Originally Posted by playitloud
Before you all rush out to pay excessive amounts of money on a Western Electric 422a, maybe it is good to put things a bit in perspective. Although I do not have all the rectifiers Dubstep girl has tested, I have a few of the top contenders: WE422a and GZ37 Mullard fat bottle (black base). I use them in my 300B amp (see profile). The power supply of that amp is a choke input type supply. My amp needs an indirectly headed triode, hence no GEC U52 for me.
Both are great rectifiers but they are quite different. The Western Electric 422a compared to the Mullard GZ37 big bottle is bass light, and less defined and dynamic in the bass. The Mullard GZ37 big bottle (BB) has incredible bass depth, dynamics and definition.
The WE422a excels in the midrange, where it is very natural, and smooth but also very detailed, and transparent. You hear everything here but it still sounds natural (beautiful tone and timbre of instruments, no grain). Quite an achievement. I think that is where the WE422a really shines. The midrange of the Mullard GZ37BB ,on the other hand is warmer, sounds bigger, less quick on its feet, but still very natural and relaxed. The midrange of the WE422a is more exciting, the Mullard is more relaxed.
The WE422a also has beautiful highs, natural tone and very quick. You clearly hear the hi-hats hit each other. And again, no grain, no hard edge. The Mullard GZ37 BB’s treble is more rolled off, less defined, but again still very natural and smooth, just not as prominent..
Last, the WE422a excels in soundstage width and depth, the Mullard is more intimate compared to the WE422a., but it still has a decent soundstage don’t you worry.
When I owned the Sennheiser HD800, I much preferred the Mullard GZ37BB to the WE422a. The HD800 could use some extra bass, and did not need the soundstage qualities of the WE422a. In fact, when I used the WE422 the soundstage became too large, there was not enough presence, I felt removed from the music. The Mullard GZ37 BB was for me a perfect match with the Sennheiser HD800.
I now use the Fostex TH-900, and things get more tricky. The jury is still out on this one. With the WE422a, the midrange is very present. It completely cures the recessed midrange issues of the Fostex, as a bonus it creates a large open and very detailed soundstage that is very addictive….However, it loses some of its main qualities and that is the bass. With the Mullard GZ37BB the bass of the Fostex TH-900 is simply incredible. Deep, dynamic and very well defined. The WE422a is not capable of doing that. The bass is not only less deep, it is also less defined and dynamic. For some reasons, the WE422a is not capable of controlling the bass of the TH-900 as much as the Mullard does.
Now beware I listen mostly to classical (opera & symphonic) music, with some good slides of jazz and pop/rock. And you could argue that for classical the WE422a is to be preferred, but it is not that easy. In my opinion classical music (at least symphonic and opera, but also piano) profits just as much from a well defined deep bass as other types of music, as long as it does not overwhelms the midrange….And it does not with the Fostex. Bass provides the basic rhythm of the music, mess that up and the structure is lost, also in classical music…Good bass definition is very important for complex and dynamic (classical) music (Mahler just as much as the Stones), it gives direction and purpose. If you lose that, the rest does not matter (to me) anymore.
To summarize, the WE422 excels in the midrange, but falls a bit short in the bass (IMO, and on my equipment). The Mullard GZ37 excels in the bass, and has no real shortcomings, it is just less capable in the midrange and treble than the WE422a. At this moment, I use the Mullard GZ37 BB in the 300B amplifier, and the WE422a in my Lampizator DAC….
Hope this helps a bit….