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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. Renderman
    I always turn the amp off when I leave the house and most of the time when I'm sleeping...
    (Unless I fall asleep on the couch :wink:

    Whoa huge haul Shaff! Lots of fun to be had in the weeks ahead :) Be sure to let us know :p
    I have some Sylvania 6SL7GTs, they sounded really good as drivers in the Elise (but it got slightly warm, lol). As power tubes, they sounded good too but, missing some oomph. I could not recommend those wholeheartedly as power tubes in the Elise.
    Have a GE 5692 tube with your name on it Shaffer! Very nice construction and would be curious as to what you think of it in your DV. :)
  2. Shaffer
    That GE 5692 looks pretty sweet, gotta tell ya. :)

    I researched tube birnin a bit. Most of the information today comes from the musical community, especially guitar players and manufacturers who cater to the market. On a commercial level, they burn in thousands of tubes at a time. At least 48 hours. They claim to see measurably different results after a burnin period. The players recommend 2-5 days for new tubes with subtle improvements carrying on for months. Thought that was interesting. The community is also very concerned with their choice of rectifiers. That's who seems to buy the bulk of GZ34s.

    On a personal level, I find the rectifier market absolutely fascinating. Unless it's a highly pedigreed tube, no one bids on it. Most of the auctions I won, if not all, had just one bid on them - mine. The irony is, some of the $5-$15 rectifiers are very good. Beyond very good, actually, in the case of some of the lesser known bottles like the Type 80 and #83V. Very few new amplifiers use rectifiers, aside from Woo, and the Woo owner (aggregately) will not consider a tube that costs so little. A very interesting slice of the market.
  3. Shaffer

    Sounds like a fine plan. FWIW, we found the Elise needing ~150 hours to fully come into its own. Looking forward to your impressions.
  4. Shaffer

    This evening's setup: RCA 6BQ7A white label gold pins driving Raytheon 6BL7GT. The Elise looks enormous with the small tubes.
    Renderman likes this.
  5. Renderman
    Tell you what, I'll throw in the GE5692 in when a package goes your way next. :)
    Have you ever tried the cycle/intermittent burn-in method?
    Btw, do (or did you) own a pair of Nanjing 6N5P? A light show indeed but, have not made up my mind on sound quality yet.
  6. Shaffer

    Thank you! I have something to send you, too. Have you heard the 7N7?

    I need a new amp to try it with. As luck would have it, I have one in mind. Not sure when it'll happen, though.

    Had a pair, one blew up, so I just have a single for the DV now. Have been meaning to pick up another.

    Edit: Just noticed it no longer says BANNED under my username. I kinda liked it.
  7. Renderman
    First of all, shoudn't you be asleep atm? :wink:
    I have never tried a 7N7, simply because I never came across any at a good price.
    You have to tell as about your new amp! (Is it a headphone amp? How many tube amplifiers do you have? :O)
    It blew up? That sounds dangerous, I sure hope mine survive...
    Listening to the Philips 6080 (Mullard) and have to say these are very nice tubes, Metal base, Black plates.
    Good thing you got unbanned. :wink: Welcome back Shaffer! :)
  8. Shaffer

    ...I'm working. It's complicated. :wink:

    You just may.

    I have 3 tube amps: the Elise, the DV, and the WA6. Yea, it's another headphone tube amp I'm looking at, as a tube amp for my main system is simply too costly to contemplate. Not sure if I'll even do it, but there's one that does look interesting.

    It put on quite a show. The second tube is fine. Hope your pair does better.

    Thanks. :)
  9. Renderman
    Okay, three is not that bad :wink: Do you have a preferred amplifier?
    Myself, I'm perfectly happy with the Elise using the GEC A1834 with either ECC31, NU (Grey/Black glass) 6SN7GT or Philips Grey Glass 6SN7GT sounds magical to me and I can not imagine needing or wanting another pre/headphone amplifier.
    I might want an Arioso-like amplifier from Felix audio as I think it would sound good for the price and I could re-use some of my tubes in it. It would also compliment the Elise in my setup very nicely but, I would have to save quite a bit before I could afford it.
    Meanwhile modding my Wave 8 monoblocks to look somewhat more like Elise. I know it will not change the sound but aesthetics matter to me.
    Hope to have some pictures soon of the complete setup as well as the Nanjing light bulbs... ehh I mean tubes :wink:
  10. Shaffer

    The Elise. No question. It's the best sounding and not by a small margin.

    I'd like a new phono stage. That's big money. Due to where I live and the RFI content, balanced phono from input to output is the way to go. Now it's a matter of saving for it.

    I was looking at it, too. Wish I had a very sensitive pair of speakers.

    I'm expecting the last of the rectifiers today - a trio of type 80 tubes. Couldn't refuse them for $16 shipped. At least two out of three should sound pretty good. It's very interesting how these rectifiers affect the signal tubes. Driving fat bottles that draw ~0.9A, the sound is fairly lean, heavy on the upper mids, somewhat congested - just what one would expect with not enough power. Install a smaller tube that draws ~0.7A with the same type 80, and one hears a very different scope of performance. So far, this correlation has remained positive with every low-powered rectifier I've tried.
  11. gibosi
    The last of the 6A6 arrived today, a pair of National Union 6A6 with engraved bases and foil getters, so likely late 1930's production.
    Renderman likes this.
  12. Renderman
    I'm assuming you are using mains filtering? I built a power conditioner with a 2Kva isolation transformer (specially wound, with shield) and seperate filtering circuits for each stage in the chain (DAC, pre/headphone amplifier, power amplifiers). I would take a picture of it but it doesn't look up to my standards anymore after optimisations I made for each specific stage. This helps a lot to tackle all kinds of noise! Without it I can hear hiss, hum, pops, clicks and more! Have switches to engage/disengage mains earth coupling to trace ground loops.
    Of course going full balanced would help a lot too!
    You are much more experienced in phono than I am, I'm sure you know what to get :)
    You need a sensitive set of speakers! Did you look into Markaudio drivers? Building a set of enclosures for the Markaudio Alpair 12.2P at the moment. I really enjoy the sound of these, very coherent and engaging. And as it is over 93dB efficient (1w/m2) that should be plenty using a pair of 6AS7G(A) as output tubes (Using output transformers of course, not OTL).
    Will have to make that Jack to speaker output adapter some day, really curious if Elise would drive my Alpairs at reasonable volume.
  13. Shaffer

    No, none. I've tried a number of isolation products over the years - some transformer-based, but I'm sure not as intricate as yours - with zero luck. The system if fed from its own subpanel with 100A service. We considered using a separate ground, but later realized that's not where the problem lies. It's on the neutral leg. I've been trying to get the electric company to build a new mains substation, but they don't seem very sympathetic. :wink:

    That sounds really cool. Seriously. I'll be keeping an eye out for an industrial unit.

    I've done it. It kills all noise 100%. 72dB phono gain + 24dB line gain and the system was dead quiet. The key is running balanced from the cartridge down.

    I did look. They look terrific. As my speakers are so big, I'd like a pair of mini-monitors. Mini-monitors + high sensitivity = oxymoron. But I'm looking. There's actually a product I have in mind; just don't want to pay for it.

    That should be fun!

    My trio of type 80 rectifiers arrived a while back. I ran a pair of Sylvania 6DR7 signal tubes overnight, as a NOS rectifier was burning in, so I started with them and the type 80s. Even with a RCA '80 the sound was lean and slightly etched. As the 6DR7 is not a fat bottle, I didn't expect it to draw that much juice. Wrong. 0.9A, after looking it up. Switched to a 0.7A 6CY7 and now there's bass. With weight. The sound is clear and relatively transparent. Smooth, but hardly boring.

    I'm expecting another #83V next week and the sound should be even better. The tube is silly-good with the caveat of a low-draw signal tube.
  14. Shaffer
    A question (gibosi?): I read that using a 2V rectifier in a 3V circuit will drastically shorten its lifespan. Is this true? Woo recommends both 2V and 3V rectifiers. Is there a reasonable explanation, if the shortened lifespan is a reality?
  15. gibosi
    An authoritative answer to this question is beyond my expertise.... But it makes intuitive sense that it might cause problems. Many, many years ago, I plugged a 110V electrical razor into a 220V wall outlet and it killed the razor. lol. Again, I really don't know, but I would guess that your Woo has some circuitry that senses whether the rectifier is a 2V or 3V device and adjusts the voltage accordingly. But again, I am only guessing....
    Shaffer likes this.
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