Sophia Princess 274B/n mesh plate on WA5 - first impressionsWell, I finally found time to do the switch. Before the 274B I have a pair of Philips Metal Base GZ34 on the WA5. The sound is clean and fast, bass is tight, well mannered, and overall tonality is neutral.
The other tubes compliment I am using are Sophia Princess 300B Carbon Plates (25 hours from new) and a pair of Tung Sol 6SN7 GTB. These remained unchanged after I dropped in the 274B, which are mesh plate, Princess series from Sophia, and was bought new.
What I can say is the 274B has a very different character from the GZ34 metal base. It is far from subtle. First there is more bass - both in terms of quantity and depth. Second, the overall sound is richer, or I should say, denser across spectrum. Some people may call it "sweet" but not syrupy. Third, the far end treble is not as detailed as the GZ34 and tends to roll off earlier. Overall, it is a very different presentation from the Metal Base GZ34.
I listened to the 274B through a GS-1000, recabled in APS v3. This is the first time the GS-1000 sound "right". The recabling has helped to control the bloomy bass of the GS-1000 better, but with the 274B, it is just a tad too much for me for some tracks that comes with plenty of bass. Mind you, it is not bloated, but the GS-1000 does has a fat bottom end and even with the recabling it is still there, though it is still well mannered. Then the mid range with 274B is what makes the GS1000 a better can.
I then switched to a Grado HP-1, also recabled in APS v3. Now this is what the HP-1 should sound ! The bass is well balanced - deep, in a good quantity, textured and enjoyable. the 274B gives the HP-1 that touch of warmth which make the HP-1 sounds very organic and engaging, but nothing is loss in terms of resolution.
I am now listening, with the same tube setup, with the K1000 ( sorrry, again recabled by APS v3) and using my favorite reference CD ('This is K2 HD Sound") and I would say the 274B is made for listening with the K1000. Everything is better - the bass is well supplemented, and the mid-range is scarily good. Very engaging, natural soundstage and overall it is a joy to listen to .
This is my impression for the first 10 hours. I do think the GS-1000 would sound better overall with the GZ34 metal base, but the mid range with the 274B has make the GS-1000 almost a different pair of cans.
I do hope over time the bass will tighten a bit more but we will see. But the Sophia Princess 274B is a worthwhile investment for tube rolling on the WA5.
Next week, I will drop in a matched pair of Bad Boys to see how the combination sounds.
Until then, have a good weekend.