In this article, I give an honest review of DarkVoice 336SE and make you see why it might just be the perfect amp for you.
DarkVoice 336SE is a tube headphone amplifier that gives you a nice mix of classic vintage tube sound and modern headphone production.
Tube amps have made a comeback to the audio scene after they first dominated the audio world in the 60s.
The warm tube sound was an unintended consequence of tube modeled amps. Today, these amps are highly sought after because everyone loves that warm sound.
Let's get started.
DarkVoice 336SE specifications:
- Tube Used : 6N8P, 6N5P
- Frequency: +/-1dB 10Hz~20kHz
- Distortion: <=2% Output impedance: 32 to 600 ohm
- Power handling capacity: 1W
- Output terminal: 6.3mm Stereo Jack
- Input terminal: RCA Jack
- Power supply: 110V, 220~240V version (Note:110V will delay 3-5 days delivery)
- Case dimension: 290(L) *160(W) *135(D) mm
- Gross weight: : 5.5kg
Build and design
DarkVoice 336SE has a solid frame, made totally of metal. This adds to the overall weight of the amp, but it's the only practical option available.
The amp generates a considerable amount of heat, so it needs a metal frame to last long.
This DarkVoice amp is not something you can carry around easily alongside your headphones.
It weighs 5.5 kg, so it's best to place it on a table or similar surface. Plus, when the amp starts working, it warms up and it will become uncomfortable to handle within a short time.
There are two connection options:
The ¼-inch port in the front and the RCA port at the rear. Obviously the DarkVoice 336SE is old school – it has no USB port, optical input or any other modern connection options.
This amp is no powerful enough to drive every single headphone out there. It's most suitable for those headphones whose impedance lies between 32 ohms and 600 ohms.
The controls are basic; an on/off switch and a volume knob. There are no sound-altering controls or filters. To effect any sort of change on the sound, you'll have to change the tubes.
With the built-in tubes, you have the whole music come alive with warmth and mid-frequency clarity.
The fine details of the sound will be heavily influenced by the headphones you're using. Having said that, DarkVoice 336SE gives your headphones' default sound and gives it a warm lift.
Also, the amount of this "warmth" that you feel depends on the music you're listening to.
If you're listening to music from the 80s and 90s, you will feel this amp's warmth a lot more. That's because the music of that period was made with analog consoles and hardware.
Those gears have their characteristic "warmth". So, even if you use the amp with modern EDM and hip hop music, it adds that classic feel to the whole listening experience. The midrange especially feels live and with a lot more space and clarity.
There's a really cool extra that comes with using a tube amplifier like this – it's the ability to change the tubes.
Changing tubes help you to change the overall sound signature of the amplifier.
The built-in tubes in DarkVoice 336SE give your music warmth and body. If you combine those with headphones that have reduced midrange, the result is a more balanced sound.
So, depending on the sound characteristic you're going for, you can purchase extra tubes as needed.
It's cheaper to buy extra tubes than to buy different headphones. With different tubes, you can get different sound types from a single pair of headphones.
The stock tubes are 6N8P and 6N5P. A good tube upgrade would be 6SN7 tubes. It has a "bigger" sound with better production of that classic feel.
Additionally, if you're using average headphones, changing the tubes in the amp can really improve the sound quality.
- Changeable tubes allow you to insert your preferred tubes to get the sound you want
- Has a low voltage version that can work where power supply is not full (110V)
- Has both RCA and ¼-inch outputs
- Quite bulky; not applicable for portable use.
- It can become too warm to handle, making it unsuitable for shared spaces.
DarkVoice 336SE helps you to combine vintage and modern sound all in one system.
This combination is a real luxury for people that appreciate it. The value of such luxury is not in the price of the amp, it's in the quality of the listening experience.
The best part is that you don't even have to break the bank to get it.
The primary use of the 336SE is to power your headphones with an amp. Some headphones (especially high impedance) need external amps to drive them before they can give full capacity.
To feel the effect of the Darkvoice 336SE, you should use it with headphones with an impedance of 650 ohms or less. To know your headphone's impedance, check the specifications.
DarkVoice 336SE has two types of connections. The ¼-inch jack output and the RCA output. The RCA has both left and right channels, so your cable must be connected to both.
DarkVoice 336SE weighs 5.5kg, so it's not practicable to carry it around. Also, it has no carrying handle or anything that can make the task less difficult.
DarkVoice 336SE gives you vintage warm sound. It adds that flavor to every single song you play while driving your headphones with it.