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Feliks-Audio EUFORIA - A Wolf in "Sheep's" Clothing...

Discussion in 'Headphone Amps (full-size)' started by hypnos1, Jan 9, 2017.
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  1. hypnos1
    Well @DecentLevi , I had been making offers on these but they were declined. And they ended up going for £212...too rich for me, but still a good price given the crazy prices others are going for lol! :astonished:

    And if anyone here managed to bag them and has my EL39 adapters...they work as is, no need for any modification at all :L3000::L3000:...CJ

    Edit : correction re. the EL39 adapters...the top cap diameter of the TT21 is larger than the EL39, and so the adapter's anode wire would indeed have to be modified to take a larger connection cap...
    Last edited: Dec 14, 2019
  2. penguinofsleep2
    I did mention other amps starting at $100 (EDIT: Oops no I didn't, mixed up with another recent post) and my rating system being a bell curve and not flat out pass/fail %. I am also of the opinion that when everything is great or above with no flaws mentioned I could substitute the word amp for any other noun and the review would have the same value - i.e. the review doesn't help me anymore. So the review is not a masked criticism. My conclusion of it being a good but very colored amp that isn't for everyone or every application still stands. Lastly, I mention the numbers aren't everything, they're a small part of the picture. This is also why I don't read most magazines / blogs / influencers / writers / etc. - few companies want to send gear to a magazine/publication that will talk openly about what could be perceived shortcomings. But for consumers, it's hard to triangulate how something will sound if it isn't properly contrasted against other offerings on the market and results in wasted time/money.

    For reference, I wouldn't say that my Stellaris, which is my favorite headphone amp that I've heard to this date, is 10/10 or even 9/10 in every category for me. It also doesn't match my preference in house sound, etc. (ideal house sounds to me are closer to Cavalli LC or EC Aficionado, which themselves are very different from each other but I don't have only 1 favorite sound) but despite not being able to do well in terms of just a few numbers or preferred house sound, Stellaris is so strong overall in all areas it overrides my personal flavor preferences to still be my favorite amp. So again, point being, metrics aren't everything to me.

    Regarding cost - $2600 for amp + $200-300 for upgraded power supply (which IMO made a huge difference in terms of improving technicalities whereas tubes changed the sound signature), I'm at $3k. I'd rather buy several EC Aficionado or Studio Jr for a few hundred more, ECP T4 ($2k + $300 for more tubes) or 3F ($2700?), DNA Starlett ($2k) or Stratus ($3.2k???) and neither DNA amp really needs tube upgrades, or maybe even a WA22 ($2500?) + $400-500 on tubes. This is just stuff that's currently in production.

    However, if we price Euforia at $1500, it would be competitive against many tube or SS offerings at $1500 (including used stuff). At this point it would IMO come down to what sound you want. Stuff that comes to mind are BH kits at $1500 (after upgrades and parts), T3 with upgrades, some of the older EC stuff, DNA Sonnett, some of the old Cavalli stuff, and most of the Woo stuff. Ampsandsounds stuff under $2k excluded as they have IMO a very unique relax-fi house sound that is perfect if that's what you want but not ideal if it you want say neutrality or sparkle. Kind of like Euforia is perfect if you want a bloomy euphoric house sound but may not be ideal for a tight energitic sound.

    Don't know how to do inline replies in color so my replies are in bold italics:
    Last edited: Dec 15, 2019
    DecentLevi likes this.
  3. hypnos1
    Thanks for your comprehensive reply @penguinofsleep2 and yes indeed, one has to scrutinise any reviews very closely indeed to come to some kind of concensus as to an item's basic abilities. And this is where a good many different user reviews/opinions are very useful as each will be in quite different systems which, of course, will provide a more realistic 'everyday' guide for folks who will also have different preferences and hearing! One single person's assessment is, I'm afraid, valid as a guide only.

    I would also suspect that any amp is going to really need some form of good mains conditioning/filtering, unless one's mains supply is extremely interference free (likely impossible!) and in an environment totally devoid of any EMI/RFI...again, likely impossible. And which will therefore necessitate extra expense.

    Upgraded cables is certainly a contentious issue, but it would appear that many with really good gear do in fact still recommend going for much better quality ones.

    Re. "tubes changed the sound signature", I presume you mean they would, as you said you only used stock?? My own experience, and that of those who have used other (NOS) tubes and especially a good few non configured-for ones has proved that improvements have been achieved in many other areas than simply 'signature'.

    In conclusion, I would repeat that the best course of action is for one to actually audition any amp oneself, preferably in the company of a good few alternatives. Sadly, this is easier said than done of course...especially as that ideally, one needs to listen in one's own surroundings and with one's own associated gear!! :wink::triportsad:
  4. OctavianH
    Some interesting stuff about KT66/KT88. For me it was a pleasant read, so I share the link for anyone who is interested in a bit of history and information:
    Scutey and Afsa like this.
  5. Afsa
    Thank you very much for this Article. As discussed in this Thread im planing on buying KT88 and now i can search for some good ones with more information.
  6. Scutey
    Looks like an very interesting read, thanks for posting!.
  7. penguinofsleep2
    Should make a small note and corrected my post as well that I mixed up the PSU swap with a different amp I tried around the same time. See post above.

    And yes, meant to say tubes would change sound signature.
    Last edited: Dec 15, 2019
  8. LoryWiv
    Appreciated, @OctavianH. The author is not too keen on the business practices, testing methodology or quality control of Genalex Gold Lion from New Sensor. That said, my GL KT88's have around 100 hours now as powers in Elise and I am enjoying them more and more.
  9. hypnos1
    Yes indeed LW...regardless of any criticism that might be aimed at the Genalex Gold Lion KT88s, I myself am finding them extremely good and have no qualms about them whatsoever lol :).
    After @Johnnysound 's mention of the reissue KT77 being closer to the original than the new 88 is, on further examination of their plates those of the KT77 certainly do look much closer to the original...both being more solid (ie. no holes).. By contrast, all the reissue KT88s appear to have plates with holes, as opposed to the original GECs being solid. It would appear therefore that perhaps no original GEC plates were available for the new production teams, but on looking around it seems to me that the round-holed plates of the Russian Gold Lions might possibly be American stock from the RCA 6550...they look identical to me. And if so, this would be no bad thing, given the traditional respect for the 6550 tube.
    Whatever, I personally still rate the Russian reissue GL very highly indeed...

    Now then guys, I have some news that might just be of interest to those who may want to take the KT88 route that bit further, and reinforces @Scutey 's admiration of the original GEC KT tubes...but this time re. the 88.

    I have now given my 3x GEC TT21s a good long test run, and am pleased to say that firstly, as a driver pair to Gold Lion KT88 powers the difference is not minimal. To begin with, I thought 'not bad' but not night and day difference. However, as time passed with more varied test pieces I began to notice improvements in more and more areas...ie. in overall presentation; tonal range; more textured bass; even sweeter treble (but still detailed); even more mids detail...(actually, more detail across the entire FR); even tighter control of the timing and pace. Indeed, with regard to PRaT one of the greatest surprises came with very fast runs of instrument and drums...I wasn't just carried along as if by an Express train, this was Japanese Bullet Train! It was all I could do to keep up, and there was no hint of loss of control or detail. All these aspects, especially the last went up a tad more with the third TT21 in one of the power slots.

    I suppose one could call the overall sound a typical 'British' one...but of the highest quality category - ie. smoooth; refined; detailed; not clinical; low fatigue; well balanced with excellent cohesion and precise positioning. And add to this a soundstage to match anything else out there IMHO....(depending upon the rest of one's system of course!). Plus, although very smooth in the bass department also, it's in no way boomy/loose...on the contrary, it is deep; solid; controlled and well textured...with similar qualities also in the superb mids which again are in no way 'bloomy' as far as I'm concerned lol :wink:

    And so as drivers to the Gold Lion KT88s these GEC TT21s are simply superb...and given these are basically the GEC KT88 but with top anode cap, I suspect the latter must sound pretty well the same, even if the TT21 may have the slight edge! :ksc75smile:

    Anyway, enough for now, better go keep the better half company...so BFN folks. And another pic to show the current state of affairs...which will alter slightly when my GEC KT22 (Edit - TT22!) arrives (a 12V version of the 21), and which should prove very interesting in place of the lone GL KT88!!

    DSC_0031 .1 (2).jpg
    Enjoy the rest of your weekend guys...CJ
    Last edited: Dec 16, 2019
    chrisdrop, DecentLevi and Scutey like this.
  10. mordy
    Read most of the article - a rear earful!
    Disturbing to read about so many quality problems and fakes. Was thinking of going for the GU50 but they are 12V tubes; however, the price is in my range - around $20 for a quad shipped.
    PS: Just saw that you are getting the 12V version of the KT88 - how about trying the GU50?
  11. DecentLevi
    Congratulations are on order CJ, you certainly must be having a singular experience with the TT21's on your Euforia. Is the signature any brighter than before? Sometimes the top-cap tubes can add a little brightness to the mix somehow, and often more 'clinical'. However fantastic the results with TT21 however, this will appear to be reserved for those few especially lucky ones that are able to scour a pair at a reasonable price and not for the masses due to their rareness and cost. And TT22... how will you adapt that 12v tube, and why would you still want it with all that you've got?

    PS- I think you meant to say GEC TT22 not KT22 on your post above
    Last edited: Dec 16, 2019
  12. LoryWiv
    While awaiting GL KT77 I've ordered to drive my GL KT88, went back to the TS 7581A as drivers. Really enjoying this combination, less clinical than the KT66 driving KT88. There is still plenty of detail and speed, but more "sweetness" for lack of a better word. A really engaging listen with classical piano music, my favorite genre overall. It is nice to have such appealing new production options with our gear, given the pricing and "hit or miss" nature of NOS. Thanks to the contributors on this forum for bringing these possibilities to light!
    hypnos1 likes this.
  13. hypnos1
    Hi m. Dat's me awaiting the 12V TT22 version of the GEC KT88 and I too have been pondering the GU50 ever since Johnnysound made reference to JAC's article on the KT88 et al a while back. But I didn't like the mention of need for different biasing...although our amps must already (presumably) be applying a different voltage to normal use (although it can't be too far off, given the total absence of any hint of incompatibility lol!).

    As for JAC's rubbishing of the Russian Genalex GOLD (not Golden - he doesn't even get the name right!) Lion, I personally would rather go by the majority view in the user community being much more positive, apart from the occasional problem...hence the recommendation to stick with a reliable supplier who has tested the tubes with pre burn-in and has a reputation to maintain (as per @connieflyer .
    Last edited: Dec 16, 2019
  14. hypnos1
    Hi DL. Yes indeed, I'm getting more impressed by the hour with these GEC TT21s...and I must add that I'm super impressed by how they make the Russian Gold Lions perform as powers. Even with 3x TT21s treble isn't at all bright...if anything even sweeter! (than the GLs, don't know about the GEC KT88).To the point where I would say that for those who like much more 'bite'/hardness to their music, these tubes - as with most of the usual 'British' tube sound, may well be too 'polite'! :wink: But if a well-rounded; smooth; refined; detailed, impeccably balanced performance is your cup of tea then you'll be in Heaven with these...as with the 'normal' GEC KT88 no doubt.

    With the TT22 (thanks for the correction...was getting tired by the end of my dissertation!), I shall be using what worked superbly in the past ie. a 12V (6A) laptop charger/battery. Last time I had to connect its negative wire to the mains plug's earth to kill hum, but I suspect may not have to this time, given my now Balanced Mains Unit power supply. And I shall need it to make up the quad of GEC KT88 variants...if only to see just how much more they bring compared to using 2x Gold Lions as powers. Would have liked another TT21, or a couple of GEC KT88s, but the prices are just too crazy now...especially with the Gold Lions performing so well...CJ

    ps. Will simply cut off the heater pins of my adapter and run the 12V wires to the tube pins'/adapter socket interface (making sure the cut off pins' remnants don't touch the amp's socket lol!! :wink:).
    Last edited: Dec 16, 2019
  15. connieflyer
    Have to agree with CJ. When you buy from an authorized dealer you often pay a few dollars more for them, if you look for a dealer that Burns in his power to choose and test them after burn and and matches them up so you know that hes checking the tube and writing down the qualifications on the tube it may cost you a little bit more but it will save you a lot more in the long run. Using the KT66 and the KT88 that I purchased from upscale audio I have not had one hint of trouble with them. Plus I know the tubes were checked and burned in and guaranteed. Upscale audio in the US is 1 of the largest tube distributors in the country. The to manufacturers know that when he orders in large number of tubes that he is going to go through each and every 1 of them and any badd tube is going to go back if he finds the manufacture that sends too many bed tubes through he won't buy from them anymore. He is an artist and easy to deal with distributor and I found over the last year that he is honest and does what he says his word means something. Plus you have to figure Felix audio trusted him to be his US distributor. They had to do a little bit of checking to get that up. But good luck, any time you buy a pig in a poke you get what you get
    hypnos1 likes this.
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