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For 6BL7 tube users

Discussion in 'Headphone Amps (full-size)' started by badas, Apr 23, 2016.
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  1. Badas
    Hey guys.

    Like a few other members I've just discovered the 6BL7 tube. I think it is amazing tube. It has lifted my Woo WA22 to a whole new level.

    I tried a number of 6080/6AS7G variants that never totally satisfied. A lot of 6080 and 6AS7G sounded nice but none were as dynamic or have such a low noise floor. A lot were very noisy in my amp also

    I'm using just one 6BL7 to a 6080 circuit on my WA22.


    Very happy with its performance. Works well. My WA22 has never sounded so great and it runs very cool. Seems to have enough power to run both of my HP's. The Audeze LCD-X and LCD-3. Volume never gets above 50%.

    I have heard that some members run multiple tubes per 6080 circuit. They report the sound even gets better. Hopefully they post in here as well.

    At the moment I have 4 sets made of 2 variants. What we are referring to as X plates and flat plates.

    X Plate



    Flat plate


    Both sound very similar to my ears. Flat has a bit more mid-range and X extends higher. The treble on the X reminds me of a 300B power tube. It is magnificent.

    Okay enough from me. Let's go.

    Let's talk 6BL7 :)
    paulomario77 and maheeinfy like this.
  2. Badas
    Reserved for future information
  3. Badas
    As I've stated above.

    To start out I have 4 sets of 6BL7's.

    Three X plate and one flat plate.

    One set of X I suspect are not NOS and have a little mileage on them. Nothing wrong with them. Just want to point out they sound even sweeter than the other NOS sets. So they improve even more with time. Incredible sweet treble sound from them.

    I think I prefer the X plate over the flat.

    So I have purchased 5 more sets. I purchased these:


    I will let you know how they perform one I receive them and roll them in my amp.
  4. whirlwind
    Reporting in.
    Finally got my noise problem sorted...I really thought I had a bad socket on an adapter, but I was completely wrong....four new 6BL7 solved my issues.
    Using the HD800 cans and the C3g's as driver tubes.
  5. Badas

    Thanks for reporting in. Sexy damn photo. Beautiful amp. I've always admired it. I bet it sounds absolutely wonderful with the HD800.

    I've got a little noise from the NOS sets of 6BL7's. I do find with 10 or so hours and a few on and offs they go completely quiet. So I ignore that behaviour as it is common with brand new tubes. Kinda tell ya the tubes are truely NOS.

    Hopefully you can provide us info on the adapters.

    At this time I haven't got the balls for adapters. Also happy how a single performs in a 6080 circuit. Not a fan how they look in the WA22. Look great on your amp tho.
  6. gibosi
    Badas... Looking at micas seems to be the best way to identify the manufacturer of 6BL7s. Your X-plate Regency tubes appear to have been manufactured by Tung-Sol. Notice that the top and bottom mica spacers are identical, both with 8 teeth. (Sylvania X-plates have top and bottom micas that are different, the top with 8 teeth and the bottom with 12.) And notice that the GE micas have an irregular distribution of teeth. However, in the picture of your Ultrons I can't see the micas well enough to count the number of teeth.
    Currently, I have only Sylvania 6BL7s, flat and x-plate, so I have no idea how the Tung-Sol and GE compare...
  7. Badas

    Geez. I hadn't noticed the micras. Good info.

    It seems in X plates I have two different versions. The TS version and the Sylvania with different top and bottom micras. I do like the Sylvania version for the treble. Maybe the micra makes a small difference to the sound.

    I thought one set was better in the treble as they had some hours put on them. Maybe it is the micras instead. Hard to tell at this early stage.

    I've just remembered. I have these coming as well.


    These are the 6BX7 X plate. Seems to have the same micra top and bottom (So that will make them TS I guess). I will report if they sound different. I wanted a low gain in my amp.
  8. whirlwind
    He is a GE branded  6BL7GTA
    Looks very much like my RCA branded tubes, except the GE has a thinker base and the glass is larger....GE is top halo getter and the RCA's are side getter.
  9. Badas

    I don't have one of those yet. Just TS and Sylvania X plate and flat plate version.

    I've been avoiding those side getter RCA's. Not a fan of side getters and how they leave black markings. I think RCA was going through a period of being cheap and nasty when they produced side getter tubes.
  10. Badas

    Just looked closely at your pic. I notice chrome tops mixed with clear tops.

    Are you mixing designs?

    That would be fun.
  11. gibosi
    I am sure the sonic differences we hear are not due to the different micas. After all, the Tung-Sol and Sylvania tubes were manufactured in different factories by different companies. There are likely many differences in construction and materials we simply cannot see. But fortunately, it does appear that we can use the mica pattern for identification purposes.
    And I sincerely doubt that side getters are less expensive than top or bottom getters... but yes, the aesthetics are somewhat lacking.... lol  :)
  12. Badas
    One thing I have noticed moving from a 6080/6AS7G type tube to the 6BL7 is the soundstage.

    6BL7 seem far more open. I rolled back in my favourite 6080 power tubes for one session last week. I wanted to pull them out straight away. The sound was restrained / congested.

    To me the 6BL7 is a lot more dynamic. It s actually letting more musical notes through. I suspect that is contributing to the larger soundstage.
  13. whirlwind
    Yeah, I had six GE tubes and at leat one of them was bad, as my amp had a very loud buzz with six tubes installed.....I bought four new tubes and they were RCA ...I installed those four tubes and two of my GE's and finally got a quiet sound.
    I agree that the RCA really do not look very sexy...but they sound nice and they are quiet.
    Badas likes this.
  14. Badas

    I bet you would have fun if you mixed flat and X plate versions together. Take the sound from both.

    To me RCA was decent before the 60's. After that they just tried to cheapen everything. Shorter base, shorter bottles with the side getter and those horrid coin bases. Ya see it throughout their entire tube line. Really noticeable in their 6SN7 tubes. I avoid any of those tubes.

    I noticed we get short base and coin base RCA 6BL7's also.
  15. whirlwind
    I don't mind the short base, not a fan of the coin base though.
    I am thinking anything that is quiet, is going to sound very good.  [​IMG] 
    I have not tried my amp with just one 6BL7 per channel, Glenn said he did not think one would be enough, but I may have to try it to see how it sounds.....it sound wonderful with two.
    If somebody is only gong to use two 6BL7, I would get the adapter that is fixed, like gibosi, has.
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