Well folks, my tube rolling journey has come to an end. I've been fortunate to have listened to some of the best tubes on the market , and I've finally found my HOLY GRAIL ,of sound. I'm absolutely done! I want to personally thank my friend Larry(lekoross) , for loaning me a lot of his collection for this journey. I'll also add. If you see him posting tubes for sale on here. He's as legit as Brent Jesse, when it comes to quality of product! He'll never post schiit tubes!....PERIOD
My end game?
2 words: VALVO CCA!
From the beginning:
Over the last two months, I've been blessed in having the luxury of rolling some fine tubes. The list as follows.
63 & 65 , Siemens CCa(grey plate/shield)
75&74 Reflektor , silver SWPG (HG)
58 Amperex Holland Heerlen 6922 PW's
65 Amperex Holland Heerlen 7308/E188CC (Dumont re-label)
65 Philips Miniwatt PQ Heerlen 7308(white label)
64 Mullard Blackburn E88CC (steel pin)
69 Mullard Blackburn 6922 (gold pin, GE re-label)
And last but not least, Valvo CCa ?, yellow print. (*there's a story behind these. Will elaborate later in this post.)
My approach to this post , isn't about ranking them , as to which I prefer in order, but to give my impression on what they have to offer sound wise. Only the individual can decide what's best to their ears.
First up: Siemens CCa (greys) I've listened to two different sets of these fine tubes. 1965 & 1963.
Soundstage, Soundstage, Soundstage!
These tubes are breathtaking! I'm sure everyone by now, has read the description of these tubes , on tubemusem.org. These tubes , have ONE of the biggest, deepest , holographic , presentations, of any tubes I've heard to date. The imaging of these tubes, is stunning! The placement and separation of sound is absolutely lifelike. Treble is finely detailed and delicately, presented. I hear absolutely no sibilance , or harshness. Bass is accurate, deep , with a fullness and slam that captivates you! My only quibble with them is the midrange. To my ears, the midrange seems a little recessed, when comparing these to the very best Holland , tubes. Sometimes things seem dry in the middle with certain songs which removes the emotional factor. Don't get me wrong. These are very engaging tubes. For most , these would be end game glass.
74 & 75HG , SWPG Silver Reflector:
First , I'd like to thank Bob , for his dedication to these awesome tubes. The time and effort he's put in to helping people who start this journey , is astounding! Can't thank him enough!
To me. The 74 & 75 are very similar. The key differences that I've noticed are soundstage , and bass. The 74's , seem to have more impact in the bass region, and the 75 HG's, have a bigger , more holographic soundstage. Both offer an organic , liquid presentation. Pretty balanced throughout the entire spectrum. Soundstage is of decent size. Not as big or deep as the Siemens CCa, nor the Valvo CCa. To my ears , these tubes have a more forward presentation. Treble , is pretty incisive, and detailed. Bass has good impact but not as deep as most of the other tubes , mentioned. Female vocals are spooky good with these tubes. Kind of reminds me of the Mullards.
58 Amperex Holland Heerlen pinched waist:
I won't sugar coat my feelings with these tubes. These tubes are very holographic , very detailed , and a smooth and delicate presentation. To my ears they lacked engagement. The midrange was dismal. To me the music had no authority, no impact , and vocals sounded lifeless. The bass was deep , and accurate. But lacking. The attack and decay of notes seemed too fast , and didn't have that linger of depth. I tried with these tubes, but they just didn't cut it. They just weren't my cup of tea. YMMV.
65 Amperex Holland (Dumont) 7308 & 65 Philips miniwatt SQ 7308:
I'm lumping these two together. They're very similar, with the Dumonts , presenting things a little bigger, and more bass. These tubes , are midrange kings! These are very musical tubes, warm, full bodied, with precise impact. Both sets gave you a speaker like presentation. They're a very forward tube. Soundstage is average. They're not as holographic , as the above mentioned(on par with the HG's), nor the Valvo CCa , coming up later. Trebel on these can be hot at times. Bass is deep , and full. They're very fun tubes. I wouldn't recommend them with headphones, like Grados.
64 Mullard Blackburn E88CC(steel pin) & 69 Mullard Blackburn(GE re-label) 6922(gold pin):
These tubes , are at the top of my list. They are very warm and engaging, sweet buttery tone. Very rich notes , very lifelike , organic presentation. Vocals are absolutely spooky and realistic. Bass is perfect. It's deep, wide, and full. Trebel and midrange, are silky smooth. Surprisingly, the gold pins, more so than the steels, do soundstage very well. Sound portrays itself below you with a sense of being lifted by the music. The steels seemed a little more forward than the golds. These tubes , imo , could be the absolute perfect match for a headphone like Grados. With the HD-650's , it could be way too much warmth.
Valvo CCa? E88CC? Yellow print, From Heerlen, with delta codes. (Tube1: 1969, Tube2: 1972):
So....... Let's begin with the story behind these tubes.
My good friend Larry (lekoross), purchased these tubes , from eBay. These tubes were considered to be counterfeit, reprinted , E88CC. A while back it was reported that there were fake tubes being sold on eBay, by a German seller. The transaction with the seller was very sketchy. Took forever for the seller to ship them. So Larry kinda dismissed them and put them on the back burner in his collection.
I always had some curiosity of those tubes. A month ago, I offered to buy a pair of the quad he received and we never made an agreement. Larry being the awesome guy he is, more than likely didn't want to distribute tubes of "lower" quality, and possibly fake.
So me being an eBay hawk , looking for steals , and deals, had seen an auction ,with yellow print Valvo CCa's being offered at an insanely low starting bid. So I scoped it out , and it was Larrys auction. He openly put it out there in the description that he believed they were fake tubes, and was offering them at a bargain.
So I put them in my watch list and waited until the end, and won the auction. He thought it was pretty hilarious , that it was me.
So he offered to send them with his 63 Siemens CCa's, and his Mullard Blackburn 6922 (gold pins, and in exchange I sent my Dumonts to him so he could have a listen as well, possibly doing an even trade for the Valvos.
Now to the Valvos:
Let me start by saying this. Regardless of how fake , mismatched the dates are on these tubes, my quest for the ultimate sound has ended here! I'll call these the "FrankenValvos" , I can't confirm if they truly are Valvo CCa's visually, but sound wise?
LORD HAVE MERCY!!!!!!!!!
Folk's. Take every tube above mentioned. Roll them in a tube burrito, give it to God for a blessing. Then stick that burrito in your rig. You are now listening to the FrankenValvos.
LORD HAVE MERCY! Lol
Quote: E88CC or CCa VALVO Heerlen Holland 1960's "Real sonic holography, best-musicallity sounding, compellingly realistic, extremely incredible detail, warmth, and clarity - all at the same time, rated up there with the Siemens CCa, classified audiophile-extreme rarity, almost never seen or available in real NOS, especially in the most desirable YELLOW print.
Their description of these tubes , is dead on!
Take the soundstage , holography, and bass of the Siemens, toss in the awesome midrange and impact of the Amperex , and then add the sweet sweet butter , of the Mullard Blackburns , then age all that like fine wine, then inject it with steroids before mind consumption. Lol
Folk's , I'm so done rolling tubes. Everything I've put in my lyr , previous to these FrankenValvos , is a distant second to my ears! They are the most holographic, full 3D, realistic , organic tubes I've ever heard. The imaging , is Godly! The soundstage , and holography, are endless. Notes appear out of nowhere, full and life sized, with authority, and fade back into a total blackness. The sound from these tubes is paralyzing. I'm in complete AWE, with my chin hanging, drooling, with every song that goes by. END GAME FOLKS......END GAME!
Larry, I want to openly thank you for your generosity, in sending all of your collection to me , for the listening experience! You are a truly good , and honest guy! I can't thank you enough bro!
I also want to thank Bill, for answering all my nagging questions in PM, regarding my Holland quest of tubes. You nailed it Billy! You nailed it!
My conclusion , to all this tube madness is. Folks, don't judge a book by its cover. I was always anal , about matching codes, specific dates, and believed that it was uber important for the best possible sound. With the FrankenValvos, that has all gone out the window!
I know you'll be reading this Larry. I know that you have the other set of these. I hope that you hear what I'm hearing my friend. If not, you have my address. Lol. Thanks again for everything my friend! I owe you big time!
I also want to thank all the tube vets, for helping me with all their vast knowledge, and patience with a noob , like myself.
"MAMA , I'M COMING HOME!"
Happy rolling my friends
Over and Out
Sam aka guidostrunk Edited by Guidostrunk - 5/10/15 at 7:10pm