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Hi,I have a Bob Latino VTA 120 amp with the stock driver tubes. Overall love the amp, but after a year of ownership am getting the 'tube rolling' bug.Have already swapped out the output tubes with KT88s--overall effect was not that noticeable if at all (from stock 6550s). I'm now looking for recommendations for the driver board, in particular the center tube which I understand to be the tube most affecting the sound. I'm looking for a version of this tube that is reliable, affordable (under $50 USD) and emphasizes high end 'details/clarity' vs 'sweetness and mellowness'. I'm fairly limited in my upper range hearing so I tend to favor tube and SS amps that emphasize transparency and detail, (or even over emphasize those characteristics a bit) vs neutrality and balance.Thoughts?Thanks--Jay
Brimar and Tung Sol will lean toward warm-ish, I'd skip them based on your initial post. JJ's too. The Sylvania, Siemens and Gold Lion will lean toward greater clarity and dynamics. I've not heard the Shuguang 12au7s.
Kevin is a great source for tubes. He's picky about what he sells and stands behind it. I haven't bought any tubes fron Upscale because I usually find the same tube elsewhere for a few bucks less.
Thanks. I am going to run this by the person I purchase my tubes from re: he is recommending the Tung Sols (he is a well respected supplier and I generally would go with his suggestion). If he shares your POV on this I am sure he will gladly supply with with one of the alternatives.Best--Jay
Tung Sols IME are slightly warm, but the one thing they do that other tubes have a hard time matching is that they sound big. Which is pretty darn cool. I'd recommend trying some Tung Sols regardless of what other tubes you end up with. Vintage Tung Sols, not new production Tung Sols. I find that vintage Tung Sols are my favorite brand, regardless of tube type.
The Sylvania 12AU7 is a very nice tube and cheap. Raytheon black plates are great too. Plenty on ebay usually. GE 5814 are also quite nice. I have the JJ long and short plates and a few other new production tubes. The vintage ones a step up IMO.
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