Helot 2x good budget tube amp?

has anyone heard of this amp I just found this in a facebook group and have no idea if it is otl or hybrid. If you have tried it does it sound good it is only 133 pounds before shipping (free shipping in the uk) becasue for the price this could be a better starting point in the world of tubes than the darkvoice or the litlle dot.

Hello, I came across your post when I was doing a search trying to find a review on the Helot 2. So this is a rather interesting headphone amp; I have one that is (as far as I can tell) the exact same amp, except it’s a “Wangs PHA-T1”. (Trust me, I’m 99.99% positive that these are the same.) I bought mine on Amazon (US) last year and really like and was considering buying a second one but they are apparently no longer available. So, if you’re willing to take my word for it (being the same amp), I’ll give you a little bit on my experience with mine. This is a true “all tube” OTL amp (with the small exception being the power rectification is SS). As best I can tell, I believe the amp configuration is that of a “cathode follower” (possibly a “White cathode follower”). All this means is that the 12AU7 tube is doing most of the work and the 12BH7 is there to lower the output impedance (low enough to run headphones between 32-600 ohms). From my tube rolling, I can say that changing the 12AU7 makes the most difference; the 12BH7 will change the sound some, but not as much. That being said, I would recommend starting with the EH tubes that they offer as an option. I’ve ran both the EH and the JJ and I prefer the EH. Now if you really want to get the most out of this, find some good NOS tubes. Some of my favorites so far have been RCA clear tops, Tung Sols (remember NOS, NOT the new Russian ones) from the US and Tungsram and RFT from Europe (in the 12AU7 socket). As I already mentioned, the 12BH7 doesn’t make as big of difference in the sound, but I like the TAD (Tube Amp Doctor) in that spot. For NOS 12BH7, I’ve tried most of the brands and I think (again) the Tung Sols are great. There are plenty of options to consider as well in the 12AU7: ECC82, 5814, CV491,6189/E82CC, ECC802, 6680, 7730, 7316, B749, 5693. I’ve had good luck and liked the sound of a number of 5693 tubes that I’ve used. You may find that the E80CC/6085 is a “substitute” as well, but I tried a couple of them (Tungsram and Amperex) and didn’t care for either of them, so I’d say don’t bother on those. So I guess the bottom line is that if you haven’t already bought one and are still considering it, I would highly recommend it; I love mine. BTW, I’m running Philips Fidelio X2HR headphones on it and a Topping D10s for my DAC; it all makes for a great “bang for the buck” system.

Here are a few shots of my Wangs PHA-T1 in case there’s anyone curious about the similarity to the Spartan Helot 2.

Hey there I run Spartan Music so can answer some of the questions. Basically we worked with Wangs to make this amp but there are some differences beyond visual. Firstly, there are some modifications made inside the amp. I found that that there was a little bit of noise in the left (or right, I can’t remember!) channel. You could hear it when there wasn’t anything playing, and it was really annoying me so I got an amp tech to look at it and applied his recommended adjustments.

Secondly, I’m not sure how it is now, but the Wangs amp shipped with stock Chinese tubes. We use either EHX or JJ Electronic.

Apart from that they’re basically the same. We sell the Helot in Europe and Wangs are free to sell their version in the US. If anyone notices too much noise in their Wangs amp shoot me a message and I can let you know the mod.

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welcome to the community! looks like a nice little tube amp ya got there. to bad only Eu. i hope you have success!

Hello and welcome
A few key data or the specs would not be bad.
I couldn’t find any.
I’d be interested to know whether the Dan Clark R/T can handle it or not.
Therefore, information would be very helpful.
Many thanks in advance.

Thanks guys!

To be honest I think we’re allowed to sell it to the US since a few years have past. Some random Chinese sellers have been selling the Wangs version in the EU anyway. Just never put much effort into marketing it in the US because the Wangs version is likely available at Amazon and would arrive within a few days, vs a few weeks from the UK. However I could sell it a bit cheaper than in the UK because I don’t need to charge UK VAT.

I’ve not tested it with Dan Clark R/T unfortunately. I was quite limited due to financial reasons about what I tested with. So far I’ve not had any customers say it works badly with anything in particular.

Frequency response of 20Hz - 30kHz
Headphone Impedance :32-600Ω

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I think you would do well to offer it for sale in the US; the Wangs no longer shows up when I search for it on Amazon (US)- I had it saved in my “wish list” and when I look at that, it says " currently unavailable -we don’t know when of if this item will be back in stock". I had read some rumors elsewhere that there was some problem with the Shuguang tube factory (conflicting/unsubstantiated claims that it had burned down or possibly moved). I’m certain that’s who they were using for the tubes that they were supplying with their version and if there really was some sort of a tube availability issue, this could explain why it seems to have disappeared (pure speculation on my part, I’ll admit). Also of note: I had looked up the Wangs a while back (Jan/Feb 2021) and Wal Mart and Newegg both had it listed on their websites back then but do not now. This is really a great all tube headphone amp and it deserves a bigger market!
I run my Philips Fidelio X2HR’s (30 ohm) and my Drop Sennheiser HD 6XX’s (300 ohm) on mine without any issues and both sound great. (I run it at least 8 hours a day/ 5 days a week while I work and have been for about a year without any issues.)

Please do make it available in the us even though i am in canada i would be very interested in buying this amp.

Yes the Shuguang factory has shut down, I’m not 100% sure if it’s permanent or not. JJ electronics has a lead time of 6 months who we also order from. The lead time before was literally a few days. New Sensor factory seems ok at least.

Really glad to hear about the reliability! No problems so far in units sold (excluding damage in transit causing tube damage).

It’s available for sale from our site, may consider sending it direct to Amazon in the US. The only problem then is if there are any returns, then it’s a nightmare getting it back to me in the UK. Could really do with a dealer in the US but wouldn’t know where to start!

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Dear mark 87.

I have aquired a spartan helot headphone amplifier and love it :blush: however I am experiencing the issue of hum that you have described (i think on the left channel if i remember correctly) please could you send me a schematic and a description of the mods that you implemented to eliminate the hum. Many thanks, jon