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  #141  
Old 10-28-2016, 03:37 PM
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Charles.......The bottom line for all audio systems, especially those of low distortion and sufficient resolution to reveal the mixing and master quality, is the source material, i.e. CD, SACD, LP, digital file, R2R tape, or even cassettes. Garbage in, garbage out. You can change all the tubes, power cords, and interconnects you want. It will never turn a sows ear into a silk purse.
Of that I'd already become well aware and resigned myself to. As I mentioned in an earlier post, a bright CD will still be bright regardless, but what I'm assessing is those items that can mitigate that problem the best, and the tubes I've been using have had varying degrees of success, with the JJs being the best. The choice of interconnects plays a role as well. But I'll also take into account how tubes do on other, non-bright material. I think of these bright CDs as my version of a torture test. I know tubes can't remove the problem, but I want to see how they affect it.
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Last edited by prepress; 10-29-2016 at 08:33 AM.
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  #142  
Old 03-19-2017, 05:09 AM
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I've been using the JJ tubes for a while now, and am pleased. But because of the improvements brought about by changing out power cords to my 2300 and subsequently to my 501s I'm thinking of giving some of the other tubes on hand another try to see what they do in the new setup. The Black Diamonds would be the ones to get the chance. I liked them when they were in, but went back to the JJs because that '60s material I was using sounded brighter than was comfortable. I've since decided that's not such a big issue.

However, it comes to mind that the original Mac tubes have been in the 2300 for a while now. I've had the unit for four years, plus the approximately one year the 2300 was on display in the store. Does anyone have an idea, however rough, of the lifespan of the original tubes? Maybe I should just go ahead and replace them too, even though there's nothing to indicate they're going to fizzle soon.
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  #143  
Old 03-19-2017, 09:21 AM
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Charles.......Have you ever checked to see if the 12AX7's in the C2300 are the McIntosh branded JJ's or the McIntosh branded Made in China tubes they used for awhile? The Chinese tubes that came in my first C2300 and second C2300 were less than satisfactory to me. I now use Gold Lion gold pin 12AX7's in my line stage and NOS Telefunken ECC83 smooth plate 12AX7's in the phono stage. It produced a huge improvement in a lower noise floor, and a superior sound across the entire frequency range. If you are running the Made in China tubes, I would replace them no matter how many hours are on them.

If the 12AX7's are the McIntosh branded JJ tubes, you can expect 5,000 to 6,000 hours, perhaps even a bit longer before they begin to get noisy.
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  #144  
Old 03-19-2017, 08:06 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jdandy View Post
Charles.......Have you ever checked to see if the 12AX7's in the C2300 are the McIntosh branded JJ's or the McIntosh branded Made in China tubes they used for awhile? The Chinese tubes that came in my first C2300 and second C2300 were less than satisfactory to me. I now use Gold Lion gold pin 12AX7's in my line stage and NOS Telefunken ECC83 smooth plate 12AX7's in the phono stage. It produced a huge improvement in a lower noise floor, and a superior sound across the entire frequency range. If you are running the Made in China tubes, I would replace them no matter how many hours are on them.

If the 12AX7's are the McIntosh branded JJ tubes, you can expect 5,000 to 6,000 hours, perhaps even a bit longer before they begin to get noisy.
Hello Dan,

I have the "Made in China" tubes in the phono section. I use the 2300 as a line stage, which is where the JJ ECC803s tubes are. NPR sounded pretty good today, so I'm not in a big hurry to swap out tubes, but if/when I do I thought I'd make a clean sweep, perhaps buy something low-noise and inexpensive to replace the "China" tubes.

The JJs are too noisy to use in a phono section I think, but would that affect the line stage any?
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  #145  
Old 03-19-2017, 09:42 PM
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Originally Posted by prepress View Post
I have the "Made in China" tubes in the phono section. I use the 2300 as a line stage, which is where the JJ ECC803s tubes are. NPR sounded pretty good today, so I'm not in a big hurry to swap out tubes, but if/when I do I thought I'd make a clean sweep, perhaps buy something low-noise and inexpensive to replace the "China" tubes.

The JJs are too noisy to use in a phono section I think, but would that affect the line stage any?
Charles.......The phono stage, particularly the moving coil phono stage, has such a high amplification factor to get the low millivolt output from the cartridge up to a level the preamp can work with, any noise in that stage will show up and be amplified through the line stage. The line stage tubes are the last stage of amplification for all inputs through the C2300 including both phono stages. The line stage output can tolerate tubes that aren't super quiet because its amplification factor isn't as dramatic as the MC phono stage. I always install the quietest tubes I can get into the moving coil phono stage, both in the C2300 and in the C1000C/T preamp that I owned. It makes a world of difference in signal to noise ratios, especially as the volume is raised.

If you are not using your phono stages (MM or MC) then leaving the marginal Made in China tubes in place doesn't hurt anything because you are only using your line stage tubes. In that case I would still recommend the best tubes you can find. Everything matters.
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  #146  
Old 03-20-2017, 05:10 AM
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Originally Posted by jdandy View Post
Charles.......The phono stage, particularly the moving coil phono stage, has such a high amplification factor to get the low millivolt output from the cartridge up to a level the preamp can work with, any noise in that stage will show up and be amplified through the line stage. The line stage tubes are the last stage of amplification for all inputs through the C2300 including both phono stages. The line stage output can tolerate tubes that aren't super quiet because its amplification factor isn't as dramatic as the MC phono stage. I always install the quietest tubes I can get into the moving coil phono stage, both in the C2300 and in the C1000C/T preamp that I owned. It makes a world of difference in signal to noise ratios, especially as the volume is raised.

If you are not using your phono stages (MM or MC) then leaving the marginal Made in China tubes in place doesn't hurt anything because you are only using your line stage tubes. In that case I would still recommend the best tubes you can find. Everything matters.
That's what I suspected and you've confirmed it. With no signal playing, the volume was turned up way past my normal listening volume before I heard any appreciable (to me) noise. Since I never go higher than the low/mid 40s volume-wise, perhaps noise isn't a big issue. But I leave the door open to trying a different tube out of sheer curiosity.
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  #147  
Old 04-12-2017, 07:34 PM
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This is not major news, but I bought two pair of JJ ECC83s tubes to replace the original Mac tubes in my 2300's phono section (not being used) when they either die or I open the 2300 up to re-install the Black Diamond tubes; may as well replace everything, save a trip inside there in the future.

So when the time comes, I'll be ready. No real thought of trying the new tubes in the line stage, but I have the option.
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  #148  
Old 07-06-2017, 07:33 PM
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I have also ordered a second pair of the Telefunken Black Diamond tubes from Tube Depot, to serve either as a backup to the current pair (when I finally get around to putting them back into the 2300) or as my MM tubes should I decide to remove my Aragon phono preamp from the setup and go straight into the 2300; if I do that, I'd best start playing LPs more so as not to waste the tubes. Besides, I have two pair of everything else, so why not the BDs. I liked them when they were in the 2300 before, though they weren't much help taming the brightness of my "torture test" '60s CDs; only the JJs in there now have made any difference. But I've let that ship sail, I think, and it's time to move on.

Besides, it might be interesting to see how things sound once the impending power cord reconfigure is in place.
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  #149  
Old 07-06-2017, 09:06 PM
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Charles.......Having backup tubes of your favorite ones is always a good thing. The small tubes in a preamplifier will most likely last anywhere from 6000 to 8000 hours, perhaps even a bit longer. Unless you do a lot of listening it will be years before the spares will be needed. one the less, it is good to have them on hand.
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  #150  
Old 07-12-2017, 05:46 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jdandy View Post
Charles.......Having backup tubes of your favorite ones is always a good thing. The small tubes in a preamplifier will most likely last anywhere from 6000 to 8000 hours, perhaps even a bit longer. Unless you do a lot of listening it will be years before the spares will be needed. one the less, it is good to have them on hand.
The tubes arrived Saturday and they will indeed serve as backups, as I've decided to stay with my outboard phono preamp. But I'm now not certain when the original pair of Black Diamonds will get back into the 2300, as things are sounding really good right now with the new power cords (delivered on Saturday also) on sources, in combination with the JJ ECC803s / Hi-Performance 12AX7 Gold Pin tubes already in place. At the least, I want to do some additional discovery with this new setup before making the change to other tubes because it's been only one day so far.
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