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Dubstep Girl's Massive 5AR4/5R4/5U4G Rectifier Review/Comparison! (Rectifer Tube Rolling thread) - Page 17

post #241 of 322
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by playitloud View Post

Thanks, I skip on this one, but then I need your advise once more. I now have settled on my rectifiers for my amp: WE422a and Mullard GZ37 (Big Botlle). I have tried the WE422a in my DAC but for some reason, it does not quite work there as well as in my amplifier. The WE 422a has the most spacious, detailed and coherent sound of all rectifiers I know. The Mullard GZ37 (big bottle) is to me a bass monster, deep, fast, defined and dynamic., and no slouch on the rest, but clearly not in the WE422a league.

Now I have to settle on the rectifier in my Dac (lampizator Dac 4 gen. 4). I have tried: Amperex buggle boy GZ34 (black base); Sophia Electric 274b (mesh plate); and RCA 5R4gy (1944, dark brown base), and some other cheaper ones.

The GZ34 is good for rock ‘n roll. It is clear, and dynamic, Good bass  but in my dac a bit dry and that does not suit classical music well.

Sophia 274b mesh; barely fits in my dac. I completely agree with your description here. I like its soundstage, air, tone (timbre of instruments), dynamics  and forward vocals. But, with the Fostex TH900, the mid bass hump spoils it a bit, especially because it is not well defined in my DAC.

RCA 5R4Gy (1944 dark brown base). Impressive soundstage, very airy and detailed (more so than the Sophia  274B mesh). For instance, best  off all three in separating the different string sections of the orchestra. The problem I have with this one is that although your hear all the different instruments very clearly, it is not coherent. The Western Electric 422a is equally detailed but also coherent. In my opinion the RCA lacks that capability in my dac. Furthermore, it is a little too bas light and sharp, it lacks a bit of tone so to speak.

Normally, I would go for the GEC U52, but that one does not fit in my dac (at least the Mullard GZ37 big bottle does not fit, and I think these are equal in size to the GEC, correct?).Generally, I am searching for something  with a detailed and coherent midrange that has the soundstage of the Sophia or RCA, the tone, dynamics and air of the Sophia, and the bass of the GZ34.

I am using it in my dac, so current is not a problem…What would you advise me.. Personally, I am thinking of buying either the Brimar 5R4gy, or the Mullard GZ32, but maybe there are others that I overlook. How do the Brimar and Mullard GZ32 compare in terms of midrange detail, coherency, soundstage, air, dynamics, and bass. Hope you can give me some direction. Thanks.

UPDATE: I have found a way to fit the bigger rectifiers in my DAC. I just needed to replace the first cap a little bit (was easy). I ordered a NOS 1951 black base GEC tube for decent money. Its now on its way. Lets hope they rightly earned their reputation.


I agree with everything you said, your descriptions of the tubes fit mine exactly. The fat bottle gz37 is very nice, tons of bass yet refined, but not we422a territory. (It does everything alot better than cheaper bassy rectifiers though).

And i also did not like the rca 5r4gy that much, huge soundstage but not coherent and seemed too treble happy for my tastes. The dark brown base is also the best version of that 5r4gy. I still dont think its as detailed as we422a, or rather the 422a is more layered, transparent, euphonic, and presents the air in a more refined manner, its really beautiful sounding and presents music in a very vivid way.

Seems like if you can get the U52, that would be the best choice, its not as big as the fat bottle gz37. Also the next best would be the mullard gz32/cv 593 available from upscale audio or ebay. Similar sound, great british sound of the u52, its pretty much a baby u52 any way you look at it. I really think its an underrated tube.

If you do get the U52 to work, its almost as good as 422a if not as good
Edited by Dubstep Girl - 2/21/14 at 5:33pm
post #242 of 322

Thanks for the write up. It's very informative. I managed to find and buy a smooth plate version of the RCA 5U4G. A bit on the pricey side though.

post #243 of 322
Quote:
Originally Posted by Josh05 View Post


Hey guys I've done a comparison between a few 5AR4/GZ34's i own. The one above, i brought around Christmas, the others below that i picked up last week. It's only a brief comparison but might help some people looking to buy one of these tubes...

 

I'll ranks them first then explain my reasons below.

 

1, Philips 5AR4 (no other markings)

2. fat bottle only marked with "5AR4 GZ34 USA"

3. Mullard (code reads F33 89A1)

 

The Philips i have seems to sound more refined, by this i mean better texture and smoother transients than the other two. Detail retrieval seems about on par with the Mullard, maybe a tad better and defiantly better than the fat bottle but neither are that far behind each other.

 

The fat bottle one if anything might have a tad wider sound stage than the other two (really not sure whether I'm imagining this or not). Although not as detailed as the other two, it beats the Mullard in a few aspects I'll mention below.

 

The Mullard was a tad disappointing compared to the other two, its treble seems to be not as smooth as the other two and it doesn't have as smooth transients either. It's quite noticeably, less refined sounding than the other two.

 

I know these are all very similar tubes but this is my honest impressions, i think the Philips might be the oldest out of them, that might explain why it sounds better? The Mullard is the one with 7 notches while the Philips has no notches, as far as i know, the ones with no notches are the oldest.

post #244 of 322

On the 5AR4 GZ34 USA and the mullard, could you described the ring thing on the top. So for instance on the philips, it looks like a single O ring.

post #245 of 322
All three have the single O ring. The fat bottle one is rounder.
post #246 of 322

The U52 inverted cup getter was just what the doctor ordered for my Lampizator Dac. In my DAC though I can use all rectifiers both directly and indirectly heated as long as they have heaters on pins 8-2 and high voltage anodes on pins 4-6. I have tried many (Sophia Electric 274b, RCA 5R4G (1944); Sylvania 5R4gy; Amperex GZ34 (black base); some Russian 5Y3 types and of course the GZ37 big bottle, and WE422a). Both the WE422a and GZ37 big bottle did not work well in the DAC. For some reason they had a hard edge. Something that is absolutely not present when used in my 300B amplifier which demands a GZ37 type of rectifier (the WE422a belongs to that category, almost similar specs and indirectly heated. I can safely say that the GEC U52 inverted cup getter is by far the best in my DAC. I again agree completely with the description of  Dubstep girl, this tube is very transparent and detailed but also coherent (this is something the RCA 5R4gy lacks in my opinion). It majors on tone and timbre. But what really staggered me was its dynamic behavior. Now I believe this is not per definition a GEC U52 trait (maybe Dubstep girl can chime in here), but maybe more a case of a good fit between DAC and rectifier (even though the designer favors the 5Y3 and GZ34).

 

What I mean with dynamic behavior is this. The GEC U52 sounds vey refined and elegant when musical passages are like that, but it can change in the blink of an eye into a snarling beast the moment the music demands that. This is different from the RCA 5R4G and Sophia Electric 274b for instance. The RCA is ‘refined’ even in dynamic passages, and the Sophia 274b is always a bit dynamic even if the musical passages are not. It is difficult to explain, but  these tubes keep their signature irrespective of changes in music. The GEC U52 is a chameleon, and this also translates in ‘dynamic level’. With the GEC U52 the dynamic contrast between soft and loud passages are much higher than with the other types I tried. It makes the music very intense and exciting. Vocals are incredible. So easy to understand what they are singing, so easy to follow the dynamic nuances of their singing. Presence of voices is really great. It also means that you hear a much greater contrast between different pieces of music and different recordings. Fortunately, it does not destroy bad recordings. I can still play and enjoy recordings for begin eighties without feeling annoyed by the treble and the lack of bass. The GEC has good tone. That helps. But the Sophia 274b for instance, adds some (artificial) weight to these recordings that makes it more enjoyable.

 

I have to say that what I said about the GEC U52 in my DAC also applies to the WE422a in my amp. Especially when compared to the Mullard GZ37 big bottle. The WE422a is also very fast, light on its feet, and great in dynamic contrast. At first, I thought it lacked a bit in the bass compared to the GZ37 big bottle. I now have to admit that I was wrong.  The WE422a is more honest. If the music lacks bass you will hear no bass, but the moment there is deep bass in the music you will hear is as well. The Mullard GZ37 big bottle always adds some weight irrespective of the recording. The Mullard GZ37 is also more smooth, maybe even a bit lush. It is not as fast, hence it lacks the impact of dynamic changes in the music compared to the WE422a. That being said I still love it. The Mullard makes the  music more beautiful than it really is. It is a charmer, but it still has great bass, and that adds to the fun, especially with the Fostex TH-900. I do not care if it is artificial I like it. There is no doubt in my mind that the WE422a is the better rectifier than the GZ37 big bottle, it just is. But, I know I will use the GZ37 big bottle every other month just to enjoy it charms that work wonders with recordings that need a bit of help, and many recordings do. Again I really love the bass on this one. The combination Mullard GZ37 big bottle combined with the Fostex TH-900 is just a great match and big fun.

 

Thank you Dubstep girl for your impressive comparison. I can safely say, that you are right on the money with your descriptions of the rectifiers I tried. And many others have confirmed this. That makes this comparison of rectifiers even more valuable than it already was.  

post #247 of 322
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by playitloud View Post

The U52 inverted cup getter was just what the doctor ordered for my Lampizator Dac. In my DAC though I can use all rectifiers both directly and indirectly heated as long as they have heaters on pins 8-2 and high voltage anodes on pins 4-6. I have tried many (Sophia Electric 274b, RCA 5R4G (1944); Sylvania 5R4gy; Amperex GZ34 (black base); some Russian 5Y3 types and of course the GZ37 big bottle, and WE422a). Both the WE422a and GZ37 big bottle did not work well in the DAC. For some reason they had a hard edge. Something that is absolutely not present when used in my 300B amplifier which demands a GZ37 type of rectifier (the WE422a belongs to that category, almost similar specs and indirectly heated. I can safely say that the GEC U52 inverted cup getter is by far the best in my DAC. I again agree completely with the description of  Dubstep girl, this tube is very transparent and detailed but also coherent (this is something the RCA 5R4gy lacks in my opinion). It majors on tone and timbre. But what really staggered me was its dynamic behavior. Now I believe this is not per definition a GEC U52 trait (maybe Dubstep girl can chime in here), but maybe more a case of a good fit between DAC and rectifier (even though the designer favors the 5Y3 and GZ34).

What I mean with dynamic behavior is this. The GEC U52 sounds vey refined and elegant when musical passages are like that, but it can change in the blink of an eye into a snarling beast the moment the music demands that. This is different from the RCA 5R4G and Sophia Electric 274b for instance. The RCA is ‘refined’ even in dynamic passages, and the Sophia 274b is always a bit dynamic even if the musical passages are not. It is difficult to explain, but  these tubes keep their signature irrespective of changes in music. The GEC U52 is a chameleon, and this also translates in ‘dynamic level’. With the GEC U52 the dynamic contrast between soft and loud passages are much higher than with the other types I tried. It makes the music very intense and exciting. Vocals are incredible. So easy to understand what they are singing, so easy to follow the dynamic nuances of their singing. Presence of voices is really great. It also means that you hear a much greater contrast between different pieces of music and different recordings. Fortunately, it does not destroy bad recordings. I can still play and enjoy recordings for begin eighties without feeling annoyed by the treble and the lack of bass. The GEC has good tone. That helps. But the Sophia 274b for instance, adds some (artificial) weight to these recordings that makes it more enjoyable.

I have to say that what I said about the GEC U52 in my DAC also applies to the WE422a in my amp. Especially when compared to the Mullard GZ37 big bottle. The WE422a is also very fast, light on its feet, and great in dynamic contrast. At first, I thought it lacked a bit in the bass compared to the GZ37 big bottle. I now have to admit that I was wrong.  The WE422a is more honest. If the music lacks bass you will hear no bass, but the moment there is deep bass in the music you will hear is as well. The Mullard GZ37 big bottle always adds some weight irrespective of the recording. The Mullard GZ37 is also more smooth, maybe even a bit lush. It is not as fast, hence it lacks the impact of dynamic changes in the music compared to the WE422a. That being said I still love it. The Mullard makes the  music more beautiful than it really is. It is a charmer, but it still has great bass, and that adds to the fun, especially with the Fostex TH-900. I do not care if it is artificial I like it. There is no doubt in my mind that the WE422a is the better rectifier than the GZ37 big bottle, it just is. But, I know I will use the GZ37 big bottle every other month just to enjoy it charms that work wonders with recordings that need a bit of help, and many recordings do. Again I really love the bass on this one. The combination Mullard GZ37 big bottle combined with the Fostex TH-900 is just a great match and big fun.

Thank you Dubstep girl for your impressive comparison. I can safely say, that you are right on the money with your descriptions of the rectifiers I tried. And many others have confirmed this. That makes this comparison of rectifiers even more valuable than it already was.  

Thank you! And yes, the U52 i think is easily one of the best rectiifiers out there along with 422a, as long as it works well with the amp/dac it goes into

The gz37 is definitely one of the better tubes especially for bass, i personally see it as an upgrade over a sophia, which is also bassy but not refined.
beerchug.gif
post #248 of 322

I posted here a few months back after reading Dubstep Girls excellent rectifier comparisons. I have a Woo Audio WA6 with the 6SN7 adapters and prefer the 6SN7 sound.  Since that post, I purchased a NOS Mullard GZ32 ( 1955 vintage w/ square getter ) in it's military version, CV593. I have read some claims that the older 1950's with the sq getter sound better, but I have no direct comparison to back that claim with. I will say it is every bit as good as claimed by many here and that Dubsteps comments on this rectifier are spot on - no need to describe it as Dubstep nailed it!

 

I also currently have a Brimar 5V4G / CV729 military issue ( also 1955 ) and a RCA 5R4GY, a 1945 dark brown base smooth plate. Both take a back seat to the Mullard for my tastes.

 

The RCA 5R4GY has a killer wide and deep soundstage with added depth to acoustics. It seems to add some reverb and slight delay, creating a nice presentation to large orchestral music, but the bass is recessed and the top end exaggerated.  It does work well when combined with a pair of 1944 RCA 6SN7 VT231 smoke glass tubes that are known for a overly smooth and rich "tubey" sound. This helps tame the high end brightness of the RCA 5R4GY and thickens the midrange to help out the 5R4GY's somewhat thin midrange. This combo sounds great for classical large symphonic recordings.

 

The Brimar 5V4G is a very close 2nd to the Mullard GZ32.  It has tighter bass and goes deeper than the Mullard, but the upper bass/lower mids are a bit more recessed in comparison to the Mullard, so it's a bit more neutral sounding.  The highs are also a tad more extended over the Mullard GZ32, but they are not harsh. The Brimar also sounds a bit faster vs the Mullard.  However, the Mullard has a deeper soundstage and just an overall more musical presentation, at least in my setup. I do like the Brimar when used with a pair of 1945 Ken-Rad 6SN7's which have great bass slam, and are punchy sounding. That combo works great for rock and electronic stuff.

 

 

But for all my everyday listening, the Mullard GZ32 just sounds "right".  It adds a good full body sound with good dynamics.  I use it with a pair of Brimar mid-fifties clear glass 6SN7GT and listen most of the time to my LP's with this combo.  I am happy I read Dubstep's great review on the Mullard GZ32 as it helped me make the decision to get one. Highly recommended for the going price on these.


Edited by TUBEBO - 2/27/14 at 2:13pm
post #249 of 322

Dubstep Girl, thanks for the comprehensive comparison, the guide really helped me get started on my tube rolling journey.

 

I've been comparing between GZ34 metal base and Sophia princess, and wanted to share my experience with you guys to see if I'm accurate and hopefully improve my vocabulary.  I listened almost exclusively to vocal (60/40 female/male). What I found is that the Sophia is generally louder, and has a higher mid range gain, while the GZ34 bass and treble is cleaner, sound stage is about the same for both, with GZ34 taking slight edge, possibly due to the reduce mid range..  I'm leaning toward the GZ34, but still I found it doesn't provide that smooth "tubey" vocal sound.. any recommendation?  I'm listening on LCD2r2 using Woo Audio WA6SE with stock power/drive (6DE7, my 6DF7 is coming from woo).

 

Thanks.


Edited by KMSV - 3/1/14 at 2:01am
post #250 of 322
Thread Starter 

GZ32 /CV593

post #251 of 322

KMSV: Ditto Dubstep Girls recommendation of the GZ32/CV593 ( in a Mullard ).  I have a Woo Audio WA6 and had a Amperex/Mullard 1958 GZ34 and I prefer the GZ32 due to it's wonderful warm mid-range.

post #252 of 322

Thanks DG, TUBEBO.

 

Ordered Mullard GZ32 from Upscale Audio, it doesn't hurt that it's cheaper than the two tubes I have already purchased.  If this work out I'll put the other two up for sale.

 

Thanks.

post #253 of 322

I did it. I gave in and got myself a Western Electric 422A. It arrived a few days ago and it has spent only a few hours in my WA22, so I don't have detailed impressions yet. But right now I rank it among the greats like the 596, CV378 Big Bottle and EML 5U4G Mesh. Now that I have gotten the rectifier itch again, perhaps it's time to start huntin for a U52 as well?

 

And another great thing about the WE422A? Not only does it sound good, it looks good at night as well.

 

post #254 of 322
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by kchew View Post

I did it. I gave in and got myself a Western Electric 422A. It arrived a few days ago and it has spent only a few hours in my WA22, so I don't have detailed impressions yet. But right now I rank it among the greats like the 596, CV378 Big Bottle and EML 5U4G Mesh. Now that I have gotten the rectifier itch again, perhaps it's time to start huntin for a U52 as well?

And another great thing about the WE422A? Not only does it sound good, it looks good at night as well.



Kchew!!!

Your original wa22 rectifier shootout was one of the reasons i decided to seek out some of these rare and well overlooked/forgotten tubes! biggrin.gif
Congrats on buying the we422a, would love to hear your impressions, i personally think the 422a took the wa22 to the next level, the tube is a on a level all to itself with the u52, only the cv378 fat bottle and metal mullard gz34 coming close behind.

Have you noticed how bright the 422a's glow is compared to other tubes? (Especially older grey plate version), it was very impresssive to see the glow, really nice!!!
post #255 of 322

how much is the 422a going for these days? Any increase in price?

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