A sure-fire tube upgrade

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abernardi

Re: A sure-fire tube upgrade
« Reply #20 on: 21 Jan 2012, 07:09 am »
Time for an update if anyone is interested   :?

   I got my hands on a NOS Sovtek 12AX7 from a pretty cool cat who was recommended somewhere in the tube-o-phile circle, Sandy Levy.  He also makes these big fat rubber rings to put over the tube to reduce microphonics.
   These are just first impressions: my general impression is that it's a dry sound.  Wide, but not as 3D as the others.  There seems to be a leaness in the upper vocal range, particularly female.  It does some interesting things.  Dianna Krall doesn't sound good to me with this tube, it's as if she used an older microphone with a limited frequency range.  But on "Morph the Cat" I can hear Donald Fagen better than ever.  I understand so much more of the lyrics than I did before.
   Percussion and attacks were more hard hitting, that was great, very fast.  I heard more distortion in some of the instrument attacks I hadn't heard before (is that the tube or the recording?) and a synth riff on a Weather Report cut was really distorted, never heard that before.
   Sing Sing Sing from the "Swing Kids" soundtrack album was spectacular, best I've heard it.  The horns were so real.  Yet a solo sax cut I have was just flat, unreal.
   Overall I noticed a marked increase in separation and detail in everything.  Orchestral sounded the best, most natural I've heard.  Even the poorly recorded orchestral sounded compelling.  I expected the opposite.  There's an Ennio Moriccone cut from "Once Upon a Time in America" and the mix is so heavy handed.  He throws solo instruments way out front and completely unnatural.  But it was still very engaging this time.  I don't know why that is.
   I'm thinking these rubber rings may have something to do with the solidity and separation in the overall soundscape.  So I'm keeping it in the system for now and see what it's like to live with.  Oh, and James Taylor sounded great.  And Aimee Mann, again an unnatural sounding presentation, sounding fantastic and her voice was great.  So I don't know why Dianna Krall sounded so bad.  That was the only really disappointing thing about this tube.

   I also picked up that modded Elpac power supply that was being sold here on the trading post for the SB Touch.  Things tightened up, cleaner, more authority.

Trismos

Re: A sure-fire tube upgrade
« Reply #21 on: 22 Jan 2012, 10:13 pm »
Merry Christmas James!   :xmas: :xmas:

I have done extensive "time" (spelled $$$) rolling tubes in my M901 and always always come back to the Sylvania GB-5751 Gold pin.
It is my favorite tube for what I would call moderate to low level critical listening.
I also had used a couple of the Psvane AU and AX series tubes with had very nice qualities as well as a JAN 5751 garden variety.
However the one tube which has found a permanent spot in my system is the Sylvania Gold Brand 5751 .
Have a wonderful day of faith, family anf fun.
Tom

I purchased a set of Psvane 12AU-7T and I get a wind sound independent of the volume or input controls. I tried both tubes with the same results. The stock tube is dead silent. I am disappointed.


Trismos

Re: A sure-fire tube upgrade
« Reply #22 on: 23 Jan 2012, 11:59 pm »
Yes. Grant Fidelity periodically has them on sale.  Also, since they are sold only as pairs, folks who only use one often put the other up for sale.

I am having problems with this tube and Grant Fidelity suggests it's not compatible.

Quote
Hi Dave,

From what I read on the Dodd buffer site ( http://doddaudio.com/BatteryPoweredTubeBufferPreamp.aspx ), your buffer uses battery power and it is designed for 6DJ8 (6V) tube. I don't know if you should have used 12AU7 (which is not substitute for 6DJ8 or 6H30). Please check with the buffer manufacturer for compatibility and if any circuit change is required.

It's almost next to impossible for both small signal tubes develop noise issue at the same time. So I think the chance is that you are having a equipment matching issue somewhere.

Unless the tubes are defective, we cannot take returns but we can provide replacement for another model if the other model will be used in the right substitute. Of course the returned tubes have to be NOT-damaged by improper use. Microphonic could be an issue for a tube, but what you described is definitely not micro phonic. And 12AU7 is not a direct replacement of 6DJ8 or 6H30 on your buffer.

I asked Jason about it since the kit may be a little different as built for the Sensation amp and he suggested the tube probably SHOULD work. Anyone have any ideas? I am unusually disappointed that this has worked out this way - Like I had bought a wine of celebrated vintage only to find it had gone bad!

I sent a note to Gary but haven't heard back. 

Regards
Dave


Trismos

Re: A sure-fire tube upgrade
« Reply #23 on: 24 Jan 2012, 02:03 am »
Ok really?? Is it that I'm a complete idiot who's missing something so obvious and everyone is being very polite?

Or is this such a stumper?

tabrink

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Re: A sure-fire tube upgrade
« Reply #24 on: 24 Jan 2012, 03:24 am »
I purchased a set of Psvane 12AU-7T and I get a wind sound independent of the volume or input controls. I tried both tubes with the same results. The stock tube is dead silent. I am disappointed.

I have two sets of Psvane 12AU-7T and a set of Psvane 12AX-7T and while their is a very slight hum if you place your ear directly against the tweeter there is no sound that can heard while listening. Not as black as the Sylvania Gold Pin but most definitely not audible from 3-6 feet away.
I am listening to them right now. Definitely in my top three or four favorite tubes behind the 5751- gold pins and 50 year old Mullards.
I use the 12AX7 in my Grant Fidelity tube CD  as well with just awesome results.
FWIW since my cap upgrade to Clarity's I have been bypassing my buffer a lot.
Jason is making a believer of me.
Tom

Racer X

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Re: A sure-fire tube upgrade
« Reply #25 on: 24 Jan 2012, 04:16 am »
@Trismos -The 12AU-7T Tube is on Gary's list of tubes that will work with buffer in the Sensation. I am running the Psvane 12AX-7T in my Sensation, that also has the Clarity caps. I am switching back between 101db efficient ZU AUDIO Soul Superflys and my Strada Minis with 88.5 db efficiency,the background is dead silent and the sound is fantastic. The Dodd Buffer and in line Buffer on Gary's site both use the 6dj8 tubes, I think that's where Ian got the idea that the tubes were not compatible.

Best of luck tracking down the problem.

Scott     

Trismos

Re: A sure-fire tube upgrade
« Reply #26 on: 24 Jan 2012, 01:47 pm »
Quote
I have two sets of Psvane 12AU-7T and a set of Psvane 12AX-7T and while their is a very slight hum if you place your ear directly against the tweeter there is no sound that can heard while listening. Not as black as the Sylvania Gold Pin but most definitely not audible from 3-6 feet away.
I am listening to them right now. Definitely in my top three or four favorite tubes behind the 5751- gold pins and 50 year old Mullards.
I use the 12AX7 in my Grant Fidelity tube CD  as well with just awesome results.
FWIW since my cap upgrade to Clarity's I have been bypassing my buffer a lot.

Thanks Tom. I have read many of your posts and respect your opinion. I had the GF Dac-09 and was reasonably happy with it, a great product at that price point, but I got the upgrade bug and based on many reviews, including the 6-Moons review, I am now running the Centrance DACmini with excellent results. But it's not a tube DAC like the DAC-09 so the Dodd buffer in my M-901 really makes a nice combination with the Clarity MRs.

Quote
@Trismos -The 12AU-7T Tube is on Gary's list of tubes that will work with buffer in the Sensation. I am running the Psvane 12AX-7T in my Sensation, that also has the Clarity caps. I am switching back between 101db efficient ZU AUDIO Soul Superflys and my Strada Minis with 88.5 db efficiency,the background is dead silent and the sound is fantastic. The Dodd Buffer and in line Buffer on Gary's site both use the 6dj8 tubes, I think that's where Ian got the idea that the tubes were not compatible.

Thx Rx .. I'm in the middle with my GR N3s and their 90.5 db sensitivity. I would love to hear your Superfly's! Are either you or Tom running your Sensation on Batteries? Do you disconnect the charger for listening sessions? My system is really quite simple - music server to DAC to M-901 to N3s with reasonable quality cables all the way. I don't understand how my Psvane tubes didn't actually improve the sound to SOME degree as opposed to what actually is happening, given the posts on this thread.

Regards
Dave

Racer X

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Re: A sure-fire tube upgrade
« Reply #27 on: 24 Jan 2012, 05:46 pm »
 Trismos yes I'm running the Dodd battery and  I leave it pluged in as Seth has said you can't here it. I only had the low power supply that ships standard, the unit sounded nice with that. When the battery were placed in the system It was a Holly crap moment much more bass slam and fuller sound stage, I don't have much more detail on the difference than that because the standard power supply was never heard from again. In my system with the tube switched in more bass slam and fuller sound stage again, with a little warmer tone and a little added reveb  making a hollow body Gibson sound awesome. Switched out Maybe a little more articulate in the upper mids and highs not as seductive to my ears and sound stage backs up a little and a significant reduction in slam.

Trismos

Re: A sure-fire tube upgrade
« Reply #28 on: 24 Jan 2012, 09:57 pm »
From Ian at Grant Fidelity

Quote
Hi Dave,

Most of the posts are referring to the 12AX7, not very often a 12AU7 can be changed in the same circuit as the gain is only 30% of the 12AX7, and guess what, they are noisy when things aren't right. I'd be asking Todd what tubes they recommend in their gear, the 6H30DR supertube would be my first choice, although they are $200 each, we have a limited supply of those.

If you had asked us if a 12AU7 is a drop in replacement for a 6DJ8 we would have said no, ditto the 12AX7 :)

Cheers,
Ian

I still haven't heard from Gary in this regard but quite simply, these tubes are noisy in my system.

And back to the theme of the post then, nobody has mentioned the 6H30DR supertube.....   Anyone?

Racer X

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Re: A sure-fire tube upgrade
« Reply #29 on: 24 Jan 2012, 10:45 pm »
Trismos my understanding is Garys buffer  and his inline buffer advertised on his site are set up to for the 6 series of tubes, and I believe his buffer used in the sensation is designed to use 12 series. I could be wrong but that's my take on it, I would just pick up the phone and call Gary, I have called a couple of times and he always picked up
Best Scott

brother love

Re: A sure-fire tube upgrade
« Reply #30 on: 24 Jan 2012, 11:19 pm »
I have a Sensation M451 w/ Tube Buffer, Sonicaps & Platinum bypass cap., batteries, jumpers set to full range. Amp drives 91 db eff. GR Research N3's.

The Psvane 12AU-7T tube is very quiet w/ a nice black background. My Sylvania 5751 gold pin gives off more tube hiss than the 12AU-T7. But in both cases, I need to get my ear close to the tweeter to hear anything.


Trismos

Re: A sure-fire tube upgrade
« Reply #31 on: 25 Jan 2012, 11:50 pm »
I have a Sensation M451 w/ Tube Buffer, Sonicaps & Platinum bypass cap., batteries, jumpers set to full range. Amp drives 91 db eff. GR Research N3's.

The Psvane 12AU-7T tube is very quiet w/ a nice black background. My Sylvania 5751 gold pin gives off more tube hiss than the 12AU-T7. But in both cases, I need to get my ear close to the tweeter to hear anything.

In other words your system is pretty much identical to mine, yet the tubes make a rather loud hush sound (sounds ironical I know) in my set up. Ian says he would not recommend the tube as a replacement, let alone an upgrade, of the 6DJ8 or 6H30 tube.

marvda1

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Re: A sure-fire tube upgrade
« Reply #32 on: 26 Jan 2012, 01:33 am »
gary dodd made available the option of using 12a_7 tubes or 6dj8 tubes in the virtue audio tube buffer.  find out which one you have.  what stock tube did yours come with?

Trismos

Re: A sure-fire tube upgrade
« Reply #33 on: 26 Jan 2012, 04:48 pm »
gary dodd made available the option of using 12a_7 tubes or 6dj8 tubes in the virtue audio tube buffer.  find out which one you have.  what stock tube did yours come with?

It occurred to me to simply look, but Jason, being the great guy he is, sent along a fist full of spare tubes to play with also. I looked at a few of them last nite while I was listening to music and they are 12s mostly. That doesn't exactly seal the deal, but I'd put my money on it. I'll look tonite though.

Trismos

Re: A sure-fire tube upgrade
« Reply #34 on: 27 Jan 2012, 03:02 am »
The stock tube that came with my Dodd buffer is a JJ ECC803S, and is noted on the Tubestore website as "A premium quality tube that replaces any 12AX7 / ECC83 type."

Actually, everything I read about this tube is positive. Maybe I should leave well enough alone and not buy into the expensive tube hype.

Holy &(*$  Check these out ... google Telefunken Diamond Bottom ECC803s

Regards
Dave



abernardi

Re: A sure-fire tube upgrade
« Reply #35 on: 27 Jan 2012, 03:41 am »
from what I've read the JJ ecc803s is a long plate version of the 12AX7/eec83.  One web site compared 3 of the JJ 12AX7 tubes:

www.tubesandmore.com/scripts/foxweb.dll/extpage@d:/dfs/elevclients/cemirror/ELEVATOR.FXP?page=12AX7CHART

It claims the 12AX7/EEC83S is a standard well balanced tube
The EEC803S is a higher gain/higher noise version that emphasizes high end and
the 12AX7 Gold Pin which is high gain/low noise and seems to be best of both worlds.

I really like my JJ EEC803S and my system doesn't like bright sources, so I'm not so sure about this description.  Though I'd like to get my hands on the gold pin and see how it sounds.  Right now I'm still listening with the Sovtec and it's starting to sound quite good.

Trismos

Re: A sure-fire tube upgrade
« Reply #36 on: 27 Jan 2012, 03:51 am »
Yes I saw the JJ Gold pins and they're nicely priced so I ordered a pair.

Then I went looking for "Premium" ECC803S tubes and as I edited above, found these Telefunken Diamond Bottom ECC803s .... one for $1295.00

And there's this one: EAT Cool Valve ECC803S (12AX7) Ultra Premium Vacuum Tube - damn. I'm worse than my wife looking at shoes. I think I have to have this one. Damn. It looks like it might squeeze in there too.

Me:
Quote
Maybe I should leave well enough alone and not buy into the expensive tube hype.

 :oops:  Guess what?   :duh:

Tris
« Last Edit: 27 Jan 2012, 12:42 pm by Trismos »

jb26

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Re: A sure-fire tube upgrade
« Reply #37 on: 30 Jun 2012, 08:40 am »
Has anyone got a recommendation on where to buy a Sylvania GB 5751 tube?

Cheers,

James

jb26

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Re: A sure-fire tube upgrade
« Reply #38 on: 26 Aug 2012, 11:13 am »
I went ahead and ordered the Psvana 12au7 premium.  While it's still breaking in I think the sounds is comparable to the JJ standard, probably a bit lusher - but I can confirm I'm experiencing the no-rustle when changing volume that others have experienced.  I had realised how it was bugging me, but even if the sound were the same the $50 is worth it to get rid of the rustle.