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Thetiminator

Rolling power amp input valves - is it worth it?

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On 27/01/2019 at 12:22, Thetiminator said:

Just as an update: 

On a rec from David Coe I ordered a set of the Toshiba NOS 803’s from Langrex for £15 a go. I ran them for c.10 hours before listening, then replaced the old JJ’s. They def make a decent difference...particularly in the bass and the ability to handle the complex stuff. They’re a tad smoother than the JJ’s but a lot more organised if you get my drift, way better bass and just more natural. 

Highly recommended for the outlay. Just one thing to note...David had said that he had a couple of duds and ended up with 4 to get 2 that were working properly. Mine were fine but just a heads up...

I have tried a number of different tubes in my SP9 preamp - not heard any significant difference.  I think it is a hit and miss affair with perhaps some equipment being more sensitive to the valves used.  My last change was to replace a pair of ECC 88s  with E88CC which according to the experts is a "premium grade" version of the 6DJ8.   The gold pins look nicer and may have better contact but other than that buggered if I could tell any major changes. 

Edited by uzzy
correction

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I have tried a number of different tubes in my SP9 preamp - not heard any significant difference.  I think it is a hit and miss affair with perhaps some equipment being more sensitive to the valves used.  My last change was to replace a pair of ECC 83s  with E88CC which according to the experts is a "premium grade" version of the 6DJ8.   The gold pins look nicer and may have better contact but other than that buggered if I could tell any major changes. 
I'm going to hope you meant swapping ecc88 (rather than ecc83) for e88cc!
Yes rolling can be hit and miss. Possibly more of an effect in SET amps and those with low levels of local negative feedback around that particular stage. For example in my Tron the drivers make a very significant difference. Predictably the W.E. 417A are kings here, but then that's exactly the valve that the amp was voiced with by Mr Tricker so maybe no surprise. I suspect with most amps you've just got to suck it and see.

Sent from my BLA-L09 using Tapatalk

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2 hours ago, Jazid said:

I'm going to hope you meant swapping ecc88 (rather than ecc83) for e88cc!
Yes rolling can be hit and miss. Possibly more of an effect in SET amps and those with low levels of local negative feedback around that particular stage. For example in my Tron the drivers make a very significant difference. Predictably the W.E. 417A are kings here, but then that's exactly the valve that the amp was voiced with by Mr Tricker so maybe no surprise. I suspect with most amps you've just got to suck it and see.

Sent from my BLA-L09 using Tapatalk
 

good spot - yes all are 88s (6DJ8) got me digits in the wrong place :) 

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Just another update....yesterday I got a pair of Genelax Golden Lion EC83’s to replace the standard JJ’s. Not as big of a difference than the Toshibas but still worthwhile. Cleaner, a touch more detail and a touch more punch in the bass. Great upgrade for a few quid...

Two matched quads of Genelax Golden Lion 300B’s en route :doh:

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Referring back to the original OP have you ever tried the Brimar 15D5 in place of the 12AU7. I think these are great tubes

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No I haven’t tried the Brimar, being a tube noob I stuck with the same valve numbers in case I made a boo boo. 

Well the Golden Lions arrived last week and they’ve settled in. Like with everything hifi there are those who differ on whether valves need running in. The first day I used them they sounded very detailed but quite bass light, I wasn’t impressed, I ran them for c.8 hours on the first day. The next day the bass was completely different, it just filled out and very powerful. Literally overnight. I can’t detect much if any change after the massive difference in day 2. 

Although rolling the 300B’s brought a decent enough improvement it wouldn’t be half the difference that rolling the 82’s to the NOS Toshibas brought....for the princely sum of £15 ea. If I had my time again I’d probably leave the 300B’s be. Not that much of a gain for £1k...

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On 10 January 2019 at 13:48, Fourlegs said:

I used to use 6SN7 instead of 12au7 in my Audio Innovations Second Audios and they do sound better to my ears.

Just make sure that the amplifier heater circuit can take the extra current draw of the 6SN7. I had to put in a new separate heater supply for the extra draw of the 6SN7. It was not difficult but it stopped the original power transformer burning out.

I would concur regarding the efficacy of Vintage NOS 6SN7GT over the vast majority of 12au7's vintage or modern production.

5692 is another vintage option interchangeable with 6SN7 however as said both would require adapters for use with your amp.

Also good advice regarding the extra current draw required, most deffo seek advise and approval from your manufacturer should you contemplate going down this route.

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