Just a few words for you guys.
I like to think that all my tubes has this T1 sound. They differ in sound stage / imaging, some have exaggerated bass and others feel more natural. Some have more forward mids than the others etc. In the end it comes to fine tuning the T1 to match your headphones rather than finding the ultimately best tube.
Best tubes are naturally better in all aspects than the worst, but some might prefer Voshkod rockets over 7308 Amperexes, for example, because of the sweet lush intimate forward presentation of the rocket. The differences are not huge because this is a tube DAC with SS amp. I think people should purchase tubes in order to adjust the sound. So before buying any expensive tubes ask yourself what you want to improve / change in your current setup. If you are happy with your tubes there's no need to get into the rolling business. Critical comparison also means best quality source and good headphones.
We also tend to overemphasize and exaggerate in our reviews just to get the message to people. This of course creates hype. It's also hard to do extensive 1 vs 1 comparison if you have lots of tubes (think of Coil for example). When tired or sick everything can suddenly start sounding the same. Just do it for fun and the reward is greater. And remember to burn in the tubes (especially NOS). I've done my share of hasty impressions by judging tubes before burning them in (EH, Valvo etc.). I admit there is probably too much tube discussion here, especially considering the topic of the thread, but it's just us happy T1 owners having good time with our purchases. It's really fun and worth the money invested to challenge your senses and try finding differences between different tubes. Just remember that the T1 is the lead star here not the tubes! For people who are not sure whether some expensive tube is improvement enough or not, try getting tubes from well known manufacturer with good prints and visible factory codes. Such tubes can have tremendous resell value and you might even make a buck or two. I'm pretty sure ebay has these bargain tube hunters who buy big hauls, measure them and resell individually / in matched pairs. Lots of fakes too = selling used as NOS.
Edited by Salvatore - 6/19/13 at 4:41am