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Bravo Audio - funny looking little tube amps

Discussion in 'Headphone Amps (full-size)' started by ear8dmg, Sep 9, 2009.
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  1. arcorob

    People ? which people ? Not the ones I know. I have a ton of 12AU7's and 12AX7's (every type, 5751, WA, JG, A's) and have tried on a variety of systems. Even self built. Black plates, triple MICA. So that's YOUR system and YOUR findings and YOUR preference.
    One thing I have found out about tubes. You can't label a set or type of tubes as "the tubes". You also cannot discount tubes or assume (as WAY too many people do here) that they must be fakes. All tube preferences are system specific, application specific. They also have to be matched to the links in the chain. So if you have a tube phono stage, tube pre and tube amp, it is much harder to balance than just one of those having tubes.
    In my power amp, I tried every 12AX7 pair from $10 to over $125 a tube. The final one ? A very rare and hard to find pair of Sylvania 5751 Triple Mica Blackplates Yellow print. why ? detail. My system is very detailed with forward mids, nice tight strong base, wide soundstage. GE and RCA's had the detail, didn't have the forward mids. On my systems, Tele's are DULL. Mullards are sweet (#2). Amperex. yuck ptooy.
    Bottom line, don't disparage. encourage. If they want to try a Mullard it may be the most incredible tube they one...or ..they may hate it...only their system and their ears will know.
  2. Didhefocus
    I've had my V3 for 2 weeks now and like it except for the 3 band EQ. I had reservations about having an EQ but, at the time, the V1 was $30 more and the V2 was back-ordered at Parts Express. Since the V1 and V3 seemed (except for the EQ) to be the exact same amp so I ordered the V3. Well my reservations were well founded, I can't stand the way it sounds in stock form. The EQ has no markings to indicate were FLAT is or even what the center frequencies are with no instructions or anything to give me starting point. It does have center detents on the sliders so I started there. Well using my Yamaha HP-2s to start, there wasn't enough gain to get them louder than plugging them directly into my iPod touch, which BTW sounded much better. The only way the V3 sounded acceptable and had enough gain was with the sliders all the way UP! Makes sense since being a passive circuit they are attenuators. I still didn't like the sound.
    I decided I would figure out how to bypass the EQ circuit and hear how it sounds before deciding to send it back. 
    Well, after finding a couple of circuit diagrams of the V1, I located the 1K input resistors at the input of the main amp section. I soldered a stereo mini plug to them and ground and now I'm a very happy camper! The EQ just kills the sound quality especially in the low end and midrange. Bass dynamics are also crushed. 
    The V3 came with a few assembly defects including sloppily placed resistors and loose transistor heat sink screws. One was so loose it was about to fall out. I would recommend anyone getting this amp to check the screws immediately to avoid overheating problems! 
    I also replaced the IRF630 mosfets with IRL530s and it sounds even better! The warm tube sound I was searching for is now all there.
  3. UmustBKidn
    Yay! Other people besides me talking about tube rolling Bravo amps! Yay! I'm no longer alone in the wilderness lol [​IMG]
    Of course it's subjective. That's why I said it was subjective. Lol. Everyone's ears are different. As I've said in the sound science forum, our ears and brains are the least studied links in the audio chain, and as such the most mysterious.
    At any rate, a subjective opinion doesn't make it any less a valid observation on the part of the person making the observation. I tend to keep a box of half a dozen different tubes at work (in a locked place of course), where I can choose to roll a variety of different tubes. In the box, I keep a vintage Telefunken, a late 50's round getter Mullard, a Raytheon black plate, a Tung Sol, a Hewlett Packard black plate, and a 5963 of some sort. When I get tired of listening to one, I swap in another, and listen to my collection all over again, until it strikes me to change the tube lol. Each and every one of those tubes has a slightly different audio signature, which just fascinates me no end.
  4. UmustBKidn
    Good! Glad to hear it's working. Now for the fun part: tube rolling [​IMG] Muhahahaha.
  5. UmustBKidn
  6. UmustBKidn
    Ok. I am absurd. DefQon said so [​IMG]
  7. UmustBKidn
    I have a couple Heath rebranded late 50's vintage round getter Mullards, a couple actual late 50's vintage round getter Mullards that I got really cheap from ebay when no one was paying attention, and a couple d-getter '56 vintage Mullards that I paid way too much money for, that sound spectacular, even on a stock Bravo V2. Yowza. Lol.
  8. UmustBKidn
    ^ This.
    I have the parts. I just haven't had the time. I am ready to mod one of my V2's. I need to be brave, take everything out to the garage, and sit down...
  9. DefQon
    And so I have I, look on forums such as AA, AK, online tube sellers, the Telefunken ECC802S are regarded as one of the best easily, some classify it as the best and these are people are walking tube encyclopedia's and have the experience to know what they are talking about, of course if you're talking about multiple tubes used for different gain stages in a pre-amp especially it is much different, but I'm talking in the sense of one amp, one tube there is too many variables to count in if you're talking about some Conrad Johnson pre-amp for example that takes 5 12AU7's, 5 12AX7's and various other pentode family tubes. The Telefunken's are the GEC brown base of the 12AU7 family, the ECC802S don't go $450-500 a single tube for nothing if they were bad. Literally the holy grail of the 12AU7 family.
    Unfortunately as it is they are quite a few fakes floating around especially on ebay, one will not be able to distinguish between the genuine article and a fake unless you know what the sound traits are and the structure of the tube, the plates, grid, getter, etched codes and bottom base structure to the pin's give it away. 
    I don't know why you're taking this all personal and getting defensive about it because somebody else doesn't favour Mullard's as much as you do. Different strokes for different fokes, different application and different amps. To finally remind you this is a Bravo Audio thread on $50 tube amp's.
  10. razor5cl

    My wallet is already cowering in the corner.
  11. UmustBKidn
    Well, what I recommend is a gentle stroll through the 12AU7, 5963, 5814, and maybe 6189 sections of the vintage tubes on eBay. Don't pay more than $10-15 per tube. Really, if you look and are patient, you can get them really cheap. I have purchased 5963 tubes for as little as $2.50 each, and they sound great compared to the stock tube. I recently bought a 50's vintage Raytheon black plate for $8 bucks. You can' t beat that kind of deal anywhere.
    Save the Mullard, Amperex, and Telefunken adventure for another day when you win the lotto. Think Frugal, and be patient.
  12. whiteshadow001
    Thanks for the info! I've been trying to figure that out for days and for the life of me I couldn't find anything on this. Besides Mullard's, what other brand of tubes would you recommend? I've heard Sylvania's are nice, but I'll admit it, I'm a total noob to tubes haha
  13. razor5cl

    Thanks for the advice. Its not the fact that the tubes themselves are expensive, but I'll have to stop myself buying so many different ones to try. But I'll stick to you suggestions and try and get some for cheap.
  14. arcorob

    RAZOR...I feel your pain,,,,LOL
    My 12AU7/12AX7 and 6L6GC journey was like that as well as EL84's...
    NOW...I just recently went overboard with the 6922/6DJ8/6GM8/6AQ8/7308 's for my AUNE T1 tube DAC. I have 3 I settled on...and 14 I don't need !!! LOL
    My very particular Velleman amp...Takes 1 - 12AU7  2 - 12AX7's and 8 (yes eight) 6L6GC's
    And this is an amp I built for my office...The preamp (solid state) was a kit, VU meters from China and the power amp portions is an EL84 power am I restored. The box was scrap wood...
    A Baldwin tube amp - was an organ pull customized ( I cant take credit for the build...just the improvements) - output trannies underneath
  15. razor5cl
    I just need to pace myself, I can probably survive for now on the stock tube, as I haven't heard anything better. 
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