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This is where we try to answer some commonly asked questions.  We’ve grouped it by product generally to make the answers easier to find.

If you don’t see the question or answer you are looking for you here you may want to visit our forums  or use our contact form to ask us directly.

  • Amplifiers
    • Pan Am
      • What tubes can I use with The Pan Am?
        • There are a wide variety of tubes that compatible with The Pan Am.  And part of the fun of changing the tubes, or ‘Tube Rolling’ is that each tube has it’s own signature sound.   6J1, 6AK5, 6BC5, EF40, 5654, EF95 and WE403 are all compatible.  There are a variety of these miniature 7-pin Pentode vacuum tubes available new or as New Old Stock (NOS) on our site and around the internet.
      • Does The Pan Am improve sonically when using it with either The PassPort or The Gateway?
        • Yes, The Pan Am will sound better when you use either The PassPort or The Gateway as the power supply.  This is in part because the vacuum tubes used in The PanAm are located in the input stage of the amplifier.  This means they will be more sensitive to extraneous AC interference and noise. The Gateway will reduce noise that is audible from your AC when The PanAm is plugged first into The Gateway and then The Gateway is plugged into the wall.  While it may not entirely eliminate the audible noise from the AC, it goes a great distance to greatly reduce its presence when  you’re enjoying your music.  The PassPort goes the full distance by fully eliminating noise from AC sources.  This is because it is a custom designed battery pack, specifically designed for The PanAm.  
      • When my Pan Am is plugged into my computer, I can hear occasional noise from the tubes, what can I do about this?
        • The first thing to do when you experience unwanted noise from The PanAm is to check all of your connections to be sure everything is as it should be.  The next thing would be to install the included vacuum tube covers.  These do a great job blocking wi-fi signals and other RF interference that might bombard the sensitive tubes.   These covers simply slide over the tube and rest against the main body of The PanAm.  With these covers installed you should find a significant reduction in sonic interference.
    • Rx Mk3 B+
      • How is the ‘B+’ different from the original Rx Mk3?
        • The primary difference between the original Rx MK3 B and the Rx MK3 B+  is the extended battery life of the B+, nearly one third more capacity original Rx MK3 B.  In addition to the longer battery life we have improved the tolerances of many of the components of the amplifier. This simply helps assure that we only put the very best components available today into the Rx MK3 B+ as well as reduce the likelihood of sub-optimal performance or part failure.  The bar was already set very high with the Rx MK3 B, but we are always continuing to improve each of our products as much as we can at each opportunity to do so.
      • Does the ‘B+’ sound any different than the original Rx Mk3?
        • The Rx Mk3 B+ retains the same great sonic signature as the original Rx Mk 3 B, infact we A/B the new Mk3 + as sounding better than the Mk3.  The plus just gives you more time to enjoy the great sonic performance of this headphone amplifier.
    • International
      • How does this compare to the Rx Mk3?
        • The International is really very different amplifier than the Rx MK3 B.  The International has a smaller footprint and an internal 24/96 DAC.  Both amplifiers however do have both single-ended and balanced inputs and outputs.  The International has a lower noise floor, so may pair better with custom IEMs then the Rx MK3 B, but this tends to be a matter of personal preference.  The Rx MK3 has a very full and rich sonic signature, where The International is very even handed and transparent.  Both amplifiers easily drive challenging headphones that demand power to really perform.  And both amplifiers are designed to deliver years of great listening.
      • How can I use the DAC in The International?
        • The internal digital to analog converter of The International is a 24 Bit / 96 kHz capable USB audio 2.0 DAC.  This means it is designed to plug and play with your Mac or PC via USB cable.  The International has a USB - mini B jack and will pair with your computer via the included cable or any other USB cable that is USB-A to USB - mini B.   The International will also handle a variety of other sample rates as well.  When playing back a file of higher bitrate then it is able to process, it will down-sample the signal to avoid any potential performance errors.
      • Is the balanced output better than the single-ended output on The International?
        • The balanced output of The International has a higher output for higher Ohm headphones than the single-ended output.  This means more volume and greater dynamic swing with hard to drive headphones when using the balanced output.  This is true for both balanced and single-ended sources connected to The International.
    • Continental V3
      • How long is the tube life for The Continental V3?
        • As a military spec’d tube, the Thomson 6111 subminiature vacuum tube will have an average lifespan of tens of thousands of hours of regular use.  We wanted to be sure to select a tube that would provide high performance for the life of the product and consistently deliver great results.
      • Can I replace the tube myself?
        • The Thomson 6111 vacuum tube used in The Continental V3 is not user replaceable.  There are several reasons for this design decision.  One challenge of a portable tube amplifier is the reality of ‘microphonics’ from the vacuum tube itself.  To reduce the occurrence of microphonics, the tube is soldered in place and surrounded by a dampening epoxy.  This procedure greatly reduces the occurrence of microphonics in the amplifier, but does keep the tube from being user replaceable.  However, because the 6111 tube has such a long lifespan, it is very unlikely that it will ever need to be serviced during the lifetime of the product.