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Tube Rolling for Bellari HA540 - Page 3

post #31 of 65

My NOS Telefunken tube shipped out a few days ago and should be rolling in over the next few days.  I bought it at a bargain price as the stencil on the glass is about 2/3rd's off.  According to the Tube Doctor they test new and date from the 60's.  Sound is all I really care about anyway.  I'll post my reaction once they come in.

post #32 of 65

I just got a RCA 12AT7 and a RCA Cleartop 12AU7 and I see what you mean, mauroj. I find that the differences aren't as obvious with electronic music but vocals and traditional instruments sound much more realistic in timbre. Thinking of picking up a Mullard 12AU7 next and maybe a Telefunken in the future.

post #33 of 65
Quote:
Originally Posted by DTKZ View Post

Nice to see some other Bellari HA540 users. It is a nice amp. Just to share, I saw this review on Amazon 

 

http://www.amazon.com/review/R3P9VK1YU3KA08/ref=cm_cr_pr_perm?ie=UTF8&ASIN=B004FI6AKW&linkCode=&nodeID=&tag=

 

The user recommends switching to another power supply as the HA540 is rated to run at 15v 700ma but the included wallwart is only 15v 200ma. They claim an increase in soundstage depth and and after changing to another power supply myself, I would agree.

 

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by desertblues View Post

Yes, I read that on Amazon too and ordered a Rolls PS15 for about $20. I have noticed an improvement and think it's worth it.

I have a question about the PS15 wallwart. I tried them on the Bellari HA540 and they work but I noticed that the blue LED light flickers and this concerned me enough to take it off.  The stock wallwart did not do this so am I being overly cautious?

post #34 of 65

I'm not sure about the PS15 wallwart in specific, but the LED does not flicker with my replacement power supply. 

post #35 of 65

I thought it was the wall socket but the stock wallwart was fine with the same outlet.  It may still be a short so I'll have to test the outlet when I have the time. In the meantime the 60"s Telefunkin tube arrived,  man what a difference.   Fresh out of the bubble wrap and it's like listening thru a different amp. Why were these tubes made so much better 50 years ago?  Totally different feel to the sound.  I have the new HiFiMan HE400 and the mids that were missing seem to be filling in now.

post #36 of 65

Interesting to see that others have continued to purchase this amp, so I'm happy to share my experiences in this revived thread.

 

I did extensive and painstaking tube rolling of 12ax7 tubes and this amp, fed by HRT MS2Plus DAC, into the Shure SRH-1840 flagship headphones.  I chose these particular tubes from searching threads of a variety of different audiophile forums, mainly having to do with audio preamps.

 

By the way, I don't find the NOS term ("New Old Stock") to be accurate, since almost all of the tubes I bought were used.  I buy on ebay, and look for tests that indicate that the two sides of the tube are within 5% or less.

 

Note that the following MAY only apply to my headphones (65 ohms) and/or DAC.

 

My findings in order from best to not so good:

 

* Siemens Vintage Early 1960s Munchen -

 

Outstanding imaging, each instrument is distinctly placed and one can hear the different positions of different places in an instrument (such as different harp strings).  Very even and balanced spectrum, with plenty of low bass and plenty of treble energy, yet not overly warm or bright, allowing all parts of the sound to be heard.  Very little smearing or ringing of sounds (eg cymbals don't have an excessive amount of sound after the impact that is not present in the actual instrument's sound) - this results in the audibility of more detail since it is not masked by ringing, ie energy not present in the original recording (referring to added sound milliseconds after the original sound).

I bought a second one, which was in slightly newer condition (even though a year older), and it confirms the above impressions, plus has slightly better dynamics, which indicates that more used tubes might have less.

 

* Telefunken Vintage Ribbed Plates -

 

Not quite as 3D and even as the Siemens, but I'd be happy if this were the only tube available.

 

* Mullard Vintage 1963 Blackburn -


Very sweet midrange, beautiful female vocals, balanced spectrum, not quite as good imaging as the above (since the Shures are exceptionally good in imaging, it might explain why some prefer the Mullard - because their headphones might not have imaging as a strong point).

 

* Telefunken Vintage Smooth Plates -

 

Still excellent, but a tad below the above three.

 

All the following were definitely a level below the above four:

 

Amperex Bugle Boy 1959(?) Philips Heerenven -

Generally very good (especially relative to 21st Century tubes) in every aspect, but not outstanding in any aspect.  "Tilted Up", i.e. overly bright and a little bass shy, making it a poor fit unless of the rest of the system is a little rolled off in the treble end.  (I purchased two different Philip Heerenven, just to make sure that what I was hearing was not due to one tube's problems.)

 

* RCA long black plates - D-getter welded to top -

After 64 hours - overly bright, top end glare, thin midrange, little air or ambience. (This is generally considered the best vintage American 12ax7 tube.)

 

All the following are new tubes:

 

* Tung Sol reissue 803S Gold Pin Cryoset Treated (impressions after roughly 31 hours burn-in) -

Significantly better than the JJ 803S - good midrange, although not quite up to the standard of the better vintage tubes.   Good bass, slightly bright high end.  Probably a very nice choice in a guitar amp, especially if one is only considering new production.
 

* JJ reissue 803S Gold Pin Cryoset Treated (impressions after roughly 60 hours burn-in) -

Strong bass and overly bright high end, combine to make the midrange overly depressed.  Could fit some applications, but not good for a flat and neutral amp.

 

* Stock Ruby 2011 China (impressions after roughly 48 hours burn-in) -

While probably better than many tranistor and IC products, this exhibits some subtle distortion and treble "glare", even after hours of warmup.  Any amp would benefit from replacing this, especially with a vintage tube.


Edited by kstuart - 11/1/12 at 9:10pm
post #37 of 65

Thanks for the input kstuart. Have you only tried 12AX7 tubes or have you tried others as well? I ask because after I switched to the lower gain variations, I didn't want to switch back. I found them to be so much more musical and smooth in this amp. Every 12AX7 I tried was so bright compared to the AU7 and AT7 and even the 5751. Could be just the cans I am using, D2000 and Q701, but that is what I found.

post #38 of 65
Quote:
Originally Posted by kstuart View Post

Interesting to see that others have continued to purchase this amp, so I'm happy to share my experiences in this revived thread.

 

I did extensive and painstaking tube rolling of 12ax7 tubes and this amp, fed by HRT MS2Plus DAC, into the Shure SRH-1840 flagship headphones.  I chose these particular tubes from searching threads of a variety of different audiophile forums, mainly having to do with audio preamps.

 

By the way, I don't find the NOS term ("New Old Stock") to be accurate, since almost all of the tubes I bought were used.  I buy on ebay, and look for tests that indicate that the two sides of the tube are within 5% or less.

 

Note that the following MAY only apply to my headphones (65 ohms) and/or DAC.

 

My findings in order from best to not so good:

 

* Siemens Vintage Early 1960s Munchen -

 

Outstanding imaging, each instrument is distinctly placed and one can hear the different positions of different places in an instrument (such as different harp strings).  Very even and balanced spectrum, with plenty of low bass and plenty of treble energy, yet not overly warm or bright, allowing all parts of the sound to be heard.  Very little smearing or ringing of sounds (eg cymbals don't have an excessive amount of sound after the impact that is not present in the actual instrument's sound) - this results in the audibility of more detail since it is not masked by ringing, ie energy not present in the original recording (referring to added sound milliseconds after the original sound).

I bought a second one, which was in slightly newer condition (even though a year older), and it confirms the above impressions, plus has slightly better dynamics, which indicates that more used tubes might have less.

 

* Telefunken Vintage Ribbed Plates -

 

Not quite as 3D and even as the Siemens, but I'd be happy if this were the only tube available.

 

* Mullard Vintage 1963 Blackburn -


Very sweet midrange, beautiful female vocals, balanced spectrum, not quite as good imaging as the above (since the Shures are exceptionally good in imaging, it might explain why some prefer the Mullard - because their headphones might not have imaging as a strong point).

 

* Telefunken Vintage Smooth Plates -

 

Still excellent, but a tad below the above three.

 

All the following were definitely a level below the above four:

 

Amperex Bugle Boy 1959(?) Philips Heerenven -

Generally very good (especially relative to 21st Century tubes) in every aspect, but not outstanding in any aspect.  "Tilted Up", i.e. overly bright and a little bass shy, making it a poor fit unless of the rest of the system is a little rolled off in the treble end.  (I purchased two different Philip Heerenven, just to make sure that what I was hearing was not due to one tube's problems.)

 

* RCA long black plates - D-getter welded to top -

After 64 hours - overly bright, top end glare, thin midrange, little air or ambience. (This is generally considered the best vintage American 12ax7 tube.)

 

All the following are new tubes:

 

* Tung Sol reissue 803S Gold Pin Cryoset Treated (impressions after roughly 31 hours burn-in) -

Significantly better than the JJ 803S - good midrange, although not quite up to the standard of the better vintage tubes.   Good bass, slightly bright high end.  Probably a very nice choice in a guitar amp, especially if one is only considering new production.
 

* JJ reissue 803S Gold Pin Cryoset Treated (impressions after roughly 60 hours burn-in) -

Strong bass and overly bright high end, combine to make the midrange overly depressed.  Could fit some applications, but not good for a flat and neutral amp.

 

* Stock Ruby 2011 China (impressions after roughly 48 hours burn-in) -

While probably better than many tranistor and IC products, this exhibits some subtle distortion and treble "glare", even after hours of warmup.  Any amp would benefit from replacing this, especially with a vintage tube.

Great review, best part of head fi, multiple feedback and input on all Headphone related audio equipment and accessories.  I'm using the vintage Telefunken ribbed 12AX7 a huge upgrade over the JJ gold pins and much better than the Ruby stock.  I plan to get around to more tubes primarily RCA or Sylavania.  After your review I might try the Siemens Vintage if I can find a bargain

post #39 of 65
Quote:
Originally Posted by mauroj View Post

Thanks for the input kstuart. Have you only tried 12AX7 tubes or have you tried others as well? I ask because after I switched to the lower gain variations, I didn't want to switch back. I found them to be so much more musical and smooth in this amp. Every 12AX7 I tried was so bright compared to the AU7 and AT7 and even the 5751. Could be just the cans I am using, D2000 and Q701, but that is what I found.

I intentionally stuck to 12ax7's for a couple of reasons - one, that there are more reviews on 12ax7's and more availability as well ; two, that the HA540 was designed for 12ax7, and the other tubes may fit the socket, but other things change besides gain.  The input that has lower gain, generally results in a potentiometer setting below half, so I am running with plenty of overhead available, so the 12ax7 does not have excessive gain for my use.

 

Having said that, whatever sounds best to someone is just fine, as long as the amp is stable.

 

The next thing I am going to do is try a different power supply, as mentioned above by a couple of people, and thanks for the feedback stating that it worked for you.   (I have tried emailing Bellari/Rolls to ask them about the power supply and have never received a reply to multiple emails - evidently you need to call on the phone to reach them, and that rarely works for subtle technical questions, so it will likely be easier just to try the other power supply.)


Edited by kstuart - 11/2/12 at 3:49pm
post #40 of 65

I ordered the PS15 through the Canadian distributor for Rolls as they don't ship directly to Canada. From what I've read it should be fine. Cost is not much of a worry. $20 for a 15v supply is pretty good. I will post my result when I receive it.

post #41 of 65

Just a brief update on the PS15 power supply: I've been using mine for about two months now with no problems. The amp led glows steady as it should, and I am sure the tubes glow a bit brighter-just my opinion. Anyway, I do see some benefit in soundstage and no reason to not try one if you don't mind shelling out the $20. 

post #42 of 65

Just rolled in an NOS RCA Blackplate 12AU7 and it sounds incredible. I am amazed at the clarity and the warmth of this tube. This is the new champ for this amp, at least for me it is. Definitely recommend this one.

post #43 of 65

Using the Rolls PS15  adapter now. No adverse effects. Also, I don't notice any real differences in the sound. The good thing is this wallwart is better constructed and heavier duty than the one that came with the Bellari, so money well spent.

post #44 of 65
Quote:
Originally Posted by desertblues View Post

Just a brief update on the PS15 power supply: I've been using mine for about two months now with no problems. The amp led glows steady as it should, and I am sure the tubes glow a bit brighter-just my opinion. Anyway, I do see some benefit in soundstage and no reason to not try one if you don't mind shelling out the $20. 

I reported earlier that the PS15 power supply caused the LED light to flicker.  I checked the outlet out and it had a short.  I was running the stock wallwart off a different outlet but I was too worried about blowing the amp so I never tried the PS15 again till I could check it out.  It works just fine now.  The amp seems to generate slightly more volume with the PS15 and as mentioned above the PS15 is significantly better built than the stock power supply.  With just one tube to swap out you can easily see the difference in the tubes. It is like listening to a different amp  just swapping the Telefunken NOS with the stock Ruby.  The Telefunken tube is so smooth and clear it brings the voice of Tom Petty's A face in the Crowd to the surface of the song in ways I have never heard before.  Thanks for the above feedback it really made no sense that the PS15 wouldn't work and for $20 a good upgrade.

post #45 of 65

Rumay - Can you talk more about any sound difference you experience with the PS15 instead of the stock Power Supply ?  And, can you talk about your experience of using the Bellari with the HE400 (I am interested in getting a pair in the near future) ?   Thanks.

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