Discussion in 'General Audio Gear Discussion' started by Marvey, Dec 12, 2015.
Good idea but it deserves its own thread @Setzz !
Happy to do own thread, will make when I get home!
I recently replaced some new stock Mullard 12AX7s with Gold Lion ECC83s in the preamp section of my Cayin integrated. Gold Lions have nice tone, a bit warm, but more detail than the Mullards. Also compared to some new stock Sovtek 12ax7LPSs and found the Gold Lions to be very similar sonically, but less boomy in the lower bass/sub bass. Better sense of space around instruments with the Gold Lions, too. Construction-wise the Sovteks and the Gold Lions look very similar.
KR teamed up with JPS Audio to make some special edition 2a3s. They want 1000usd a pair and won't sell outside of USA. These are the first new stock tubes I'm really interested in. However Joe's stuff is really hit or miss. Has anyone heard them?
I came across a pair of new in box NOS Philips E188 SQ when I had just bought the Yggdrasil and Mjolnir2 (used). Paid about $30 for a pair which I believe was a good price (??)
They sound nice, but with Yggdrasil/Mjolnir2 and HD800 I find them to expand the soundstage too much than what I had hoped for. The separation kind of of draws instruments too far apart. I'm sure I've seen similar reports somewhere.
I then stumbled across a pair of LM Ericsson 2C51, also for $30 which seemed like a good deal and given that I'd paid bargain money for the Yggdrasil/Mjolnir2I thought I could afford taking a chance.
I felt the soundstage came together in a better way and...well it just sounds very pleasant. Worth $30 at least...
I guess what I'm trying say is that it seems you can pay a whole lot of dollars for tubes, but what in the hell? Is the difference that big? At least for me it made a bit of a difference, worth the price I paid, but no more. Back to buying music. Thanks for reading.
I have purchased many tubes in last 2 years and what I realized is that the bias settings is more important than tube rolling.
The benefits of Changing bias can literally wake up and liven up a tube...
Also, I feel almost no "new production" tube can actually outperform an old stock tube.
Yet I only have experience with a few small tube types, like the e80cc, 12a*7, 6s*7, 6f8g, 6n6, 6h30, 6V6&6L6 types and equivalents.
Haven't yet got into bigger direct heated types.
I've had good luck with Brent Jesse tubes, SND Tube Sales, and Jim McShane. Upscale Audio tends to be too pricy for me. I do buy off ebay, but check every tube with Hickok tube tester, so far have had very few problems, but I mostly have bought 6DJ8, 6CG7, 6SL7, 6SN7 and 12A_7 series tubes, not DHT tubes (e.g. 45, 2A3, 300B). Also for ebay I set a limit of $20-$30/tube so if I get burned I'm not out too much.
Jim McShane is a true gentleman. I didn't know about him until just recently when @Garns gave me the advice to check out his webshop. These days it's getting more and more rare to find genuinely friendly, polite and helpful people that are also passionate and knowledgeable in their respective line of business, at least that's my experience.
Jim refunded $5-6 to me post shipping because his initial quote turned out to be just a couple of dollars more expensive than what it was when he actually dropped it off at the post office.
He could've kept it and wouldn't have known, and even less cared about it. But he didn't. I love that.
Incidentally, a good way to clean tube pins is with Mr. Clean Magic Eraser. With 7 and 9 pin miniatures you can just stick them into the Magic Eraser a few times. With larger tubes you can just scrub the pins. Works well and no worries about damaging the pins with sand paper.
Also can use it to clean LP styli. Just cut off a piece, stick it on a toothpick, stand in front of the cartridge and pull it in the same direction as a record turns.
As I've stumbled upon tubes here and there I've ended up with a couple of singles of same brand and type which I've been using in my Vali2. That makes me wonder, does tube matching matter much? In terms of potential channel imbalance (-X db) due to a difference in voltage gain (Mu) well of course it matters, but it should also be heard, and if heard perhaps be annoying.
But other than that, how important is this?
For example, I've got 2 Telefunken ECC88's, both made in the Berlin factory, both with O-getters and both with steel pins. One is made in 1966 and one in 1969. I don't have a tubetester so I have no idea about how matched they are.They sound frickin' good in the Mjolnir2 I can tell you that.
And why do I care? Well not so much because of potential sound "defects" but because I see "matched pairs" sell for unreal prices on eBay and other sites compared to their single counterparts. I do understand the rules of the market with a decline and increased demand has driven prices up but I must admit to not knowing enough about the potential technical aspects behind this bump in price for scarce matched tube pairs / quads.
I haven't never spent extra money because tube pairs were matched, I just wanted 2 tubes of the same make and model since I just assumed that that's what I had to do to optimize sound quality. But I'm also guilty of using the language "...a matched pair" in writing and in speech.
Any insight would be much appreciated. I could google myself into a better understanding on the matter, but then my quest to be a counter-force against tube price inflation where educating others on a forum like this would be of no use.
In the time it took you to type even this portion of your post, you could have found some answers, all without saying in so many words: "I'm lazy."
Edit: Some hits for "tube matching" on our custom SBAF search as well.
You're absolutely right! Embarrassing.
Maybe absinthe with ice helps?
I've learned. Let mockery begin, I'll be enjoying some unmatched tubes in the meantime.
Is anyone familiar with 6SN7 Electro Harmonix tubes?
Good thing it only cost me $30. Oh well.
I also bought 2 Sylvania 6SN7GTB 2 Top Getter Chrome Top Tubes for $50. Maybe these won't suck so much.
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