EC Aficionado (was: The Studio Jr.)

Discussion in 'Eddie Current' started by AppleheadMay, Nov 10, 2015.

  1. gbeast

    gbeast Mighty Moral Power Ranger

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    So my reason for not really expressing any thoughts of satisfaction with the AF was because I didn't want to judge it with the stock driver tube. Also, my Atticus balanced cable stopped working and my 650 is not fixed yet. I have just been using my Modded T50RP which is really also not the best headphone for it, even if the AF is a good amp for that headphone. So unfortunately I am not able to make the best of it yet. And I need to re-up on headphones.

    BUT...
    Last night I got a cheap raytheon 25C1 tube that I only payed 4 bucks plus shipping for. Not saying that that is even a good tube but compared to the driver tube it shipped with the differences are exactly what I wanted which was that last bit of clarity that the Pro iCan was besting it in. In fact this might even be more transparent with my T50 mod and the AF opens it up. That stock tube (no shocker) really sucks so I am just posting so no one makes any judgement from it. It basically allows you to get sound from the AF. I mean the amp will still sound better than most of the tube amps I have had but it holds it back.

    My T50 has never sounded this wide, spacious, and sweet before. The sound stage is HUGE and the imaging is wonderful. I have some better tubes inbound and also a new cable so it won't be too long before I am able to really enjoy the amp. I can say though that I even with my T50 I was totally enamored with the tones coming from it.
     

  2. bengo

    bengo Wow, I made it this far without being a friend?

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    Last edited: Oct 4, 2017
  3. Marvey

    Marvey Loves sex and records

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    Maybe a low gain amp using the AF (preamp with gain).
     
  4. TheloniuSnoop

    TheloniuSnoop Acquaintance

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    NVM
     
    Last edited: Oct 4, 2017
  5. kirayamato

    kirayamato Friend

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    any good tube recommendations compared to the default sent with the tube package?
     
  6. gbeast

    gbeast Mighty Moral Power Ranger

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    For the driver tube so far I like the Bendix 2C51 the best... Good clarity and details. I haven't rolled the rectifier yet but have an orange globe inbound. My 2a3s are the Sophia Meshplates.
     
    Last edited: Oct 8, 2017
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  7. JoshMorr

    JoshMorr Friend

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    The default sent with the amp is only the rectifier (5AR4). The driver (6N3P/5670/6854/396A) and output tubes (2A3) are not included with the amp.

    For what its worth, I really like Western Electric 396A's over RCA 5670's (better clarity, more neutral) and Russian 6N3P-EV's (remain clear but a bit bright). I was also biased and thought that the WE398A's were going to be more my style. Both of these older driver could also stand to have a bit of burn in, but I dont want to waste any precious time not using best combo.

    As for outputs, most of my listening has been on either new production Electro Harmonix or NOS RCA. EH's are thinner but tiny bit more detailed, RCAs have more body but sacrifice a bit of edge and sharpness. Both good choices - taylor to your preferences.

    I havnt tried rectifier rolling, just using the one that came with the amp. Looking forward to hearing others impressions. After a bit of reading I have a Mullard Blackburn 5AR4 on the way.
     
    Last edited: Oct 8, 2017
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  8. gbeast

    gbeast Mighty Moral Power Ranger

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    ^I was allowed to add a cheapy driver tube that they sent with it. I thought it was an option for the amplifier. I think I am going to stick with the Sophia meshes for a bit because the 2a3s are expensive. Like you, I am curious how much of a difference the rectifier makes. Honestly, as is right now I am satisfied.
     
  9. Boops

    Boops Friend

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    Are these the same as WE 396As? I thought @Marvey recommended the 396As and am wondering if 398 is an alternative or a typo?
     
  10. Luckbad

    Luckbad Basshead - Friend

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    Typo.

    If you want the best 5670/2C51/396A tubes you should look to Western Electric JW 2C51/396A (or any 50s-60s WE tube with a D getter if I recall correctly--there was an internal construction change around 1971. It's been a while since I researched this stuff), Bendix 6385 (red bank I think), and Tesla 6CC42 pinched waist.
     
    Last edited: Oct 8, 2017
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  11. JoshMorr

    JoshMorr Friend

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    Whoops - typo. I copied the typo from the Owners manual, own and use WE 396A. @Marvey
     
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  12. Boops

    Boops Friend

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    I found a couple here in NYC. One from '66 with a square-ish getter (is this the "D") and one from '73 with an round "O"-shaped getter. What's the deal with the different getter shapes? Did you read about an effect on sound somewhere?
     
  13. Luckbad

    Luckbad Basshead - Friend

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    Just that I liked the D-getter one better than O-getter when using them (but not in an Aficionado).
     
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  14. Thenewerguy009

    Thenewerguy009 Almost "Made"

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    D-getter design is just what the way most of them were manufactured pre-60s, which most people consider the best made.
     
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  15. gbeast

    gbeast Mighty Moral Power Ranger

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    [​IMG]

    Not going to do a play by play and I don't have much time so I would rather not delay first impressions. I will get it in now since I can. Just wanted to share what I hear with my rectifier tube swap but again, might as well post first impressions.

    I got a NOS AMPEREX ORANGE GLOBE / MULLARD GZ34 5AR4 and swapped it with the stock tube. You'd think with such a jump up in tube quality(supposedly) the differences would be large but with the rectifier and this tube I can only call it a side grade/slight upgrade.

    Orange Globe:
    • Lost a little crispness
    • Gained depth to the image and the vocals seem to sound less flat but better developed and very slightly larger in size. It is like I can 'hear through' a voice instead of 'at it' if that makes any sense at all.
    • No significant increase in clarity if any at all
    • Slightly softer transients
    • Timbre seems a little less dense unfortunately but it is easier to hear reverb trails and the venue space sounds a little more natural.
    • Gained a little warmth and bloom and takes some of that treble down which sounds a little scratchy with the stock tube (rectifier) in comparison.
    • The mid bass slams better with the Amperex Orange
    • A little more resolving...just fairy pinch more
    The best change I have heard so far is from swapping the driver tube. I won't be rolling the 2A3s for a while now because future funds will be for other things. Thanks to the kindness of @Daveheart I was able to use a couple of headphones, HE-6 and stock 800. One of which (HE6) had a balanced cable that works with my Atticus. I don't have time right now working 12 hour days 6 days a week to really just relax and enjoy this thing. Fortunately today I had off early to work on music with a friend but that got cancelled and here I am with it after some more hours and various headphones to use with it.

    First Impressions:

    Soundstage/Imaging:

    • The only other amplifier I recall hearing with a soundstage this large was the Audio GD HE-9(long sold for other reasons) but it wasn't this layered.
    • Sounds wider than deep but with a decent depth for sure. Even better imaging than the Taboo MKIV with lucid mode at play.
    • I don't find the images to sound large or small but just about right for something this spacious.
    • Now the Pavane has a big soundstage, The HD800 has a huge one, and the AF is BIG so I have now heard the largest soundstage O have experienced yet.
    Tone/Balance
    • Sorry but I don't consider this much warmer than neutral. Maybe just a quarter turn on the window blinds wand. Everyone has their point of reference like calling an HD800 neutral (bull crap). Well to ME this is pretty much exactly where I want the balance and what I consider close to neutral. If the Studio is brighter than this, keep it. I don't find it bright, recessed, elevated in the lower treble (maybe an ants knuckle higher), or upper mids, or anything like that. There is a very slight warmth to the sound to me that sounds like what things should sound like. Honestly it almost mirrors my Pavane in balance sans the occasional issues I had in the treble at first.
    • At first I found some sharpness in the lower treble that was a bit forward and aggressive. This was only when using balanced into it as compared to SE which sounds less clear but also more laid back (less immediate). But now, either my ears got accustomed to it, or it is mostly gone from more time. These amps burned in before they shipped for a week so I don't know...whatever...I'm cool now. Could be my Princess 2a3 MP's
    • I don't hear any mid bass emphasis, or sub bass emphasis either. The Mogwai has more mid bass elevation than this. The Taboo MKIV has less mid bass than this, similar sub bass but less control. N
    • There is no lack of bass... It sounds linear with good balance.
    • I think comparing it directly to something like the Kenzie (fav tonal balance in the mids so far) or Kenzie Encore( if it has the same balance as the Kenzie) may give me a better idea of how I really feel about its balance in the end.
    Timbre
    • Dang son...This is what EC is about huh. I heard @cskippy's ZD about 3 times now and I hear a house sound going on here if anywhere. Even though I liked the richness of my (now gone) Mogwai more (than the ZD), the ZD(not S) is grainless and more solid/dense in timbre. The AF follows suit but with what sounds to me like even more control than memory has his ZD. It is just not lush or thick. My preference is a bit unique in that I like thickness sometimes so long as it is clear. People didn't like my Mogwai for that reason. It is not thin either though. The Taboo MKIV is more diffuse sounding especially in the treble and is not nearly as firm.
    • Percussion, aided by the excellent separation, pops with good definition and excellent tactility since the tones are FAR from diffuse or mushy. In fact, my point of reference for this is now forever changed and I want to go back and edit reviews in this regards but I won't.
    Other Stuff
    • I am not going to call it aggressive but the AF brings the energy for sure when you need it. A lot of times amps with smaller soundstages sound more immediately engaging because it can kind of throw the sounds right in your face. Well this makes my Atticus slam, and even my T50 knock with good attack. Aaaand the sounds are spread out but still immediate sounding punchy and prompt. I don't think I can ever have enough good solid clean slam. My desires there are insatiable. Now for the rest of those with average appetites or even above for slam, the AF should hold up well.
    • Planars? best tube amp I have heard with them. HE-6 can do better though.
    • Dynamics headphones? Duh
    • Control? excellent
    • Speed? dunno
    • *Clarity? undecided. kinda feel like it's good to great but I will have more one day (2020A.D.) or getting some caps and new 2A3's? I will live for now and happily ever until then.
    • *Resolution? """"""""
    • *Microdynamics? """"""
    • Treble extension? dunno
    • Bass extension? Nah Mean!!! Very good
    • Clean, grain free sound? Pure as Fiji water and refined( sorry I use the word 'refined' a bit different as in "polished, finished, not gritty, smooth; not jagged or harsh. Most times it simply means detailed or precise in the audio world...sorry I never use the word that way, i'd rather say detailes or precise)
    How do I really feel about it? Best Amp I have had overall so far for sure!!! No runner ups... if they did try they would fall in the delta between. Sometimes I have this sweet spot in my memory about the Kenzie and its upper midrange and how it handle vocals spot on and I am not getting that feeling with this amp in that specific regards but memory is deceitful at best and it has been a while.

    (*)those aspects are really undecided and lasting impressions will reveal how I feel about those aspects.Basically it is good to even excellent in those aspects but not revelatory to me and more intent listening and comparisons will tell in time.
     
    Last edited: Oct 17, 2017 at 11:21 AM
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  16. jexby

    jexby Raised by Carthusian Monks - Friend

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    will confirm in next 72 hours, but please get a WE396a tube for your driver and call it done. most likely.
     
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  17. gbeast

    gbeast Mighty Moral Power Ranger

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    Well you can't confirm unless you have the same tube set up as me or the bendix at least for direct comparison. I would have to get the WE's myself. The 2a3's are important too. No amp will do everything I like perfect anyhow unless I actually hear it at its best first, and then send it in for customization.
     
  18. yzap

    yzap Rando

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    So... I ordered a Mullard GZ34 5AR4 with a "fatty" base without giving much thought to the size of the hole in the power supply enclosure... And, of course now that the tube has arrived, I've learned that this means the tube's base just so happens to be slightly too big to actually allow the tube to seat properly in the socket. :(

    Can anyone point my at a minimal height socket extender or socket saver that might solve my predicament? ;)

    Edit: I think the following item will likely fit the bill:
    http://www.tubemonger.com/OCTAL_NOVIB_Socket_Saver_Vibration_Red_GE_CINCH_p/novib-octal-ge-cinch.htm
     
    Last edited: Oct 13, 2017
  19. songmic

    songmic Friend

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    You mean Taboo MKIV? Or is there a ECP Torpedo 4 that I didn't know about?
     
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  20. Vtory

    Vtory Almost "Made"

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    It must be decware taboo4 imo, because lucid mode is the unique feature of taboo amps. Plus he recently reviewed taboo4.
     

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