Little Dot Gyfu

LittleDot Gyfu is an open-back, triple dynamic driver headphone, with the recommended price of $550.



Introduction

LittleDot is commonly known as a maker of very good-sounding headphone tube amplifiers. The company also did some IEM, but this time they’ve provided to us their very first full-sized headphones and it would be too easy if their first cans would be casual ones – a lot of wood, metal, and three drivers on each side. I hope that you’re as excited as I was when I saw them for the first time.

Packaging

The packaging looks really premium.

The packaging is very premium-looking. Gyfu arrives in a wooden box, inside is a foam with the shape of the headphone cut out, so it’s very well protected during the delivery, I think that even a fridge falling on the box wouldn’t destroy the headphones in it. The package also contains two exchangeable cables, a manual brochure and a warranty card – for me more than enough. If you’re looking for headphones, because you need to put the box on the bookcase, it’s a very good option, your guests will definitely be jealous of it, the package looks way more expensive than it actually is.

Cable

Little Dot arrived to me with two cables. Both have two 3.5 mm 3-pole jacks on the headphone end, but on the AMP side the black one has a 3.5 mm stereo, single-ended jack, and the orange one has a 4-pin XLR balanced plug made by Neutrik. The black one is very nice, it’s covered in a braid which makes it very flexible. The splitter is quite heavy, but it looks nice. Unfortunately, the second, orange one isn’t as flexible. It’s really stiff. It’s so stiff that when you put on headphones you can’t move your head. It’s so stiff that it’s perfect when you need to crush some diamonds. That’s probably the stiffest cable that I have ever used.

Build quality and comfort

Wood on wood.

The first impression is very pleasant, as the Gyfu looks really premium. A lot of metal, wood and leather-looking material, but it’s definitely not leather. After getting closer it’s not so good, the material on the headband looks worn after a month of indoors usage, this part in my Audio-Technica m50x looks way better after almost two years on a duty as my main travel cans. Also, the fit of elements is not so good and at this price point I would expect better craftsmanship. Little Dot have really tried their best, they went an extra mile when it comes to the design and overall look of the headphones, but the execution could have been better. Nonetheless, don’t forget that it is their first ever pair of headphones, and they will surely improve in the next releases. As for now, I’d say that the overall build and materials used are good enough for the asking price, with a couple of things up for improving in the future.

Hybrid ear pads which are used in the Gyfu are the best thing humankind could have invented. Eco-leather on outer parts and breathable material on parts that are touching skin provides the perfect balance between bass response and not sticking to the face even during summer listening sessions. They’re quite soft, even while listening with my glasses on, I didn’t feel too much pressure. It’s a good thing that Little Dot went this route, except of going for a full-leather earpads, that are simply less breathable and comfortable.

The comfort is good, you can feel that you have something on your head, but the clamp isn’t too tight. People with small heads might complain that the bottom part of the ear pad doesn’t fit properly, but I think it’s a question of finding the correct position. They are quite heavy, but it’s not like Audeze LCD-4 heavy, more like a bit heavier than Beyerdynamic DT990. Considering that they’re made of wood and metal, I think that the weight is fine. I was able to use them for 8 hours and it didn’t cause any neck soreness on the following day – this means a lot, because I’m not a sporty guy.

Great earpads.

Tech

Little Dot provided headphones with three dynamic drivers – 32 mm bass woofer, 50 mm midrange driver, and a 8 mm tweeter. In the IEMs world multiple drivers design is a normal thing, but to be honest, these are the first multi driver full-size headphones I used to listen to and I don’t really understand why. This kind of design is not so popular, but it should be. Each driver does its job, without side effects in other frequency ranges. 

Apart from the driver configuration, Little Dot doesn’t share any additional info about the technology used in the Gyfu. Overall, it’s very nice to see that they went with their own idea as their first headphone ever. We definitely need more companies pushing some new and exciting ideas into the headphones world.

Sound

How’s the sound?

Little Dot Gyfu needs burning-in. When I put them on my head for the first time, I thought – damn, what’s wrong with these cans, but after some time they were becoming better and better. Especially the midrange driver needs to play for 50-100 hours to settle down, but more on that later.


The soundstage isn’t the widest nor the deepest generated by the headphones in their price range. LittleDot Gyfu is far away from e.g. AKG K702 or even K712, but it doesn’t mean it’s narrow or claustrophobic. The positioning of sound sources is amazing, and they are amazing for gaming – while playing Apex Legends I heard each footstep of enemies, and I was able to easily localize them. If only my accuracy was better, I could become a pro player. Sometimes when I was taken down, I was telling my teammates where the opponents were. The only issue according to soundstage is that the listener is slightly moved to the front so it feels like everything happens right behind your head.


The bass definitely leads the way, it’s punchy, quite heavy and thanks for the separate woofer even the lowest sub-bass definitely marks its presence. If you’re looking for headphones with a high wow factor, you should take Little Dot’s cans into consideration. Maybe the Gyfu is not as bassy as Denon AH-D7200, but on the other hand the bass is not overwhelming other frequencies and as I mentioned above, the soundstage is pretty good, which can’t be told about the Japanese headphones. Olympic by French 79 sounds amazing, the bass is not only audible but I could even feel it. The sensations while listening to the album with these cans are amazing, I wasn’t sitting on my armchair, but I was flowing in some other dimensions even without any pharmacological support. The headphones also do an amazing job when you want to follow the bass guitar line. While listening to You and Your Friend with these headphones, John Illsley became the alpha dog. And trust me, it was a very hard thing for me as a guitar player, to write that the bassist is the first chair. What’s important for me is that the bass is punchy. I can easily hear each hit of foot pedal in Red Hot by Mötley Crüe. Shortly speaking the bass is really great.

The midrange is definitely the weakest part of the Gyfu. When I put them on my head for the first time, I thought that something was broken, but I let them play some music to burn-in and after that time it became… Acceptable — if you thought that the burning-in will make miracles, well, not this time. Vocals are definitely recessed and not very pleasant, the body is kinda empty and dry, it isn’t very engaging. It’s not a problem until you’re not looking for all-round headphones, but if you want to focus on mids, well there are some better cans on the market. For example, while listening to Yann Tiersen, Comptine d`un autre ete, l`apres-midi – song from the soundtrack to Amelie (BTW if you like good movies, and didn’t watch this one, you need to catch it up as a homework, just after reading this review), I was totally bored, the piano sounds like from cheap, closed headphones. In my opinion, these cans are made for true audiophiles, or at least headphones maniacs, who have already covered all use cases and now are looking for unique equipment. The Gyfu outperforms in some genres, like electronic, bassy music, but they aren’t as good for reproducing natural vocals, you just need to know what you’re looking for. To be honest it was very hard for me to write this part of the review, because each time I wanted to focus on the midrange, I was discovering some new flavors in the bass line.

FUN.


I suppose that one of the hardest things while tuning headphones is making the optimal treble response. There are many headphones providing high resolution and analytical, but unpleasant trebles that hurt ears. On the other side, there is also a lot of stuff with muddy or even almost inaudible upper ranges. And there is Little Dot Gyfu, perfectly in between — each detail I wanted to hear is audible, but none of them leans forward. The sound of crashing waves in Far Away Place by Xinobi is a perfect example. There are a lot of headphones where this sound is barely heard, but there are also a lot of headphones that make the blood dripping from ears splashes to the beat of the waves. The Gyfu makes this piece sound exactly as it should sound, yet again I have to write that I was not even listening to the music, but I was also feeling it. Unfortunately, drum cymbals do not sound as good as they should, they’re perfectly audible, but decay could take longer, it sounds like someone is constantly holding the plate. In New Coat of Pain by Tom Waits it’s very audible that cymbals are fading away too early. I suppose that is the weakest part of the trebles, everything else is perfectly balanced just between detailed harshness and muddy smoothness, this makes the highest audible frequencies easy and pleasant to consume.

Comparisons

VS AKG K712 Pro

As I’ve mentioned above, the K712s have a deeper and wider soundstage, but many people say that it’s even exaggerated in the Austrian (but made in Slovakia) headphones. The Gyfu are tuned to provide more fun from the music, Bass and trebles are better exposed by Little Dot headphones, but on the other hand, AKG generates midrange and vocals which are more natural. This might be obvious after reading the review, but if you’re looking for bassy fun, go for the Gyfu, if you’re looking for neutral headphones which can replace a concert hall, don’t think about them, K712 can be better in that case.

VS Hifiman Deva

The comparison between the Gyfu and the Hifiman Deva is quite interesting. Both are made to provide fun, but it’s a different flavor of fun. While the Gyfu focuses on the boosted bass and treble response, representing a classic V-shape sound signature, the Deva has that charming timbre that’s its main selling point. Thanks to that, they perform totally differently. Imagine the Gyfu as a sports car, that is feeling rough, sporty and performance-oriented to the max. The Deva in comparison is more romantic and charming, like a classic cabrio which you’re driving by the beach. Its frequency response is definitely less exciting and extreme, being closer to Harman curve. The Gyfu doesn’t care about any curves though, it just grabs you by your clothes and takes you dancing, whether you like it or not.
What’s even more prominent, is that these sound totally different in terms of the texture, which is actually pretty reasonable, having different driver types in mind. While the Deva is heavily textured and sweet sounding, it happens to lack physicality and presence in comparison to the Gyfu. The latter is sounding like a dynamic pair of headphones though, providing that kick and a more physical overall sound.

VS Dekoni Blue

Both the Blue and the Gyfu focus mainly on the bass response, but they do it in a different fashion. While the Dekoni Blue is a very lush, delicate sounding pair of headphones with raised bass response, the Gyfu is more shouty and exciting sounding of the two. Choosing between the two would come down to your preferences. If you’re into a relaxing, chill and warm sound signature with elevated low frequencies, the Blue should be your pick. You might find it treble to be too relaxed though, as it’s fairly dark and veiled in the Dekoni, and that’s where the Gyfu comes in to play and takes the lead. It’s just way more exciting and “crazy” sounding, providing a brighter and more detailed image. The technical performance is also quite a bit better on the Gyfu, giving us a more layered, textured and detailed performance, especially in the upper-mid and treble area.

Summary

An interesting newcomer.

Having in mind that the Gyfu is the first pair of headphones from Little Dot, I must admit that they succeeded. It’s very fun-oriented with its v-shape tonality, and it offers good technical performance in its price range. The design and the materials used are both fairly good, but there’s room for improvements with their next releases. Overall, it’s very nice to see that Little Dot went with their own idea regarding both driver configuration and the tuning, instead of making a headphone like many others on the market.
If you’re looking for a secondary pair of headphones, which will be responsible for fun providing with excellent soundstage, definitely give the Gyfu a listen.


Gear used during this review for the sake of comparison and as an accompanying equipment:

  • Headphones –AKG K712, Audio-Technica m50x, Craft Ears Four CIEM, Focal Elegia, Fiio FH3, Kinera BD005pro, Hifiman Deva, Dekoni Blue
  • Sources – Fiio BTR3K, Fiio M11 pro, SMSL SU-9 + SP200, Little Dot MK III SE, JDSLabs Atom Stack

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