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  #3151  
Old 01-21-2017, 04:53 PM
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pstrisik pstrisik is online now
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Originally Posted by Musica Amantem View Post
A follow-up on my tube-rolling quest (20 W output trannies, Triode-strapped kT-88 Inspire amp with black glass CV-181 and SE 274B, coupled with LP-27a using 56's).

Valve Art 350B:

The good: Great bass and PRAT. Nice soundstage. Relatively higher SPL (OTBE)
The bad: Veiled mid-range. High frequency roll-off. Piano and wind instruments' timbre is off. Lacking immediacy.
Shame, because these look well-built, are large and nice-looking.

Valve Art 6550 (Westinghouse-labelled Amperex Holland 5AR4 instead of SE 274B):

Surprisingly good! Excellent bass, neat, airy mid-range, not detail-masking at all. Not harsh or too bold. This may be even better than the GL KT-88, although the latter may offer slightly more sound body at the expense of a slightly less managed bass, masking some details. The KT-88 may offer more immediacy, but I'm not sure yet. These 6550's are keepers, raising my output tube favorites cluster to 5 very nice alternatives.
Have you tried current production Mullard EL-34 reissue? I keep coming back to them - though our amps are different. Mine is SEP.

I will add that I previously favored vintage tubes, including the vintage Mullard EL34 Xf2, prior to Dennis' IIPS and cap upgrade. Now it seems the reverse is true. New production seems favorable. I will hypothesize that the upgrade smoothed things out. I used to favor vintage tubes as they were smoother and less harsh overall. Now my favorite new production tubes are livelier and not at all harsh while the vintage equivalents seem less 3D and slightly veiled or soft. True? Don't know for sure, but I like it! Found the same before and after differences comparing new production TS6550 and vintage gray plate TS6550.
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Last edited by pstrisik; 01-21-2017 at 07:05 PM.
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  #3152  
Old 01-21-2017, 10:38 PM
Musica Amantem Musica Amantem is online now
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Originally Posted by pstrisik View Post
Have you tried current production Mullard EL-34 reissue? I keep coming back to them - though our amps are different. Mine is SEP.

I will add that I previously favored vintage tubes, including the vintage Mullard EL34 Xf2, prior to Dennis' IIPS and cap upgrade. Now it seems the reverse is true. New production seems favorable. I will hypothesize that the upgrade smoothed things out. I used to favor vintage tubes as they were smoother and less harsh overall. Now my favorite new production tubes are livelier and not at all harsh while the vintage equivalents seem less 3D and slightly veiled or soft. True? Don't know for sure, but I like it! Found the same before and after differences comparing new production TS6550 and vintage gray plate TS6550.
In my SET amp, I have yet to find "harsh" output tubes, and since new production seems to be catching up (plus the inherent availability and price advantages) I also prefer new production except for the 6V6 family, especially the G ST type (RCA). Then again, the latter sound anemic in my Inspire so those are not being used anymore.

The magic midrange and overall presentation of the KT-77, plus its natural kinkless-derived body of sound (I wish these had better bass, though) makes me consider the source of that design, the EL34. Nevertheless, I'm hesitant because these may become too lean for my system ... A great tube like the 6P3S-E has been surpassed with colors by its relative kinkless KT-66 due to its fuller presentation, keeping the same wonderfull neutrality and data-mining approach of its predecessor.

If the new production EL34 offers bass and body of sound at the kinkless level (i.e. KT-77, KT-66, KT-88, 6550) while maintaining that midrange magic (which in the Triode configuration is maximized, I suppose), then I definitely need to give those a try too. Thanks for the pointer.

BTW, I checked the plate current specs on the 807 and it is right on the presumably ideal range (80+ mA) which should also make it fine in my setup.

Last edited by Musica Amantem; 01-21-2017 at 10:42 PM.
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  #3153  
Old 01-22-2017, 09:56 AM
FloridaBoy FloridaBoy is offline
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I have not found an EL34 that betters a KT77 but I have not tried the new production Mullard's. As you are finding there are trade offs in power tubes, less bass but to die for midrange etc. A good while ago I picked up a pair of NOS Chinese ST 6550's that simply looked well constructed for $35. After some hours they became quite good. Balanced from top to bottom. I found out that they were spece'd by Mesa amps.

Last edited by FloridaBoy; 01-22-2017 at 01:12 PM.
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  #3154  
Old 01-22-2017, 02:35 PM
Musica Amantem Musica Amantem is online now
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Right. I believe the combination of the kinkless effect on the EL-34 signature make the KT-77 what it is, best of both worlds. But without having listened to an EL34 I cannot rule them out. Interesting to learn Chinese also have NOS offers. This is the closest I found on Google:

http://www.vivatubes.com/nos-mesa-ch...s-vacuum-tube/
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  #3155  
Old 01-22-2017, 04:15 PM
FloridaBoy FloridaBoy is offline
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That's the tube. I was listening to them last week and happened to search the auction site. I bought two more pairs for $37.99 each and they arrived yesterday. The seller had 3 pairs and they went pretty quickly.

http://www.ebay.com/itm/182425252299...%3AMEBIDX%3AIT

After 18 months with the Inspire gear I've found a few power tubes
I really like. However, like you none that I have tried are awful. All of our systems and sonic preferences are different. I don't think there is a silver bullet power tube.

Chinese NOS that is almost hard to believe.

Like Peter, I find that the new production power tube are really excellent and you can experiment w/o breaking the bank.

Last edited by FloridaBoy; 01-22-2017 at 04:22 PM.
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  #3156  
Old 01-22-2017, 05:57 PM
Musica Amantem Musica Amantem is online now
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Originally Posted by FloridaBoy View Post
That's the tube. I was listening to them last week and happened to search the auction site. I bought two more pairs for $37.99 each and they arrived yesterday. The seller had 3 pairs and they went pretty quickly.

http://www.ebay.com/itm/182425252299...%3AMEBIDX%3AIT

After 18 months with the Inspire gear I've found a few power tubes
I really like. However, like you none that I have tried are awful. All of our systems and sonic preferences are different. I don't think there is a silver bullet power tube.

Chinese NOS that is almost hard to believe.

Like Peter, I find that the new production power tube are really excellent and you can experiment w/o breaking the bank.
Agreed (except for the TungSol 6AR6WA). Have you ever tried the 807 or KT-150? Is there a better 6550 out there (current production) than the Valve Art? These amps are so versatile and sound so good, there seems to be no limits to the range of sound tweaks at our disposal (except for the $$$ ). Curiously, my empirical assumption of a correllation with Triode plate current specs in the (top 50's to 80+) mA range has met a contradiction in the 350B (56 mA) and the 6550 (150 mA). The former should have worked and the latter not, but it turned out quite the opposite. Evidently there's more to the plate current to make the amp sing, maybe the tube design/construction as it relates to the rest of the system ... Hard to predict! If I were a reasonable dude, I would stick to the KT-66z and KT-77 coupled with the 274B and 5AR4, and CV-181 TII and CV-181 black glass, respectively, as these seem to be the best of them all (in my system, that is). But ... I wouldn't have gotten to this SQ level without trying.

Last edited by Musica Amantem; 01-22-2017 at 06:16 PM.
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  #3157  
Old 01-22-2017, 08:13 PM
FloridaBoy FloridaBoy is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Musica Amantem View Post
Agreed (except for the TungSol 6AR6WA). Have you ever tried the 807 or KT-150? Is there a better 6550 out there (current production) than the Valve Art? These amps are so versatile and sound so good, there seems to be no limits to the range of sound tweaks at our disposal (except for the $$$ ). Curiously, my empirical assumption of a correllation with Triode plate current specs in the (top 50's to 80+) mA range has met a contradiction in the 350B (56 mA) and the 6550 (150 mA). The former should have worked and the latter not, but it turned out quite the opposite. Evidently there's more to the plate current to make the amp sing, maybe the tube design/construction as it relates to the rest of the system ... Hard to predict! If I were a reasonable dude, I would stick to the KT-66z and KT-77 coupled with the 274B and 5AR4, and CV-181 TII and CV-181 black glass, respectively, as these seem to be the best of them all (in my system, that is). But ... I wouldn't have gotten to this SQ level without trying.
If we were 'reasonable dudes' we would have i-Pods with ear buds.
But we are not so we are here. I have more tubes than I need but I still bought the Mesa tubes. However, I refuse to pay the present prices for the alleged holy grail tubes. I simply don't see the value.

Did the 350B not work for you? They need some hours to open up.

Better 6550? I don't know. I have a pair of the new Tungsol 6550's and will compare them to the Mesa's.

On to 6SN7's. I still prefer the CV-181's in my rig over the old stock that I have. What about you?

I got a pair of the KT150's but one died. I'm not sure that they were meant for SE triode wired amps. I have some 807's but no adapters. I almost bought some today but decided not to.
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  #3158  
Old 01-22-2017, 09:45 PM
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x3workshop x3workshop is offline
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Originally Posted by FloridaBoy View Post
If we were 'reasonable dudes' we would have i-Pods with ear buds.
But we are not so we are here. I have more tubes than I need but I still bought the Mesa tubes. However, I refuse to pay the present prices for the alleged holy grail tubes. I simply don't see the value.

....

I got a pair of the KT150's but one died. I'm not sure that they were meant for SE triode wired amps. I have some 807's but no adapters. I almost bought some today but decided not to.
Mesa always spec'd very good quality tubes from, even from Chyna, in the early days so I'm not surprised to hear good reports on them in this forum and elsewhere.

Curious how soon the KT150 died on you? I've already put about 75 hours on these and they're sounding very nice.
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  #3159  
Old 01-22-2017, 10:27 PM
Musica Amantem Musica Amantem is online now
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Originally Posted by FloridaBoy View Post
If we were 'reasonable dudes' we would have i-Pods with ear buds.

HaHa ha! Good one!

But we are not so we are here. I have more tubes than I need but I still bought the Mesa tubes. However, I refuse to pay the present prices for the alleged holy grail tubes. I simply don't see the value.

Did the 350B not work for you? They need some hours to open up.

They probably do. I just listened to them for a good 3-4 hours

Better 6550? I don't know. I have a pair of the new Tungsol 6550's and will compare them to the Mesa's.

Let us know how these compare.

On to 6SN7's. I still prefer the CV-181's in my rig over the old stock that I have. What about you?

I absolutely agree.

I got a pair of the KT150's but one died. I'm not sure that they were meant for SE triode wired amps. I have some 807's but no adapters. I almost bought some today but decided not to.
For the same reasons the KT-150 does not seem a good candidate, if I had 807's I would be ordering those adapters. If I'm not too wrong, their chances in our amp type are much better, IMO.

BTW, the EL-34 has the ideal plate current in class A (about 75 mA at 250 V), so if it has decent body of sound and acceptable bass, chances are it will perform well in our amps.

Last edited by Musica Amantem; 01-22-2017 at 10:48 PM.
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  #3160  
Old 01-22-2017, 11:28 PM
Musica Amantem Musica Amantem is online now
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Originally Posted by opnly bafld View Post
I bought a pentode amp in early September and have not changed any tube.
Will I be kicked out of the club and forced to sell the amp?

Note that I do have 2 other (non Inspire) tube amps.
SE triode/pentode EL84 (prefer triode )
PP triode KT88
I also have a dual mono pentode for the 6V6 family, but it is no competition. I've found a calculated trial-and-error tube-rolling has worked wonderfully in my Inspire amp, raising the stock sound (already very good) to a significantly better presentation. Of course, one needs to invest in this process for it to work.

Last edited by Musica Amantem; 01-22-2017 at 11:33 PM.
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