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MG Head Tubes

post #1 of 12
Thread Starter 
Hi guys,

Just wanted to get some idea's on tube combo's for my MGhead

currently twin svet's + anoher tube which i cant quite remember

phones : HD580

musical tastes:
pearl jam
a perfect circle
tool
kyuss
monster magnet
primus

I lvoe the sound i am geting now, but i keep wondering what i am missing and how much better it can sound

i love the way guitar and bass sound through this unit

so any ideas on what i might enjoy ?
post #2 of 12
Leave the EL84s alone for now. Start with the 12AX7.

Now some suggestions in order of personal preference:

(1) NOS Sylvania black plate / Sylvania grey plate gold pin: The best of breed period. These are 5751 tubes and are a direct replacement for a 12AX7. I've found that these will push the sound forward far more than any other tube I've tried. For me, this is good. The Senns are laid back, and after a while they just felt too laid back. The Sylvania tube helped big time. It didn't make Grados out of the Senns (which I wouldn't want). But it brought me into the concert hall, whereas I felt like I was listening from a corridor next door to the concert hall before. The midrange from this tube is mouth watering. But it lacks bass. I like Primus, Disturbed, Rammstein in additon to classical, and the bass is insufficient. Extremely disappointing IMO. Bass drum just sounds lifeless. Despite this, the Sylvania tube is preferable to any other. Its detailed smoothness (make sense?), layering of instruments, and tonal accuracy above about 70 Hz can not be beat.

(2) NOS GE black plate 5751 (NOT THE GREY PLATE). A little too laid back for me. The detail and accuracy is there, but I have to strain to hear it. This tube packs more punch in the bass to my ears than does the Sylvania. Definately worth a shot. You might like it.

(3) NOS Amperex Bugle Boy 12AX7. Its a nice tube for a 12AX7 but it definately doesn't compete with the 5751s. The sound is perhaps a bit brighter (not what I like) and everything is far more homogenous. The separation of instruments is not nearly as palpable. Its bass response, however, is the best of the 3 listed here. But you give up too much to get it, and it wouldn't be my tube of choice. I still recommend it though, because for your music and tastes it might be right. No 12AX7 will be any better than this one, to be sure.

Others I have but haven't tried: Raytheon, Tung Sol, Telefunken. I can't let go of the Gold Brand Sylvania I current have in there long enough to give these others a shot. I more or less know what to expect from other equipment, but can't report on what I hear from them in the MG Head because I haven't yet tried them there....

FWIW

Brian.
post #3 of 12
I agree with Brian. I think the 5751's have a performance edge over most of the 12AX7's typically. I use some nos Jan 5751's that are USA made, but I don't know which manufacturer. They sound better then the Mullard 12AX7's and the Sovetek 12AX7 long plates that I have.
post #4 of 12
I received my MG Head last week and have been listening with the stock tubes. I have been in contact with Kevin Deal from Upscale Audio to get some recommendations on tubes. Here is his mail:

Quote:
The Mullard CV4004 is the hot ticket. That's what everyone is using in that unit. $45 for Premium Select. Ei 6BQ5 matched are $13 each.

Regards,

Kevin Deal
I assume the Mullard CV4004 is the 12AX7 and the Ei 6BQ5 are the EL84s. Any experience with these?
post #5 of 12
Quote:
Originally posted by JMT
I received my MG Head last week and have been listening with the stock tubes. I have been in contact with Kevin Deal from Upscale Audio to get some recommendations on tubes. Here is his mail:



I assume the Mullard CV4004 is the 12AX7 and the Ei 6BQ5 are the EL84s. Any experience with these?

No experience with the Ei. Yes that's the EL84.

What kind of headphones do you use? With my Senns the Mullard is not the ticket. Not even close. Save your $45.

Two recommendations:

With Senns: Sylvania Gold Brand or Sylvania government contract label CAA or JHS. Both are 5751 tubes (in place of 12AX7). The former has gold pins and grey plates. The latter has steel pins and black plates. These tubes are the cream of the crop. Hands down. There are slight differences between the two which will come down to your taste. But if you spent $45 you'd be able to get one of each, and both of them will blow the Mullard away. I'd be amazed if anyone disagreed after doing the comparison.

With Grados: GE black plate 5751. The Sylvanias might be to your liking, depending on personal preference. If your preference is Wam Bam Thankyou Mam In Your Face presentation, then by all means try the Sylvanias with Grados. The GEs will be layed back in comparison, which IMO is good for Grados. YO may be different. Now, the GEs do sound good with the Senns too, but are too layed back with that headphone for my tastes. I like layed back, but not to the extent of the GE/Senn combo...

FYI/FWIW

Brian.
post #6 of 12
Shiesta! I made these recommendations once already in this thread!! Man.
post #7 of 12
IMHO, the best combo that I have used in my MG are the Mullard CV4004 and the Yugo (Ei) el484. A close second would be the Electroharmonix 12AX7 with the Yugos. I listened to the stock tubes for about 2-3 months before I tube rolled. I wanted to get acclimated to it's sound with my 580s (w/ Red Jaspis).

Compared to the stock tubes, the Mullard/Yugo combo offers up more bass than the stock tubes especially for jazz (Coltrane - Love Supreme) and classical music (Mahler 2). The highs were more detailed and clearer without being sibilant. One of the better tests for detail for this tube set-up or any tube set-up is the Chesky Demo Disc track 3 (Rebecca Pidgeon's Spanish Harlem). The pluck of the bass and the guitar strings are apparent but not overwhelming. Ms. Pidgeon's voice is strong and clear. I believe in the refrain I can hear her breathe out when she sings a p and b sound.

fbleagh, I will give Lateralus a listen tonight and follow-up.

Hope this helps.

Regards - reynman
post #8 of 12
Dude, get a Sylvania 5751. I think you'll be pleased.

Quote:
Originally posted by reynman
IMHO, the best combo that I have used in my MG are the Mullard CV4004 and the Yugo (Ei) el484. A close second would be the Electroharmonix 12AX7 with the Yugos. I listened to the stock tubes for about 2-3 months before I tube rolled. I wanted to get acclimated to it's sound with my 580s (w/ Red Jaspis).

Compared to the stock tubes, the Mullard/Yugo combo offers up more bass than the stock tubes especially for jazz (Coltrane - Love Supreme) and classical music (Mahler 2). The highs were more detailed and clearer without being sibilant. One of the better tests for detail for this tube set-up or any tube set-up is the Chesky Demo Disc track 3 (Rebecca Pidgeon's Spanish Harlem). The pluck of the bass and the guitar strings are apparent but not overwhelming. Ms. Pidgeon's voice is strong and clear. I believe in the refrain I can hear her breathe out when she sings a p and b sound.

fbleagh, I will give Lateralus a listen tonight and follow-up.

Hope this helps.

Regards - reynman
post #9 of 12
Posted by briantf27
Quote:
Shiesta! I made these recommendations once already in this thread!!
....and I read those recommendations with interest. What I was asking was if anyone had any experience with the Mullards. Thanks though, unfortunately Upscale Audio is out of stock of the Sylvanias. Any suggestions of alternate web dealers?

Posted by reynman
Quote:
IMHO, the best combo that I have used in my MG are the Mullard CV4004 and the Yugo (Ei) el484.
Thanks reynman
post #10 of 12
I just wasn't paying attention to which thread this was and posted the same info twice. :-)

You just need to hunt and peck. There are tons of dealers out there. But if all else fails I could probably spare one of my Gold Brand Sylvanias for, say, $30. The military spec ones are usually cheaper, but I have fewer of those and none are for sale.

Brian.
post #11 of 12
There's some pretty good info here... I've been testing out many different tubes as well...and here is quick guide to some I've been trying....
Here's what I have for 12ax7's

1)Amprex Bugle Boy (long plate d getter)
2)Amprex orange label west germany (most likely a RFT)
3)Telefunken smooth plate
4)Mullard cv4004 box plate (from upscale audio)

for 5751's

5)GE black plate w/ support rods
6)GE 5 star

I'm using the Ei/Yugo el84 from upscale...

I'll make some quick comments...
1) very aggresive presentaion of the music, and for me was hard to listen too, brass would just get too loud and piercing, laso had a very think mid bass that would make things sound "muddy" sometimes...I guess it would be the most dynamic of all the tubes.

2)Ok tube, not as dynamic as the bugle, though I liked the more mellow sound... not as wide, separated presentation or as detailed as some of the others.

3)sound lacked body, had nice extension on both ends, to me everything sounded a bit thin and small... lacked the separation of some of the others.

4)I liked this tube for the smooth midrange and even presentation, dynamics of the material, probably gave the fullest sound throughout with nice detail, mid bass a little thick in my system, has rolled off highs which may not be to people's liking...I didnt find too bad.... It's not as focused as 5751's but I think competative with the GE black plate....

5)detailed but as Brian said, laid back... not as lush as the Mullard, a very focused sound which might make it a bit thin sounding sometimes... I found it to lack bass impact as well.

6)had more bass impact, but I don't think it's quite as detailed as the black plate still a good tube though. Will have to compare more.

I've been trying to find the Sylvania 5751's, but if they have even less bass than the GE black plate, that would be kind of depressing... so who knows...I've been trying lots of different geat to so will have to test out some more to see which is best.

hope there is some usefull info in here
post #12 of 12
There is definately a different sound between the Gold Brand and the JHS/CAA Sylvanias. The latter possess slightly fuller bass and are perhaps slightly more transparent, though it is tough to say. The former, while leaner in the bass to my ears, may still be my personal favorite. It has a warmth to the midrange, even if it is a slight coloration, that I just love. I think the latter may be slightly more accurate, but the former just seems to draw me in more. It is certainly a personal preference. In any event, either one of these two tubes are heads and tails above the rest IMO. And I could easily live with either of them long term (which is why I have stockpiled so many ). Keep in mind, also, that the tube perference is entirely based on headphone matching. I mean, the beauty of the Sylvanias for me is their forward nature. Because with the laid back Senns, they bring me right where I want to be in the concert hall - not all the way up into the Grado seats, but not back in the nosebleed seats with the rest of the Senns. Somewhere in the middle. It is just right.

Now, the only tube I haven't tried on your list is the long plate Bugle Boy. I'd like to find a long plate with "D" getter, but they just seem to command too much and I just know they can't touch the 5751s anyhow. And your account of the sound with the longplate sounds very similar to the standard Bugle Boys that I am familiar with already...

Thanks for the input!!
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