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Listening preference....
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Old 7th October 2011, 01:10 AM   #1
Harlan is offline Harlan  United States
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Default Listening preference....

It has been a while since I was able to post here, life ya know!
Anywhohow.Wha huh? yeah, so I did a lengthy search for this aspect throughout the forum and came up empty, so I shall ask the big question, gently.
I am leaning towards the EL34, but alternate options are the the 6L6 line, the 807 (glorified 6L6) 811 or the 813. (open to other thoughts on this)
So here is my question and it is strictly in the sense of the sound output and personal favorites.
Let me predicate this with the difference between amplifier class (SE P-P, A AB etc.) is not the aspect of my question. Removing the differences of the listening room, speakers chosen, amount of light in a room, color of the coffee and all that is not what I am requesting, so not an easy question really. This kinda brings my question to more of "is there a difference audibly between (tubes)?"
Reason I am asking is that I am preparing now to build my life long dream amp so got curious what others really thought!
I should allow one aspect here since how an amp is driven will impact the output sound, so that makes this a complex question. But I need to be fair as well as clear.
Aspects I will be hoping to hear about are "Clarity, Transparency, Dynamics, etc."
I listen to various styles myself, primarily classical, and a lot of modern rock (Pink Floyd, Straits, Clapton) Love the Irish and Celtic tunes, but I demand a lot from the sound what ever it be.
Your input here will be greatly appreciated and once I review the thoughts, I will happy to post the actual build.
I should note here that I will also design the amp circuit if and where at all possible. I will also be winding my own O-T's for this project.


Thanks everyone

Harlan (Tim)
Project Debut III Carbon, Building the Vixen,
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Old 7th October 2011, 01:32 AM   #2
Ty_Bower is offline Ty_Bower  United States
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Are we taking a vote for our preferred flavour of tube? If someone were to offer me a case full of a couple hundred, and all I had to answer was what type, it would be a pretty quick answer - KT88.
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Old 7th October 2011, 03:57 AM   #3
mp9 is offline mp9  United States
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I had a C-J MV55 for a time and thought the EL34 was a nice tube.
The EAR V20 int amp using ten 12AX7/side sounded pretty good too.
But my first second and third choice is as follows:
#1) 45
#2) 2A3
#3) 300B
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Old 7th October 2011, 04:48 AM   #4
Harlan is offline Harlan  United States
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Thank you Ty and MP9 for the replies and thoughts here.
Ty, may I ask why the KT88 over others? I chuckle on someone offers me a case of tubes, any tubes I will gladly accept I suppose your right I should have set this to do a vote but yes, What is your preference is my question. And of course why if you are able to explain that.
MP9: The 45..... oooh that gives me thoughts. are you referring to a SE style on that one and was there something in particular about the 45 that helped it take 1st place.
I forgot to indicate the 300B is one of the prominent candidates here. I have a pair of old old old new stock 71A's, (1941 NIB) but I think they shall become a headphone thingy!
yeah Again and thank you both,
I admit I am anxious to start on this, but many fires yet to put out before punching a chassis.

Project Debut III Carbon, Building the Vixen,
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Old 7th October 2011, 05:28 AM   #5
a.wayne is offline a.wayne  United States
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Yeah ...

KT88, 8 output prs/ 300 watts/ ch PP , a real he man amp, the way they were made when tubes were tubes and men were.. well , you get the idea. These were the last ones i used ..... real power , real tubes, very good sonics....


Last edited by a.wayne; 7th October 2011 at 05:32 AM.
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Old 7th October 2011, 05:36 AM   #6
dgta is offline dgta  United States
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No audible difference.

In my experience, the speakers make AT LEAST an order of magnitude greater difference in sound than the tubes, or caps, or resistors, etc. Assuming you build an amp that measures clean in every way.
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Old 7th October 2011, 05:39 AM   #7
rknize is offline rknize  United States
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After speakers, the topology (SE vs PP, etc) will also make more of a difference than what tube you put in there.
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Old 7th October 2011, 06:25 AM   #8
mp9 is offline mp9  United States
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dgta, not to discount the Amp Speaker electrical matching of impedance etc and i'm not a EE or designer also don't have the means to buy into the amp of the month club. However ime, i'll admit a well made amp with quality parts where it counts, whether PP, SET or OTL can sound up there with the best using a variety of different tube types.
I have heard many, had a few in my home and there absolutely are audible differences between tube types. For example, i heard a demonstration SET amp designed and built by Nori Komuro to switch back and forth between NOS Westrex 300B and New Production Westrex 300B with all else being the same and while the source remained in play. And yes there was a audible difference between the two. Both tubes were very good but the old NOS had a definite sound which was well in a word, better.

Tim, i think allot depends on the amp and have heard expensive exceptions but ime with the modest Amps that passed thru my hands the SET / 300B was either lush and romantic with so so bass or good base at the expense of midrange lushness. With my modest gear the SET / 45 has been able to pull off both and still have something left on top. Of course some things can change with different speakers etc and there really is no "best", it comes down to how and what we listen to, what we respond positively to, personal preference.
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Old 7th October 2011, 06:54 AM   #9
planet10 is offline planet10  Canada
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Listening preference....
Execution and all the other details of the amp are really more important than the output tube. I've heard lots of good amps with a wide range of output tubes. More important than the output tube are the OPTs and the quality of the power supply.

dgta, it is pretty easy to hear differences between amps with even a modest (but well executed speaker). It is important that synergy exists between the speaker & the amp. I value a quality front end & amplifier, it gives all my speakers a chance to sound great. Having a really nice room doesn't hurt.

mp9's list is an illustration of the generalization that it is easier to get a less powerful amp to sound better.

And if you have to get an amp as mr wayne describes, i'd be looking for different speakers.

community sites t-linespeakers.org, frugal-horn.com, frugal-phile.com ........ commercial site planet10-HiFi
p10-hifi forum here at diyA
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Old 7th October 2011, 08:55 AM   #10
andyjevans is offline andyjevans  United Kingdom
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If you have 71A you are on your way to an all-DHT input section. Get a pair of 26 to put in front of them and read the "26 pre amp" thread which will tell you everything about constructing with DHTs - what filament supplies, where to get them, transformer coupling, battery grid bias, filament bias on the 26 etc etc.

The input tubes are AT LEAST as important as the outputs. I personally don't call an amp with 300b outputs a "DHT amp" - you need DHTs all through for that. In fact I'm thinking of matching a DHT input section to a solid state output section with some of the new Semisouth devices which are causing a buzz. My 300b amp won't quite drive my Mark Audio Alpair 10 speakers, which I love. I could run the 300b hotter or in PP but frankly a really good ss output section is starting to look very appealing. Not least because the cost of electricity is shooting up if you leave your amp on a lot. Mind, ss devices in class A get hot too!


Last edited by andyjevans; 7th October 2011 at 08:58 AM.
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