Discussion in 'Headphone Amplifiers and Combo (DAC/Amp) Units' started by maxedfx, Oct 11, 2015.
Good on ya, man
Thanks man, I appreciate it. Just responded to you at HF.
Got a heck of a used deal on this amplifier yesterday. Excited to have the Convert-2 hooked up to it with the HD650/600 balanced. Although I'll probably stick with the Gungnir Multibit.
Can I get an opinion from one of the tube rollers here please? I'm not sure what I should try after reading the various posts in this thread. I'm looking for a tube that can give a deeper soundstage, more lively and slightly wetter mids, but I don't want anything bright. The bass isn't a priority for me with the Sennheisers, I would like to get a tube that can take advantage of its wonderful midrange. Perhaps a tube that is the most euphonic and provides the most plankton with HD650. I tend to like a touch of syrupiness. Any budget for tubes works but not looking to spend hundreds.
Any suggestions would be helpful. I'll try to give the stock tubes a try. I don't need to use tube risers correct? The seller is including them in the package.
WE396a was the consensus here for the Mj2, and most closely fits your requirements from the few I have tried. You won’t need risers, but the WE396a do require adapters. Do a back search for impressions, and there’s an old write up in my sig for the Mjolnir 2.
Be advised. Using the WE396a in this way will make @purr1n cry milky man tears.
Thanks, holy smokes those are expensive. Got any recommendations in the $200 range and below? I'll take a look at your write-up now.
Prices must have risen considerably since I got mine. I believe the GE JAN 5670 were the affordable goto, but I’ve not heard them.
Oops I may have made a mistake, I got linked to some ebay auction that had the tube set at $1500. But then there's some of them for 100-200. Is this another tube where there are specific differences that account for the difference in cost?
EDIT: I haven't checked any other Tube sites. All I'm familiar with is Brent Jessee's
Usually the tubes vary in pricing due to how well they test and what date code they’re marked as.
From my experience the 50’s or earlier WE396A tubes sound slightly better, and you can find a decent testing pair from a reputable seller on eBay for about $100. Worthwhile upgrade imo, but don’t forget a pair of 6922 -> 396a adapter as well.
The GE JAN 5670 is a great tube and it is so dirt cheap that you should absolutely
give it a try.
You have to spent a lot lot more to get greater sound , you have to go to CV Mullards
This was my first choice for more relaxed and warm sessions and the Genalex Gold Lions
were the most linear , dynamic , slamming and not rolled off.
I have two matched pairs of WE396a's and a set of 6NB to ECC88 adapters, all bought through SBAF and most of the boxes have Brent Jesse stickers on them. I paid $100 per set for the tubes and $20 for the adapters. I'd be happy to sell these on at the same price.
Not common but my favourite tube ended up being the Ericsson 2C51 (they require the 5670 adapter) exactly for the reasons you described. I've read that they're supposed to be the same as the western electrics but the pair I had definitely didn't sound the same.
Quick impressions with WE396A tubes. For me it's an upgrade over the stock tubes but it does the Convert-2 no favors as a DAC in this chain.
From a scale of 1 to 10 on impact (1 being hit with cotton candy and 10 having prime Mike Tyson sucker punch you in the gut), with the Convert-2 and stock tubes...it's maybe around a 7.5. With the WE396A it's down to 6...maybe a 5.5. They definitely scale back considerably the aggressive attack, to where the presentation is much more softer and more rounded.
So the good traits of the Convert-2: thunderous, surgical incendiary snare pops/cracks and power chords are smoothed over a bit, they aren't as sharp and well defined. It's like there is a tiny bit of Vaseline on some of the strings. The Convert-2 no longer has this explosive hard-hitting sound to it. And worse it accentuates its flaws. One of the things I've noticed over time with the Convert-2 is the lack of reverb around certain instruments that should be there. It also cannot do layering like the Gungnir Multibit A1 can, Convert-2 is one-dimensional in comparison. While the tonality is fantastic, there's something off about how the highs are rendered. The Gungnir is much more liquid in the highs and in the overall audio band, there's more cohesion. And how the Gungnir can extract the tiniest bits of information is impressive, where on the Convert-2 they are missing. Also the center image on the Convert-2 doesn't stay stable in the center, it can sometimes shift even during a track.
Probably the most noticeable feature with the tube change is the bass quality takes a hit, it's a lot more floaty and loose. With the Convert-2, the bass is too lean, eventhough in other systems I've had it hooked up to arguably has the best bass I've ever heard from a DAC. But with the Mjolnir 2 and these WE396A tubes, it definitely needs the fatter bass from the Gungnir Multibit to make up for it.
Overall there is much better synergy with the Gungnir Multibit in this chain with the tubes. It mitigates some of the weaknesses while playing more towards the strengths of the tube, which is able to retrieve a lot of the finer textual nuances that the stock tubes couldn't do. The harshness with the stock tubes in the upper-mids and sibiliance in vocals has disappeared with the new tubes. These tubes provide a thoroughly engrossing presentation with just the right amount of syurpiness to my preference. The stock tubes were clinical and colder. They serve as a better point for neutrality with the HD600, but the WE396A win out for how musical they sound with the HD650. Very satisfied with rolling the tubes.
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