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Feliks Audio Elise Tube Rolling Guide 6SN7/6AS7G/6080/5998

Discussion in 'Headphone Amps (full-size)' started by renderman, May 6, 2015.
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  1. Shaffer

    The Russian tubes are decent; I'm listening to them right now with 7N7 drivers. They're slightly less resolving than the Chathams, but it's not a night and day difference. Compared to my Chinese tubes, they sound quite smooth, very extended, good sense of body, admirable dynamics, and a pretty rockin' low-end. I like them, albeit, not as much as the RCA 6080 and the Chatham 6AS7G, but a lot more than, say, Sylvania 6080WC.
  2. Lorspeaker
    From the main thread, u mentioned Fotons...
    i bought a russian 60s  6N8C....spacious with a big broad bass, airy.
    only problem is a low buzzzzzzzzzzz when the music is not on...haizz.
    paid 25bucks for it.zz
    maybe it is a reject...
    listening to it now with the russian WingC..
    the sound ...ohhhh my....what a FLORISHing sound...
    ( after taking out a EICO 6sn7)
    apologies...think this tube is some kind of a MELz..i must be sleepy
    ok found my cheap  $10 "foton" listening to it now......
    it is more taut, leaner sounding than the Melz above..
    less bass bloom.. still very clear, spacious,
    without buzzzz when the music is off.
    hmm...think i prefer the Melz  :p
    edit....this "foton" is addictive, after half an hour i am getting the hang of it..
    very absorbingly clear...balanced...listening to some lightoperasinging now..love it.
    The bass aint weak, has quite an impact, just less bass phroooom than the Melz.
  3. hypnos1
    Hi L.
    I personally found the Melz (metal base) to give a very "powerful" and energetic sound which at first was very impressive, but I now doubt whether I could have managed any really lengthy sessions with them.
    Mind you, I didn't get long enough to find out for sure - all 3 used ones gave that nasty loud shorting-type crackle and had to go back...it would appear they might well be rather unreliable in used form...[​IMG]...
    Renderman likes this.
  4. Shaffer
    I'm totally loving the 7N7s. I don't know whether the amp broke in, or the tubes benefited from an extra 100 hours of burnin, but these things are brutally clear sounding. Every note starts and stops in time - no overhang. They sound fast and highly articulated. The issue I had with bass weight is highly diminished to the point of almost being a non-starter. So far, they're my favorite drivers with the stock 6AS7Gs and the Chathams, followed by Sylvania 6SN7GTA and CBS 6SN7GTB.

    Edit: typo
    Renderman likes this.
  5. nephilim
    Which adapter do you use for the 7n7? I see two models, one made of black plastic, the other version with brass shielding. Can you recommend one?
  6. Shaffer

    I use the black plastic. The pair was ~$30 shipped.
  7. Lorspeaker
    i bought these 2 russian tubes like 3 years ago...gave them a listen once or twice..thrice?
    and stored them away...been stuck with the Psvane 181 Tii , 95% of the time :)
    So your post had me searching for them, now i will give the Melz a week to perform,
    see how i like it..yesterday's re-aquaintance was sweet...on my dt770.
    Renderman likes this.
  8. Lorspeaker
    The Meltz sounded over blooming with a RCA 6AS7.... ( on my pseudo Elise )
    switched over to a Chatham 6AS7, it was noisy/cluttered, unappealing. 
    switched back to the russian WIngC, and blisssss...spacious, separated, good defined bass. 
    Interesting short trial.
    Renderman likes this.
  9. gibosi
    Nearly all 7N7s were manufactured by Sylvania, regardless of branding. If the tube is heavily chromed, either clear glass or smoked, it is a Sylvania. I find their sound quite similar to the short-bottle, heavily-chromed Sylvania 6SN7GT/A from the late 1940's and early 1950's.
    National Union also made the 7N7. All that I have seen have smoked glass, with a 1/4 inch gap at the bottom, and only the very top chromed.
    Renderman likes this.
  10. Lorspeaker
    geez...everytime i put back in the PSVANE CV188 Tii....cant help but noticed the deeper tinier details coming thru..
    this is my fav tube...no doubt.
    Renderman likes this.
  11. Shaffer
    I have two pairs of Chatham 6AS7G: a JAN and a NOS. The JAN pair was microphonic from the getgo. The NOS is microphonic, or just began to be, but only really noticeable with AD900x. OTOH, none of my 6080 show signs of microphonics, nor do the stock Russian 6AS7G. The Russian tube sounds dynamic, extended, detailed with good sense of slam, but it is missing some of the Chatham's sweetness. I figure that with the right driver this can be somewhat modified, at least tonally.

    ATM, I'm running GE 5-star 6080 with Sylvania GTAs. Once I go back to the coke bottle, it'll be the stock Russian tubes. At least for now. :wink:
    Renderman likes this.
  12. Shaffer
    I think I'm ready to give some impressions of the driver tubes I've auditioned. From best to worst:

    7N7 - Short bottle, NOS, Sylvania-made Delco brand, 1954, date-matched, black, ribbed, angled-T. Clear, clear, clear sound. Fully extended at the frequency extremes, no sibilance, best bass of all (zero bloat). VERY long burnin.

    Sylvania 6SN7GTA - Early-50s, short bottle, chrome top extending about a third down the bottle, 3-hole and 2-hole plates. Slightly romantic sounding, some hint of a classic tube flavor, relatively detailed mids, slightly overblown mid-bass. A very nice tube.

    CBS 6SN7GTB - Sylvania-like angled plates, 1959. Similar tonal balance to the Sylvania with tighter, more articulate bass, but not as much ultimate extension.

    Baldwin (Raytheon) 6SN7GTB - if it weren't for its lack of bass extension, slam, and weight, it would take the #2 spot. Beautifully extended highs, transparent mids, quiet as a tomb. Interestingly enough, there's no shortage of bass when used with my LDIII and pretty much any driver.

    Tung-Sol 6SN7GTB (Russian) - New production. Smooth, layered sound. What it lacks in overall transparency is made up by being very listenable for extended periods. Some would call it musical. I call it non-offensive.

    EH 6SN7 - New production. Pant-flapping bass, can sound a bit sibilant before and during a long burnin process. A bold, upfront presentation. The Klipsch Horn of the lot. A fun tube.

    Foton 6N8S - '60s NOS. Everything is there, but no magic. Unexciting. The system doesn't beckon one to listen to music. Edit: coupled with early/mid-50s Sylvania 6AS7G (possibly made by RCA), the sound is no longer dull and uninvolving. Dynamics are more fleshed out. There's a sense of life. Male vocals gain more body. It's as if there's an actual full-size human singing, rather than a voice stemming from dead space.

    Shuguang 6SN7GTB - New production. Wanna turn your Elise into a ST70? This is the tube for you. After a long burnin, no real highs, no real lows, but a fat, bloated midrange lacking detail. Low-level detail? Forgetaboutit. This tube is the opposite of a 7N7.

    And, the worst of all:


    Dull, muted, opaque presentation similar to listening to music while wearing earmuffs. There may be better sounding RCA alternatives, but this isn't one of them.

    Also, judging by how some of the burned-in tubes changed their character, the Elise take longer than 50 hours to break in. IME, it's more like ~150 hours.

    What I don't like about the amp:

    1. The power switch that's situated behind the cord. A real PITA to reach, if the amp is not fully in the open, like located in a rack/dedicated audio stand.

    2. Before being fully broken in, the Elise lacks a bit of lower-midrange body and is somewhat susceptible to sibilance with the wrong tube. All this goes away in time and the amp begins to bloom. Even though the newness of the piece has worn off, its sound is still truly captivating. Can't stop listening with it. Anyone want to buy a LDIII with a whole bunch of high-quality tubes? Seriously.

    3. Doesn't come with topless dancers.
    Lorspeaker and Renderman like this.
  13. nephilim
    Thanks for this summary! What are specific 7N7 you would recommend to get... or to avoid? I find offers for NOS pairs of RCA and tall Sylvania/Landsdale with big price difference ($30 vs $70) and wonder which are better.
  14. gibosi
    Yes, I think it would be very helpful to give more information about precisely which tubes you have tried. Pictures and dates of manufacture would be very helpful. It is important to remember that old-stock 6SN7/7N7 were manufactured beginning in the 1940s and into the 1970s, and consequently, tubes manufactured at different times by the same manufacturer, even in the same factory, sound different.
    For example, even though the vast majority of 7N7 were manufactured by Sylvania, there are differences in bottle size and plate design over the years it was manufactured, and they do not all sound the same. And this holds true for the Sylvania 6SN7GTA, as well.
    Regarding the CBS 6SN7GTB, many of these have black Sylvania-style angled plates rather than the grey flat ladder plates typical of GE tubes. If yours have the angled plates, I would doubt that they were manufactured by GE.
    Regarding the RCAs, in my opinion, 1940's gray glass are the best. That said, they are quite warm. And a warm and reverberant sound tends to obscure the micro detail that many crave.
  15. Oskari
    Just a tidbit:
    Lansdale is what the manufacturer previously called National Union traded as at some later point.
    1. http://www.vivatubes.com/nos-nib-sylvania-landsdale-usa-jan-cbrz-7n7-tall-chrome-vacuum-tube/
    Note the JAN-CBRZ.
    I don't think Sylvania was involved here. I rather think of these as late NUs. What do you say, gibosi?
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