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Project Sunrise/PS2 Tube Rolling Thread (and maybe even Project Horizon and Project Ember)

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  1. daerron
    Hi folks,
    Thanks to everyone's contributions to this very interesting thread. I should be receiving my PSii in the next two weeks hopefully, which will be my first tube-based headphone amplifier, and I intend to use them with my HE-500s as I read that this combo has some great synergy. I'm currently driving the HE-500s off my Audiolab M-DAC but I'm looking for a bit more bass and punch (dynamics) which the PSii should be able to provide.
    I am also interested in tube rolling with the PSii, but after going through this thread I must admit that I am more confused as to the myriad of tubes to try out? I have had a hybrid-tube speaker amplifier in the past which I unfortunately sold when I converted my stereo setup into a home theater. Back then it shipped with a EH 6922 tube in it which had great bass, but it sounded a bit recessed in the mids and a tad muddled in the highs. I replaced that tube with an Amperex 6DJ8 which had great clarity and extension but was a bit too mellow'ish with rock based music (guess I'm too used to that typical solid state edginess?), but I loved it with classical and jazz music. I am thinking of trying out the E88CC Brimar as recommended in another thread and then a couple of 12AT7s (Amperex, Raytheon, Sylvania and Ultron).
    I was also wondering whether tube selection should be based on the headphone type it will be used with? As orthodynamic headphones typically like voltage swing as well as current output I was wondering which valve type would best meet this criteria if it in fact relevant at all? From what I've read it would seem that 12AX7 have the highest gain, but lower current output compared to 12AT7s.
    Thanks in advance for your feedback!
  2. stupidmop
    Welcome daerron  
      When you get your kit/amp it will come with a cdrom (if you ordered it from garage12something lol His name is Jeremy) which will have a list of all the tubes you can roll. Pretty much any 6 volt or any 12 volt. The manual is great. There is a link to it in the rockgrotto forums. 
      What impedance are your HE-500s (I don't own them but would love too)? IME my sunrise doesn't work as well with my higher impedance cans. It sounds great don't get me wrong, but a crack or even a horizon is better suited to run higher than 100 ohm phones. My mayflower t50rps are 50 ohm and the psii love them, doesn't matter the tube. IMO 12ax7s add a bit too much distortion but this is purely subjective, I've never really paid attention with my t50rps(don't get a whole lotta head time atm), but noticed it with my dt770 250. Take all this FWIW of course.
        Maybe @chinook9 or some other head fier up in here might know more. Good luck and happy tube rolling!
    Edit: I might recommend the 12bh7, I immensely enjoy my rca blackplate. It sounds diff than any other tube plus its the latest in tha collection [​IMG]
  3. adani
    After some reading and checking with our local tube sellers I found a used 12AU7A Baldwin black plate. It can be had for $20, which is, supposedly a fair price. Now the problem is I am kinda new to tube rolling and do not know how I can check if a used tube is okay. Furthermore, what is expected lifespan of a used tube in Sunrise/Horizon (I have the latter)? They are used as preamps only, which this means they will usually last for a long time... So what do you think guys? Should I try it or better look for NOS?
  4. RAZRr1275
    I wouldn't go with the Brimar as its a pretty warm tube which doesn't seem like what you want. Go for an RCA Cleartop 12AU7 or one of the cheap Sylvania Baldwin 12AU7s if you want something colder.
  5. Zoza
    just saying I have the PSii and are very satisfied! I have tried some ecc88 tubes like Phillips, Sylvania, JJ and the standard tube. Very interesting thread, and I might leave some impressions about tubes later on :).
  6. stupidmop
      NOS is overrated IMO. And supplies are dwindling. Some sell used as NOS as long as it tests good, not a good practice but it is the reality. The A at the end of 12au7 tells me its from after 1969 or so(i think). And again IMO the older the better :)  Check the bottom of tube by the pins. Is it discolored? Brownish, yellow? A sign of heavy use! When you put power to a tube all the electrons rush at the getter patch on top. Is the patch even and shiny? But this is hit or miss as some tubes patch goes all the way past the top mica and some are angled and such. The bottom is best way to tell other than listening. Were there test results? Most reputable dealers will tell you what they test. If the numbers are close and in the good range its prob ok.
       Mil spec tubes are rated for 10,000 hours of use, and most of these are just regular tubes that were tested differently. So even if someone used the tube for a year straight, it still has plenty of life. Tubes were built to be tough, some are used in airplanes (Bendix). $20 seems a little steep for a used american tube IMO. I bought a 8 RCA labeled blackplate 12au7 dated 1952 for $30 of the bay but if its what you can find, shrug.
  7. srsairbags
    hey guys, Im also new to tube rolling (tubes in general). Got my project Horizon less than 3 weeks back (S/N: 0006) . Currently running off an Arcam rDAC > Project horizon > Senn HD 650
    Still on the stock 6v tube, but was looking to get started on a 12v tube.
    I was suggested the  GE5965 12av7 cleartops and the 12au7 RCA cleartops 
    Anyone use these  ?  
  8. stupidmop
    Either of those will sound better than the stock tube IMO. Never heard the GE but the rca cleartop is a great all arounder.
  9. Ralf Hutter

    I'm running an rDAC>Project Horizon myself.

    I've played with some tubes, and for the time being have settled on the National (Matsu****a) 7DJ8's from: http://www.upscaleaudio.com/matsu****a-national-pcc88-7dj8/

    I tried an GE 5965 cleartop, but found it a bit bright for me. I'm running AKG K501's though, which probably sound a bit brighter than your HD 650's. Also tried a JAN 5751 which had a bit of a looser bottom end than the 7DJ8's.

    For now I've just decided to enjoy listening to the music, and have purchased another National 7DJ8 to keep around as a spare.

    (edit: the silly forum software is censoring the Japanese tube manufacturers' name the 4 asterisks should be replaced with "sh" followed by "it" to make the URL work)
  10. srsairbags
    Thanks for the reply guys, for now I will try to get the RCA cleartops
    I will have to say that I am really impressed with the rDAC, it is an amazing dac for the price. No wonder Wolfson is one of the leaders in the dac chip business.
    Also, how would you characterize the sound of the National 7DJ8 ? 
  11. hedphonz
    im about to purchase a horizon and doing some research first on tubes 
    anyone know of or have any experience with the horizon or sunrise II paired with the Senn HD800's ? Any recommended tubes for these headphones ?
    Im looking achieve a more full bodied sound - still wanting to retain resolution and detail but just make them more enjoyable to listen to
    Also one noob question - when purchasing 2nd hand tubes how do you know if their worn out or on their last legs ? 
  12. stupidmop
      Maybe an ecc82 bugle boy? Very full yet very detailed. I've found looking at the bottom is best way to tell. If its clear it's prob good. Discolored, brown, black, or yellowish...run away [​IMG]
  13. hedphonz
    thanks for that - 
    so i assume that if your buying online you have to buy from someone with established rep/feedback and you should be ok
    btw are these the ones you are referring to ?
    a search of ebay brings up quite a few at different prices and different types - i guess i have a lot to learn !
  14. bluemonkeyflyer
    I posted a list of sellers I trust in this thread. I've bought many tubes from them and some from a few others. Only one tube I've bought was bad and would not bias. The seller refunded the purchase price. I've learned you don't have to spend a ton of money to get a great tube with wonderful sound. Some of the tubes I bought were reviewed by chinook9. They range in price from $15 to $100 and I like them all. His review can be found within this thread. I've bought a few more since then. One of my favorite new acquisitions is NOS/NIB Telefunken E88CC with gold pins and the Diamond on the bottom I bought from a trusted ebay seller for $85 each.
  15. stupidmop
    Mine are from 1960 with halo getter. I paid $40 a piece, those seem a little high. I'm almost done evaluating more than 10 tubes in my sunrise ii. I've noticed that the tubes don't affect the sound as much as my G3 or fournier. Will post thoughts soon.
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