luck. :)
Firecrab
I did, several times. The only thing that made the right channel sound again (for a few minutes) was... Well, I did nothing but turning it off for a few days and then turned on, right channel came back after a few minutes of burn-in, and it went off again after half an hour or so... That's so frustrating.
Anyone have suggestions for a solid state amp that compliments the darkvoice well? I have the DV and Modi Multibit with the 6xx and 58x, and its An awesome setup. i recently impulsively joined the he4xx drop and I’m now finding out that planars dont pair well with the DV (low impendance headphones in general). I have grado sr225’s and they don’t sound good at all through the DV. I was looking at the Magni 3, but i was thinking maybe class A might be a better compliment to the DV, but I havent Really delved too far into the solid state amps
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+1 the LD1+ with some nice tubes is a pleasure to listen. The best tubes are the cheapest .. voskhod, EI yugo ... a pair around 14 Euros inklusive shipping and besides they dont have to be matched too. ;)
austriandude
You're absolutely right, but I'd say matched pairs are preferable.
Has anyone tried the Dark Voice out with the Focal Elex yet? I've heard some good things about pairing with Grados but nothing about the Elex.
Anyone here pair the dark voice with a Schiit Modi Multibit? I just ordered one as my first dac. Ive had the hd6xx, and hd58x, and dark voice just sitting around for a few months until I made room for them. Finally decided to order a dac. I went back and forth between the modi 2/uber and Multibit, and also the grace audio/jds/audio quest options in the same price range. Reviews I found said that the Multibit was a noticeable step up from the modi 2/uber and that it had a better detail in the lower frequencies and slightly darker treble, wider sound stage. Seemed to match the darkvoice and hd6xx. right now I have an Apple Mac descktop. just wondering it I made a good choice or not.
Davestef
I think you‘ve made a good choice. I haven’t used it with the Darkvoice but with other very similar tube amps and it imparts a slightly warm, yet very nicely detailed sound. Its a little more fussy because you really do need to warm it up. I just leave it on all the time.
I finally unboxed my unit that I got on 8/22. I got a dud with some apparent factory caused problems. Mine had a scratch on the housing. Also, the power tube's guide pin was broken off. I could have lived with both of those things for good sound. I looked at the pictures on the drop and aligned the power tube how it is in the pictures, but it did not appear to come on. The driver tube lit up. I tried it with my HD6XXX's and only got sound out of the right channel and it was very low. Plug in the headphone only half-way and I get the left channel very low. It sounded good for what it is worth, but obviously not optimal. I hope I can get a replacement. My first bad drop. I was really looking forward to this amp. :(
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sucram65
Perhaps you can try another 6as7 tube.
I think the dark voice itself is quite durable.
jgp1212
I’ll see what support says after the holiday. Don’t want to be stuck with a broken amp if I miss the return window. I’ll just wait for the next drop.
Just received this. Mostly happy. The 6n5p tube (should be 6as7) is occasionally very noisy in the left channel. Fuzzy, loud pops, etc. I will contact Mass drop but am wondering if anyone else has this problem
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Looks like the feet have melted on my desk. Watch out people. Can ruin your fucking desk.
How would you connect these straight to a computer is my question?
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I also just bought a Meridian Explorer2 DAC which works great with a computer. That gives you a nice DAC as well as the ability to decode MQA if you are a TIDAL user. I use Roon and Tidal, so it is perfect for me. Audioquest DragonFly is a great choice if you use an i-device as a source (iPhone or iPad) since the Meridian E2 cannot run off of an iPhone or iPad (but can off of a Mac computer or laptop).
Xibles
I'm using the AMB Laboratories Gamma 2 DAC. It's a DIY though.
Does anyone have any idea of when these will be delivered? says October 15 and i ordered on 22nd Aug. Just hopping i don't have to wait that long.
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Mine just shipped today a month and a half early.
mulder
Mine arrived about 3 hours ago. Looks like we got lucky.
Hey I just got my darkvoice and I got to say that testing with low impedance headphones isn't the most fun thing to listen to. My volume was pretty quiet even when I turned it all the way up and the music sounded less alive then just plugging my headphones in to my phone. Do any of you know if that has to do with maybe run-in time or becous of the low impedance? Also the smaller tube of the two seemed dirty like a glass from a bad café and it had a small crack in it. Maybe that's becous it sounds weird. Hope you guys can help! Thanks in advance!
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Senne
Senne, one of the fun parts of a Owning a DV, is tube rolling. To keep the price down, companies use inexpensive tubes, so in this case, you look for other tubes to buy and replace the stock tubes. It is fun and can be expensive, but there in lies the fun of rolling tubes into a tube amp.
Senne
Far as I know, all tube amps have a sizable output impedance. What this means is if your load impedance (the headphones) is low impedance, most of the power will get used up before getting to your headphones.
Ex: output impedance 120 ohm ; 30 ohm headphones. 30/(120+30) -> only 1/5 of the voltage gets to the headphones.
If output 240 ohm and 30 ohm headphones, 30 / ( 240 +30) = 1/9th.
It might be in the neighborhood of 60ohm output impediance though -> 30 / (60 + 30) = 1/3.
If you were using high impedance headphones like 300 ohm and output impedance is 60 ohm -> 300/ (60 +300) = 5/6 -> hence not really terrible for headphones like 6xx. most of the power is still transferred to the load (headphones).