Auteur/Darkvoice vs Arya/RNHP

Ok got my Dark Voice in today from Orphean Sound. And its BIG. Much bigger than i thought from the Internet. Serious looking! And HEAVY. These pictures dont do it justice. Its like the Tardis. Bigger in real life than in pictures:

Listening to it now on my Auteur. Very interesting. I’m comparing it to the Arya/RNHP going back and forth lol. I got em plugged into a SMSL SU8, its balanced output to the RNHP and RCA’s to the Darkvoice. I heard the default tubes that come with it arnt that good. i tried it and it seemed ok. now im listening to a russian tube 6H8C i got off ebay for 10$ but its making a loud buzzing sound for some reason. guess i bought a lemon. switching over to the default tube that came with it. Maybe i should buy some decent tubes before comparing. Anyone want to recommend some tubes for this?

The only way i can compare it is like listening to my stereo at home in the 80’s then heading over to my rich uncles place and listening to his 10,000 dollar stereo system lol. But thats not really accurate. Its kinda like going to a concert and hearing the band while walking through the tunnel (Darkvoice) to the seats, then exiting the tunnel and entering the arena (RNHP).

IDK though. theres something to the Darkvoice i like. I mean it comes close to the RNHP. I can feel the quality. Then Stray Cat Strut came on and the beginning of that song sounded heavier, darker. i kind of liked it compared to the Arya. Could it be the Darkvoice is better for something like Goth Rock? Heavy Metal? Theres kinda a little magic to it. It makes me a little nostalgic.

So give me a clue guys. Am i seeing this clearly? (no pun intended) or am i missing it? What do you guys like about tubes and what do you listen to it with?


I don’t know about the dark voice, but my Tuba has a clarity to it that blows the rnhp out of the water. If I listen to my aeolus on it enough and go back and listen to it on the rnhp, it almost sounds veiled.

1 Like

Then what are you getting out of the tubes if its clear?

1 Like

It does make sense what your saying though. the Darkvoice and RNHP do sound very close. Maybe i should compare it to the SP200

1 Like

Getting out of what? The RNHP? I have that for things that don’t take to tubes well, like my headset or my Sarda, since balanced armatures don’t work well with tubes. If you mean the Tuba, I would say with stock tubes and paired with my aeolus, there is an increase in the soundstage width, and clarity and naturalness brought to vocals and instruments that is mindblowing. It also gets rid of any feeling of the headphones being dark.

When I got my rnhp, I liked it a lot, but the next day, the Tuba came in and it drove me crazy how much better it sounded. It was my favorite moment since I started into this hobby and it showed me that my preconception about tubes being undesirable was completely wrong. And I had never enjoyed music so much as when I got that amp.


Are you using the stock pads with your Aeolus?

1 Like

No, I’m using the universe lambskin perforated pads. They sound the most balanced to me and are the ones I settled on out of the 4 recommended pads on the zmf website. The aeolus pads you disliked actually sound way better on the tuba, and they went from dark to slightly dark. And my pads of choice don’t sound dark at all.


Well is the RNHP is a little warm thats great for me. These Arya headphones have so much treble

1 Like

The hum is common when tube rolling on the DV. It does go away in time. As for which tubes to use, there’s a thread for that:

Darkvoice 336SE tube rolling

sweet! thanks guys i’ll try it

If you have further issues with hum, I’d direct you to the darkvoice thread. The fitz mod solves the hum problem. I did the fitz mod on my darkvoice before I sold it. Its relatively simple if you have basic soldering skills. I posted how to do the mod in that thread.

1 Like

Granted my ear isn’t a seasoned one but it took me many burn in hours and many many more listening hours for me notice what the tubes are doing and why I like it (that said I’m still not overly impressed but I hope different tubes will rectify this)… it wasnt the stark contrast I was expecting… maybe just try to let it burn in and enjoy it and get a feel for it before comparing and testing

1 Like

Mostly agree here. Because of burn in time (which is lengthy on DV) and the time it takes to physically switch tubes (made worse by the necessary warm up and cool down time), it’s basically impossible to do A/B testing with different tubes unless you have multiple identical units.

Are you talking about the DV’s stock tubes? In which case I also mostly agree. Rolling the pre to a Tung-Sol 6SN7GTB added speed and resolution but still kept a pleasing tube flavor. It did take well over 50 hours of burn in time for the hum to go away enough, though.

1 Like

Yes that’s correct… I have ordered a power and pre (NOS NIB JAN RCA 6AS7G and a NOS NIB Sylvania JAN CHS 6SN7GT VT-231) that I’m looking forward to trying out


That was actually one of my favorite combinations, although I preferred the Ken Rad VT-231 black glass most.

1 Like

Yeah I’m pretty sure you were helping guide my purchases in the tube rolling thread so thanks :+1:


NP. Without the fitz mod, I had to burn in most tubes only over night. The power tubes/6AS7 I never had hum issues with.


The whole cheap OTL amp is what tubes sound like it really a falsehood Zeos seems to keep reinforcing.

Tube amps have a whole spectrum of sounds, they all pretty much give you some 2nd order harmonic distortion (to varying degrees from inaudible to obvious) which tends to make the sound “richer” (I’m deliberately avoiding warmer here because it isn’t about frequency response).

They can add “air” and openness to a sound stage, and make it seem bigger (this is more pronounced with higher end equipment).

They can be slower than solid state amps (though again not always) which imparts that syrupy laid back sound to the music. But they can also be very fast.

They can exhibit rolled off treble, though IME this is only on the lower end, where cheaper transformers or coupling caps are used.

It all comes down to design and part selection.

The Tuba is on the “Dryer” side that usually refers to an amp that’s relatively fast with lower levels of 2nd harmonic distortion. It’s Tubyness (to use a Zeos term) is subtle but present, and you still get the air and improved staging.


Thanks for this. I found it helpful and informative.

Zeos’ strength continues to be the breadth of gear, particularly in the budget-to-mid tier price categories, he reviews. I find his reviews useful for informing viewers about a decent sized chunk of the audio landscape, but as I’ve gotten farther into audio myself I see that his ears and interpretations of that landscape are not always accurate.