Headphone amp advice

I am looking for a good headphone amp, probably tube. I will be using it mainly for recordings from my main vinyl rig. The Korg Mr-1, recently bought, makes these recordings much better than my earlier recording systems (PCM computer sound card, DAT, Revox A77), so headphone amps get interesting. I use Sennheiser 600 and Shure E3 headphones. This may change, but one point now is to drive the Senns to best effect.

I've been looking at several alternatives:
The Small-dot mk3, the Darkvoice SE, Lisa III. Haven't heard them, just from googling. Of these, possibly the Darkvoice gives the sound I am after.

However, these are non-portable designs, and I would like something more portable. In this area, the TTVJ hybrid portable, possibly the s-state Nuforce icon, are among the contenders.

Your advice is welcome.
Ag insider logo xs@2xo_holter
A tube unit represents an excellent (and possibly the preferred) choice for headphone listening, but portability cannot be a factor. In fact, I'd go so far to say that portability shouldn't be a factor at all in selecting a really good headphone listening device; tube or ss. If you occasionally need a portable device, get one just for that purpose, and another one for 'at home' listening.

As with audio amplifiers, ss devices will drive any impedance cans, whereas the best tube devices perform optimally with either hi or lo impedance phones. I think ASL products represent an excellent value; but I suggest you check out the head-fi forums to expand your knowledge about the subject: http://www.head-fi.org/
I recently picked up an Audio-Gd C-2C which I got information about on the head-fi site (good tip, Nsgarch). It is neither portable nor tube which means this post is of little use to you. Nevertheless, it sounds terrific with the AKG K-702s and at the price $335 plus delivery, has been a revelation for me.

I can highly recommend soliciting input from the Head-Fiers!
Thanks, Nsgarch, I agree with your general view, it is more like, how many systems to care for, and in my case, some portability would mean more use.

But OK, I am considering a Darkvoice 336SE, which the seller suggested instead of the Little Dot mk3 that I inquired about (although it weighs the double of the LD3).

If I should be warned before setting out on the single ended tube road (or go to some other product type, like OTL), please tell me. Since the amp will mostly be used away from my analog rig, my source will be digital files (ripped from analog LPs). These are a bit hard even in the much-improved DSD format - Police’s “Humanize yourself” comes to mind.

So, to get the best tube sound, I am willing to forsake a few other things, but please not too much. And that is where it costs, I guess - my limit is around usd 500. Advice welcome!

Thanks Stanwal, for the Creek suggestion, and to Hens for Audio-Gd C-2C, which gets much attention at Headfi. These look like good semiportable designs and I might end up there. I agree Headfi is a good forum, but find it hard to search and get an overview of what goes on there.
O_holter, this is EXACTLY what you describe, right down to the price ($500.)
You can switch between OTL and SET operation.
It has dual headphone jacks.
Separate power supply.

I'm quite happy with my ASL HD-1, but if you want a true amplifier (and not just a tube buffer like the HD-1) I think this is the one to get. A terrific value IMO.
Nsgarch, following your advice i've read a lot on headfi and other valuable sources, and have ended up investing in an Audiotailor Jade tube amp and GK1-J portible mosfet amp. Will try to follow up with some reporting when the system has been broken in.
O_holter, glad you took the plunge. I know nothing about those units but I'll look at them -- and do report back when you're ready. It's always nice to learn about new stuff ;-) -- Neil
I will report back. So far, I've invested in an AKG K450 (small-above ear phone) which needs burn-in (300-500 hours) before reporting. Sounds a bit hard and closed in, still, after ca 50 hours, but I have hopes.

I am waiting for the Jade and GK1-J. When these are housewarm, I will do a test of vinyl recording comparing my best digital source with good analog (Studer Revox A77).
The Jade is a great value for the money. Still burning it in. Good OTL sound. The GK, also, has a positive effect, though not as much.
It's a little late, but one of the tubed head amps I'm looking to build (you can also buy them pre-built) is the Millet Mini-Max. They come up for sale on Head-fi fairly regularly. Lots of good word on these with the 600's, which I also own.

Sharky, GK 1-J foto: I have it, but haven't uploaded pics to my virtual system yet. It is an unassuming black box, weight ca 200 grams, size 12 cm deep x 9 wide x 5 high. It has two output jacks and a volume knob in front (can used balaned h-phone cable, or 1-2 standard h-phones) and 2 x rca inputs and power adaptor input at the back.

Ptmconsulting: wish you good luck with the building. Now that my Jade has become housewarm, there is absolutely no going back. The OTL sound was a bit bleak at first, but I'm warming to it, or vise versa. I guess most good h-phone tube amps will take you there.

Note also, I can use the Jade with my small active speakers, Sony SRS Z500, with good results (these are single-driver speakers, well designed). This is a bonus for me, since headphones are headphones, to put it that way.

Possibly, small passive single-driver speakers would sound even better, if the Jade and similar tube headphone amps are able to drive them. The GK can drive my bookshelf Royd "The Sorcerer" speakers to a listenable level, the Jade cannot, but the 2-way Royds are a fairly heavy load.
I am very satisfied with my new headphone amp Audiotailor Jade. Great sound. It can drive headphones excellently, and even drive small active speakers to new heights. See Jade thread at headfi:
We are soon ten years after - and the Jade has served me well for all these years. If you can find it, buy it. Or at least take a listen. It has a remarkably clear, coherent and musical sound, especially with NOS tubes (1 Telefunken driver, 1 RCA output). It has the marvellous full-scale clarity of OTL. It drives my desktop active speakers (Sony single drivers) very well, and headphones sound great, especially after I modified my AKG 701 to run balanced (using both outputs on the Jade).