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Any very good sounding tube headphone amp ideas ?
Any very good sounding tube headphone amp ideas ?
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Old 21st October 2019, 09:43 PM   #1
Vortex is offline Vortex  Hungary
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Send a message via ICQ to Vortex Any very good sounding tube headphone amp ideas ?
Default Any very good sounding tube headphone amp ideas ?

Dear all, I'd like to build my very first tube headphone amp.
Any ideas, a simple schematics maybe ? I'm not an electrician but I can solder and had some little projects already, all with success.

My headphone's parameters:
Max. power rating: 0.05W (50mW)
Max. voltage: 1.2Vrms (3.3Vpp)
Max. current: 43mA
Max. S.P.L.: 113dB
Impedance: 28 Ω
Efficiency: 96 dB/1mW (111dB/1V)

In the future I'd like to be able to drive some more serious headphones with it too, like Sennheiser's HD800S, which seems to be a very different animal (300 Ohms if I'm correct).

I prefer JJ tubes, we have easy access to them in Europe, but actually any brand might be okay as well.

Many many thanks
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Old 21st October 2019, 10:06 PM   #2
kodabmx is offline kodabmx  Canada
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Any very good sounding tube headphone amp ideas ?
I use this. It will swing 42mA. 28R is close enough to 32R that this circuit will drive it. Bonus: No OPT!

The tubes aren't JJ, but you can use ECC99 instead of 6N6P... 6N6P is cheaper though
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File Type: jpg Aikido-6N5P6N6P-32-ohm-Headphone.-1.svg.jpg (501.2 KB, 669 views)
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Old 21st October 2019, 10:55 PM   #3
JeffYoung is offline JeffYoung  Ireland
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Any very good sounding tube headphone amp ideas ?
You might also consider a Bottlehead kit: Headphone Amplifier Kits Archives | Bottlehead.
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Old 21st October 2019, 11:05 PM   #4
RajkoM is offline RajkoM  Bosnia and Herzegovina
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"Very good sounding" ?

Just another idea:
Headphone Amp Shootout – Bartola(R) Valves
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Old 22nd October 2019, 01:57 PM   #5
scott17 is offline scott17
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I built a modified version (attached) of this: HeadWize - Project: The 6N1P OTL Headphone Amplifier by Bruce Bender
Sounds great to me, but my headphones are just Direct Sound EX-25 32 ohm, not too fancy for sure.

Here are a couple that you may be interested in:

Improved Tube Headphones Amp
Be sure to read the last post for a possible transformer alternative to the Sowter.

ECC99 SRPP Headphone Amp

Last edited by scott17; 22nd October 2019 at 02:27 PM. Reason: fixed link
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Old 22nd October 2019, 02:18 PM   #6
cbueche is offline cbueche  Switzerland
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Any very good sounding tube headphone amp ideas ?
I have built this one and am very happy with it : DIY 6DJ8 (ECC88) Tube Hi-Fi Headphone Amplifier Project
The OPTs are not boxed and prone to ingest any noise. Keep them at distance of the power tranny.
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Old 22nd October 2019, 02:20 PM   #7
scott17 is offline scott17
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Default previous post attachment

Couldn't attach to the previous post so here it is.
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File Type: jpg 6N1P-OTL-HPAmp.jpg (132.6 KB, 638 views)
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Old 23rd October 2019, 09:20 AM   #8
Vortex is offline Vortex  Hungary
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Send a message via ICQ to Vortex Any very good sounding tube headphone amp ideas ?
Quote:
Originally Posted by kodabmx View Post
I use this. It will swing 42mA. 28R is close enough to 32R that this circuit will drive it. Bonus: No OPT!

The tubes aren't JJ, but you can use ECC99 instead of 6N6P... 6N6P is cheaper though
I already have 2x new JJ ECC99 tubes lying around. No OPT is especially interesting in this design. It seems to be very simple which I also like. Thanks I'll let you know how it sounds when I'm ready with it. This will be the first one.

What's the equivalent of 6N1P ? I read at some forums it CAN be the ECC85 but not 1:1 - or even yes. Depends on drive, heating, etc. I have 2x JJ E88CCs too (new), maybe I could use them with adjusted circuit values instead of 6N1Ps in your schematics.

Opinion 1:
I would not suggest others trying the ECC85 as a drop in replacement for a 6N1 because it is not. The 6N1 (Chinese) / 6N1P (Russian) have a higher heater current draw at about 600mA, the ECC85 has a 435mA heater current draw. The 5670 has similar specs to the 6N1/6N1P but the socket needs to be re-wired. A circuit built for a 6N1P is a circuit designed for a 6N1P, any other drop-ins other then 6N1P is not helping the circuit. Just because it works and doesn't arc doesn't mean it is suited for the amp.


Opinion 2:
There is no direct drop in equivalent for the 6N1/6N1P besides another Chinese or Russian 6N1/6N1P, the best drop in is the EV which is military spec'd, more rugged built and handle more abuse, whether it sounds better or not to the standard ones is another story based on subjectivity.
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Last edited by Vortex; 23rd October 2019 at 09:45 AM. Reason: typo
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Old 23rd October 2019, 09:42 AM   #9
Vortex is offline Vortex  Hungary
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Send a message via ICQ to Vortex Any very good sounding tube headphone amp ideas ?
Quote:
Originally Posted by scott17 View Post
I built a modified version (attached) of this:
Mine are "Gaming" headphones for the PC, the Cooler Master MH751. Which are the rebranded Takstar Pro 82, without the adjustable bass ports (which I wouldn't use anyway, just heard my friend's Pro82, but the mic is very useful to me since I'm doing lots of VoIP calls with a friend of mine).

Not a big deal either, especially in this price range but these are kind of
highly praised headphones (price vs. performance) and to my ears they just sound quite revealing already, very well balanced, no sharp edges, no boomy bass, wonderful midrange ... just what I like. They're driven by my motherboard's Realtek chipset (with all the bells and whistles like golden contacts, separate audio circuitry, hifi audio grade caps, etc etc which I think is more marketing than real capabilities but it's still amazing compared to my 10 yrs old Gigabyte mobo's Realtek). Of course I still need something more 'punchy' and my headphones can definitely get much more power, I can easily listen Mark Knopfler at 100% volume setting.

My intention is to build a small external DAC for it (with an ES9038-based ready-made board from Aliexpress) and drive a Class A/AB tube headphone circuitry from that DAC.

Transformer: I might order one from Plitron or similar good quality manufacturer.

We'll see. DIY is fun
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Last edited by Vortex; 23rd October 2019 at 09:51 AM.
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Old 23rd October 2019, 09:48 AM   #10
Vortex is offline Vortex  Hungary
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Send a message via ICQ to Vortex Any very good sounding tube headphone amp ideas ?
Quote:
Originally Posted by cbueche View Post
I have built this one and am very happy with it : DIY 6DJ8 (ECC88) Tube Hi-Fi Headphone Amplifier Project
The OPTs are not boxed and prone to ingest any noise. Keep them at distance of the power tranny.
My 2nd one, after the OPT-less variant. Thanks Great 'article'.
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