Schiit Happened: The Story of the World's Most Improbable Start-Up
Nov 1, 2021 at 7:01 PM Post #83,656 of 104,293

Pondoro

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Hey all,

I expect the new-production WE tubes to be very pricey, and maybe production-limited in our quantities, but I wouldn't rule it out. I know Tyler is looking for as many sources as he can find. Tubes are still a monumental problem.

And so yeah, maybe time for a quick update on tubes. Here's where we are:

1. New production tubes don't seem to be available enough to keep up with our popular products. 6SN7 types are always limited. So limited that we've decided to bring back Freya S on an ongoing basis, to take some of the pressure off of Freya+.

We've also considered making a "Freya N+", using noval (nine-pin) tubes, because we are sitting on what feels like the world's supply of 6N1P. The catch is that Freya N+ isn't just a Freya running 6N1P with adapters, because the operating points are all wrong. So it would be a different product. Not sure if it's worth it. But if we did it, those 6N1P could be rolled out for 6922/6DJ8/etc pretty easy. But that's how crunched we are on new production tubes--looking at making a product for tubes we have.​

2. NOS tubes are not available in high enough quantities anymore. We seem to have chewed through the world's supply of 6BZ7, so soon Vali 2+ will have to go to either 6N1P (which runs pretty warm), or we'll have to go to a new-production 6922/E88CC type (at a higher price). Then we're in danger of going back to (1) above, but now on Vali 2.

3. Some NOS tubes are not usable. We have tons of 6N8S, which are the Russian equivalent of the 6SN7. Unfortunately, all of our stock have mica that don't press firmly against the inside of the tube. This means they are highly microphonic. And there is no way to fix this, because the problem is built into the tube. You can't replace a base and fix it, you can't put rubber bands around it and fix it, you just have microphonic tubes, period. This is why we stopped using them.

4. Some "new" tubes are not usable. Of note: "new" Sovtek 6N8S exhibit the same problem, so we can't use them either.

5. We have tons of some tubes in stock. 6N1P? Sure, tons. 6N6P? Sure, tons. 6088? Sure, tons--don't laugh. We don't use the 6088s because they are also microphonic (see original Vali), but we use the 6N1P and 6N6P, and the 6N6P will fly out of here pretty fast when Folkvangr starts shipping.

And yeah, groan, I know, we're late on a bunch of stuff. So here's a quick update:
  • Folkvangr: thermal issues fixed, first article revised metal approved, boards approved, just doing the waiting dance now. Best guess, end of year.
  • Tyr: just waiting for production, after one of the new PCB assemblers sat on their hands too long (and were doing more important stuff, like Vidar, to be fair). Best guess, before Folkvangr.
  • Loki Max: just waiting for the remotes to come in. Best guess, before Tyr.
Other stuff is in dev hell or we've intentionally dialed back so we could address our stocking issues--as in, use our capacity to build more of the products that are already popular. We're getting better at keeping stuff in stock, but we still have a ways to go. As usual, thank you for your patience.

I'll have a new chapter up shortly, plus a couple of product chapters when they hit, plus a year-end wrap-up. Despite it seeming relatively quiet, we've learned a lot this year, and there are some surprising new things coming.

(That is, if we can get parts. Back to that now. Arrrrgghhh.)

All the best,
Jason
No mention of Saga but it also uses 6SN7. I ordered one a while back, with “10-12 weeks” wait predicted. The prediction is still 10-12 weeks. I’m not complaining or angry. My pizza place is having trouble getting boxes!
 
Nov 1, 2021 at 7:02 PM Post #83,657 of 104,293

ArmchairPhilosopher

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Spotted on the shop wall as I was getting the ol' GTI smogged:

20211101_112334[1].jpg

Too good not to share.

And, Jason, sorry to hear about your tube difficulties. Surely a few of the members on this thread have enough glass hoarded to keep you in production for decades...
Reminds me of the safety stickers that AvE sells on Etsy.
 
Nov 1, 2021 at 7:08 PM Post #83,658 of 104,293

ArmchairPhilosopher

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Just got word that both are on their way back to me.
Super fast turnaround, Schiit held on to them for just three days.

Now I just hope that this fast of a turnaround won't mean they will come back with a note saying "no issue detected", since the Lokius' problem is a bit difficult to hear unless you know what to listen for (although I did my best to describe it), and the Aegir's issue is a real pain to reproduce.
I guess I'll know in about two days.
Fingers crossed! :fingers_crossed:
So, got my Aegir and Lokius back from Valencia today.
And just as I "feared", both came back with notes saying "could not reproduce".
Fan-flicking-tastic.
Now we're entering the he-said-she-said part of the process. So much "fun" for everyone involved… 😩

Just to be clear: I do NOT blame them. Both issues are a b*%@h to replicate. I just wish that neither side would have to deal with this, is all.
 
Nov 1, 2021 at 7:15 PM Post #83,659 of 104,293

Brubacca

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No mention of Saga but it also uses 6SN7. I ordered one a while back, with “10-12 weeks” wait predicted. The prediction is still 10-12 weeks. I’m not complaining or angry. My pizza place is having trouble getting boxes!
I'm guessing needing (2) matched pairs for Freya+ is likely the culprit here. (Or a matched quad).
 
Nov 1, 2021 at 7:20 PM Post #83,660 of 104,293

Brubacca

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So, got my Aegir and Lokius back from Valencia today.
And just as I "feared", both came back with notes saying "could not reproduce".
Fan-flicking-tastic.
Now we're entering the he-said-she-said part of the process. So much "fun" for everyone involved… 😩

Just to be clear: I do NOT blame them. Both issues are a b*%@h to replicate. I just wish that neither side would have to deal with this, is all.

I went through 3 turntables, 4 cartridges, 3 phono pre-amp, multiple power quality devices and cables to figure out I had a major RF issue because of the radio array that is relatively close and we are directly in line. Phono is such a small signal other sources not affected.

All I'm saying is make sure you are thinking outside the box. And I haven't followed your whole story so I may be way out of line. If that is the case I apologize. Your comment just made me remember the hell I went through.
 
Nov 1, 2021 at 7:24 PM Post #83,661 of 104,293

bcowen

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I'm here for ya. I did two racks of dry-rub ribs this afternoon. Delicious.
Currently, I'm following up with a small glass of Laphroaig Quarter Cask. A bit peaty/smoky for most but it's a current favorite.
As it's Halloween and please don't judge:



Edit: Really?? Age restricted? Grown-ups dissing Scotch is... ?? Unwatchable for audiophiles?

I'm just happy to be too young for something for once. :laughing:
 
Nov 1, 2021 at 7:26 PM Post #83,662 of 104,293

ArmchairPhilosopher

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I went through 3 turntables, 4 cartridges, 3 phono pre-amp, multiple power quality devices and cables to figure out I had a major RF issue because of the radio array that is relatively close and we are directly in line. Phono is such a small signal other sources not affected.

All I'm saying is make sure you are thinking outside the box. And I haven't followed your whole story so I may be way out of line. If that is the case I apologize. Your comment just made me remember the hell I went through.
Oh gosh, don't worry. I totally understand where you're coming from. :)

In case anyone is at all interested, I wrote a bit more about the issues I'm having with the units, and what I did to rule certain things out before sending them to Valencia, here and here.
 
Nov 1, 2021 at 7:47 PM Post #83,664 of 104,293

ArmchairPhilosopher

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Did anyone predict a shortage of vacuum tubes in 2021? I could imagine someone in 1975 predicting a shortage in 1981.
I mean… New old stock is by its very definition limited, and I feel like the only issue here is that manufacturers dropped the ball a bit on making sure they have sufficient amounts of high quality new production tubes in place once we get to that point. The sole concession I can make is that we may have arrived here a little sooner than expected. Although maybe by a year or two sooner, but not a decade. So… ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
 
Nov 1, 2021 at 7:50 PM Post #83,665 of 104,293

US Blues

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Dev hell.

Though I think Mike and Dave are finally working out the last bugs. We'll see.

Drat! Thanks for the update, Jason. I will pray for Mike & Dave's immediate success.
 
Nov 1, 2021 at 7:53 PM Post #83,666 of 104,293

bcowen

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That would be @bcowen.
:ksc75smile: I have no issue with Russian tubes such as Melz from the late fifties and early sixties or Foton's from the fifties not having proper internal support or issues with microphonics. Most of my Melz use metal upper brackets but they also average around $150 per tube. Some of the less desirable Melz used mica. There are plenty of other brands of Russian 6sn7 equivalents I stay away from though.
I'm totally innocent, as usual. :laughing:

Same thing here with the 1950's Fotons -- no issues with proper support. But to Jason's point, somewhere along the way the Russian manufacturers (apparently en masse) did away with the additional top mica support tabs (or springs with the Melz 1578's) which pressed tightly against the glass and kept the plate structure firmly in place. The first pic below are a 1952 and 1961 Foton showing the extra pieces. Below that are some 1980's Novosibirsk and then a pair of 1984 Reflectors that have only the rectangular mica, so any variance in the bottle diameter or mica length could cause a lack of proper support for the plates. It would seem the bean counters arrived at the Russian factories before the audiophiles could get there. :laughing:

Foton 52 and 61.jpg


1635810578166.png


1635810716868.png
 
Nov 1, 2021 at 9:52 PM Post #83,670 of 104,293

Paladin79

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I'm totally innocent, as usual. :laughing:

Same thing here with the 1950's Fotons -- no issues with proper support. But to Jason's point, somewhere along the way the Russian manufacturers (apparently en masse) did away with the additional top mica support tabs (or springs with the Melz 1578's) which pressed tightly against the glass and kept the plate structure firmly in place. The first pic below are a 1952 and 1961 Foton showing the extra pieces. Below that are some 1980's Novosibirsk and then a pair of 1984 Reflectors that have only the rectangular mica, so any variance in the bottle diameter or mica length could cause a lack of proper support for the plates. It would seem the bean counters arrived at the Russian factories before the audiophiles could get there. :laughing:

Foton 52 and 61.jpg

1635810578166.png

1635810716868.png
71 melz solid plate.jpg.png'56 Melz.jpg

That is a newer issue Melz on the left (1970's), but when you look at the one from 1956 on the right, the metal support is working properly. On mica supports you can generally see the stress marks against the inside of the dome, when done correctly. I prefer the sound of the early Melz and there is certainly something to be said about their construction as well. Bill and I search for specific brands and specific years for a reason. :beerchug: Not that we are prone to agree on much but occasionally....
 

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