For post number 3000 I thought I would share some thoughts on an all Radiotechnique tube set up!
I have had the normal spec 3S4's for a while now and they have been lovely sounding though took a back seat to the Marconi's and Mullards as they did not go as deep in terms of bass or stage depth. We are talking tiny amounts here and once past the analytical stage in truth these details would not be noticed. As I have said before, the differences between these top tier tubes are more about subtleties than huge AhHa moments (Telefunkens excepted which though have improved somewhat with burn in still sound dry to my ears!) so they are great tubes just not that extra gram of greatness.. Or so I thought!
Enter stage right the Mil-Spec Radiotechnique 1T4's. I now have at least twenty hours on these so they have gone past my normal amount for quoting sound quality. In truth with these there was not a lot of burn in needed.
Firstly, these are silent, like the other top tier tubes (other than the Marconi which tings but otherwise is silent) there is no noise with these. Just an inky black sonic background. And that background reveals something rather lovely with these. They have bass.. deep bass but not tarted up honda civic with bass bins bass. Just good, clean and seemingly endless bass. The sort of bass one gets by a discreetly used Subwoofer in a home system. Plugged in you would think it not there but unplug it and suddenly the music seems thin sounding, this is the Radiotechnique bass!
Mids,I think the perfect balance between creamy and neutral of all the tubes I have used in the 1T4 stage, just a slight amount more creaminess than my much loved Lorenz's which have a bit more of that Teutonic accuracy. Treble, well all the usual catch words, crystaline, sweet, detailed and like the bass seems to have no end. Now, once more. I must remind you here that these descriptions are anal retentive descriptions, one has to listen beyond how one enjoys music to hear these things, all of my top tier tubes would not leave you feeling wanting and replacing one with another would after the initial few moments render no difference in the end musical engagement and enjoyment, they are all
I think though, what the Radiotechnique's bring to the table that only they alone bring is the wonderful sense of air and space around the instruments and even the notes played. I would describe them as "thoughtful" tubes, they allow one to digest the sonic space and what is occurring in it just that little bit more. Also, the siblings bring out the best in each other far more than say an all Mullard set up. The 1T4's add a greater sense of depth and ability to the 3S4's that I thought previously lacking a little.
I have put out some feelers to see if I can get some Mil-spec 3S4's and if I can will see what that does. Apparently in the Radiotechnique's case ( though it may be with other manufactures mil-spec tubes) there is an extra degree of quality control that goes into their manufacture (just as in tubes originally intended for medical use) which may explain the better sonic gifts gained.
Will this quest of tubes end for me? Well, 34 tubes in, personally I do not see it ending as it is so much fun for me, not only in discovering the differences sonically but also and for me equally important as a lover of history is the research and learning from collecting these tubes. I have learned so much over the past few months and the research has been so enjoyable. I have my eye on a pair of DL92's at the moment other than the Radiotechnique's, Selfishly I won't say what they are until the auction is over but I am rather excited about the prospect of winning them!
So there we go! My 3000 post celebrating my favourite topic on this forum, this amp and all the fun involved with tube rolling (Not sure what they call it in the UK, perhaps Valve Varoooming!).
Once again, for the few of us with this amp on this forum I would love it if other owners would chime in with their thoughts more as it would be lovely to hear if you agree or disagree with my thoughts on this amp. I always have one eye on this forum being of use to anyone researching equipment purchases and thus it would be so useful for them and enjoyable for me if other owners would contribute to the thread a bit more!!
As of this week after talking with Shikada san we have an exclusive little club, 19 owners worldwide and personally I think we are 19 of the luckiest people in Audio as we get to listen to a wonderful amp on a daily basis!
Have a great weekends music listening folks!Edited by ianmedium - 5/11/13 at 8:29am