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Darkvoice 336i & 336SE Tuberolling PartII

Discussion in 'Headphone Amps (full-size)' started by heatfan12, Jul 31, 2008.
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  1. JKDJedi
    I know what ya mean, high impedance cans seem to draw a lot of power from the Darkvoice. 9 o'clock is plenty loud on some tracks.
  2. SylvesterH
    I found a Philips seller in Greece so no taxes and customs hassle in EU.
    I may push the trigger .... :smile_phones:
    ggillies likes this.
  3. JKDJedi
    Got my first RCA (6SN7GT Black Glass Clear Top Mica Corner Snubbers) coming in.. And not sure what the date is on the guy. Has a 722 code on it. Screenshot_2019-02-13-08-05-27.png Screenshot_2019-02-13-08-05-21.png
    Last edited: Feb 13, 2019
    ggillies likes this.
  4. ggillies
    Nice find.

    Let us know how they sound to you.
    JKDJedi likes this.
  5. ggillies
    I hope they work as well for you as they do for me, if you do in fact get one.

  6. ggillies
    My thoughts on the various tubes and combinations I have tried so far. To be taken as very subjective personal opinion. Your opinion can and will vary...

    Tube rankings.


    1. Tung-Sol 7236
    The best of all of them. After a lot of testing and back-to-back swapping of this with other tubes, I think (I invite comment and constructive criticism on my conclusions) that the Tung-Sol has better “control” than the other equivalents.
    What I mean is that with the Tung-Sol 7236 installed, ALL of the 6SN7 or equivalents I swapped in and out showed better performance with the Tung-Sol running the show, than with any other power tube.
    My main test materials were: “Angel” (local FLAC file) by Massive Attack, “Young Man Blues” and “Magic Bus” (Tidal MQA), “Trip Like I Do” Crystal Method Vegas Album (local FLAC file), “Hotel California” Eagles (Tidal MQA), “Feelin’ Good” Nina Simone (Tidal MQA), “Five in One” The Doors L.A. Woman (Remastered, Tidal MQA), “Personal Jesus” Depeche Mode, “Space Truckin’” Deep Purple Live in Japan (local FLAC file).
    While testing, the Tung-Sol consistently drove the 6SN7/equivalents, more cleanly, with deeper, more articulate and controlled bass. On “Angel” by Massive Attack, the opening bass heavy underpinning of the song can sound wet, soggy, indistinct and lacking in impact; a complete mess.
    The Tung-Sol cleaned up even the worst of the 6SN7/equivalents, and definitely tightened them up vs. some of the other 6AS7/6080/Equivalents.

    2. Chatham Electronics JAN CAHG 6AS7G.
    The closest competitor to the Tung-Sol. A bit sweeter, slightly less bass with less extension and snap. I think it has a slightly wider soundstage, and maybe presents vocals a tad better than the Tung-Sol. I could listen to this tube very happily if the Tung-Sol wasn’t available. Shines on Jazz and acoustic guitar; Nina Simone’s “Sinner Man” and her rendition of “Feelin’ Good” sound gorgeous with this tube.

    3. Raytheon 6AS7G.
    A fair bit back from the top two. Not in the same league bass-wise. Closed-in soundstage comparatively, treble a bit too harsh, lacking punch, a bit of that bloated sound down low, seems slow in transients and decay.

    4. GE 6080 Metal Base 5 Star.
    I was hoping for good things from this one, but it’s not very memorable. It’s lacking in bass, not dynamic, very flat sounding and does nothing particularly well. Treble is way too harsh, lacks the snap of the top two. This might work for someone with a pair of overly bassy and “exciting” headphones that wants to tone it down a bit, but too lifeless, vanilla and clinical for my tastes. Sounds a bit like a lifeless solid-state amp to me.
    By far my least favorite.


    1. Philips JAN 6SN7WGTA
    When combined with the Tung-Sol 7236, it’s by far my favorite. The pair does everything right in my setup. Deep, tight, extended, snappy bass. Gorgeous vocals and midrange, smooth, but impactful treble; triangles, high-hats, cymbals all sound right to me. The decay of notes is fast and spot-on in my opinion; I think that’s why it and the Tung-Sol work so well together, as a pair, they just do everything right, and complement each other.
    This is about as well as I have ever heard music played. There is a ton of detail available, great soundstage and precise placement of sound sources. On tracks like “Angel” and “Trip Like I do”, the bass is such a major part of the song’s impact that without the bass being right, the songs just don’t have the visceral impact that they should. This combination does the bass perfectly in my opinion, and everything else across the board as well.
    Overall this has impact, definition, extension, just the right amount of sweetness and lushness, just magic!
    Combined with the Chatham, it is lovely. If all I listened to was Jazz and Nina Simone and acoustic guitar, I might choose the Philips and the Chatham, but since I listen to a wide variety of musical types, including rock and EDM, the Philips and Tung-Sol win out for me.

    2. Surprisingly close behind the Philips, is the Raytheon 6SN7GT 2 hole black plate.
    Nearly as good in the bass department as the Philips; it is a tad less resolving, maybe lacks the overall dynamism of the Philips and some of the snap. It’s very, very close to the Philips. It seems a tiny bit rolled off in the treble department comparatively.
    It works best with the Tung-Sol for almost all music genres, but paired with the Chatham it’s silky smooth; on “The Look of Love” and “Son of a Preacher Man” by Dusty Springfield, it’s freaking gorgeous, bringing her husky voice to life and showcasing her talent; also amazing for Nina Simone and acoustic version of “Mannish Boy” by Muddy Waters.

    3. Ken-Rad JAN-CKR-6SN7GT VT-231.
    On par with the Sylvania 6SN7W, below. Better bass than the Sylvania, but behind my top 2. The bass is just a bit shy of where it needs to be on my powerhouse test songs “Angel” and “Trip Like I Do”. It doesn’t have the slam or impact necessary for EDM. On rock like “Magic Bus” by The Who, it’s right there in the bass department. If you don’t listen to tracks with seriously deep impactful bass, you may not notice.
    Again, it’s neck-and-neck with the Sylvania in my opinion, but maybe lacks that last touch of resolution and sweetness on female vocals that the Sylvania has, but it wins on bass and smoothness.

    4. Sylvania 6SN7W short envelope, phenolic base.
    Shy on bass compared to the top two, but nonetheless a wonderful tube. I can see why some people love it, it does nothing wrong and is strong across the board. Maybe the best of them for vocals, it’s sweet and lush without being overly so. Treble is nice, if a tiny bit subdued. Generally I’m splitting hairs here, so if you choose this tube, you will be happy with it.

    5. Fox in the Henhouse! Just as an experiment, I tried a Sylvania 6BL7GTA. Yes, I know it’s not strictly compatible, having a heater element voltage/amp mismatch, but some people have successfully used them in other Amps.
    Sounds a bit strange overall, but surprisingly good. It is VERY dynamic, maybe overly so. The soundstage is weird; very closed in. Bass is excellent, treble a bit harsh.
    If I wasn’t worried about long-term damage to my DarkVoice 336, I might be tempted to let this tube burn in for 60+ hours and then see if it opens up. I think it has the potential to be very good, but I'm not willing to risk my amp to find out.

    Cheers. Comments, constructive criticism and rebuttals welcome. :o2smile:
    Last edited: Feb 13, 2019
    JKDJedi likes this.
  7. JKDJedi
    Well, just found out this one's Sylvania made ..or I'm debating if its a Sylvania made tube, kinda hoping it is an original, read an article that 722 marking is Sylvania made tubes (that srated in the 60's)and searching for this same tube on the net reveals same font style with different dates/numbers on them so maybe just coincidental? The guy marked them as Black Glass but it's clearly a grey glass tube (I sent him a message to correct this from further sales he might have) the RCA black glass 6SN7GT t-231 tubes are $$$ So anyways, thanks..I'll chime in with my thoughts on this guy this Sunday.
    Last edited: Feb 13, 2019
  8. JKDJedi
    Nice write up! I would say your analysis is spot on! I don't like my GE 6AS7GA and it sounds just as dry as your remarks on your GE6080..lol. MAybe GE preamps are ok...not their power amps. I'm really tempted to grab a Ton-SOl 7236 now but have 2 others on the want list (ok maybe just one now).. these sound like they might be the same as the Tong Sol 5998, on searches both these numbers come out on the same description sometimes. Same animal? I can relate to more than half of your music list there and yes ANGEL has that bass at the beginning of the track that is hit or miss depending on even earphones, let alone amplification. So I trust your review wholeheartedly!
  9. attmci
    Sylvania 6BL7GTA

    They/we use it as output tube.
    ggillies likes this.
  10. JKDJedi
    Quick listen (on my lunch hour) with the RCA , she just got in.. 15 mn warm up.. and.. these might have the widest sound stage of what I currently have, and on this live track (Trouble's What Your In by Fink ) echos are more pronounced. very warm tube. And funny how a tube can grow on you.. I almost prefer the Philips 6080WC over anything I have right now. Still have 3 more tubes coming in! If you been following this thread you know one of them is the NOS Mullard made Philips 6080 shipped from Bosnia of all places.
    Last edited: Feb 14, 2019
    ggillies likes this.
  11. JKDJedi
    Just in.. :) curious how this will compare to the 6080WC I currently have.. Will burn this one in for sure before comparing.
    0215191220.jpg 0215191221.jpg
  12. JKDJedi
    Gonna roll this baby right now... Found it super cheap, grabbed from a thread recommendation. Westinghouse 6SN7GTB 337 1960 48th week. Like all my preamp tubes this one is a lush warm tube, almost carbon copy the 57' RCA Grey Glassed 6SN7GT I last rolled, (the RCA w slightly more detail..maybe..have to a n b them again). This is not an expensive tube, and sounds twice as good as anything "new" within it's price range (Although the Electro-HArmonix might still be my favorite as it separates instruments more clearly, highs are extended vs the warm envelope of sound the older guys give). If you can grab one (Westinghouse) for $10 you got a steal. Bass is tight here, smooth sounding tube.
    Last edited: Feb 18, 2019
  13. JKDJedi
    I just rolled the stock preamp tube for the first time..and it's not that bad.. w da heck!? Am i beside myself on this? (listening on X2 cans)
    LOL..it was the headphones...... yeah, it's dry sounding. Day off here and tube rolling from A to Z right now :) Nothing to see here folks...
    Last edited: Feb 18, 2019
  14. JKDJedi
    Tube Rolling Preamps! With Fedelio X2 Cans (notes taken on initial listening..some rambling )

    2019-02-18 09.46.37.jpg

    Titles Played for this Session


    K. - Cigarettes After Sex

    4 Minute Warning - Radiohead

    Weird Fishes/Arpeggi - Radiohead

    Perfect Darkness Live - Fink

    The Dark Knight Orchestra Live - Hans Zimmer

    Magic Bus Live - The Who (thanks ggillies)

    Rock Of Ages - Def Leppard

    Stock Tube:
    2019-02-18 09.45.50.jpg

    (K) Sounds wide w/ good bass..surprisingly to me...sounds GOOD. sweet vocals.

    (Weird Fiches)hear crackling on Thoms voice on

    (DArk Knight) I'm super curious how this track will sound with the good preamp tubes now. X2 struggling just a touch with the bass here..

    (Rock Of Ages) Engaging ..is it the X2 that has widened the sound stage? Time to try the RAytheon tube.. : )

    Up NExt..

    NOS Raytheon 6SN7GT:
    2019-02-18 09.45.35.jpg
    Now this tube sounds more natural compared to stock, mids more forward. (K)
    My lord..the sound stage with the X2 cans

    (4 minute warning)
    I almost prefer the X2 with the darkness now...****..

    Love the echos here off my favorite track.. main vocals not entirely in control, but still enjoyable (Weird Fishes)

    true test.. (Dark Knight Orchestra) bass struggles still and to be fair these are not high impedance cans, HD6XX hits this track to perfection, but we still have a few more tubes to roll..

    (Rock Of Ages) Again vocals more up front (compared to stock) and Raytheon makes the stock feel dry sounding.. STILL ROLLING.. I WANT ROCK N ROLL....

    Up NExt...

    NOS Philco short bottle 6SN7GTB:
    2019-02-18 16.06.32-1.jpg
    So I'm rolling these as to what i think is better than the former...and wow.. this tube from memory might have the most bass slam of all (k) curious as to how it will do with the (DArk Knight) not as wide as the RAytheon. I need another cup of coffee.. liking the vocals here ..almost HD6XX sounding
    I listened to the whole track on that one..

    (Four Minute Warning) yup...bass is there..this track is mixed wide so this tube and track are sounding special right now. lead vocal spot on.

    (Weird Fishes) This might be my Radiohead tube.. :D

    (Dark Knight Orchestra) I don't know what kind of drums those are from the very beginning.. but this tube hit every one like a champ! I have tubes coming up that I feel separate the instruments better but this is an engaging tube. Almost forgot how much I liked it.

    (Rock OF Ages) seems to have better imaging here compared to the Raytheon. some left right playing I didn't notice before. STILL ROLLING! Thinking I had more fun with the RAyteon though.. funny.

    Up Next..

    New Electro-Hermonix 6SN7EH:
    2019-02-18 11.20.49.jpg
    (k) This tube clearly has it in the highs..crystal clear and extended. bass on par with the Philco.

    (4 minute warning) Nice separation of instruments and vocals, it's inherited of this track, feels so right with this tube. listened to the whole track on this one.

    (Weird Fishes) Tough deciding which tube I like with RAdiohead now.. :D Philco warm and wide vs Electros detailed and wide sound..like em both!
    I get eaten by the worms....and weird fishes!!

    (Perfect Darkness) sounds good

    (Dark Knight Orchestra) If you like Hans Zimmer... THIS is the tube to get...mY God! BAss, width, tonality, instrument separation...and the violins...just sing!

    Huge thanks to @ggillies for sharing this magical track.. (Magic Bus Live- The Who) Sounds Superb here with this tube :)

    (Rock Of Ages) Weird...still prefer the Raytheon on this track ;D

    Up Next..

    NOS Westinghouse 6SN7GTB:
    2019-02-18 11.21.18.jpg

    (K) Sweet sounding, bass is there. and wide sound stage. This track has heavy bass tuning and this tube plays it well. vocal a little sharper than the Philco, Philco has the edge on vocals so far. Thats not saying this tube is bad at all, enjoying this.

    (4 Minute Warning) First impression is that sound stage..very nice.

    (Weird Fishes) This track can get busy so waiting to hear how this tube handles it.. so far..sounding really good. Descent job!

    (Dark Knight) I'm surprised that this tube is handling this track so well, pumps out more volume, interesting. that sound stage!

    (Magic Bus) Ok..for live recordings nothing has beaten this tube..wow..you go Westinghouse.

    (Rock Of Ages) DUDE! Raytheon just lost its Rock title... THIS is the new Heir Of Rock.. so natural.. vocals stand out more, not so lost in the instruments here.. awww man..track is over.. :frowning2:

    Up NExt..

    NOS RCA grey glassed 6SN7GT:
    2019-02-18 11.59.36.jpg

    (K.) Vocals has a certain quality here.. not sure how to explain it.. bass pronounced in a great way.. I like bass :) It's almost as the vocal here is floating above the instruments. nice separation.

    (4 Minute Warning) Again.. the vocals..seem so natural. with the X2 cans..this might be my favorite on vocals. Sound stage just as good as the Westinghouse. wow..whole track..good sign!

    (Weird Fishes/Arpeggi) Really diggin this tube about now.. Cymbals super clean on this track. Westinghouse might have the advantage when it gets busy, but by a hair!

    (Perfect Darkness) I haven't commented much on this track..because all of these tubes (except stock) almost sounded identical o.O or I just got bored w the track? Anywho.. BAss, Vocal, and transparency all good.

    (The Dark Knight Orchestra) Thunderous drums... horns loud and clear.... "I'm BAtman"...this tube does BAtman Justice.. (yeah I like Zimmerman, Vangelis too) I still can't believe this is a live recording....superb. I would have to A and B tubes to find the clear winner on this track..

    (Magic Bus) This album has been said by many critics to be the best live
    Rock album recording EVER. Everything sounds ...I hate to use these words... "real" and "natural" you can pick up some feed back now and then from the microphones used to record this,..cool, OH..almost forgot..the tube.. :D Sounding awesome as you'd expect by now..

    (Rock Of Ages) Right off the bat..sounds like the Westinghouse.. busy track and recorded loud.. so when a tube can tame a track like this one..you know it's good. Westinghouse seems to have slightly more bass.

    Up Next..

    NEW Tung-Sol 6SN7GTB:
    2019-02-18 16.10.20-1.jpg
    (K.) Don't know why new tubes get the bad wrap..this sounds pretty good, not as wide as the last two tubes rolled (Westinghouse, RCA) but certainly musical.

    (4 Minute Warning) ok..I said not as wide..and as said before, this track has some width to it..and it's here. good vocal.

    (Weird Fishes/Arpeggi) Liking the cymbals, Nice bass roll.. because these are "new" tubes I'm looking for something to critic here.. not finding it. Am I jaded?

    (Perfect Darkness) ok here I can sense the width narrowing down again, sounds good still, vocal is great.

    (The Dark Knight Orchestra) HAndling the bass drum kicks... a good start, some notes are louder than others as the two former tubes carried everything evenly, so it didn't "move" me like they did. :frowning2:

    (Magic Bus) I like the width from the RCA and Westinghouse, the sound fills the entire spectrum left to right, here it's at spots. ..maybe that's what I'm listening too.. sounds good still.

    (Rock Of Ages) vocal blends with instruments, nit picking, sounds kinda flat compared to the Westinghouse and RCA , way better than the Stock tube! and this track has all kinds of things going on in it.. recorded...loud.

    More Notes:

    The driver tube used for all the Philips/Mullard 6080, DAC used in Direct Mode from iFi Black Label (Double Burr Brown Dacs). Philips Fedelio X2 for the Headphones. All Tracks played from Tidal Master,PC. 15 to 20 mns warm up on all tubes.
    2019-02-18 16.11.39-1-1.jpg


    So I hope this didn't waste to much of your time with most of this really just blabbering thoughts.. I toke notes on this occasion, being my first real tube rolling day, with ALL my preamps.. and yes almost took me a day, got kids? And I didn't pick any winners... because it's all subjective..right?
    ggillies and GEK like this.
  15. aisalen
    I also listens with my DV336 using Fedelio X1 with very good results complimenting my HD600/650.
    JKDJedi likes this.
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