Fabbrica Italiana Valvole Radio Elettriche (FIVRE) was an Italian vacuum tube manufacturer that existed between 1932 and 1991. In later years they were bought up by Marelli, which produces ignition, suspension and racing parts for Ferrari and other makes. This must be the connection between FIVRE and Ferrari and the reason the boxes are red and black. (Or it could be that they copied the colors of the red and black RCA boxes since they had a long standing cooperative agreement with RCA.)
So here we have the ultra rare Italian made FIVRE 6BE6 heptodes that probably were manufactured in the 50's-60's. Is this tube the Ferrari of heptodes?
Burning in: The tubes were broken in at 9000RPM with a Marelli EF95 gearbox for 50 hours using the 6/7, NS, 2/7 and 1/7 gears. The air cooled engine ran cool, and no dangerous overheating occurred. While NS was a dud, the 6/7 rivaled the triodes in the very detailed treble department. The 2/7 was too treble skewed. The 1/7 gave the best acceleration times. Enough of car comparos...
These tubes are bass monsters. Deep powerful bass going down very low. If there is a kick drum in the recording, you are going to hear it.The mid range coolness disappeared during burn in and was replaced by a neutral thin mid range. The treble is absolutely outstanding, allowing you to hear new nuances in the music.There is a great wide 3D sound stage with excellent spatial separation and pin point imaging. However, the treble is ruthlessly revealing. If the recording is treble skewed it will destroy it. With a technically very well made recording these tubes sound fabulous, but with lesser sound quality brightly recorded music they become glaring. These are macho tubes without sweetness in the mid range.
Edit 7/30: Another feature of these tubes that I did not come across before: Normally, when you turn up the treble or bass controls, the recording is "colored" by more treble or bass, but the the musical information is essentially the same. With these tubes, when turning up the tone controls it is like looking into a microscope; more and more details emerge in the treble and bass. (Usually when turning up or down the tone controls you hear more of or mask certain musical information, but these tubes add much more information than any others I heard. -Felt that I had to add this to the review.)
Not far from where I live is a Ferrari dealer. Once the local paper interviewed a salesman there and the reported asked. "How do you sell these very expensive, impractical cars that nobody really needs, and that basically are toys for adults?" Answered the salesman: "You don't sell the car, you sell yourself. If they like you they buy."
Night view of the 50 heures Le Valvole race. Notice the red hot exhaust from the four cylinder nikasil electron charged engines.
This tube may be for people who like a superbly detailed treble and hefty bass (AFB, r u there?) but personally I prefer a warmer, sweeter, more musical tube. With certain recordings it really shines, but the wow factor only comes through here and there.
Edited by mordy - 7/30/13 at 7:23pm