DNA Starlett - An Attempted Review

Wait time unknown at this moment. Price is likely 2K or around there.

Email Donald and ask him, he’s great at providing info but any time estimates may be at the mercy of said component issue. I think pricing is still 2K, but again, everything has gone up or is going up so that may no longer be the case. If the price has increased its because his costs have increased.

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Thanks for the quick reply and Happy New Year! :blush:

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Received an Email from Donald North this evening regarding the latest updates on the Starlett headphone amplifier.

The price is still $2000, however, the wait time is now about 10 months. Donald says he has many orders for Starletts. He also said that the parts supply shortage has made the situation more difficult, however, these headphone amplifiers are still being built.

Good news for those of us who intend to purchase one.

Happy New Year to everyone! May 2022 be a better year for each and everyone of us! :blush:

1/09/22 - Just sent Donald a down payment to have a Starlett built. Now the wait begins…

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Been listening to the Atrium since I got it and probably comes as no surprise but the Starlett and Atrium is an amazing pairing. Still very early impressions but definitely up there with utopia and verite. Going thru my entire rock library with this pairing and it’s sublime.

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I just purchased a used Starlett and was wondering if the Power Tubes (6DG6GT) need to be matched when purchased as replacements? This is the first amp I’ve owned with power tubes. Any help would be appreciated.

Yes, I would get the closest matched tubes as possible. There are tons of cheap ones on eBay or you could contact DNA or another tube vendor that might have that tube type although it isn’t the most common of all tube types so you might find some people not carrying them. I’d try DNA then try to find a vendor next:

Here’s one pair for starters if you end up going the eBay route:

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So just to inventorize the tubes for the Starlett;

Rectifier: 5AR4, 5U4G and 274B
- New Production and NOS
- Price range varies from around $40 to $90 for New production Genelex Gold Lion (stock tubes), Mullard and Psvane. Can find RCA NOS 5U4G for $30 and up. Mullard NOS go for $100 or more

Power Tubes (Pair): 6DG6GT, 6W6GT
- Have only seen NOS, Not seen new production
- I’ve seen 6W6 sold for as low as $3 but sometimes not matched. Matched pairs of Sylvania (stock) , RCA and GE can be found for $12 per matched pair

Input Tubes: 6CG7, 6FQ7
- I believe only Electro-Harmonix has created new production of this tube (for around $40)
- Can be found at most online retailers and Ebay. Most of the good ones including RCA can be found for $30 and up.

Is the above accurate as far as New Production and NOS? Any variants I’m missing.

I’ve found that he tubes do not make as much of a sound difference as other amps. In addition you can replace all 4 for under $100 and can be pretty easily found for purchase at least for now.

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Your tube assessment is accurate based on my time with the Starlett.

You can use a 6N6P as a driver tube (IIRC) but I never really liked it.

The only new production tubes available are the rectifiers; however, NOS rectifiers, even a relatively inexpensive RCA 5u4g should do better than the Genalex, which was the weak link in the tube set for the Starlett.

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I stand corrected. I believe Electro-Harmonix does make new production versions (out of Russia) of the 6CG7. Not sure if they sound good or not - perhaps I’ll order one to try and post impressions here.
Let me know if anyone else has tried one. In the meantime I’ll update my original post.

Interesting, I never came across the EH 6CG7, good find. If I knew it existed I likely would have tried it.

Do you still have the Starlett amp? And over the course of your journey with the amp, which tubes did you like the best?

I sold it months ago.

Preferred Mullard 5ar4 or really expensive NOS 5u4g. Driver tubes - anything non RCA seemed to fit my preference (GE, Zenith labelled, etc) and power tubes were pretty even across the board but I used GE coin base tubes.

I was pretty happy with where I had it ending up.