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Little Dot MKIII Tube Rolling - Page 119

post #1771 of 2853
I think what you're describing is the stereotypical difference between solid state and tube amps. Of course there are amps of both types that "break the mold". I don't think the LD will ever sound like an Arietta no matter what tubes you put in it.

I don't really know how many hours tubes last but I would imagine you're starting to get to the end of the life of the ones you have. Many people have claimed that the power tubes don't make much difference to the sound but if they are burning out that may be a different story. I'd look into getting a replacement pair, which you will need eventually anyway, and compare the two.

I am surprised you find the Mullard 8100 to be a bit soft since I would say those are some of the crisper tubes I've tried. I would say the clearest tubes I have are the Mullard 8161/EF92 tubes. It's the only EF92 variant I have so I don't know if it's that family or if it's just that particular tube. Next I would recommend the Western Electric 403B.
post #1772 of 2853
Quote:
Originally Posted by erikzen View Post
I picked up a pair of Raytheon JRP-6AK5W "anchor" tubes 1952 and a pair of Mullard Whyteleafe plant M8100 1958.
Last night I started listening to the Raytheon. I immediately found the highs very smoothed out and slightly rolled off. It lacked any kind of high end sparkle and although pleasant didn't sound particularly "hi-fi".

Over the course of two albums the sound started to open up a bit, but had a typical tube amp smoothness. Sweet, liquid mids, slightly bloomy bass, silky but rolled off highs. I hope as these mature they gain a little bit more edge in the highs, but that might not be the nature of these tubes.

This is one of my more expensive matched pairs that I picked up from Tube World. While I'm not ready to make a final decision on these, it does go to show that paying a premium for matched tubes doesn't necessarily guarantee you a sound you're going to like.

I'd like to point out though that I also ran the LISA III amp off the preamp out with these tubes and I really liked the sound. It had all the clarity of a solid state amp, with a touch of warmth and mid-bass bloom. Very nice.
post #1773 of 2853
Quote:
Originally Posted by erikzen View Post
Tung Sol 6AK5W 1957 grey plates, square getter (dealer said it was a matched pair but markings on tubes are not completely identical.)

I've got a few unmatched pairs as well:
Amalgamated Wireless 6AK5W - 4 pairs
Western Electric 403B - 3 pairs
Amperex 5654
I could be wrong, but I thought "matched" meant that their signal strengths - like when tested in a tube tester - were matched to within a certain number; Not necessarily that the tubes came from the exact same place or the same batch or whatever. So that each channel sounds balanced when listening. So two of the same model tube could have different markings but still be matched.
post #1774 of 2853
anyone know where I can get a good deal on 6N6P-I with a CC? (preferably in australia for shipping time + in depth tracking). Mailing cash would also be okay...
post #1775 of 2853
Quote:
Originally Posted by ScottieB View Post
I could be wrong, but I thought "matched" meant that their signal strengths - like when tested in a tube tester - were matched to within a certain number; Not necessarily that the tubes came from the exact same place or the same batch or whatever. So that each channel sounds balanced when listening. So two of the same model tube could have different markings but still be matched.
I'm not 100% sure on this point. I would imagine that two different runs from two different dates would not have identical sound properties. So while the signal strength may be the same, one tube might be more bass heavy than the other, etc.

I would think that a truly matched pair should be the same brand, same variant, and have the same date code, so that the sound from each would be as similar as possible. But I may be wrong.
post #1776 of 2853
Yeah that does make more sense... anyone who actually knows out there?
post #1777 of 2853
Quote:
Originally Posted by erikzen View Post
I would think that a truly matched pair should be the same brand, same variant, and have the same date code, so that the sound from each would be as similar as possible. But I may be wrong.
It's not as if a complete universally accepted definition exists but I'd agree with the above. Matched tubes must be electrically matched (whatever that means), must come from the same factory, must have same construction, and must date from the same period of time. The brand printed on the tube doesn't matter sonically. I could accept differing brands or labels as long as that is clearly indicated and everything else matches. On the other hand, it is easy to see why a cosmetic match is often preferred.
post #1778 of 2853
Quote:
Originally Posted by erikzen View Post
... I would say the clearest tubes I have are the Mullard 8161/EF92 tubes. It's the only EF92 variant I have so I don't know if it's that family or if it's just that particular tube. Next I would recommend the Western Electric 403B.
Erikzen, thanks for the help. I am not trying to get LD sound like Arietta but try to get the sound stage improved as much as different tubes can. Following your recommendation, I have tried to find some 8161 at ebay and tubeworld, but did not find any yet(I tried the key word 8161 @ tubeworld and get no hit). I'd appreciate that if you can point me to some sources.

I did find some WE 403B at ebay:

I guess this link is what you call "Sir Yen"? These are matched pairs for $36/pair. It seems to be quite expensive already from ebay.

Another one has 50 available with about $30/pair or $40/matched pair. Which one of those two source would you suggest to try first?


And for the power tube, I found some 6N6P at ebay

Are they good one to start? Or should I better look for matched pairs to avoid channel imbalance (you mentioned it doesn't seem to matter too much). tubeworld has $75/pair 6h6p. It seems way to expensive. Other sources, please? Thanks!

Thanks for the help on my 1st tube purchase.
post #1779 of 2853
You just have to keep scouring eBay to find tubes at decent prices. Otherwise, buying from Yen is OK. You get what you pay for. You'll never get a great bargain but you'll never get gipped either.


You might want to look at EF91 also. These look like they may be fun to try:
2x Mullard Electron vacuum Tube 6AM6 / EF91 - eBay (item 350009754039 end time Apr-19-09 06:26:24 PDT)

Not that cheap either but might be worth trying.

You can go with those power tubes. I don't think there is a need to spend a lot on power tubes. With 1000 hours on them, there is a chance they might be starting to fail. You just want to compare your tubes with the new ones. You'll need a spare pair at some point I imagine.
post #1780 of 2853
If you don't want to pay a high price for some Mullard M8161 tubes you can go to any good online tube seller and order a pair of 6CQ6 (EF92) tubes. Just specify you want to have the same brand for the pair. Most likely they will be a different brand but will be rebranded tubes made in Great Britain. They may even be made by Mullard - look for the sand blasted codes in the glass. The second line of code will have the first letter "R".

I even got a pair of CEI EF92 tubes that sound great. They aren't made by Mullard though. Not sure who makes them other than they are made in England but there are no Mullard/Phillips codes.

Overall, the difference in sound between different brands for the EF92 and EF91 tubes is small, unlike the EF95 where the brand and even the years made makes a big difference. Again, that's just my observation. The EF92 tubes have larger soundstage (then the EF95 in general) and EF91 even more so with lots of air (maybe too much).
post #1781 of 2853
Thank you both for the very helpful information. I got two pair of Russian power tube for $16 and one pair of M8161 for $25 from ebay. They claimed to be matched with some measured numbers (but they have multiple pairs. so...)

Hopefully, it will clean up the LD sound a little bit. The more I compare LD (old tubes) with Arietta, the more I found that the sound quality of LD is kind of scratchy at certain freq. bands. Violin and vocal sound acceptable but closer to me with LD, but piano sounds rough(again certain freq. bands are not right). It makes me switch to Arietta whenever I listen to piano works. I'll see if the new tubes help.
post #1782 of 2853
Good luck. As fun as I find the Little Dot, I don't think it's the most accurate amp, but for $250 (of course now we're talking $450 with all the tubes I've bought), it certainly is a good value. Hopefully, you'll find a tube compliment that works for you.
post #1783 of 2853
anyone ever try the Amperex M8083 EF91's? just bought a pair from Yen, was deciding that or the Mullards M8083. I'm hoping they're more fast/forward sounding because I find the other EF95/EF92 families too slow/laid-back with the HD650's.
post #1784 of 2853
I have some Amperex EF91s. They're really cool tubes. They light up real bright when you first turn them on, so don't freak out! They look pretty old too and they have cool looking blue glass in the middle.

Like other EF91 tubes they have a large soundstage with lots of air. Bass is sort of weak (rolled off) but may be what you are looking for (faster bass). No EF91 tubes that I heard are forward sounding - they are very spacious.

There are some forward sounding EF95 tubes. I don't consider that a plus though. But, everything in audio is subjective.

Ones that come to mind are the Russian 6J1P or 6J1P-EV, WE403B and GE 5-stars. The cheap CV4010 from Amalgamated (they sell them for 2 bucks on e-bay) are very forward and compressed like a wall of sound. Don't really care for them but they have a SS sound to them.
post #1785 of 2853
Quote:
Originally Posted by Max F View Post
I have some Amperex EF91s. They're really cool tubes. They light up real bright when you first turn them on, so don't freak out! They look pretty old too and they have cool looking blue glass in the middle.

The cheap CV4010 from Amalgamated (they sell them for 2 bucks on e-bay) are very forward and compressed like a wall of sound. Don't really care for them but they have a SS sound to them.
Yeah, I noticed that my other Amperex 5654's flash like that too. Are you referring to these 2 dollar Mullards CV4010?

Mulllard CV4010 6AK5 6096 Little Dot NOS NIB - eBay (item 270369317449 end time Apr-07-09 13:41:07 PDT)
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