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EML 5U4G Mesh Plate VS. NOS Tubes VS. Sophia Princess 274B Mesh Plate WA22

post #1 of 184
Thread Starter 
Ok, here is long waited review for "What is going on with EML 5U4G Mesh Plate deal". I am sure a lot of people have same question: Is it worthy to spend $2xx dollars instead to buy NOS tubes for around $100?

When I was emailing George Lenz @ tubesusa.com. He said: "EML 5U4G Mesh Plate is the best 5U4G type you can get." These are the only words in the email. The message was so short, that made my feel stupid to even to ask him in the 1st place.

The tube arrived within 3 days, super fast. I already know the tube is big, but man, it still WOWed me. It is really biiiiiiiiiiiiiiig. Compare with NOS tubes, EML is better made, thicker glass, better base, better pins (Gold plated), massive mesh plate; and each has it's own serial number in side of the glass. It is very beautyful to look at.

http://public.bay.livefilestore.com/...Q/P1010266.JPG

Often when people review a gear, they don't tell you what kind of music tast they have. As headpnoe Hi-Fi now days is more and more toward to younger people, Pink Floyd is no longer consider "Rock". I listen mainly morden hard rock (Yes, I was there at Slipknot show, everybody around me was smoking weed) , female vocal like Norah Jones, some YoYo Ma, some classical, and some Jazz. I like amp that airy, open, detailed, rich, fast, emotional, punchy, and has balanced tone. In my world, there is no place for laid back = Musical. The way I review gears is different from other people. I am not "LOOKING so hard for micro detail, sondstage, yada yada, etc." I don't want to adjust my ears to any pice of gear, or get use to it. They should service me as I used my hard earned money bought them, they are my slaves. You got the picture. You will know when they sound RIGHT.

Gear used:
Meridian G08 CDP
WA22 balanced
Zu Varial XLR between CDP and WA22
HD650 with Equinox XLR
VH Adiuo F4 power cords into wall because I will lose some dynamic if go through power conditioner. (Cardas GF PCs are fired from the job, sold all of them)
G.E.C 6AS7G x2 brown round-cup base with herbies dampers ($150+ a pair)
Brimar UK NOS tall smoke glass 6SN7GT (Since most people use 6SN7 type, $250+ a pair, not in the picture)
EML 5U4G Mesh Plate with 50 hours run-in
Mullard 5AS4 black base tall glass NOS UK
Amperex GZ34 black base Holland
Mullard CV378/53KU straight brown base UK
NU 274A with adapter (F@#k, bad tube)


I am not try to showing off, but just want make sure show you what best WA22 can do.

I am warming up next tube. To be continued......
post #2 of 184
Seamaster, the EML 5U4G really looks big. There are some posts talking about the different SQ of EML 274B and the 5U4G, they both claimed sound a bit better than a Sophia (or reliable so far). Look forward to have more impression of your new toy with this BIG BOTTLE.

BTW, how the crystals work when putting over the amp, more stable for some damping?

PS. Just fond a new 6SN7/6SL7 from Sophia Electric, looks awesome and the price also:

Copy from Sophia Electric website

Grade A (top 10%): $100 per unit with 30 days warranty, $18 extra for one year warranty.
Grade B (top 25%): $80 per unit with 30 days warranty, $18 extra for one year warranty.
Grade C : $59.99 per unit with 30 days warranty, $18 extra for one year warranty.
Factory bulk (unrated): $49.99 per unit with min order of 10 units.

post #3 of 184
EML 5U4G is a very beautiful tube. And it sounds good too. Personally, I don't find much differences rolling rectifier tubes. I bought the EML for the rugged construction and the beautiful mesh plate
post #4 of 184
I will be watching this thread closely.
post #5 of 184
Thread Starter 
I take off for snowbording today.
post #6 of 184
Thread Starter 
Bashed my face against tree today, tree won, I was bleeding all over.

Let's get back to the amp. Brimar 6SN7GT is almost end the the road for 6SN7 type. There is only a handfull tubes are better if you can ever afford like Swiss made B65. They sound tuby and rich , very romantic without losing detail and speed. I also do have a pair Sylvania 6SN7WGTA brown base, they are dark and slow, overly musical (to be nice). When pair Brimar:

Mullard 5AS4, very rich tone, have this great warm image into music. When you are looking for detail, they are there, just not the 1st thing you would notice. There is little mid bass hump, but it does not borther me. Sondstage is OK , not the widest. Instruments placement are correct. Speed and attack are great.
Amperex GZ34 sound a lot cooler than 5AS4, other than sound singnature, they are about equal.
EML 5U4G Mesh, as soon as 1st song starts. You feel this air, deeper image, larger sound filed right at your face. Mid range is more clear. EML give more 3D image. bass is cleanned up(more on this later). there is 0 mid bass hump. Now you are seated 3~5 roll back.
Mullard CV378/53KU. They are same as 5U4G, share same sound singature with EML. A hair less air, and sound filed than EML, but hit harder in bass.

Now, swap out Brimar 6SN7GT for Raytheon 6F8G
Sound still warm, and still carries the tube magic. Everything just boost to next level. 6F8G just better in everyway compare to best 6SN7. I tried all the tubes above, notice there is something missing with EML, the "Impact". I listen to rock, so bass is important. All other tubes in the test kick hard, EML now shows its mellow botton end. the hight and mid just fine as with Brimar, but now from mid bass down just went soft, no balls.
The best match for this test is with Mullard CV378/53KU. It rocks as hard as other tube, at same time lost 2% of soundstage and air compare with EML. I think 53KU is more balanced.

Swap 6F8G with 6CG7/6FQ7
1st pair 6CG7/6FQ7 I got was Amperex made in US by Philipes. they are rated 2nd best of this type.
As soon as drop in those tube in the amp = mad bass kick, and huge sound filed
If you want solid state amp with little tuby touch, these are the ticket.
Mullard CV378/53KU offers best balance.

Sum up:

(Worse as whole) Brimar 6SN7GT with 53KU/ GZ34/ 5AS4 < Brimar 6SN7GT with EML < 6F8G with 53KU/ GZ34/ 5AS4/ EML < 6CG7/6FQ7 53KU / 5AS4 < (Better as whole)
If you only use 6SN7 type. EML is the best,The lack "impact" issue not very stand out at this point because all 6SN7 sound very thick, some how cover up the impact problem.
If you want take your WA22 to next level 6F8G is the key, as start now EML began to show weakness. All other tubes are sounding good only listener's can pick one to match his/her own tast.
If you like soild state with a touch of tube tast, wide airy sound, deep clean bass impact, go with 6CG7/6FQ7, Mullard GZ34 is out of game at this point, it sound too cold. Mullard 5AS4 is still good but little too much bass and mid bass with some CDs. 53KU is best match, it is very close to EML in soundstage, hight, and mid section, plus have IMPACT to music.
post #7 of 184
Thread Starter 
In the end, EML 5U4G is not worhty its aking price. For $239, I could come up better sound easy with NOS tubes for less money
post #8 of 184
Thread Starter 
As now, I enjoy the best with HD650 + Mazda UK made 6CG7/6FQ7 pair with Mullard 53KU
As HD800 user. 6F8G or 6CG7/6SQ7 with may works the best. 6CG7/6FQ7 will give all the bass you want with HD800, but at same time it may sound little cool, so drop in Mullard 5AS4 or something warm, and you should be good.

Music just don't sound right with out impact. I rather lose a little bit of soundstage exchange for a whole element


Many thanks to Jack and his father created nice amp like WA22 have so many tube options that will make everybody happy. If you can't find a tube combo to your liking with WA22. You may just quit Head-Fi.
post #9 of 184
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by dannie01 View Post
Seamaster, the EML 5U4G really looks big. There are some posts talking about the different SQ of EML 274B and the 5U4G, they both claimed sound a bit better than a Sophia (or reliable so far). Look forward to have more impression of your new toy with this BIG BOTTLE.

BTW, how the crystals work when putting over the amp, more stable for some damping?

PS. Just fond a new 6SN7/6SL7 from Sophia Electric, looks awesome and the price also:

Copy from Sophia Electric website

Grade A (top 10%): $100 per unit with 30 days warranty, $18 extra for one year warranty.
Grade B (top 25%): $80 per unit with 30 days warranty, $18 extra for one year warranty.
Grade C : $59.99 per unit with 30 days warranty, $18 extra for one year warranty.
Factory bulk (unrated): $49.99 per unit with min order of 10 units.

Those are Quartz crystal tips, they will convert vibration to heat if there is any ever. Same trick is used by crazy Patrick82. Mine just are in different from.
I can't tell you about Sophia 6SN7, as I don't put my money on new production tubes anymore. There are only very few rare case they are better than NOS tubes of same kind.
Check out those heatsinks, they make the Amp run cooler for longer time.
post #10 of 184
Thanks very much for all the effort you're putting into these comparisons, Seamaster. I for one will be using this as a major reference when I get around to tube rolling my WA22. Do you have any advice on good places to buy tubes such as these, or do you just keep an eye on ebay? Cheers.
post #11 of 184
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by artears View Post
I will be watching this thread closely.
I was watching trees so close and bashed my face into it when snowboarding. Hurt a looooot.
post #12 of 184
Quote:
Originally Posted by pedalhead View Post
Thanks very much for all the effort you're putting into these comparisons, Seamaster. I for one will be using this as a major reference when I get around to tube rolling my WA22. Do you have any advice on good places to buy tubes such as these, or do you just keep an eye on ebay? Cheers.
Same here, Seamaster. I got my amp yesterday but I think it's time to move on from the stock tubes!
post #13 of 184
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by pedalhead View Post
Thanks very much for all the effort you're putting into these comparisons, Seamaster. I for one will be using this as a major reference when I get around to tube rolling my WA22. Do you have any advice on good places to buy tubes such as these, or do you just keep an eye on ebay? Cheers.
I see you are in UK. Lucky you. There are many UK ebay sellers offer good NOS tubes with better price compare to US. Half of my tubes are coming from UK ebay sellers.
post #14 of 184
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by TheAudioDude View Post
Same here, Seamaster. I got my amp yesterday but I think it's time to move on from the stock tubes!
Already? Ha ha. You should use your stock tube for 1st 100 hours amp run-in
post #15 of 184
Quote:
Originally Posted by Seamaster View Post
Already? Ha ha. You should use your stock tube for 1st 100 hours amp run-in
Whoops, I forgot about the burn-in! Then yes, stock tubes are here to stay for the time being
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