Modwright SWL 9.0SE/Sig Preamp Tube Rolling

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low.pfile

Modwright SWL 9.0SE/Sig Preamp Tube Rolling
« on: 8 Apr 2009, 04:16 am »
I could have simply asked who has rolled their SWL 9.0 but that's just not me....

There are lots of Tube Rolling threads in the MWI forum for other units, but it is hard to find one dedicated to the SWL 9.0SE Signature Edition preamp or the SWL 9.0SE(without tube rectified PS). Surprised that the SWL has so little tube coverage here.

INPUT TUBES
On all SWL 9.0s the two input stage tubes are 5687s, and the only acceptable substitutions are the 6900 and 7119 tubes according to the manual.  My preamp came with Tung Sols 5687s.

Maybe there is little need for improving the input tubes, but someone must have at least experimented, for better or worse. Who has and what did you use for the input tubes?



    My stock 5687 input tubes


5AR4/GZ34 RECTIFIER
The 5AR4/GZ34 used as Tube-rectifier seems to be the most roll worthy in the pre. We know that the original SovTek GZ34 tubes in the SigEdition were susceptible to failures, so Rubys are the default now.

What are the best bang for the buck GZ34 you have found? What is the cream of the crop?

There is already a small thread covering the SWL Sig Power Supply tube rolling, but is hardly comprehensive, hopefully the discussion can pick up here.

I swapped out to a '60s? Eico Mullard GZ34 from Andy@Vintage ($120ish) and really haven't put the original back in to compare. Sounds very nice, but I don't recall any major revelation.



   I rolled into a Eico Mullard GZ34 for the PS

TUBE DAMPERS
A recent thread in the Tube Circle discusses Herbies dampers. Who uses them? On which tubes? Who tried them, but decided to remove them?

Any other tweaks?

I hope all of the previous SWL pre owners didn't upgrade to the 36.5. That would be hard to do in the current economy.

enjoy your music!
cheers, ed

low.pfile

Re: Modwright SWL 9.0SE/Sig Preamp Tube Rolling
« Reply #1 on: 10 Apr 2009, 01:09 am »

(cue crickets...)

low.pfile

Re: Modwright SWL 9.0SE/Sig Preamp Tube Rolling
« Reply #2 on: 10 Apr 2009, 01:12 am »
I thought the thread would be helpful in general to SWL 9.0 owners since there was a lack of a tube rolling thread.

For my own selfish reasons:

What are the 5687 tube recommendations for the input stage?

Or are the stock Tung sols already near the top?

thanks, ed

sleepysurf

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Re: Modwright SWL 9.0SE/Sig Preamp Tube Rolling
« Reply #3 on: 10 Apr 2009, 02:00 am »
I've compared the stock Tung Sols with NOS Phillips JAN 5687's, and haven't noticed much difference.  Rolling various flavors of the rectifier has had much more impact.  I'm currently using a NOS (plastic bass) Mullard 5AR4, and find it provides a lot smoother midrange than the Ruby 5AR4, while maintaining tight bass.  I also auditioned a metal base 5AR4/GZ34 (thanks to member RUR!), which was really sweet, but not enough for me to justify spending exorbitant $$$ on.  I'm contemplating trying the Emission Labs 5U4G mesh plate, which I've read is also compatible with the SWL 9.0 Signature (though not confirmed by Dan).

Oh, I've also tried the cheapo red rubber band tube dampers on both the rectifier and output tubes, but likewise noticed little improvement.

bandit

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Re: Modwright SWL 9.0SE/Sig Preamp Tube Rolling
« Reply #4 on: 10 Apr 2009, 02:09 am »
Hi Ed,

I have the SWP 9.0 SE - recently purchased a NOS Mullard 5AR4 -

On the 5687 tube - I have spoken with several people and they have used the GE 7044, Sylvania GB5687, Bendix 6900 and the Tung Sol's - and all have different impressions/sounds. This is quite dependent on your system's synergy.

I am going to start off testing all of them first the Sylvania GB-5687 and the Tung Sol's....we'll see

RUR

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Re: Modwright SWL 9.0SE/Sig Preamp Tube Rolling
« Reply #5 on: 10 Apr 2009, 03:25 pm »
Bendix 6900's are about as analytical as it gets.  I've not used them in a 9.0SE (I own the 36.5), but, after trying most of the tube types, I do use them in my MW/Denon 3910.  Unfortunately, they're expensive and somewhat hard to find, so it's best to borrow a pair and ascertain if they're your cup of tea before you buy.

FYI, I evaluated many pairs of 6900's in a sort of quasi-test, and the highest transconductance, best section match tubes sounded best, IMHO.

JerryH

Re: Modwright SWL 9.0SE/Sig Preamp Tube Rolling
« Reply #6 on: 10 Apr 2009, 11:00 pm »
I've been using the Sylvania 5687's and prefer them over the stock Tung Sol's. A little smoother and musical if I remember correctly.. I changed them over a year ago. Not really a profound change though.

The real winner for me is the EML as I posted in the TP thread. It made a big difference even over the metal base GZ34. This is in the SWLP. If you intend to use the cover (recommended), you need about a 3" hole cut. Plenty room around it though. Dan has confirmed the EML is fine in his preamps.

In the phono section, I tried the 6H30 DR's replacing the 6N1P's. Didn't get favorable results there. Sounded muddy for the phono. I had checked with Dan and he said it was kool to swap, but could affect the load in the phono section. I didn't experiment changing the settings.

  

sleepysurf

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Re: Modwright SWL 9.0SE/Sig Preamp Tube Rolling
« Reply #7 on: 11 Apr 2009, 12:52 am »
...If you intend to use the cover (recommended), you need about a 3" hole cut...

Would a local machine shop be the best for doing that?

JerryH

Re: Modwright SWL 9.0SE/Sig Preamp Tube Rolling
« Reply #8 on: 11 Apr 2009, 05:24 am »
The best tool for cutting the hole is a Greenlee punch. They are spendy though and probably not too easy to find at that size. Lucky for me, there was one that large at my work. Cutting with a blade would work too of course, but may not look as good.

AB

Re: Modwright SWL 9.0SE/Sig Preamp Tube Rolling
« Reply #9 on: 12 Apr 2009, 07:39 pm »
If I were the OP I would seriously consider getting Dan and company to upgrade his SWL with all MW caps.
This is what was done to my SWL when it was upgraded to SWLP.
I'd also add some tube dampers to the 5687 tubes.

I also had Dan add a DACT CT2 stepped attenuator to my SWL. Big improvement there.

As for tube rolling, IMHO I think you've got it covered - NOS Mullard 5AR4 and the TS BP 5687.

I did like cryoed TS 5687 at one point. They were a bit more extended top and bottom than the originals I had. One of the cryoed tubes eventually went massively microphonic on me so I replaced both with a pair of non cryoed TS tubes. I don't remember being disappointed in the non cryoed tubes and they are still in the pre now.

There is also Dan's new PS 9.0 update to consider.  :thumb:

low.pfile

Re: Modwright SWL 9.0SE/Sig Preamp Tube Rolling
« Reply #10 on: 12 Apr 2009, 09:29 pm »
Looks like we have a thread now. Cool. Thanks everyone for your comments. The purpose of starting this thread, home base for SWL preamp owners.

AB, cap upgrade sounds interesting, though I am not looking for an upgrade myself. a few tube tweaks maybe. If I want a different sound I would get a different preamp altogether. But I am very happy for now.

It would be cool if Dan dropped in with a few comments.

cheers, ed

modwright

Re: Modwright SWL 9.0SE/Sig Preamp Tube Rolling
« Reply #11 on: 14 Apr 2009, 02:07 am »
Hi guys, here is my $0.02:

I personally really like the Tung-Sol or Raytheon 5687's in our preamps.  The Amperex 'PQ' 7119 can also be very good, if you want more sparkle and detail, but they can be microphonic.

The Mullard GZ34's are an exceptional choice for rectifier and there are many varieties within this family. Most notable amond them possibly is the metal base GZ34, but $$$!

I am expecting an EML 5U4G to experiment with in various of our designs.  The Transporter is the only product that allows drop-in use of the EML tube, at least in terms of physical limiations.  Circuit-wise, there is no problem using the EML tube in any of our preamps, but the tube is MUCH too large to fit inside with the lid on.  A Greenlee punch is the best way to 'machine' a hole in the lid.

Most machine shops, unless a friend, are not likely to work with you, making a single hole in a single piece.  There is the cost of setup, programming, etc.

The MWI cap upgrade is SIGNIFICANT for any of our older preamp designs that did not utilize our own custom capacitors.

The new PS 9.0 power supply with tube rectification and dual-discrete SS voltage regulators is also a SIGNIFICANT upgrade that may be used in our SWL 9.0SE and SWP 9.0SE designs.  It is the same design for the external supply for the SWLP also, but I still need to revise the design to allow for powering the unit on from the preamp power switch.  The current upgraded PS 9.0 circuit is lacking the relays needed for this, but will be added soon.

Thanks, I hope that this helps!

Dan

low.pfile

Re: Modwright SWL 9.0SE/Sig Preamp Tube Rolling
« Reply #12 on: 14 Apr 2009, 05:52 am »
Dan,

Thanks for your addition to the thread.

So do you have a pricelist for the upgrades you mention in your post above?

cheers, ed

modwright

Re: Modwright SWL 9.0SE/Sig Preamp Tube Rolling
« Reply #13 on: 15 Apr 2009, 06:27 am »
Price List for SWL 9.0SE Upgrades:

MWI Full capacitor upgrade = $500.
Tube-rectified power supply upgrade = $500.
Both upgrades = $1000 (including return shipping and new remote if unit has old universal remote).

Thanks,

Dan W.

HumanMedia

Re: Modwright SWL 9.0SE/Sig Preamp Tube Rolling
« Reply #14 on: 9 May 2009, 07:33 am »
OK here are my 5687 tube ratings in descending order of preference (higher = better)

Tungsol Bronze plates  (rich, warm, great)
Tungsols More modern 1970's (cooler)
Sylvania Gold Brand (extremely warm mid bass, holographic but rolled off low bass)
Raytheon
Phillips JAN
JTL
RCA

Also tried but dont like:
7044
7119

cactusjack

Re: Modwright SWL 9.0SE/Sig Preamp Tube Rolling
« Reply #15 on: 10 May 2009, 02:32 pm »
What is the life expectancy of 5687's and GZ34 rectifiers. I have no idea of the age on my current tubes and was wondering aproximate life of tubes in audio preamps.
Thanks

kmmd

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Re: Modwright SWL 9.0SE/Sig Preamp Tube Rolling
« Reply #16 on: 10 May 2009, 10:17 pm »
When I owned the SWL 9.0SE Signature, I liked the JTL black plates which improved the midrange and bass.  I managed to pick up a set of unused Kuhl Tube cryoed JTL 5687 black plates on Audiogon which gave me smoother and extended highs with deeper bass and definition.  These tubes were used with a metal base Philips GZ34 in the PS.  The GZ34 is now in my LS36.5 of course. 

As for Dan's new PS upgrade with voltage regulation, it will definitely take your SWL9.0 up another level and then some.  I just got it for my Denon DVD-5900, and the increased definition and detail extracted from the source material is unbelievable.  This translates to a deeper and wider soundstage, increased low level detail and extension and increased bass/midbass definition and impact.  It is an incredible value and a significant upgrade.

BTW, if anyone's interested in my 5687's, please feel free to shoot me a PM.  I don't have a tube tester, but I'm sure that there is quite a bit of life left.

mooglie

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Re: Modwright SWL 9.0SE/Sig Preamp Tube Rolling
« Reply #17 on: 13 Sep 2009, 03:13 am »
Will a "Fat Bottle" Sylvania-Philips ECG 5AR4 (or the mislabeled 5v4ga) fit?  I've got the latest rectifier circuit.

jtsnead

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Re: Modwright SWL 9.0SE/Sig Preamp Tube Rolling
« Reply #18 on: 3 Oct 2009, 04:26 am »
I have not been to Audio Circle in a while nut since I just got a 9.0SE this week I remembered that Dan M had his own page here so I thoght I check it out. Reading all the forums it seems like the Syl GB5687 are up w/ the best, I did find any "this week" but I did bid and win on Amperex BB 7119 NOS off of ebay, put them in today and they did take away some of the glare I was getting w/ the Raytheon 5687 that came w/ it (on cd playback) I am listening to vynil tonight and it sounds wonderful, I might be repeating other replies I did not read above, love this preamp!

pjnad

Re: Modwright SWL 9.0SE/Sig Preamp Tube Rolling
« Reply #19 on: 13 Jan 2012, 02:35 pm »
Anyone have pair/s of 5687's that they want to get rid of? One of my tubes went bad and I'm looking into some different rolling options.
Thanks,
Paul