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In Search of a Little Dot MK VII Replacement
In Search of a Little Dot MK VII Replacement
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Old 14th September 2018, 07:52 AM   #1
phoneman is offline phoneman
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Join Date: Sep 2018
Default In Search of a Little Dot MK VII Replacement

Hi gang,

Nice to meet you all.

Some 7 to 8 years ago, I was starting to get into the headphone hobby, buying headphones and mixing them with different DACs and amps. My budget was never very high but I did end up finding something that I like for an amp: the Little Dot MK VII

Little Dot MK VII | Headphone Reviews and Discussion - Head-Fi.org

This SS amp made my phones, particularly the HD650, sound more three dimensional, with wider soundstage, better clarity, particularly in the midrange. It was bless.

Unfortunately even after trying two different units, I couldn't keep the MK VII. Why? For some reason, it kept on giving hissing noises when nothing was being played. I tried it in different rooms, using different DACs, but nothing helped.

Shortly after, I ended up selling the MK VII. Then school and work got in the way and I never got back into buying headphone equipment again.

What made the VII good, according to my research, are the op-amps -- "LME49710HA serving in each pre-amplification stage, and the LME49600TS in the output buffer stage".

Unfortunately it seems like the MK VII has been discontinued. What more, I'm unable to find any product out there that have those op-amps (or newer versions of them).

So I signed up on this forum today to see if anyone here has any recommendations for some headphone amps that have those op-amps or something similar to those op-amps.

Failing that, would there be any way to find someone to create a DIY custom solution for this? I'm not a technical person, so I wouldn't know where to start. But I'd be glad to fund a custom project for someone who can put the parts together.

Thank you very much for your time.
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Old 14th September 2018, 01:52 PM   #2
sgrossklass is offline sgrossklass  Germany
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Location: Germany
The LME49710 was EOL'd prematurely as its manufacturing process was discontinued less than a decade after introduction. This cost us quite a few nice chips (and no doubt a moderate amount of grey hair). You can still get the LME49720 dual version though (but only in surface mount, not in DIP), and despite the LME49600TS buffer being included in the list, it is still being listed as active with thousands remaining in stock at distributors. (Alternatively, the good ol' BUF634 is still available. A step back but better than nothing.) The LD Mk VII would have faced at least a major redesign.

The opamp + power buffer concept is pretty standard and has proven moderately popular among tech aficionados. Not sure who makes one like that (or at least a kit) right now though. The old "low-tech" approach using a discrete buffer has proven quite capable, too, though it means more parts to assemble (including heatsinking since those are usually run hotter), and includes none of the overload or thermal protection the IC provides.
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Old 17th September 2018, 10:04 PM   #3
Koifarm is offline Koifarm  Netherlands
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As stated above opamp and buffer like,

Just for fun or kit from ebay with lm4562 and lme49600.

Best i ever heard. This is a " The Wire" projekt.
Replaced a SE 300B tube amp i used before as headphone amp.
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Last edited by Koifarm; 17th September 2018 at 10:20 PM.
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Old 17th September 2018, 11:12 PM   #4
xrk971 is offline xrk971  United States
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Location: Metro DC area
In Search of a Little Dot MK VII Replacement
A Fiio A5 has a 49600 buffer preceded by Muses 02 opamp. It sounds quite nice but I prefer the sound of a SE Class A for headphones. If I had to use a chip amp, I prefer the sound of an OPA1688 parallel buffer preceded by an OPA1688 voltage gain stage over the Fiio A5.
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