SuperBAF Cheap Tube Amp Guide ~$1200 or less

Discussion in 'Headphone Amplifiers and Combo (DAC/Amp) Units' started by Marvey, Sep 13, 2016.

  1. Ray

    Ray Friend

    Friend
    Joined:
    Oct 27, 2015
    Likes Received:
    435
    Trophy Points:
    63
    Location:
    Louisiana
    I've got an earlier Glenn otl. Tube rolling is limitless but don't think it's worth the suttle differences. Got two sets I stick with. Gained enormous respect for the 650's after hearing them on this amp. Amazing how they excel. Would love to hear a tiii someday
     

  2. lukeap69

    lukeap69 Pinoy Panther - Friend

    Joined:
    Sep 29, 2015
    Likes Received:
    71
    Trophy Points:
    28
    Very true. My OTL does not even use 6SN7 as drivers and most of Glenn's other OTL's do or can do.
     
  3. mrweirdude

    mrweirdude Asshole lowballer - acquaintance

    Joined:
    Apr 18, 2016
    Likes Received:
    147
    Trophy Points:
    43
    Any opinions on the Torp 1? The torp 3 gets good praise around here, but not much people mention the torp 1...
     
  4. gibosi

    gibosi Acquaintance

    Joined:
    Nov 7, 2015
    Likes Received:
    71
    Trophy Points:
    18
    Location:
    Ohio, USA
    Yes, the possible customization is limited only by one's imagination, budget and yes, feasibility. :)

    That said, the base Glenn OTL is $700, with one 5-volt rectifier, one 6SN7 socket and two 6AS7 output tubes. The transformer can provide 5 amps of heater current to the rectifier and up to 11 amps to the driver and output tubes. This allows one to roll a pair of 6336, 6528 or a quad of 6AS7 to better handle low-Z cans.

    In my GOTL, I chose customizations to allow for more tube rolling only, such as 12 and 25 volt drivers as well as a pair of C3g, and thus, they have no effect on the basic sonic signature of the amp. But unfortunately, I am pretty isolated here in fly-over country, and haven't had a chance to compare it to any of the other amps in this list. Even so, for only $700, I suggest that it may well be worth looking into.
     
    lukeap69 and zonto like this.
  5. crazychile

    crazychile Friend

    Friend
    Joined:
    Jan 19, 2016
    Likes Received:
    251
    Trophy Points:
    63
    Location:
    Eastern Iowa
    I'm guessing that @Marvey measured the MicroZotl 2 with the stock power supply, given the date of the measurements posts. I've owned the MZ2 for a couple of months now, (bought the loaner from the tour) and I really like it with the upgraded LPS. Some of the comments about it's deficiencies are somewhat inconsistent with my experience with it so I'm wondering how much of an improvement the LPS makes with the measurements and sound. I'm at a disadvantage of never hearing the amp with the stock power supply, and I honestly have never heard a headphone amp in that ~$1500 price range so I'm not a good one to judge how good of an amp the MZ2/LPS is if someone pays retail vs. something else in that price range. I was previously using a Lyr 2, which I really liked. The jump in musical satisfaction between those two amps was significant. But that's not really a fair comparison either.

    I run my MZ2 with Fostex TH-X00 and stock HD-650s and I think they both sound great. I haven't messed with any tube rolling yet and haven't had much of an urge to. My only quibble about the MZ2 is that sometimes a little more power when using HD-650s would be nice but that's only an issue on a few softer recordings and after hitting the Pale Ale to excess.
     
  6. bazelio

    bazelio Friend

    Friend
    Joined:
    Nov 16, 2015
    Likes Received:
    2,169
    Trophy Points:
    113
    Regarding the MZ2, what I found was that my Sigma-11 LPS smoothed out most of the harshness that existed with the stock SMPS but that it didn't solve the steely treble timbre, lack of bass detail/definition and such. Even after excessive tube experimentation and LPS, I couldn't get over its shortcomings. E.g. acoustic guitars just never sounded right. The T3 that I built to replace the MZ2 at work is superior, and cheaper.
     
  7. zerodeefex

    zerodeefex Ornery Admin

    Staff Member Friend
    Joined:
    Sep 25, 2015
    Likes Received:
    4,689
    Trophy Points:
    113
    This. Basically the MicroZOTL 2+LPS is inferior to the Laconic Night Blues Mini (even if someone set themselves up as a reseller I couldn't see this amp being more than $500-600) which is a step below the T3. At the asking price, the MicroZOTL just doesn't make sense.
     
  8. Hands

    Hands Overzealous Auto Flusher - Measurbator

    Staff Member Friend
    Joined:
    Sep 27, 2015
    Likes Received:
    3,942
    Trophy Points:
    113
    Location:
    Colorado
    Home Page:
    Yeah, we were using the LPS. If you haven't heard some of the better tube amps around, you can probably get on quite well with it. I had a couple minor nitpicks about it, but, really, it was the price for the sound quality that bothered me given the competition.

    @zerodeefex beat me to it! (I think the Vali 2 with what tubes I tried and the Jotun were both better sounding amps than the MZ2, for example, and agree regarding the NBM.)
     
  9. brencho

    brencho Good Friend (Moderator)

    Staff Member Friend
    Joined:
    Dec 18, 2015
    Likes Received:
    2,871
    Trophy Points:
    93
    Location:
    LA
    Home Page:
    speaking of vali 2, has anyone tried combining the vali 2 with jotunheim? the combo would still amount to a "cheap" amp. is that dumb? maybe it's dumb.
     
  10. crazychile

    crazychile Friend

    Friend
    Joined:
    Jan 19, 2016
    Likes Received:
    251
    Trophy Points:
    63
    Location:
    Eastern Iowa
    Thanks for the info. I never noticed the steely treble, but I haven't been listening to a lot of acoustic guitar lately. I do hear a little lack of bass definition, but it was considerably better in that respect than the Lyr 2. I thought about a T3 many times but Marv made me an offer I couldn't resist on the MZ2 loaner. The next amp upgrade for me won't be for a while, but when I do it I'll probably jump up to another tier of amp like something from DNA or EC. Right now I like how stuff sounds and the itch to upgrade has subsided for a while.
     
  11. bazelio

    bazelio Friend

    Friend
    Joined:
    Nov 16, 2015
    Likes Received:
    2,169
    Trophy Points:
    113
    I think there has been another MZ2 --> T3 convert recently: @nephilim
     
  12. crazychile

    crazychile Friend

    Friend
    Joined:
    Jan 19, 2016
    Likes Received:
    251
    Trophy Points:
    63
    Location:
    Eastern Iowa
    Thanks for the clarification. I haven't heard a Vali 2 but used to own an original Vali and liked it a lot. When I upgraded that and moved to a Lyr 2 it was more of a side grade to get mo' power.
     
  13. Hands

    Hands Overzealous Auto Flusher - Measurbator

    Staff Member Friend
    Joined:
    Sep 27, 2015
    Likes Received:
    3,942
    Trophy Points:
    113
    Location:
    Colorado
    Home Page:
    The Lyr 2 is an interesting one...very powerful, but also warm, intimate, and kind of cozy sounding. Like a really, super, intense pillow on steroids? Vali 1 and 2 strike me as very different from each other.

    Stuff like the NBM punch waaaay above its price point, if you can get one.

    For the MZ2, I would highly recommend you experiment with tube rolling. I could only swap the 6SN7s, and it did help.
     
    crazychile likes this.
  14. nephilim

    nephilim Acquaintance

    Contributor
    Joined:
    Mar 27, 2016
    Likes Received:
    34
    Trophy Points:
    18
    True!

    REDACTED (by @ultrabike. Please see information below by @MuppetFace).
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 21, 2016
  15. MuppetFace

    MuppetFace Sultana of Seafoam Green - Moderator

    Staff Member Friend Contributor
    Joined:
    Oct 3, 2015
    Likes Received:
    1,787
    Trophy Points:
    93
    nephilim and ultrabike like this.
  16. nephilim

    nephilim Acquaintance

    Contributor
    Joined:
    Mar 27, 2016
    Likes Received:
    34
    Trophy Points:
    18
    Sorry - too little thinking before posting.
     
    Huxleigh likes this.
  17. ultrabike

    ultrabike Measurbator - Admin

    Staff Member Friend
    Joined:
    Sep 25, 2015
    Likes Received:
    3,837
    Trophy Points:
    113
    Location:
    Irvine CA
    No worries.
     
    MuppetFace likes this.
  18. Hrodulf

    Hrodulf MOT: Sonarworks

    Friend
    Joined:
    Sep 28, 2015
    Likes Received:
    870
    Trophy Points:
    93
    Home Page:
    Has anybody got any real life experience with Aikido amps? I've only heard one as a pre-amp and it was pretty meh.
     
  19. Ryanr1987

    Ryanr1987 Facebook Friend

    Joined:
    Nov 28, 2015
    Likes Received:
    55
    Trophy Points:
    28
    Location:
    UK
    MarcusV123 likes this.
  20. Sherm

    Sherm Rando

    Joined:
    Dec 3, 2016
    Likes Received:
    11
    Trophy Points:
    3
    Location:
    Indiana
    Does anyone have an idea how the Bottlehead Mainline compares to the rest of the TOTL amps mentioned here? I've not seen much talk about it here. I thought I saw some threads about it on Changstar, but the site is down. :(
     
    AllanMarcus likes this.

Share This Page