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Darkvoice 336 + 336i Tuberolling [ tubes ]

post #1 of 1496
Thread Starter 
There are plenty of Darkvoice threads going and some of them even have some decent posts complete with tube impressions; however, I did a fairly exhaustive search and couldn't come up with solid information or consensus.

In an effort to get a better sense for whether this amp is a keeper or not, I would like to get all the information we can in one place about the good, bad and ugly regarding what various tubes can do for this amp and the headphone you've got plugged into it.

Since this amp has achieved something of a cult following among tube noobs and is right at the entry-level price point, it'd be nice if we could get some detailed information helpful to people trying to track down your recommended tubes.

Let's keep this thread to the Darkvoice and tubes only. There are other threads going where you can let everyone know of when your amp arrived and the more general impressions you have.

I myself haven't an ass hair's worth of information for anyone. That's why I'm posting this.

Gear mentioned in this thread:

post #2 of 1496

tubes

Private Message me and I will send you some tubes to start with.
Echo1
post #3 of 1496

tubes

I have a rca smoke glass 6sn7 or a hytron I will send you and a 6as7g for the back.They are tested and have no problem with the Darkvoice a.c. heaters.(dead quiet) I have read now a lot about tube amps and using a.c. is what most all manufactures use and it can be a hum issue in all amps and tubes.... Its not just the darkvoice.
Run a search on hum pots,a.c. heaters, d.c. heaters.
I have done some changes to mine so I have some unused tubes that sound good but I no longer use.
post #4 of 1496
I personally really like the RCA silver laber (6SN7GT): rich mids, smooth highs(slightly rolled off), and GREAT lower resolution!
post #5 of 1496
hello

i have think to use 6ASG7A SYLVANA front tube and back tube 6080/6AS7 RCA. Good match? SYLVANA tubes are made in USA??
post #6 of 1496
bump
post #7 of 1496
I'm quite happy with this combo:

RCA redbase 5692 (6SN7GT)
General Electric 6080 (6AS7)

post #8 of 1496
I just bought a 336i. Can anyone recommend some good tubes for K701 and DT880? I mostly listen to jazz, vocal, new age and pop.
post #9 of 1496
Mikhail recently asked me to bring my THA-336i in to his shop to try out some new output tubes that he got. We listened to tung sol 5998s and that is a decent tube but the bendix 6080wb is an amazing tube! They are built like a tank. Even Mikhail thought the Darkvoice sounded pretty good with the bendix as the output and a sylvania 6sn7w for input. With the other output tubes he said the sound was 'mushy'. If you can find one, I highly recommend the bendix 6080wb.

Happy Tube Rolling!
post #10 of 1496

Starter Tube Combo

Does anyone happen to have a good combo of tubes for the 336i that they would be willing to sell? PM me if you do. I'm looking for a good upgrade set from the included tubes to get me going.
post #11 of 1496
Thread Starter 
So far I have used a handful of 6SN7 tubes with the Darkvoice 336i with good results.

These were given to me by echo1, and I have only what's written on their boxes to determine what they are:

RCA 6SN7GT clear glass
Sylvania 6SN7GT
Tung-Sol 6SN7GT mouse ear


If I recall correctly, echo1 had an issue with hum with the Tung-Sol (it has a cracked base). He was using a 336, and I have a 336i. I have no hum issues with this tube; it might even be my favorite so far.

I also bought a NOS (~30 hours) RCA 6SN7 VT231 grey glass. While I like this tube for its rich/sweet character, it seems to have a bit of a constricted soundstage to me compared to the Tung-Sol and Sylvania. Others have mentioned that the Darkvoice isn't exactly the greatest amp in terms of soundstage, and it may be that it needs a tube with good soundstage to compensate. This is just my own under-educated speculation though.
post #12 of 1496
I started by trying different tubes at the front. Some Brimar 6SN7GTs I bought sounded OK but hummed. The hum diminished after 30 hours or so use, but didn't completely go away. Then I got a GEC 6AS7 for the back, and with the GEC in the back the Brimars are dead silent. I still have a few other tubes for the front to try.
post #13 of 1496
Just want to add a little more.

I have been testing the RCA 6SN7GTB for the last couple of hours (and will be testing it for 2 more days until I decide if I want ot buy it).

As far as sound is concerned, going from the stock tube to this one is like going from the emu 0404 to the 1212m. the sound is more accurate, flat, detailed. Yet, it is a bit less dynamic (bass is a bit less punchy), and some recordings sound a bit boring compered to the stock tube (yet more realistic).

I think I'll get the RCA

BTW, I'll probably have a chance to test a few more tubes in the next few weeks, so I'll keep you all informed.
post #14 of 1496
some more tubes I have tested:
Sylvania 6SN7 - ****y tube. Highs and mids are awful. worst tube I have ever heard.
RCA 6080 - a vit less trebel, a little more bass punch, about the same detail andsound stage.

For the moment I am leaving the original tubes.
post #15 of 1496
With the Darkvoice and W5000, there is only one tube that has satisfied me in every aspect: The grey glass RCA 6SN7GT (or VT-231, identical tube). It's the tube I loved with the K501, and I dunno why the hell I didn't try it on the W5000 sooner. I've been going back and forth between it and my other tubes the last few days, and I can't really find any aspects where it doesn't win in my system. It's a little thick in the midbass, with less low end slam, which is the exact opposite of the W5000, so it fills out to the perfect combination of bass slam and warmth. The sound is very lush and smooth, with some kind of almost magical ability to counter the weird frequency response on the W5000. It's great with fast & clear phones like the W5000 and K501, but probably your last choice for any headphone that starts off too warm or recessed (I don't even want to imagine how thick and syrupy this tube would sound with the HD650 ). The highs seem to have a bit of a slow rolloff compared to other tubes, so you need a good, strong treble response on your phones to avoid problems there.

Neither the Darkvoice nor the W5000 have what I would call a big soundstage, so the RCA's smaller, more intimate sound isn't a problem for me, and works great because it doesn't try to make the W5000 do more than it actually can for soundstage.

It is by far and away the most "musical" tube I've used. I can't even analytically listen to it if I try, I just get lost in the music for several hours at a time, even if I only meant to check how one track sounded. The music just flows.

I've also been using a Svetlana 6H13C for the output tube, which I haven't had any complaints about at all. Both of these tubes are easy to get real cheap, so that makes me even happier about the combo!

I really wish I could give my thoughts on this tube with more common phones like the K701.
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