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Tube rolling with the Audiotailor Jade

post #1 of 81
Thread Starter 
Hi all! Figured I'd start a rolling thread separate from the Jade review. So here goes! Please join in! Our "Jade club" here is growing nicely.

The "native" Jade tubes are the 6AS7G and 12AX7. But others of these families may be used as well, such as 5998 and 5751, respectively.

My many inquiries to various tube dealers have slowly paid off. Here's what I've collected thus far. (Note I'm not a tube expert by any means, I've been following the guidance of others on this forum, Skylab in particular who has been very helpful.)


My 6AS7G/5998 collection:



These are, from left to right: stock 6N5P (Chinese, bottom getter), Tung-Sol 5998 (top getter), Chatham 6AS7G (bottom getter), RCA 6AS7G (GE rebranded, black plate, bottom getter).


My 12AX7/5751 collection:



These are, from left to right: stock 12AX7 (no clue what this is, looks new; anyone with an idea please let me know), Raytheon 5751 (the fabled "windmill" getter, black plate), Sylvania 5751 (black plate), Amperex 5751 (black plate, same as GE 5-star).


Now that you've read this far, I should say I haven't done any serious rolling yet, some of these I haven't even plugged into the amp. I've been using the 5998 and Sylvania 5751 for the last month or so, and I like them a lot. I just got some of these others this past week. I should also say, even with the stock tubes, the Jade sounded pretty good. When I get an uninterrupted block of time (hard because I have 2 and 5 year old kids), I will post sonic impressions. So this is just a teaser. And a place for others to post their experiences.

This is going to be fun!
post #2 of 81
Quote:
Originally Posted by PaulyT View Post
stock 12AX7 (no clue what this is, looks new; anyone with an idea please let me know)
Shuguang.
post #3 of 81
I found the combination of the GEC British-made 6AS7G and the black-plate Sylvania 5751 to be excellent.
post #4 of 81
Thread Starter 
Yeah, I've been actively looking for a GEC, but they're very hard to find.
post #5 of 81
Sadly, they are. But I'm sure a T-S 5998 sounds fantastic.
post #6 of 81
I find the Tung Sol 5998 to be a little darker, slower, and sounds thicker in comparison to the GEC on the Jade.
post #7 of 81
My RCA 6AS7G sounds sweet. I like it better than the Chatham!
post #8 of 81
One of the great things about 6AS7G amps is that the RCA tubes *do* sound great, and they are easy to get and cheap as dirt.
post #9 of 81
Thread Starter 
Guys & gals, I've created Team Audiotailor Jade, please join!
post #10 of 81
Jade have new method to connect on HD600/650 now. A balance cable to use both jack to increase output & improve sound quality. It also good for GK1 series Jfet + Mosfet SE OTL Headphone amps.
post #11 of 81
Thread Starter 

6AS7G rolling

Ok, finally, here's part 1 of 2 of the rolling tests. Today I spent much of the day (took a day off) listening to the different 6AS7G-family tubes in my Jade. For all today's tests, I used the Sylvania 5751, and the K701's in the "tubey" (right-side) jack of the Jade. For each of the 4 6AS7G tubes above, I listened to at least part of every single track in my reference collection, which is 3 CDs worth, about 50 tracks total of mostly classical, jazz, and folk rock.

I don't have time to listen to all 4x4=16 possible combinations of the above tubes, so I figured I'd do one type of tube at a time. It's possible I might miss some combination that really works well, better than when the same tubes are paired with other things, but I doubt it based on what I heard.

The results are very interesting - at least to me To my primary question, "Can I hear a difference between tubes?", the answer is a resounding "Yes." It takes a little while for it to soak in, more than just listening to a few songs. But after 1 CD, I had a pretty good idea of what I thought of the tube, after 2 that idea was fairly solid, and the 3rd was just confirmation. But that's like 1.5 hours of listening per tube. Plus I took 11+ pages of written notes - impressions of each track, things good or bad that stood out. Anyway, my point is that I'm trying to be thorough (or just plain anal depending on your point of view).

So here's my conclusions of the tubes, in the order I listened to them.

Chinese 6N5P: pretty good bass, mids suffering obvious distortion (not just exaggeration, but really some strange sounds), highs very lacking in emphasis. The soundstage is ok, but the sound can really be harsh at times.

TungSol 5998: lacking in bass, some mid distortion, but much better highs. Soundstage is relatively poor, transients muddled; there's just a lack of excitement and detail. (I agree with moonboy on this one, "thick" is an apt word here, and not in a good way.)

Chatham 6AS7G: Some obvious microphonics when first turned on and warming up, but nothing after a minute or two. The only other bad thing I can say is perhaps - and this isn't firm - the sound is a bit on the bright side. But the soundstage is wonderful, there is great detail in fast moving material, clean and tight bass (though not overly forward/overemphasized bass). I spent more time on this tube than the others because I had a hard time *not* listening to all of each track, it was so much fun.

GE 6AS7G: Good well-balanced sound - bass, mid, high all come through nicely. But the detail and excitement level isn't quite as high. Solid sound, but not thrilling.


So, obviously, my very clear favorite is the Chatham. Which, I should point out, is the one I paid the least for ($20) - just happened to find it in an eBay auction from some surplused Navy device. I went back and listened to the Chatham a second time after finishing with the GE, and the conclusion still held. Brightness wasn't quite as apparent the second time, maybe I was just getting used to it... Also tried the Senn HD580s with this, since they're less bright than the K701s and it was a decent match, but still prefered the detail provided by the K701s.

Second place goes to the GE. A good performer, but not exceptional.

The Chinese one was just weird, don't bother. Sounded ok on some material, but other places was just harsh.

The big surprise was how little I liked the TS 5998 in this amp. It may be a great tube for something designed for it, but I just can't recommend it for the Jade. At least not my 5998 in my version of the Jade. And at least with the Sylvania 5751... Can't totally rule out a bad tube here, but since moonboy heard (I think) similar things, I'm inclined to think it's just not a good match electronically.

Skylab, you've got a TS 5998, right? If ever you get the chance and are so inclined, I'd be interested to hear your opinion of that tube with the Jade.


Anyway, I feel like I've really taken the SQ up a good notch in this experiment, and am satisfied that I can really hear the difference and am not just relying on others' opinions, no matter how well-informed. The next step will be to roll the 12AX7/5751s with the Chatham in place, to see what new level I can reach. There are still a few places in some tracks where the sound isn't as crystal clear as I'd like. I can't be sure it's not just a problem of the recording... but it'll be interesting to see if any of these can be cleared up by a different preamp tube, and if the slight brightness of the Chatham can be checked a bit.

To be continued...
post #12 of 81
Thread Starter 
Oh, and yes, I realize I just contradicted some of my earlier statements about tube preferences... so sue me. None of these sounded downright bad despite my most recent conclusions. I don't/won't claim that my preferences are by any means universal. (Or that I won't change my mind later!) But listening to these tubes head-to-head has really helped to educate me and my ears, to pick out what I like and don't like.
post #13 of 81
Testing a TS 5998 will be a little hard for Skylab since I have his Jade!

Btw, I no longer belong to team Jade since I just got my Singlepower Extreme!

Update: I just listened to the Extreme I got today. It's plain ridiculous.

My comfortable listening level with the Jade was at 10 o'clock. With the Extreme, I'm barely past 7 o'clock.
post #14 of 81
Quote:
Originally Posted by PaulyT View Post
Oh, and yes, I realize I just contradicted some of my earlier statements about tube preferences... so sue me. None of these sounded downright bad despite my most recent conclusions. I don't/won't claim that my preferences are by any means universal. (Or that I won't change my mind later!) But listening to these tubes head-to-head has really helped to educate me and my ears, to pick out what I like and don't like.
Nice job Paul. Very much appreciated. I agree on the Chatham as I have one too - very enjoyable. However, do yourself a favor and pick up a NOS RCA 6AS7G for $12 - $14. I'd be curious to see how you feel it stacks up to the Chatham. I think the RCA packs a wallop for the asking price.
post #15 of 81
Thread Starter 
Well, from what I gather, the GE is in fact the same manufacture as the RCA, just relabeled/rebranded - see the 6AS7G thread.
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