Originally Posted by BaTou069
Nice gear :)
I have a DAC (FiiO E18), so the LD or Vali could be a choice. But the all in one solution is quiet attractive, the Aune T1 looks better then the LD gear does...
As I can see you have some serious tube amps. How does the Aune T1 compares to them, not being a real tube amp?
Is a tube buffer enough in order to deliver tube sound, or does it come with a compromise?
Really hard to say. Let me explain...
My rig has been geared toward vinyl. The phono stage and preamp are solid state and they exit via the Velleman tube amp. The Velleman is sweet and very much taliorable by the swapping of 12AX7 input tubes (Mullard, RCA, GE, Sylvania) all unique.
Previously, my digital input was via CD or from my Surface Tablet (3.5mm jack out to RCA's) into the preamp. The Surface has an onboard DAC but the sound was "ok".
Now with the AUNE, I use the USB out on the Surface to the AUNE and then RCA out to the pre-amp. Amazing difference. Soundstage, clarity, nice forward mids...
Then playing with the tubes (really the stock tube is better than one expects) you can hear the differences the types offer. So here was my review of the first ones. NOTE - this applies to my system. Of course every systems will be a bit different (links in the chain) but definitively , yes a clean tube sound...
The Stock tube - 6922EH - New tube by Electro Harmonix - 3 1/2 stars (out of 5)
For a stock, new design tube, I have to say it has its merits. it has strong gain, very wide soundstage, brings the mid's into focus where they should be. The vocalist is present where they should be and clearly distinct in a 3D sort of way. The bottom is nice, not boomy but the top end, while detailed can be a bit fatiguing. I can say it is like an Audio Technica microline cart that hasn't broken in yet. Vaguely bordering on sibilant in that high upper range - not quite getting there but you almost expect it. For a stock new issue tube, not bad.
Vintage Amperex Tube 6GM8 / ECC86 - With Orange Globe and made in Herleen Holland - 1968 - 4 stars (or maybe 3.8 stars This is one of the holy grail tubes, hard to find with the globe in this setup. More often it has a bugle boy on it (not BUGLE BOY tubes..long story). They can be expensive and I snagged this for $14.99 It is a fine sounding tube, very holographic with nice highs and mids. It takes the edginess off that was present in the 6922EH but without being rolled off. Bass is very deep...perhaps too deep. I could feel it which was nice but found myself wondering if it was a bit boomy. Certainly would not be describe as tight crisp bass. Sort of made me think my bottom end was replaced with some Cerwin Vega D9's. From what I have heard so far..I would almost (and did) give it 4 stars but more listening with other types move it down to 3. So much for one of the better recommended. This is where system variations truly dictate what is good for whom
Vintage Amperex PCC88 Tube (7DJ8) Holland - with Orange Globe Amperex Seam - 69-15 code - 5 Stars *****
Simply amazing at all levels - I don't have to say more. STRONG bass for you headphone listeners without being boomy. TOP RATING - Tied with the other 5 Star
6GM8 ECC86 Tube (GE Label marking) made in HOLLAND - Vintage 1963 - 4.25 Stars ****
This one made my eyes pop. It is not one that was advertised as remarkable, in fact, I don't see a lot of listing for it (Brent J doesn't) but I guess for me it is a best kept secret. From top to bottom, everything was detailed, in the right place with a wide holographic sound stage. The bass is where the Amperex SHOULD have been but was not, the vocals a pure joy as you could hear the vocalist at the mic. Vey nice, clear separation of instruments, nothing munged together. So far, my best tube. One note, it says MADE IN HOLLAND on it (factory lettering) but the CODES say it was made in Hamburg Germany. WWII was over in 1963, right ? LOL
Mullard 6GM8/ECC86 Coded- ~~D4A2 - 4.5 Stars **** *(revised)
I was excited to get my first Mullard in this series as I have come to expect good things. Now I have received TWO of these, same date code, same lot and never seen a socket. UPDATE - After over 40 hours break-in, I have completely revised my opinion. This is the tube Mullard is known for. Warm, velvet, detailed without being fatiguing. High's are sweet with no roll-off and bass is like comfy slippers. Soundstage is perfect and mids, nicely forward. It doesn't get the full 5 stars because I have heard a few tubes with just a tad more details but no one would ever be sorry buying this tube.
Sylvania . 6DJ8 ECC88 Halo Getter Yellow Lettering USA FB EFB - 4 Stars
Now this is more like it. Very nice tube. Beautiful soundstage, deep base but not boomy. Nice mid's. For under $10 shipped, this tube is beautiful. So why 4 stars ? Comparatively, the GE at 4.25 STARs still bests this one slightly with a bit more detail and a bit more forward in the mids, Still a beautiful tube and if I never heard the GE, this would be my #1. There is a smooth quality to it, velvety that I expected from the Mullard (but did not get). You would be crazy not to try one for a price in this range.
GE Labeled SIEMENS 6AQ8 ECC85 GERMANY - cant make out date code 5.0 Stars *****/
This bad boy is amazing, Soundstage impresses you immediately as does the detail. This and my other GE labeled tube will knock your socks off. Would make anyone happy -this 6AQ8 which I think has a tad better soundstage (by a thumbnail) but also just a thumbnail less bass. . I listened to about 12 different type songs and could find no wrong EXCEPT some heavy metal tune by Nickelback and that may be the mastering, I need to check. But all other cuts, gorgeous. Vocals will make your head spin and take notice.
GE Labeled USA Made 6DJ8- Holy Cow 4.5 Stars ****/
who knew that a USA made GE from the 60's would be so good. Read everything about the Siemens above only subtract 1/2 star
Russian Voskhod 6N23P - 1986 vintage - Made for medical use (red tip) - 1 star
Unlike some very good SOVTEK, SVETLANA and others that are sturdy and have a decent sound quality, these were as dull and lifeless as they come. The soundstage was narrow and flat (no depth). I really have nothing positive to say except I am glad I only paid $9.00 for a pair. I'll sell them for $7.00 - any takers ? LOL
Edited by arcorob - 2/5/14 at 1:48pm