Tube Hybrid vs Tube Pre

Hi guys, I wanted to know what would be better sounding.

A full hybrid amp like the Xduoo TA-20/30 or using something like a darkvoice 336 as a preamp to the SMSL SP200

What option would be best for planars? And for dynamic headphones?

They will typically sound similar tbh, but you get more flexibility with going with a tube preamp/amp with passthrough and solid state amp. Both will work with planar and dynamic just fine (also both high and low impedance just fine)

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Thanks for the answer, I was hoping that a tube preamp would be better because it’s more flexible and in the end cheaper.

I was thinking of using a balanced DAC going directly to the balanced input of the SP200 and the single ended out of the DAC through the tube and finally to the sp200.

That way I could change from “hybrid” to Solid State with the push of a button/switch. And if I wanted to go full tube that would be an option as well.

Another question… Do you think a balanced tube make a difference vs a single ended tube?

Hmmm interesting idea, that would work just fine theoretically. You could grab a smsl su8 for the balanced dac

It depends on the tube amp tbh, that’s not really a question I could answer, they can both be great

A note on using the DV as a pre-amp, it may induce hiss, which can be annoying. I’ve properly burned in my tubes and have No hiss when playing headphones on my DV. I recently also did the Fitz mod as recomended and still continue to have hiss when i use it as a pre-amp. I may do the mod where i add the little led’s and remove 2 of the small caps…maybe. There are better pre-amps to use, Personally i may give up on using mine as a pre-amp. Good luck


I actually own a little bear P7 and was thinking on upgrading to a darkvoimco in the future. Perhaps I could use the little bear as the preamp. Or maybe something else. Is there anything you would recommend?

Yeah, I was thinking about the SU8 for the DAC. Great price, remote, volume control. Good looking, good sound ,very recommended.

The think is… It’s silver, and all my other gear is black. So I was thinking about getting a topping D70 just because it’s black.

Anyways, I will continue to think if I can handle different colored gear, because the SU8 is much better value

Believe it or not the SU8 works well as a pre-amp…No it does not introduce any tube goodness but does work well.

I believe that. But I wanted the option to have a tube preamp to make a hybrid thing, and still have a good standalone tube. I already have a preamp for my powered monitors

what’s the budget? there are options…there’s some real inexpensive ways to add a bit of tube goodness. It’s not perfect but adds a bit of flavor, or we could go hog wild :money_mouth_face:

I will try my DV on my liquid spark and see if there is hiss. I have not used it as a pre-amp for a HP in a long while…Ill let you know

My DV is annoying me, just stay away from it is a pre- amp. Don’t get me wrong, you can’t actually hear any hissing at any appreciable volume, but in between tracks and at very low volume it’s there. Personally that annoys me to no end…

I had exactly the same idea with my su8.

I get it, I think it won’t bother me. Anyways, my budget would be arround 350 dollars for a tube. But I’m considering just keeping the Little bear, it is good but I don’t have a reference since it is the only tube I’ve tried, and there is almost no feedback about it online

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Other than the freya + do you recommend any other preamp that’s both tube and passive?

This reminded me of something. I own a topping DX3 and it has 10ohm output Impedance, would that be a problem for those lower Impedance and lower sensibility planars like the sundara? Or even for low Impedance dinamics

So it will cause issues with lower impedance dynamics (mostly anything under 100 ohms imo). It will actually have less of an impact on planars but it will still be there

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