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"The Lab"

  1. peter123

    Hmm, I'm sure I've got some Ei tubes somewhere. Just can't remember if I bought them for the LD or my DAC. It's still a lot of boxes that we haven't unpacked here so I'm sure I'll find them eventually but it might take a while.

    Anyway all the tube possibilities in addition to all the other settings you can change makes the Ember a real gem. The included Conn tube does also sound really great, I may actually like it better than the 6SN7 one (those are the only two I've tried so far).
  2. Mr Trev
    Haven't heard any yet, but organ grade tubes (conn/baldwin, Raytheon made Hammond black plates) are supposed to be some of the best examples of NOS 12au7
  3. peter123

    Yeah, I can believe that from my short experience with the Conn.

    Do you have any good recommendations for 6SN7 tubes?
  4. Mr Trev
    Sorry, can't help you much there, best to check the Ember rolling thread (assuming there is one). Read a bit about them in the Vali 2 thread, mostly the usual suspects, Sylvania, GE, etc. Need an adapter (G1217 sells them), and I was informed my amp could turn into a molten puddle of goo if I tried it (OK, that's an embellishment, but the 6sn7 need more current than my amp can put out - yet another reason I'd like to upgrade)
  5. TwinACStacks
    Of all the 12 series 9 pin preamp tubes the 12ax7 has the highest gain factor on a scale of 100 it is 100. Therefore it also produces the most noise. By comparison a 12au7 is around 35.

    Thetubestore.com has a gain comparison chart I believe

    :grinning::grinning: TWIN
    Hisoundfi likes this.
  6. peter123
    No worries, I'm following the Ember tube rolling thread so will probably be bankrupt in two months :wink:

    Yep, Jeremy at Garage1217 said they're a hit and miss with the Ember due to possible noise. They work very well in my tube DAC though and I've never heard any hiss from it over the years. I'll try some of them in the Ember since I've got them, who knows maybe they will be great.
  7. Hisoundfi Contributor
    Coming soon...

  8. Mr Trev
    Your talk about the Conn had me looking… Is yours a cleartop? Found 2 types depending on manf. 
  9. TwinACStacks
    Military Grades are quieter. I think there is a 6557 and some others. Their numbers are usually preceded by "JAN". (joint Army-Navy)
    [​IMG][​IMG] TWIN
  10. peter123

    Yep, mines a cleartop:

  11. Mr Trev
    Thanks. That'd be a RCA I believe. I did find a few on Ebay, except they're all in the States and shipping costs as much (or more) than the tube
  12. TwinACStacks

    Some of those RCA blackplates I think the commander series are highly regarded.

    :grinning::grinning: TWIN
  13. Mr Trev
    I do have a RCA JAN blackplate. It's ok… haven't listened to it much after I plugged in the orange globe
  14. HiFiChris Contributor
    leobigfield likes this.
  15. peter123
    So I've got some days with the Ember II now and I've made some interesting findings. First of all the Ember was purchased by me with a small discount in exchange for me eventually putting up a full review of it here. Jeremy at Garage 1217 was also so kind to include some tubes as well as other of their -20db attenuator cables. This cable is a masterpiece in itself and I will most likely put up a separate review for it. In short it present a 35Ohm resistance to the amplifier but does only have an output resistance of 3Ohm for headphones and IEM's connected to it. This makes it a lot more easy and enjoyable to use IEM's with full powerful and /or tube equipped amplifiers that will be likely to introduce unwanted noise otherwise.

    So far I've tried three different tubes in the Ember and that an unknown 6SN7 tube that was included as well as the stock Conn tube and one Ei 12ax7 tube I had around from before. The Ei tube wasn't a great experience. It's normally a quite warm and lush tube that I can enjoy with headphones with opposite characteristics but the high gain made the whole presentation feeling forced and hard to enjoy. The 6SN7 and Conn tubes are both excellent, both are less warm than the Ei and has a large soundstage and smooth but yet detailed presentation, I do prefer the Conn so far but not by a large margin at this may very well change over time.

    I used my time away from home and without headphones (due to the fire) as an excuse to pick up both the HD650 and HD700 (both used). I've auditioned the HD650 multiple times so I knew pretty well what I was getting with it, the HD700 I've only auditioned once several years ago but liked it during that session. Interestingly enough the HD650 didn't impress me the way I remembered from my multiple auditions, not from my Burson and not from my balanced setup with dual HA-200's. This puzzled my and after asking and reading a lot in here I ended up with the Ember II since it was repeatedly mentioned to be excellent with the HD650.

    The HD700 on the other hand impressed me a lot but I couldn't help feeling that the treble was too thin and overall weight was lacking a bit. Once again Head-fi came to my rescue and I learned about the Anaxilus mod:


    Eventually I went through with it and holy macaroni did everything fall in place for me. These headphones are now absolutely amazing and I'm really enjoying them a lot. I'm still having a hard time saying it outperform the HE400i for me but there's no doubt that these two headphones are my favorites, pushing my beloved X2's down to a honorable third place.

    So what about the HD650? Well, the Ember didn't magically transform them into something they're not. To me the HD650 ends up in the same camp as my SR325is, a amazing experience with some music but not the best all-round performer. I actually still prefer it the most with the Burson, people around Head-fi like to talk a lot about how exceptionally hard to drive and pair with the right equipment they are but that's not my impression at all. They sound good from most sources and they need less power than the HE400i. Not only do I prefer the HE400i and HD700 over them as all-round performers but I'd also place the X2's and even the Q's over them. Their midrange is to die for though and they're definitely worthy of a place in my collection.

    Interestingly enough I prefer the HD700 the most from the Ember (connected to the DAC direct output on the Burson). This was pretty surprising to me as I really liked it from my balanced setup but the Ember is actually even better for me. I also prefer the Ember with my Grados and Q701's. I'm still puzzled that people find the Q's to lack bass, they've got the hardest hitting subbass of all my open headphones.

    The HE400i works best for me balanced from the Nuforce twins while the X2's are amazing from the Burson.

    These three amplifiers does make everyone of the above mentioned headphones sounds great but that doesn't change the fact that some pairings are better than others.

    Owning these three setups that represents different technologies (balanced solid state, single ended solid state and tube hybrid) doesn't really make me feel as I'm miss out on anything. The extreme flexibility of the Ember (I addition to the fact that there's only one tube to roll) made me choose it over a pure OTL tube solution like the Crack or Espressivo and so far I'm really glad that I did.

    I also can't help feeling that I'm starting to reach the end of a journey with all these great performing setups but maybe that'll change again in due time.....

    End of rant :)
    ngoshawk likes this.

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