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2359glenn | studio - Page 48

post #706 of 10158
Thread Starter 

The plan for tonight - tube rolling. Sitting back somewhat, just getting acquainted with the Brimar 13D1; Ken Rad 1633 and reacquainted with the TS-BGRP; USAF-596 and 5U8C. I started out at 2130 hours, let's see if I can make it 'till 0930 hours for a 12 hour run!

 

If were really motivated, I'd focus on cleaning the pins of each tube that's out of the rotation for an hour or so at a time. But, my eyes are shot! Will likely dim all the lights and clean pins over the weekend - a little bit here and there. 

 

 

Update: well, more like 11 hours for this session...what's an hour?! After two very long sessions, a clearer picture has begun to emerge with these tubes. A bit more experimentation and then note taking by Monday/Tuesday night. Time for bed at 0830 hrs...it's a wrap!


Edited by Silent One - 8/18/12 at 8:17am
post #707 of 10158
Thread Starter 

A "Saturday Night Stroll" or "Midnight Misadventure?"

 

My overnight run in the listening room presented both like stereo. Groovin' one moment and gasping the next...all in the same track. I started out what should have been a continuation of tube rolling from the previous night/morning. Rather than simply repeat the previous session, I decided I'd shake things up a bit and preamp the OTL.

 

Earlier this spring, I used the OTL as a preamp with the Pioneer SX-650. The sound improved some but not enough to call my friends up. Since that time, I brought home one of its bigger siblings - a 1980 Pioneer SX-D7000. This vintage iron means business. I topped off the OTL with the Russian 5U8C rectifier, Tung-Sol 5998 power tubes and the 13D1 Brimar drive tube.

 

After getting wired, first up on the playlist was "Holidays" - Abraham Laboriel, Sr (1993). eek.gif Lush low-level detail coming forward like a confession in the box!!! Ain't never heard the OTL amp sound like this before. The bigger Pioneer sounds so much better than the little one, both stand alone and with preamp.

 

But the presentation also left me confused and challenged. The Inputs on the OTL are reversed. To compensate, I simply reverse the cables coming out of the DAC into the amp. This way, voices and instruments maintain their places. 

 

However, when going:

SXD7000>OTL; OTL>SXD7000, this is where things got different. I reversed the OTL's inputs like I'd normally do but due to the loop and not a direct connect, I got things backwards. Yet, it returned a better presentation. Reversing the leads again returned the proper sound stage but a lesser performance. 

 

I'm dealing with mixed emotions 'cause I'm enjoying the increase in resolution but not the reversed staging. Now, what would really be a mystery is when Glenn pops the top and discovers the amp's inputs are correct after all....uh-oh!

 

I'd shudder at the thought of having to take a break away from this hobby to refresh. Anyway, back to the salt...still have impressions to get! Especially since this new presentation just made the recent tube rolling impressions the last few days obsolete. 


Edited by Silent One - 8/19/12 at 7:14am
post #708 of 10158
Thread Starter 

Of late, although it's been fun getting impressions, I have discovered tonight that I've been over doing it. My inner ears need relief, so I'm shutting it down for a few months days. 

popcorn.gif

post #709 of 10158
Thread Starter 

Silent notes made audible...and visible.

 

I thought I'd be able to take time off and give my ears a break, Monday through Thursday. This is audio! rolleyes.gif So, I'm back early to share a few notes. I spent the week rolling rectifiers and drive tubes. I have settled on the TS-5998 being my best power tube - rolled briefly to see how pairings with the Brimar and Ken Rad would work. The 5998's still emerged as the preferred glass in that spot.

 

Basically for the week, I had fun listening to various combos so I could slot them in order of preference. But that could be fleeting the moment something changes - Cable, DAC, Playlist, Emotions and so on. Also, each tube had its strengths and weaknesses overall but could easily change for a particular night and playlist.

 

Further, although the Ken Rad came in last with each configuration, it still does a few things very well. The TS-BGRP and Brimar simply had higher overall averages. 

 

Two modes, two rectifiers: 

 

OTL amp; USAF-596; TS-5998

 

1. TS-BGRP

2. Brimar

3. Ken Rad

 

OTL amp; 5U8C; TS-5998

 

1. Brimar

2. TS-BGRP

3. Ken Rad

 

OTL Preamp; Pioneer SX-D7000 amp; USAF-596; TS-5998

 

1. TS-BGRP

2. Brimar

3. Ken Rad

 

OTL Preamp; Pioneer SX-D7000 amp; 5U8C; TS-5998

 

1. Brimar

2. TS-BGRP

3. Ken Rad

 

General observations:

 

Ken Rad: This tube had its best showing under the Mighty 596 where it got a chance to show off its bottom - firmly in control - clear middle and spacing and excellent low level information retrieval. Most often times, the tube retrieved this low level info with greater ease than either the Brimar or TS-BGRP. With the right recording/mastering, this tube can swing. Voices sometimes sounded a bit strained, under pressure especially with the 5U8C. But I'll quickly point out that the Russian rocket is that way with other tubes in general to different degrees. And Treble was often challenged but would improve with the '596.'

 

Brimar: This tube is good from the bottom up; a lot going for it, especially the middle - bigger, wider, better spacing, separation, focus and definition. However, the tube sounds a bit dry (slightly) regardless of the music playing. 

 

TS-BGRP: No idea! biggrin.gif Okay, I'll try to add something. This tube thrives under the USAF-596. Does alright with the Russian rocket but could do better. Whatever the pairing, the tube parts with a presentation that has a wholeness about the notes. There seems to be more weight, substance and a bit of 3-D quality. Sometimes, the stage seemed smaller with this tube but it has good depth frontward and around vocals and instruments. There's a feeling that there's more there there. Has good bottom-middle-top and wonderful tone. A lot to like about this tube for me. I got off to bad start with it after purchase,  but have come to love it dearly. Watch out for pairings though! This tube for all its wonder can sound very poor with the wrong rectifier. I think it's more sensitive than other recs I've owned - unforgiving. And will make you question your purchase.

 

Other:  I kept the playlist very short, some 10 tracks - 5 fixed and 5 rotating tracks based on mood. Surprisingly, on a handful of tracks, the Ken Rad and Brimar had better drive the the Tung-Sol. With the KR paired with the Mighty 596 and the right upbeat material, that could prove to be at once dangerous and yum-O! It's staying in the rotation no matter where it placed! However, the TS-BGRP tends to have a better rendering and finish to its presentation.

 

Which brings to mind the contrast between the Brimar and the TS-BGRP - the former sounding a bit dry, the latter having a bit more moist and liquid sound. I kind of liken the Brimar to a really good pound cake. But then, using the same recipe for the Brimar, you add a package of Jello Pudding mix to the batter. This leaves you with all the attributes of the pound cake of the Brimar but now it's a bit more moist. 

 

In summary, I have discovered I will benefit from the use of each of these tubes in the rotation.


Edited by Silent One - 8/22/12 at 5:40am
post #710 of 10158

Some people describe Brimar tubes as warm or lush, but that never seemed right to me.  For some reason "tweedy" is the word that comes to mind when I think of it.  Perhaps the cathode resistor mod makes the difference but I couldn't call what I heard dry.  It does get a bit glassy in the upper midrange on some material.

 

Good write up, SO, your impressions are pretty close to my own overall.

post #711 of 10158
Thread Starter 

Thanks, Xcalibur255. I tried to be very careful by saying "a bit dry," as dry would be overstating things. I found the middle to be as special as people have noted about this tube. I know the "X" mod (cathode resistor mod) will make a difference but it is a mod delayed. If I would stop making other purchases...rolleyes.gif

 

Glenn informs that the mod will also lower my output impedance from about 40 ohms to 20 ohms. This is good to hear, considering I run 25 ohm cans.

post #712 of 10158

Nice write up indeed.

 

Thanks for sharing SO.

 

I assume you are referring to the 13D1?

My impressions of the 13D2 are that it's an average sounding tube despite the high price they fetch.

post #713 of 10158
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by rosgr63 View Post

Nice write up indeed.

 

Thanks for sharing SO.

 

I assume you are referring to the 13D1?

My impressions of the 13D2 are that it's an average sounding tube despite the high price they fetch.

 

Yes, the 13D1, with a much lower price tag, not to mention the Ken Rad's price and availability ($4 eek.gif). For me, the Brimar does best with the Russian 5U8C (it's not really a "U" but I'll have to search for that symbol on my international keyboard). It becomes more ordinary with the USAF-596, my favorite rectifier to date. I am finding though, since recently fronting the OTL amp with my Pioneer SX-D7000, the Russian rocket becomes better refined and presented. Looking forward to seeing how it reacts to the upcoming "X" mod...

post #714 of 10158
Thread Starter 

Musings...

 

Some may read my caption regarding "Silent notes" and wonder how I make my notes audible. To bring a back story to the front, a brief explanation. First, I understand that browsers on computers talk, as well as mobiles and tablets. When I'm in the mood, I have a wonderful female assistant in Opera that can read the news, mail and RSS feeds, while I peruse Head-Fi. And you know how important catching up on Head-Fi is!

wink_face.gif

 

I use to talk to fellow member 'shipsupt' on the phone, as well as in person. We've met at his home, our mutual library down the street from his former residence, but our "Go to" place became meeting cafe side at SBUX in front of very busy movie theater. Where he could delight in his big hot cafe drink, as we'd sit out on the patio into the night. We talked audio, as well as other life matters and it was here (and by phone) I often shared my notes with him from inside the listening room. :thumb: Voila! Silent One avoids looking like he lost his mind.

 

shipsupt, you may recall, had a neighboring table by Clayton SF at the annual Bay Area Head-Fi meet earlier this February, just south of San Francisco. Where Clayton SF debuted his custom built OTL amp by 2359glenn. In June, a job transfer landed him in London for three years. An outstanding head-fier and great person to be around, I'm going to miss our meetings. I'll have to remind Glenn to throw a 110|220-240v switch in for shipsupt, when he orders his OTL amp. biggrin.gif

 

And now this caption has turned tribute. To: shipsupt - Cheers mate!

beerchug.gif


Edited by Silent One - 8/22/12 at 3:59pm
post #715 of 10158
Thread Starter 

Final thoughts, errors and corrections regarding Post #709.

 

I just invested 4 hours in reexamining my findings with the Tung-Sol being out driven on a few tracks. Something didn't seem quite right, so I returned my focus. And rather than focus on what the Ken Rad and Brimar were doing in this regard, I turned my attention solely on the TS-BGRP and the three tracks that brought my attention to it.

 

I found that I failed to notice what rectifier and mode this happened under. It was under the 5U8C and in preamp mode with the solid state amp. The 5U8C rectifier, when it works its wonder, it does so by moving the stage around - not left to right but bringing background information more forward and leading notes get set back some. This results in greater detail and a bigger-wider-taller stage. Softer dynamics is the price paid, however. Plus, the chemistry with the Tung-Sols and this rec is slightly less than a pairing with USAF-596. The Brimar and Ken Rad simply had better chemistry with the Russian rectifier and rendered the three tracks like lunch...handled it! 

 

Adding to this mix, the vintage iron (SX-D7000) has a more laid back presentation than the OTL. Another observation I made, the Tung-Sol followed the other tubes in the run down, and the comparisons may have made it out to be more than it was. Tonight, listening to the TS by itself, the drive (energy) on the three tracks wasn't bad. It was just outdistanced by the other two. The tracks that drew my attention on this matter were:

 

Sly & The Family Stone - Fun

The Beatles - Back in the U.S.S.R.

Tina Guo - Miller: Forbidden City

 

Anyway, switching back to the USAF-596 and the OTL in stand alone mode, I can assure you there's nuthin' wrong with the Tung-Sol's ability to drive these three tracks. And enlarged my playlist and no issues. I thought it was important to point all this out for the sake of accuracy and clarity. Currently listening to an all girl group from Taiwan - Cherry Boom, and these girls are rockin' out and really movin' air inside the Denon cups! eek.gif Maybe I should turn it down...

 

Not before I make one last high speed pass at volume 10! (not really) 

 

I dropped the Russian rocket back in with the Brimar and threw the rig back into preamp/amp mode. The Emotions, backed by Earth, Wind & Fire on "I Don't Wanna Lose Your Love" when turned up sounded very speaker like. The Russian not only throws a huge stage but fills in the angles and cracks with music...man! As I leave the thread for now, I'm playing Zydeco and it sounds like I'm right there in Southwest Louisiana! biggrin.gif

 

In-session with Geno Delafose...

post #716 of 10158

So what is your favorate combo ?

 

596 - TSBGRP

596 - 1633

596 - 13D1

5U8 - TSBGRP

5U8 - 1633

5U8 - 13D1

post #717 of 10158
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by 2359glenn View Post

So what is your favorate combo ?

 

596 - TSBGRP

596 - 1633

596 - 13D1

5U8 - TSBGRP

5U8 - 1633

5U8 - 13D1

 

popcorn.gif

 

Back, right after these messages...

 

 

OTL amp

596 - TSBGRP

 

OTL Preamp; Pioneer SX-D7000 Receiver

5U8C - 13D1

 

 

Additional thoughts:

 

5U8C - 13D1:

 

This pairing is akin to looking out of Bay windows in a home. In the same way Bay windows jut out away from the home and allow greater vision with side views, so is the 5U8C - 13D1. It is sweeping!

 

5U8C - 1633:

 

This pairing returns micro-obscure-low level-background details with the ease and grace of a Catfish on the muddy bottom of the Mississippi! biggrin.gif I'm familiar with many of the tracks inside my library and though I have sometimes heard the same details prior with other tubes, this pairing shows what has been missing..."So, that's what those notes were."

 

USAF-596 - TSBGRP:

 

The two previous pairings are examples of excelling in one way or another. What this pairing brings is the best balance and focus from top to bottom. And delivering dynamics without the lows-mids-highs being off. 

 

In the past 10 days, I noticed a rotation tilted in favor of these three pairings. And mood along with playlist helps me determine which. If my session is long enough, I may finish it up with a roll or two. If not, the others will have their turn next session. I notice when I want to feel emotionally caressed, I go for the 5U8C - 13D1 setup. When I'm feeling excited and want to be dynamically moved, only the USAF-596 will satisfy. 

 

However, I'd like to point out that I like variety and sometimes I'll intentionally go against mood. And try to involve myself with different pairings away from favorites. 


Edited by Silent One - 8/31/12 at 4:32pm
post #718 of 10158

No love for the 3DG4?  wink_face.gif

post #719 of 10158
Thread Starter 

A couple of weeks back in post #702, I could be seen with the 3DG4 rec in hand and ready to roll. After a few minutes, I discreetly returned it to the drawer in exchange for the Mighty 596.

post #720 of 10158

The 3DG4 will have the lowist voltage drop so it should get the most power out of the 6AS7s

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