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Analog Squared Paper Discussion and Appreciation Thread. - Page 9

post #121 of 3489

Thank you for your wonderfully eloquent descriptions of various valves sonic attributes and for being a pioneer introducing this fine headphone amplifier to the wider Head-Fi community. beerchug.gif

 

Andy.

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by ianmedium View Post

OK. So no waiting until the weekend!

I have spent a very enjoyable hour and a half swapping between the GE 1U4's and the Mullard 1T4's. Let me say right of the bat that both are excellent tubes and in their own ways excel, it just comes down to what is more important to you as an overall musical presentation.

The Mullards start with a minus point as they are a little microphonic, no where near as bad as the Sylvanias but a gentle tap on the sides of the case will illicit a slight tinging sound. Now, this is largely irrelevant when listening to music as it cannot be heard.

Also, fit and finish of the Mullards is a little worse than the GE's,

The GE's are absolutely silent, one can knock hard on the sides of the case and nothing. Likewise they have exceptional build quality.

Now, to the sound.

The Mullards have that traditional romantic, euphonic sound signature. Immediately it draws one in as it is friendly and warming to listen to, Bass notes are stronger and are delivered with a more romantic than factual presentation. Initial listening had these as my favourites as it just sounded so lovely. Treble extension is lessened and the sound of wooden drumstick on cymbals felt larger than life.

All of this seemed lovely, I was really enjoying it and then it came to plug in the GE's

Now, The GE's have more bass weight than the Brimars but initial listening right after the Mullards left one feeling that some of the warmth and coziness had been taken away, it felt less inviting and enveloping, it felt like there was less bass. Treble extension just went on and on but is clean and no grain.

With the Mullards notes seem to keep going on and on never seeming to decay but rather smear into the next note, this on initial listening sounded great. The GE's on the other had start and stop on a pin. There is only decay of a note where it is actually present in the recording. If it is not there the GE's won't make it up, this initially felt a little cold and sudden. Guitar sounded more euphonic with the Mullards, more romantic where as with the GE's there was more definition to the notes played, more texture and detail.

However, after repeated swapping of tubes between tracks ( I used September in Montreal by Anne Bisson and from Steve Davis's quality of silence album one two free and infant eyes) the GE's started to move ahead in terms of musicality and involvement. I found that once the romance faded from the Mullards I kept preferring the directness of the GE's but to put it in context it was a diplomatic directness rather than a strict one.

Though the GE's lack bass weight bass is not lacking, rather the texture of the bass is revealed more than the Mullards making it in the long run far more involving to listen to the GE's than the Mullards as one could hear all the details but not at the expense of warmth or musicality where as the Mullards are all about warmth and musicality at the cost of detail and texture.

So, overall the GE's are ahead for me as they combine speed, accuracy and detail with musicality and warmth. Drum sticks on cymbals sound like wood hitting metal and felt in proportion. Notes decay as they should rather than as a work of fiction. Texture and detail are outstanding with the GE's digging deep into the mix and retrieving everything but not in a tiring way and not in such a way that all you end up doing is listening to detail. No, the GE's are holistic in their approach to reproducing music and combined with the Mullards in the power stage where you want some grunt and oomph this so far is my favourite all round pairing.

Over the weekend I will try the Brimars again and report back.

For reference I used my Piano Forte's solely

As far as the amp goes, well, great tubes make this amp even greater, this does not sound like a portable amp. In fact I keep coming back to my reference in pre amps when I think of this amp, the Nagra PL-P. That is another class A battery operated amp and with the combination of tubes that I prefer this comes as close as I have heard to that wonderful amp and higher praise I could not give!
post #122 of 3489
Thank you so much Andy. It is so much fun comparing tubes. Next up are the Brimars and RCA Tung-sols. As I find out more my search continues, I have just been reading about the Lorenz Valve company from Germany so am trying to source a pair of those 1T4's now!

To give the Mullards a fair shake of the stick though I have another set on its way as due to the microphonics I want to see if a non-microphonic pair fair better.
post #123 of 3489
Found a pair of NOS Lorenz 1T4's! Hopefully they will be here sometime late next week, shipping from Italy.
I am very excited to hear these tubes as they have an excellent reputation. They are meant to have a lot of air on the top end and great soundstage.

I must be nuts! Four weeks ago there was an empty space on my shelf today it is filled with little cardboard boxes filled with glass biggrin.gif

These were the most expensive tubes so far costing $20 for the pair still, I am having so much fun comparing and tuning it is worth every penny and I take solace that though I have no one to leave anything to whomever does end up with my stuff when I kick the bucket will have a bunch of tubes to play with along with a great amp! biggrin.gif

I also have a back up pair of Mullard 3S4's on the way as I simply cannot imagine the power section of this amp performing any better with any other tube there. They underpin the sound and give it such a solid foundation.

Now, to my few other friends with this amp, get having some cheap fun and get thee some tubes and start rolling, I would love to hear other folks thoughts!
post #124 of 3489

Perish the thought that someday you'll depart this mortal coil!

I have NOS Mullards arriving soon and will post my sonic impressions soonest.

 

Andy.

 

P.S. If your travels take you homeward, an audio session in deepest, darkest Norfolk with thee would be most amenable. As I've an eclectic collection of valve headphone amplifiers. 

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by ianmedium View Post

Found a pair of NOS Lorenz 1T4's! Hopefully they will be here sometime late next week, shipping from Italy.
I am very excited to hear these tubes as they have an excellent reputation. They are meant to have a lot of air on the top end and great soundstage.

I must be nuts! Four weeks ago there was an empty space on my shelf today it is filled with little cardboard boxes filled with glass biggrin.gif

These were the most expensive tubes so far costing $20 for the pair still, I am having so much fun comparing and tuning it is worth every penny and I take solace that though I have no one to leave anything to whomever does end up with my stuff when I kick the bucket will have a bunch of tubes to play with along with a great amp! biggrin.gif

I also have a back up pair of Mullard 3S4's on the way as I simply cannot imagine the power section of this amp performing any better with any other tube there. They underpin the sound and give it such a solid foundation.

Now, to my few other friends with this amp, get having some cheap fun and get thee some tubes and start rolling, I would love to hear other folks thoughts!
post #125 of 3489
Andy. When I do get back I will most certainly take you up on the offer, Norfolk is such a beautiful place. I am really interested to see your journey with the different tubes.

Now, to something.. I am going to be absolutely open and honest with my comments as I would rather look a fool and someone else not make the same mistakes than others have to follow the path I trod and then have to take longer for enjoyment to start!

After I wrote my thoughts on the two brands of tubes something just did not sit right with me as though I know Mullards are known for their typical tube sound they are also known for spaciousness and detail and that just was not there to the degree I imagined when I did my little test.

So, what changed my thoughts.. Hours, thats what changed them!

Both tubes had only an hour or so on each pair. What I have now done is run the amp for 6 hours playing music for each set of tubes and I have to say getting some "legs" on tubes I have found out is very important! Now, I can put my foolishness down to inexperience but that is no excuse. The marvels of the internet give me instant accesses to thoughts regarding this subject I have now found out though it was after the fact in this case.

Also, these tubes generate little to no heat so I tried something that the good old frugal Brits used to do after the war with slightly microphonic tubes, put a rubber band around them!

So, first the burn in (I can say that word here, we are amongst friends, this is not the SS forum (apt name for that forum!! wink.gif ) What happened?

Well, the GE's became more crystaline, sharper and more direct. I am not saying that is bad, if you have a dark sounding amp they would be great for that but this amp is fairly balanced and quite un tube like in many respects so that is not a feature that is needed. After a while I found my mind wandering from the music with the GE's, that initial detail turned into edginess which translated into the listening experience for me.

Now to the Mullards. I have to be honest here, being British I have grown up knowing how great Mullards are in terms of sound, not by experience it has to be said but by reputation. I am so happy to report that after several hours on them I get this now.

Firstly, the tube sound, the euphonious nature and romance are still there. Notes are juicy, lovely and inviting, cozy. I imagine myself transported back sixty years in a nice comfy chair, carpet slippers on, pipe in mouth listening to the "wireless" playing the home service ( that vision only works if your British, for my North American friends think Prairie Home Companion!). What has changed and this is to my ears, and I will be really interested to what your findings are Andy, is that the Mullards with a few hours on them become less microphonic ( that is before I tried the rubber band trick, that just helped even more!) for starters.

More importantly though is that they have opened up. Sound stage has increased greatly, details within the mix are now at the same level as the GE's (listen to Paul Simons Slip slidin away and you will hear clearly the triangle that feels like it is slightly on top of Paul's voice) drum sticks now sound realistic. Texture actually now beats the GE's, the sound of fingers sliding up steel strings is wonderful. All of this simply was not there in the newly opened Mullards.

So, Now we have a tube that has romance, feeling and emotion but not at the loss of detail, texture and holographic presentation. Last night I was regretting buying another set of Mullards tonight I am thinking will one spare set be enough!

Oh, and if that is not enough, an all Mullard set up makes the already angelic Alison Krauss sound God like!

So, there we have it, learn from my mistakes (fools rush in where...) and give the tubes a good few hours before coming to conclusions! Also, if you want to try tube damping save a fortune on proprietary and jolly expensive tube dampers and do what the good old Brits did sixty years ago, shove a rubber band on it, the tubes simply do not generate enough heat to make the bands brittle or glue them to the glass. Oh yes, from experimentation if you go the band route ones approximately 5mm wide are the best and place them about 5mm from the base of the glass tube as that seems to have the best damping effect. I don't think their colour makes a difference wink.gifbiggrin.gif

Sorry for all the run on posts folks, I hope you don't mind my stream of thoughts being shared.
Edited by ianmedium - 2/6/13 at 9:32pm
post #126 of 3489
Quote:
Originally Posted by ianmedium View Post


These were the most expensive tubes so far costing $20 for the pair still, I am having so much fun comparing and tuning it is worth every penny and I take solace that though I have no one to leave anything to whomever does end up with my stuff when I kick the bucket will have a bunch of tubes to play with along with a great amp! biggrin.gif
 

 

Don't feel too bad, Ian. I once spent $200 on a pair of Philips E188CC. Then I broke one by accident! They actually were quite wonderful.

 

I am loving the tube impressions. Keep them coming.

post #127 of 3489
Quote:
Originally Posted by cooperpwc View Post

Don't feel too bad, Ian. I once spent $200 on a pair of Philips E188CC. Then I broke one by accident! They actually were quite wonderful.

I am loving the tube impressions. Keep them coming.

Ouch Paul, that hurts, thank goodness the tubes for this amp are so cheap in comparison!

I am so glad I am not boring with these impressions, it is a whole new voyage of discovery for me and I am enjoying every minute of it!
post #128 of 3489
Some more impressions tonight. I put another few hours on the Brimar's to bring them up to the same time as the Mullards and GE's today and tonight I did some rolling.

The Brimar's are the smoother tube. They lull you into a sense of ease and grace, especially with female vocals. Tonight I listened to the wonderful Album on Harmonia Mundi by the Anonymous 4 called "The Origin of Fire" this album celebrates the music and visions of Hildegard Von Bingen. It is a sublime album oozing with spirit. The Brimar's were so silky smooth. In fact too silky smooth! It was like they were glossing over the human voice making it perfect. Initially it felt wonderful but after a while something made me feel uneasy, it was as if it was recorded by the Stepford wives if that makes sense!

So I swapped back to the Mullards and the singers became human again, the voices had texture as in real voices. They also had depth and feeling. It was like I was hearing this in a small chapel with a few other people, it felt intimate and inviting.

So the all Mullard set up still reigns supreme!

I am looking forward to getting the Lorenz's next week. They are rare beasts, I got the last two from the seller and I cannot see any more for sale at present, they are meant to have a large soundstage, air in the top end, tight bass and a great sense of dynamics. I will make sure to burn them in. Oh and for those in the know they are Stuttgart made ones which are meant to be much higher quality apparently!

And to end, some music..
post #129 of 3489

ianmedium,

 

Thought that I'd upload a few photo's of my amplifier cradle - the design is heavily influenced by your construction. Listening impressions with NOS valves soon.

 

 

 

 

 

The black strips are Sorbothane. 

 

Cheers,

 

Andy.

post #130 of 3489
Oh my goodness Andy, you put me to shame! that is beautiful! I am going to have to stain mine now... Heck, I think I am going to have to remake it!

I am really looking forward to hearing your thoughts about the other tubes. Hopefully my Lorenz's should be here later this week! The Mullards have opened up even more I find, to me this is sounding quite non tube sounding, very detailed and fast.
post #131 of 3489
Two useful links with more detailed information about the tubes used in our amp!

DL92/3S4
http://www.r-type.org/exhib/aai0104.htm

DF91/1U4/T4
http://www.r-type.org/exhib/aaa0044.htm
post #132 of 3489
HA! And I said I was done! Two 3S4 La Radiotechnique NOS tubes on their way from the States.. its a madness I tell you, a madness blink.gif
La Radiotechnique's were made in the Phillips owned Mazda (not the car maker!) factory in Suresnes in France. Apparently they combine a balanced warmth, sweetness (like their Dutch cousins) and a punchy and detailed top end. Di-Ma warned me I would get addicted to tube rolling and he was right!

Having said that all of these together come to less than one NOS Mullard for a bigger amp.. i think the ones not in rotation will become decorations whilst they sit and wait their turn!

Come on folks, join in the fun, anyone else got one of these wonderful amps apart from those of us who have revealed ourselves??
post #133 of 3489

 

Hi Ian, tubes finally arrived from UK to Singapore.   1st impressions are really good.   My TH900 used to sound a bit harsh and bright out of the TU-05 from AK100 as source, but now the added warm and clarity makes them totally enjoyable.    Thanks for your recommendation.    Will try out other tubes once these are settled in.    Keep those impressions coming as they are totally a joy to read.

post #134 of 3489
Oh thats wonderful! I am so glad your enjoying them, as I have said in previous posts the open up and deepen with a few hours on them. The Mullard 3S4 really do underpin the sound I find. It will be interesting to see how the La Radiotechniques sound in comparison. From what I have read their characteristics are similar to the Mullards only with a little more detail in the top end. How does this amp with these tubes compare to your Isabellina?

I am so glad your enjoying my impressions, I am having fun writing them. I am looking forward to more of your thoughts once you have some hours on the set you have.

Oh and one last thing I added was an upgrade to the source interconnect. I only had a freebie that came with my old Stepdance so I got one of the Cardas HPI's from TTVJ. It has had a small impact upon the sound, I think slightly smoother sounding is the best way to describe it. More of a benefit is its greater flexibility and it feels really well made (made in the US). Not expensive when one considers the pedigree of the company and it uses the same architecture as their top end cables. Well worth the small cost for those with this amp I feel.
Edited by ianmedium - 2/14/13 at 8:00am
post #135 of 3489
Shikata san just posted this on his FB page


"I decided.
I don't mass production of the factory.
I will continue to handmade one by one from the heart!
Because,
My product is to talk with customers and be pleased by my works."

He posed a question there last week exploring the idea of starting up a factory operation, after consideration as can be shown above he is choosing to remain a bespoke manufacturer. It must be a very difficult choice to make as orders start coming in but i think personally for now he has made the right choice.
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