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Tube Rolling for Bellari HA540 - Page 5

post #61 of 67
Originally Posted by kstuart View Post

If you are patient, you can get them for under US$40 on ebay.   Look for both sides of the tube (left and right channels) to be as close to each other as possible.  Look for tube meter test readings in the description (don't settle for mere descriptions like "look and sound great!", only  buy if there are test readings for both sides of the tube).   Of course, look for sellers with good feedback.


See my long post in this thread at:




for a description of the sound difference between ribbed and smooth plate Telefunkens.


BTW, "NOS" means New Old Stock which means a tube that has never been used, and that is actually rare and expensive, and unnecessary, since a good used Telefunken can provide years of good service.  I prefer "Vintage" as a term for tubes that were not made in 2012.

You are right "Vintage" is definitely the right term. 


Originally Posted by kstuart View Post

By the way, while I have lots of experience with a variety of speaker amps, and have used headphones for years with receivers and pro gear, I have only used a couple of specialized headphone amplifiers - the Bellari and a CmoyBB.   So, I decided to try the new Schiit Magni US$100 solid state headphone amplifier.  Schiit makes exclusively headphone amps and DACs, and are well regarded (with lots of high-end audio experience).  Hearing the Magni with my Shure 1840 and HiFiMan 400 headphones would give me a good, modern reference point.  (And of course, if they were better than the Bellari, then I would keep the Magni.)


Overall, I found that the Magni had some good qualities, it was relatively detailed - especially for a US$100 amp.  However, I found it to also be somewhat "congested" and had a slight very fine grittiness at times to the sound.   In contrast, the Bellari is always very smooth and clear.  In addition, with the HE-400, the Magni has insufficient quantity of bass - something that requires the HE-400's excellent bass performance to bring out.  (Another reviewer of the Magni has also commented about this.)


I ended up using Schiit's 15-day return policy, but it was interesting to finally compare the Bellari directly to another high quality desktop headphone amplifier - it gives me more confidence that the Bellari is indeed a good choice in its price class.

I've read you're posts on the HE-400 thread.  I have no experience with the Schiit Amps/DAC's but the number of positive posts on Magni did interest me.  Nice to see a review comparing the Bellari And Magni.  Lately I've been building up my computer audio starting with a more portable DAC/Amp the Audioquest Dragonfly playing this off the MBAir at the office with Senns 595.  At home I use MBAir>DF>Bellari>HE-400.  My last addition was Amarra as software playback off the computer. I did a free demo X 2 weeks and was impressed with the expansion in sound and sequencing with the DF via iTunes.  

post #62 of 67

I had the Bellari HA540 for half year, they perform very well on all the headphones that I owned (Q701, DT880, and my new baby HE-500!), I think it is really an underated amp, will be getting some 12AX7 Telefunken, I will post some impression after I got them, currently using new production 12AT7 Tung-Sol and JJ.

Edited by yeehc0729 - 1/24/13 at 1:31am
post #63 of 67

The following link is a great example of a very good ebay offering for a 12AX7 Telefunken.


Notice that it has:


* Single tube (matched pairs cost more per tube)

* Molded diamond mark on the bottom (which is proof against fakes, by the way)

* Hickok tester reading (one of the better testers) - 1150 in the scale where 875 is good.

* Tester reading for BOTH sides - 1150/1150 - so no channel imbalance between left and right (important!)

* 100% positive feedback for the seller

* Seller has a positive history of other tube gear item sales


By the way, the US$29 with free shipping price is as good as you are going to find, which is why the Buy It Now was used by someone in less than 24 hours:



post #64 of 67

Using - Tung-Sol 12AX7 ECC803S Gold-Pin cryo-treated from cryoset.com, Ruby, that came with Bellari, and also have Sovetek and electro-harmonix 12AY7. So far the Ruby is warmest with the longest use. The Tung-sol gold pin runs close second with speed and clarity. I feel like I get more out of my Dead shows I have mixed over using Adobe's Audition. Great for free software as grad student.


You can't go wrong with HA540 or these tubes rolling!


Happy listening. Im in the middle of selling pararsound P5 brand new preamp, Rotel gear and soon my beloved Vienna Acoustic Baby Grands. Some special speakers!!!!

post #65 of 67

Wish I had sets Id let you break some of mine in. Tung-Sol gold pins, Sovetek, electro-harmonix6072A/!2AY7. HA540 came with Ruby tube that is warm but not overtly blowing up low end of bass bombs.Good luck and give these a roll.

post #66 of 67

NOS Telefunken for rock, prog, jazz, acoustic, where you'd like fluidity, softer edges, blend.  Incredible!


Tung-Sol gold pin for electro, metal, hip hop, where you'd want a sharper attack.  The Telefunken sounds a little mushy for these styles, but the Tung-Sol trounces!


The HA540 with the above tubes is better to my ears than those solid state amps I've listened to costing 3x the HA540's price, but I prefer the tube sound.  I've used the HA540 with six different higher-quality headphones, and it pairs well with all of them.

post #67 of 67

I've stocked the HA540 at my shop for awhile, but have just sat down to abuse it.


I tube rolled a lot with the VP130, so I kind of knew where to start.


Definitively, the stock tube can't hack it. I encourage folks to immediately grab a new tube if they are looking into the 540.




Super basic impressions (all listening done with my custom Grado build, with vinyl through a Wright preamp):




JJ ECC83S: In the end, this was my winner. Gave me what I wanted for dynamics, separation and soundstage, noise, and plain enjoyability. Kept the highs in check while retaining detail.


GE JAN 5751: Lower gain tube, and so perhaps a little less noise. I was leaning towards this one for awhile, but in the end it didn't have the separation that the JJ had. Things seemed just a tad jumbled up. Great overall sound though- also maintained control on the high freq.


Yugo 12AX7A: Was excited for this one, and it is in no way a wrong choice- it just didn't achieve everything the JJ did. Again, still a good, balanced sound.


Teslovak E83CCS: Was actually quite similar to the JJ, but still didn't have that separation or sheer enjoyability. Could be tied with the GE for second place.


Philips JAN 12AX7WA: Meh. Flat and boring.


Siemens ECC83: This was my first upgrade over stock and I remember it was night and day. That being said, the others tubes are all better options.








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