Hybrid vs Tube Amps

I’m looking to get into tube amps but was wondering if hybrids were the way to go.
Do they take away the fun/sound of tubes or aid in their advantage? What’s the real difference?

Couldn’t really find any good articles comparing hybrid to tubes for headphones.
Looking into the Little Dot mk2 with GE tubes.
** need an amp with rca out

So the main difference between a hybrid and a full on otl tube amp is that a hybrid uses solid state headphone amplification on the output stage and tubes on the input stage. This means that you can still get very clean sound and typically power lower impedance and planar headphones without concern of affecting their frequency response, because you don’t want to use a full on tube amp with planar headphones and low impedance headphones (typically 80 ohms and below). A hybrid will have some tube sound, but not a ton

If you want the full tube experience and have some good dynamic high impedance headphones, a full otl tube amp is for you. This uses tubes for both input and output stages, and powers the headphones pretty much using the tubes. These probably have the full tube sound you may be looking for, but are not recommended for low impedance or planar.

Also different tubes will make a bigger difference on a full on tube amp then just a hybrid, but different tubes will make a difference on both

I won’t go into the actual science and electrical aspects of tubes and hybrid designs, but really this is what you probably want to know


M0n, excellent as always lol thank you
But yeah I do have planar headphones (HE4xx) why did you mention not using tubes with planars? I am new to tubes.
Any experience with the MK2?

So the mk2 is a full on tube amp, and while that might be great for something like a beyerdynamic or sennheiser, for the 4xx will have issues with the little dot mk2. It will not provide enough power imo and also affect the frequency response of the 4xx in a potentially worse way.

Something like the LOXJIE p20 with rolled tubes or a little dot 1+ might be the better option

hm, the description all over the page says the mk2 is a hybrid. But Amazon always get’s stuff like that wrong
I’ll look into the Loxjie

Wait really? I’m sure the MK2 is a full on tube unless they changed that

Yeah only on the amazon page does it say hybrid, massdrop and other reviews say it’s true tube

The LD MKII is full tube FACT…
Input: Gold-Plated Unbalanced Phono (RCA) Jacks
Output: 1/4" Gold-Plated Stereo Headphone out
Driver Tubes: 6J6
Power Tubes: 6N6
Frequency Response: 20HZ - 50KHz (-1dB)
THD+N: 0.1% (50mW into 300 ohms)
Suitable Headphone Impedance: 32 - 600 ohms
Pre-Amplifier Output Impedance: 10K ohms
Power Output:
300mW into 300 ohms
200mW into 120 ohms
100mW into 32 ohms
Average Power Usage: 28 watts
Metric: 210mm (length) by 110mm (width) by 130mm (height)
American: 8.26 inches (length) by 4.33 inches (width) by 4.18 inches (height)
Weight: 2.5 kg or 5.5 lbs.

Here are the jumper and dip switch settings from the owner’s manual for the MKII:
The jumpers, one for each channel (L&R) are for tube families. No jumpers = EF95’s, Jumpers on = EF92’s. The default is no jumpers for the default tubes. Look in the package that contains the RCA cord, you’ll find your little blue jumpers they removed inside there.

The two dip switches are for changing gain.
Each dip switch box represents a channel (L&R)
Make sure you configure each channel the same as the other channel.

A. Switch 1 off, Switch 2 off = Gain 10 (Highest Impedance)
B. Switch 1 on, Switch 2 off = Gain 7 (Medium Impedance)
C. Switch 1 off, Switch 2 on = Gain 5 (Low Impedance)
D. Switch 1 on, Switch 2 on = Gain 3 (Lowest Impedance)

Factory setting should be A.

Tubes I use are…2 x 6H6P/6H6N Novosirsk as drives and switch between 2x5654W/EF95 Jan General Electric and 2x5654/EF95 RT Mullard’s as the power tubes :+1:

1 Like

Yes, amazon has it listed incorrectly
So if you can adjust impedance, would they be smart to use with planars

Still no imo as they still have fairly high output impedance anyway, and also provide better power at higher voltage and lower current, where most lower impedance headphones and planars need higher current with lower voltage

Cool thanks, I just need the amp to be able to output so I can control my speakers without using splitters

You could get something like a Mackie big knob if you wanted

I agree with MON…not great for planar’s, i’ve tried my Phantoms and P1’s and it’s detrimental to the over all sound imo but with my 660s’s it’s a very happy match :+1:
So horses for courses I guess…Hybrid would be the best way to go if you want a tube type sound/buffer but still drive your HE4xx’s :+1:

1 Like