So here is my current ranking:
All Voskhod Rockets 6n23p Kaluga factory:
#1 1975 Gray Shields - Supreme detail, coupled with this magical flow or liquidity to the music...just draws you in. I try to read while listening to my headphones. These just make you drop the book and turn the volume up. Sit back and enjoy the ride as they sweep you away. Rich textured tone, deep extended tight bass...Who said the HD800 have wimpy bass! Not with these. Sound stage - surround sound, reflected sounds actually project behind you! As well as wall to wall and 30 ft deep in front, with tons of air blooming from each instrument. The effect enhanced by closing your eyes. I did this last night...for 4 hours! Dead quite, zero floor noise, the incredible details just project from inky blackness...you really notice this at the end of songs as they fade into this deep black silence. The next track re-emerging, building, as you forget how high you've set the volume! Never harsh or brittle - and here is the magic, even at higher volume levels. Levels that would have you diving, on most other non-Super V-R tubes, to turn down as the etch becomes annoying.
With the sweet nature of these tubes, it allows you to add this additional volume, the sound becomes enveloping. You're really projected into a different venue. What the high end headphone experience is all about!
These are my new reference tubes - so I will describe the other V-Rs based on these.
#2 1975 Silver Shields - these are almost a tie for first. They actually have even more detail! But lack a bit of the liquid flow that's so captivating on the '75 grays.
Also have the tonal richness and sweet character. Likewise the same bass extension and tightness. Ditto for the sound stage as above.
#3 1978 Silver Shields - Just a bit less detail then above. Great flow, slightly smaller sound stage - but still wide and deep compared to most tubes.
#4 1976 Gray Shields - A little less detail again. Good flow - the sound stage is very good.
#5 1977 Silver Shields - Very detailed, a little more analytical. Nice harmonically rich tone - The Prince of V-Rs.
#6 1974 Gray Shields - Very nice tube. Liquid mid range, sweet tonality. A slight reduction in the ultimate detail retrieval and sound stage width and depth. Good bass.
#7 1979 Silver Shields - Amazing detail and mid-range liquidity. This is were, what I refer to as the 'Super-Voskhods', starts.
#8 1980 Silver Shields - Awesome tube - borders on greatness. Lacks the extreme detail of the above mentioned tubes. Also - not quite the tonal richness (would not recommend added volume with these)
#9 1979 Gray Shields - With the '79s and '80s the Silver variant is better - More detailed. That's not true after '79 - in fact the 'King' is the '75 Grays.
#10 The 1981 -1989s Gray or Silver - Good tubes, won't bowl you over. Pleasant to listen to.
After that - the 1990s on - pretty pedestrian. These and the '81-'89s are what's pretty much typical of what's available now on E-bay and through the Russian Dealers. I hope they don't sour folks on the Voskhod magic.
This is just a mini-preview. I'll go into more detail with pictures in my review. I still have to hear the '73s and '72s - but the structure of these is different. Similar to some '70s Reflecktors. So I'm not expecting much.
Edit - added a picture of what I mean by Silver and Gray Shields - which is the standard convention for the Siemens CCa. Others, like pooters refers to the plate running through the middle of the top mica as the 'shield'. Sorry for the confusion...but I have to stay with traditional 6922 tube conventions. All of the above evaluations are based on my identification method. I have run across Voskhod's with silver 'grids' and gray shields, that wide or narrow tab sticking up through the middle of the tube's top mica, may not be the best determinant of the 'shield' color.
As described by a Siemens CCa tube expert:
"The "shield" is the "gray" or "shiny silver" plate (electrostatic shield) that is situated between
the 2 gray dual triode plates inside a framed grid tube, such as a 6922, 6DJ8 and 7308."