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Old 01-19-2014, 07:12 AM
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Default Tube Possibilities (yes, that's right)

Tube Depot has received positive comments around here, and it's from them I got the JJ ECC803s gold-plated tubes I use now in my C2300 line stage. They have a new feature, a Tube Comparison Tool, which gives you graphic ratings for the various tubes they have, and even someone such as I find it interesting and fun to compare tubes this way. I spent way too much time doing that yesterday. My experience with the JJs seems consistent with how they're rated with the Comparison Tool. Based on the rating of the Gold Lion 759B (I assume that's the one so popular here), it's easy to see what the fuss is about. Unfortunately, the Amperex 12AX7A ECC83 tubes I got from my Mac dealer aren't listed; it would be interesting to compare them. The 15–20 or so hours they were in the line stage suggested open and clean sound, but bass performance was unclear.

As part of my cable clutter reduction project (another thread) I was thinking about using the 2300's MM section, swapping out the stock tubes there for something else and removing my phono preamp. This would eliminate a power cord and interconnect pair (it would also give me two empty shelves, but that's another story). My current JJs would seem to be too noisy for a phono section based upon their rating. Interesting—a non-tube guy (still, in some ways) exploring tubes. I'd never have thought it.
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Old 01-19-2014, 02:32 PM
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You probably already know this but the the McIntosh phono stage will like balanced/matches pairs of tubes with low micro-phonics. While I didn't have a C2300 I did have a C220 for a while and tried a few different tubes. What I liked best were NOS RCA Black plates and also found Tung Sol gold pins and Gold Lions (both new production tubes) to be pretty good as well. As for the charts shown these are primarily spec's you would be interested in for guitar amp use and not fully applicable to audio use. For example they rate the Gold Lion 12AX7 as bright in tonality, to me they were pretty warm sounding overall. What it comes down to is there is no right or wrong tube and you will simply need to try some to find what you will like. And don't get caught up in new vs. NOS but you should try some from each era to see what sound good to you.
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Last edited by DonBattles; 01-19-2014 at 09:17 PM.
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Old 01-19-2014, 04:53 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DonBattles View Post
You probably already know this but the the McIntosh phone stage will like balanced/matches pairs of tubes with low micro-phonics. While I didn't have a C2300 I did have a C220 for a while and tried a few different tubes. What I liked best were NOS RCA Black plates and also found Tung Sol gold pins and Gold Lions (both new production tubes) to be pretty good as well. As for the charts shown these are primarily spec's you would be interested in for guitar amp use and not fully applicable to audio use. For example they rate the Gold Lion 12AX7 as bright in tonality, to me they were pretty warm sounding overall. What it comes down to is there is no right or wrong tube and you will simply need to try some to find what you will like. And don't get caught up in new vs. NOS but you should try some from each era to see what sound good to you.
Hello there,

Are you talking about the B759 GLs or the regular GLs? They listed two types. The cheaper of the two is rated much brighter and sounds like it's the one you refer to; I was referencing the B759.

With some of the tubes they give separate comments for hifi and guitar amps. I wouldn't consider any where no comments were given on a potential hifi application. I need something as a starting point and from there trust what I hear. Matched pairs are a good idea; the JJs I have are matched. I will stick with that for sure, whatever I do.
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Old 01-19-2014, 02:49 PM
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Don.......Good response to Charles' post. Very good advice. If you don't hear it with your own ears, you don't have a clue how it sounds and no explanation will change that.
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Last edited by jdandy; 01-19-2014 at 02:51 PM.
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Old 01-19-2014, 05:58 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jdandy View Post
Don.......Good response to Charles' post. Very good advice. If you don't hear it with your own ears, you don't have a clue how it sounds and no explanation will change that.
True, my ears are the final arbiter. No disagreement there. And while I'm essentially satisfied by the JJ tubes I have in now, considering giving the phono stage another try has led me to look at other tubes. I do have the NOS Amperex tubes, as mentioned, so that would be a logical starting place. The TD comparison chart gives the GL B759s higher marks than the JJs in ways that appeal to me.

I admit I am disinclined to make repeated tube rolls. My schedule and system setup disfavor that, plus my audiophile gene isn't big enough to pursue them (the little bugger is more occupied with power cords at the moment). The current thought is to put the Amperexes into the line stage and give them, say, a month; I may well succumb and get some GLs (the 759 ones!) or Mullards to have on hand. Between the JJs, Amperexes, Mullards, and GLs, I would be set. It's also true that the same brand doesn't have to go into both line and MM slots; I have only 2 pair of the Amperexes and will want to preserve them, not use both pair up at once.

My schedule precludes a lot of long listening sessions, so a month is the minimum any tubes should get for a fair hearing. I will be listening primarily to how low frequencies are handled.
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Old 01-23-2014, 01:33 PM
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My 2 cents- break in the tubes for the recommended number of hours then go back to the original tubes then put the new ones back in. Comparing straight out of the box is not accurate. Consider getting some non NOS tubes that have been chryoed to compare what that will do for you. You may be amazed or disgusted-wont know till you try.
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Old 01-23-2014, 07:14 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rlw3 View Post
My 2 cents- break in the tubes for the recommended number of hours then go back to the original tubes then put the new ones back in. Comparing straight out of the box is not accurate. Consider getting some non NOS tubes that have been chryoed to compare what that will do for you. You may be amazed or disgusted-wont know till you try.
My intention now is to put the NOS Amperex tubes into the line stage; I'll keep the phono preamp for now. I'm considering strongly getting a pair or two of GL 759s just to have here.

I've been told that a tube pretty much shows itself in about 25–30 hours, at least in basic character. I hope to double that before making any big decisions. I think the JJs I'm using now took more than that 25–30 to really fill in. I have 3 pairs of them and 2 of the Amperex.
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Old 01-23-2014, 07:31 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by prepress View Post
My intention now is to put the NOS Amperex tubes into the line stage; I'll keep the phono preamp for now. I'm considering strongly getting a pair or two of GL 759s just to have here.

I've been told that a tube pretty much shows itself in about 25–30 hours, at least in basic character. I hope to double that before making any big decisions. I think the JJs I'm using now took more than that 25–30 to really fill in. I have 3 pairs of them and 2 of the Amperex.
Take your time and enjoy what you learn via the differences. Just make sure there is only one new variable at a time or everything become difficult to sort out. Synergies are crazy good when achieved. But deciding to change ic's before pc's will lead to different choices then when you change the pc's first.
Wonder what the best way to go is. I believe everyone changes their ic's and spkr cables first because this has been done the longest before people used after market power cords
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Old 01-24-2014, 06:32 PM
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No sooner did I make a post about changing tubes than I listened to the stereo via my tuner, and found myself asking why I'd want to change the tubes. The JJ ECC803s sounded really good. I guess I could say the Amperexes cost more and justify it that way.
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Old 02-08-2014, 04:57 PM
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I have received my Mullards and Gold Lions today. A bit later I'll get another pair of each, and that plus what I have already will be my tube library for the forseeable future. I don't really see much need for more than that. I might buy a few cheap pairs of something to use in the stage(s) I don't use, but as far as anything else the four brands I have now should be plenty.

I still want to put those NOS Amperexes back in. Wednesday would have been good, but the day didn't work out and I ended up going to work instead of being off. A tube change is still in the plan, however.
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