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  #161  
Old 10-14-2018, 08:29 PM
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Charles.......I have experimented with various small tube gold pin Gold Lion tubes (12AX7, 12AT7, 12AU7) in a number of different McIntosh amplifiers and preamplifiers for the past eight years. I have compared their performance to Tung-Sol, Philips, Mullard NOS and reissue, Telefunken, and Siemens. All of the different tubes have been delightful although each bears a personality, and that includes Gold Lion tubes. What I have found with the Gold Lion tubes is a particular performance level that contradicts its price point. In fact, at a typical price of less than $39.00 per tube, the Gold Lions offer a well balanced frequency response from bottom to top, as well as excellent signal to noise level, i.e. very quiet when compared to others. The Gold Lion manufacturing standards are high, which equates to longevity. When you consider a $60.00 to $150.00 or higher price range per tube for other premium tubes, often NOS if available, then compare their performance to the Gold Lion tubes it becomes apparent just how good the price to performance ratio is for the Gold Lion tubes. I have found that the Gold Lion ECC83/B759/12AX7 and ECC81/B739/12AT7 tubes approach the same high performance standards and low noise levels of their Telefunken counterparts without having to pay upwards of $200.00 per tube for the very scarce NOS Telefunken. In my opinion, this is the reason Gold Lion tubes are widely embraced by audiophiles. They sound wonderful, are quiet, readily available, reliable, and their cost is reasonable.
There's that balanced frequency factor. We hear/heard the same thing, it seems. Gold Lions are also pretty quiet.

What I'm thinking is to try no more than two of the tubes I have on hand, probably the Gold Lions and maybe the JJ High-Performance tubes. At this point there are certain things I'm used to hearing, and I hope these tubes will let me hear them once I get around to the experiment. I'm curious to see if, with the new amp configuration, the Gold Lion tubes will exhibit more bottom end than before.
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  #162  
Old 10-17-2018, 06:28 AM
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I have ordered two Transparent Premium power cords using Transparent's upgrade program. They should arrive Friday, and are to replace the HPPCs on my 501s. What I'm thinking is to wait until they arrive and break them in a bit before swapping out any tubes in my 2300. Does that make sense? Also, I have more important things to attend to right now regarding the apartment, so that's a factor.
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  #163  
Old 10-17-2018, 12:04 PM
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I have ordered two Transparent Premium power cords using Transparent's upgrade program. They should arrive Friday, and are to replace the HPPCs on my 501s. What I'm thinking is to wait until they arrive and break them in a bit before swapping out any tubes in my 2300. Does that make sense? Also, I have more important things to attend to right now regarding the apartment, so that's a factor.
Charles.......That's one way to go, or you can try rolling some tubes in the preamp before the new power cables go in while you are still familiar with the way the system sounds now. It may take you quite some time to break in the new power cables and become familiar with the change in your system's sound before it would make sense to try rolling tubes in the preamp.
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VINTAGE - McIntosh MA230, Tandberg 3011A tuner, Olive 04HD, Sony DTC-59ES DAT, McIntosh 4300V, JBL 4312A
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  #164  
Old 10-18-2018, 07:05 AM
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Originally Posted by jdandy View Post
Charles.......That's one way to go, or you can try rolling some tubes in the preamp before the new power cables go in while you are still familiar with the way the system sounds now. It may take you quite some time to break in the new power cables and become familiar with the change in your system's sound before it would make sense to try rolling tubes in the preamp.
Hi Dan,

I'm not sure about break-in times for power cords, but I don't think it's all that long (maybe 20 hours?). That said, rolling in tubes before the Premiums go in has merit, too. What I was hoping for is to avoid an extra (redundant) tube roll if possible. If I install the PRPCs and listen to the system for a while, then change the tubes, I may decide to stay with that change; or I may like things the way they are so no tube change, done deal.

If I change tubes before the PRPCs go in, that does give me a chance to hear what the system sounds like now with the new tubes, but then I'd still need to get used to the new sound (if any) when the PRPCs go in and still need to wait for them to break in, and that sound may change as time goes by. But again, I don't think power cords need that much time to break in, so maybe it wouldn't be that bad.

The other factor is time. I have stuff to do and tube rolling (especially today) would be a distraction, even though it would take perhaps only a half hour or so. I have a major apartment project going and have nowhere to work with the preamp now. And the PRPCs are supposed to be available tomorrow. So as a practical matter, I may be looking at option #1 by default. Once the work is done I can still roll the GLs or JJs or whatever I want if I'm curious enough. And I won't have the option to delay installing the PRPCs as this is a trade-in, so they'll be installed immediately.

Anyway, I need to get moving. To be continued.
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  #165  
Old 10-18-2018, 09:01 AM
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Charles.......Either way you go it will be fun. Love this hobby.....err, obsession.
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  #166  
Old 10-18-2018, 09:51 PM
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Charles.......Either way you go it will be fun. Love this hobby.....err, obsession.
Well the PCs are here early, so tomorrow I'll connect them and get started. Fortunately, my wallet will limit any serious obsession. All things considered, I'll start with the Black Diamond tubes since they're already in the preamp. Then, unless I'm blown away I may well move to another tube at that point.
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  #167  
Old 10-21-2018, 06:33 AM
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Most of my comments on sound will be in my power cord thread for now, but here I'll say that the dynamic impact of the Premiums is greater than that of the HPPCs, felt especially on Fanfare for the Common Man with its big drum. After only an hour with the Premiums connected, I'm thinking the JJ High Performance tubes may not get a try, as their more forward bass and warmer character may not be a good match for the increase in the weight of the sound. I'll give the Premiums more time to settle in before determining that. The Gold Lions may be next up if I do go to another tube instead.
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  #168  
Old 11-11-2018, 01:27 AM
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I came home not long ago from another Jazz at Lincoln Center concert, this one a program of Miles Davis music. As I listened, it occurred to me that the sound I was hearing reminded me of the Black Diamond tubes I'm using in the 2300 a bit. The highs (brass and woodwinds) were more prominent than the bass, which was in the mix but seemed more in the background except for solos. That's opposite of what the JJ High-Performance gold-pin tubes are with their more forward, full low end and solid mids, probably part of the reason they have a warmer sound. I'm thinking perhaps the Gold Lions would offer a balance between the two, a middle ground of sorts. It may be interesting to test this out by actually trying both the GLs and the JJ HP gold-pins and comparing the sounds. Now, I don't want to strip the screws on my 2300 with too many tube changes, but I'm really thinking about this now. And despite my saying I wanted 20 hours on the Transparent Premium power cords before making any tube moves, I may not wait that long if the idea to experiment strengthens.

The Premiums are pretty much what they're going to be at this point, I'm starting to think, even with less than 10 hours on them (including 2:10 today). But with the Christmas vacation looming in about 6 weeks, I should decide what I'm doing fairly soon if I want to begin any serious tube rolling.
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  #169  
Old 11-11-2018, 02:17 AM
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Charles.......Thinking isn't doing. Make it happen! .
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STUDIO - McIntosh C1000C/P, MC2301 (2), MR88, Aurender N10, Esoteric K-01X, Shunyata Sigma spdif digital cable, Sonos Connect, PurePower 2000, Stillpoints, Furutech Flux 50, Michell Gyro SE, Michell HR Power Supply, SME 309, Ortofon Cadenza Black, Wireworld, Sonus faber Amati Anniversario
LIVING ROOM - McIntosh C2300, MC75 (2), MR85, Magnum Dynalab 205, Simaudio MOON Neo 260D-T, Schiit Audio Yggdrasil, Aurender N100H, Shunyata Sigma USB cable, Micro Seiki DD40, Ortofon Cadenza Blue, Nakamichi BX-300, Sony 60ES DAT, PS Audio P10, Furutech Flux 50, Sonos Connect, Stillpoints, Wireworld, Kimber, PMC EB1i, JL Audio f113
VINTAGE - McIntosh MA230, Tandberg 3011A tuner, Olive 04HD, Sony DTC-59ES DAT, McIntosh 4300V, JBL 4312A
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  #170  
Old 11-11-2018, 07:20 AM
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Charles.......Thinking isn't doing. Make it happen! .
The other piece is that live music doesn't always sound like how I hear/read it described in reviews and on websites. It can be hard, bright, heavy, unbalanced, etc., which depends upon several factors. So the question comes, what am I looking for, exactly? Do I want sound that's pretty, nice to listen to, or do I want something closer to the real thing? Except for the bottom end, what I heard last night from the JALCO sounded like what I get at home in some ways, and makes me begin to think I should leave things alone. A different venue might have me going another way on that, however. And I think it important not to change out tubes or any other component based primarily upon what I heard at one venue.

One thing's for sure: I want a solid bottom end. The BDs give me that and the JJs gave me that. If I remember right, the reason I didn't keep the GLs or Mullards in was the handling of brighter recordings, which the JJs tamed better than any of them. The Mullards didn't have enough bottom at the time either, after settling in; maybe the new setup with the Transparent PCs will help that. I also remember that the the JJ HP's warmer tone allowed me to turn things up more than the other tubes did. THAT has significance, and it's another test I should add to the proceedings.

Anyway, if I have an idea of what I'm listening for, that will inform my choices. I still have need to clean up the room and clear space to work with my preamp (which I haven't had a chance to do, I'm that busy). And I'm not posting photos to garner sympathy for how bad it is in here. I need to find/make time to do the job so I can move on. The GLs or JJs will be next, and unless something else happens, "the next voice you hear" will be comments on how that goes.
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