Good alternative to Little Dot MK2?

So I got my HD600’s, I got my Zen Dac. Following advice here I was going to run these with the Little Dot MK2 but I cant wait 2 months for shipping from China since only they had it. What is a good alternative to this? Anything within the same range or even like $50-70 more would be fine. Thanks!

also i would like to stay a tube amp as i hear its better for the 600’s but I’m open to other amps if they’re decent. I should say that I’m new to audio and don’t think I’ll go much further than the zen dac and HD600’s. Just found this cool and would like to try enhanced audio :stuck_out_tongue: thanks for any advice!

also I originally wanted to do zen stack but was advised against it in favor of a better amp

I bought a little dot mk2 from shenzhen audio’s aliexpress with free shipping 3 days ago and they use DHL, its supposed to arrive on monday so the waiting time was not bad.

The other popular option is the darkvoice 336se but it currently costs 289usd on amazon and similar on chifi sites.

If you want a true tube amp maybe wait for the little dot and use the spare $50 to roll tubes, it’s very fun and improves the sound.

The other recommended choices would be solid state, either the zen can or the schiit asgard 3 are highly regarded. You could even put a tube buffer between them and your dac for a “tubier” sound.

Hello, I too was advised to look at HD600’s and a tube for the music I like - vocals + acoustic. Why the Zen Dac? I’m new and was starting to look at DACs. I don’t know a lot.

Also, do you hook it to your computer? I would like to find a solution that maybe is a streamer and a DAC so I can use my phone to pick a song on Tidal and have my setup play it.

If you have any thoughts, I’d appreciate it.

From every review I’ve read, people say that the Zen DAC is really warm sounding and colorful which the HD600’s love warmth. Additionally, many others will usually say they have way more expensive DACS but will use the zen often for its sound.

And yes you hook it to your computer, it connects via usb and you connect your headphones to the dac. One thing I will say is that the USB cable that comes with the zen is short so I had to get an extension cable.

The only streaming capability that the Zen has is if Spotify or Tidal lets you control the music coming from your computer via your phone, if that’s what you mean

I’m happy to help! I was super confused and I tried 2 dacs and an amp that I’ve been returning and I think I’ve finally got a good combo

As stated above, your devices have built in dacs, you could

  1. pair them with a headphone amp
  2. get a standalone dac and an amp
  3. a dac+amp combo

Any of those options will improve the sound compared to using your built in dacs. How much improvent depends on the headphones you pair them with.

The zen dac is very popular entry level dac and amp combo (despite the name), it can only be used trough USB and also works with many recent phones with an OTG cable, but its way more practical using it with a PC.

There are many good options out there, if you wanna go the budget tubes route you could get the little dot mk2 and connect it to directly to your phone/computer, but using it with a dedicated dac is recommended.

I wouldn’t recommend getting a tube amp for your first amplifier, if your country has schiit, a magni+modi would be better for a “starter” desktop setup, then again there are other good options depending on your use case.

Thanks. This is all very confusing. I had originally ordered the GoldPlanar GL2K with the Dethonray Honey H1 as Zeos said that was a great combo. However, after chatting with people on the Telegram chat, they said it wasn’t a good buy that it didn’t really hit above its weight class.

I want a set of headphones to use at my desk while working. Something I can take on and off easily. From the chat they recommended I go with the HD600 and Tube sound so that is why I’m here.

Along with the Zen Dac, I’m also considering the Toping D50S. This DAC has bluetooth which means I can stream to it from my phone. I just don’t know if has Tidal Connect or Spotify Connect capability. The other DAC I’m considering is the Aune X8 Magic DAC. Both have volume knobs which Zeos and DMC said you needed with the Darkvoice.

Personally, I’m after a sound, but frankly the Darkvoice won’t fit on my desk easily. A mobile DAC like the Honey, or even the upcoming Xduoo XD05 Bal would fit under my desk, but I just don’t know what to pair with it. Perhaps, I wait for the new Starlight 4 and go back to IEMs.

Again, I love vocals with little instrumentation and if there are instruments, their unplugged. Those intimate recordings where you can really connect emotionally with the music.

I agree with you, there’s nothing I love more in music than vocals. The HD600’s have been great for them, especially if you get an equalizer app, you can play around with it so it focuses on the vocals more. I think that’s whats great about the HD600’s and a good amp, you can really make them what you want with an equalizer. Sure they won’t ever be bass monsters but I feel it’s sufficient (for my music tastes at least) and it’s satisfactory.

Unfortunately I can’t say for sure that I recommend any of those combos just because I don’t know too much about them. I personally, spent my time reading lots of reviews of individual products online to get a consensus, this way I knew that what I was buying should in theory be what I want. But if not, I’ve returned about 3-4 products to try something else and I finally think I found what I want.

It’s not easy to find the perfect audio gear for you since everyone has different music tastes and enjoys different parts of said music, so it can definitely be confusing.

One thing I will say is that if you have the money I would do more research on the AMP vs a dac. If you have a zen already and want to add another dac then that will be enough dac power than you’ll need. An amp is what really is going to drive your headphones. I like Schiit products, I felt their ASGARD ssd amp was pretty nice to use but I decided to return it to upgrade to their Valhalla to get that tube sound, the ssd amp just made it feel like I was missing out on a lot of potential from the 600’s. It get’s here later this week, I’d be more than happy to listen to a few songs (of your choosing) to let you know how it sounds! Since we both have Zen DACS and HD600’s it might help you form an opinion on if you’d like to get the Schiit Valhalla for a potential tube amp, though it is $350, you can always return withing 15 days for only a 10% restock fee.

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I don’t know of any dacs that support of spotify connect or tidal connect. You would have to do a little research if you want that feature, but as you said you could get any bluetooth dac like the d50s, fiio bta30, ifi zen blue (haven’t heard any of those) and stream the music from your phone.

The hd600 fits perfectly with your type of music, but it requieres good amplification, so a desktop amp is recommended, the ones you named are good, my picks would be schiit asgard 3 or the little dot mk2, but they aren’t as portable.