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Vali 2 tube rolling

Discussion in 'Headphone Amps (full-size)' started by capt369, Jan 8, 2016.
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  1. chef8489
    I Have always used solid state amps. What would a tubby amp sound like? I am quite pleased so far with the gold lion i put in today and the k553 pros. The k7xx will be here sat. Hopefully that will be an upgrade. I do want to try more tubs as tubs are all new to me.
  2. JediMa70
    That was my same concern.. so I will save money and look for a better tube amp
  3. chef8489
    Darkvoice is on massdrop for 199.
    Last edited: Jun 29, 2017
  4. KoshNaranek

    I have only tried the 6cg7 gold. My experience with EH 6sn7 standard vs gold is that I cannot hear the difference.

    Mike Moffat likes the Western Electric tube in question. I would, however, not say that there are no good new production tubes. Tubes are as individual as your choice of tranducers. I would recommend that you find people that like the same things and equipment that you do and extrapolate frome there.
  5. chef8489
    There should be a tube lending thread on here.
    rnros likes this.
  6. chef8489
    double post.
  7. rnros
    If you want to start the thread and organize the effort, I'll send you the tubes. PM me if interested.
  8. chef8489
    OK I will take you up on
    That is a great idea. I think I will take you up on that offer. Pm inbound.
  9. rnros
  10. rgmffn
    With my somewhat limited experimentation with different tubes, I've found that ones preference for a certain tube is likely influenced by the headphone they are using at the time. I have headphones that sound better with this tube, while others sound better with that tube. :). So, just keep that in mind.
    rnros likes this.
  11. rnros
    Mostly influenced by the headphone, yes. Assuming one would have settled on a good headphone before rolling tubes.
    Doesn't make sense to spend money on tubes if what you really need is a better headphone. :)
  12. PoSR77
    Old member here (this account goes back to '15 which is also when I last posted, and I had another account before that which I think I started in '09 or '10) popping back in because last week I got my Vali 2 and I'm ready to try a different tube or two with it.

    I'm very skeptical as to whether tubes change the SS (sound signature) at least with hybrids; I had an old Head Direct EF-1 solid-state/tube hybrid and I could never tell any real difference with the tubes I rolled on it (I tried about 5 I think...this was when I was more willing to experiment with audio gear).

    I've been happily using my T1's for years (I had a bunch of other cans before I upped my price range and settled on those); first with the EF-1 which is a great sounding and very "tubey" hybrid imo, but which could never really drive them well enough. I also tried the T1's with my old original Matrix M-Stage, but while it could easily drive the T1's, I never really liked the SS of that amp (too congested and unrefined, flat and boring), and as I don't really listen to headphones that much (mostly just for background music at work), I just made do with the EF-1...until it simply stopped working one day.

    So then I bought the HD-DAC 1 about a year or so ago to try an elegant all-in-one solution (my DAC for my headphones setup was up until then, and is now again, the original Cambridge Audio Dac Magic), and despite the HD-DAC 1's shortcomings (I never quite liked its SS and wish I my EF-1 never broke, although the HD-DAC 1 did have more power for the T1's) I used that until lightning struck our office a couple weeks ago and fried it (yes, with a surge protector; in fact, luckily, and oddly, it was the only electronic device that got fried). Ultimately this was good because I never really was satisfied with how the HD-DAC 1 sounded, but was just too lazy to do anything about it (and wanted to get my money out of it too...and it just looked so nice in the office!). But I have been looking at Schiit products off and on ever since they came out and decided to finally just try an inexpensive hybrid tube amp from them since I had liked my old EF-1 so much (which was fairly costly back in '10 or so: $400 I think) and the Vali 2 got good reviews.

    Well, I'm very happy with the Vali 2! It has plenty of power to drive the T1's (I usually use high gain and don't go above 11 on the quietest albums) and sounds very good; much better than the HD-DAC 1 imo, so I'm mad at myself for sticking with that so-so/boring sounding set up for so long! I'd characterize the Vali 2 sound as clear, energetic, crisp (but not dry), neutral, fast, articulate (but not extremely micro-detailed), tight, cohesive, with good sound stage depth, width, and height: an "openness" the HD-DAC 1 simply lacked (I often felt claustrophobic listening to the HD; just never enough head room).

    But if I was looking for an EF-1 with more power, the Vali 2 is not it since it's not nearly as warm or "musical/sweet". I wasn't really looking for that though, while the EF-1 excelled at mellow listening with jazz and classical and acoustic guitar driven music, it was too "soft" for most everything else and made exciting genres sound boring. So while the Vali 2 doesn't excel with the genres the EF-1 did, just about every other type of music I listen to it does (all decades and subgenres of rock, pop, but especially 80's synth rock & pop, metal, soul/rnb/funk, etc.). So it's a great all-rounder: perfect for my needs.

    However, if I could replace the stock tube (which, btw, literally has no markings on it! totally unknown brand) and make the Vali 2 a little more micro-detail oriented or make its stock sound simply a better version of what it is now, and also turn it into a more "tubey" sounding amp with a warmer sounding tube for when I want to listen to classical/jazz/vocal-oriented music with more warmth than the default Vali 2 sound, that would be awesome. Like I said, I'm skeptical, but we'll see!

    Sorry for the long post so: tl;dr --- I just got the Vali 2, am very pleased with how it sounds, am skeptical that tubes will change its sound much if at all, but am willing to try a few inexpensive ones (the Electro-Harmonix 6922 or JJ E88CC 6922 are both cheap and seem to be well regarded from reading through this thread) and I'll see if I can tell. Thanks to all posters itt for sharing info. and thanks for reading!

    PS: Is there any difference between the tubestore or tubedepot? (As in terms of quality of service?)
    Last edited: Jun 30, 2017
  13. chef8489
    In a few weeks I will be putting together a tube pass. I am waiting on some tubes and will have a sign up like we do for other equipment.

    Tubes will change the sound. I was quite surprised as I was skeptical for myself. I put in a Gold lion and to me the change was quite noticeable and I am only using the a pair of akg k533 pro.
    PoSR77 and rnros like this.
  14. PoSR77
    I hope they do! I'm really looking forward to altering the SS of the Vali 2 to perfect it. (Although I don't want to go too crazy and buy like 10 tubes, even cheap ones: that will cost more than the amp!).

    So, great, I'm already biased towards a positive result. That expectation won't screw with the results or anything! Nah... :dt880smile:

    I really, really tried to hear a difference between tubes with my old EF-1 though; I expected there to be one, and I never got beyond the "maybe...if it is, it's very subtle" stage. So expectation was distorting my experience and still I heard little to no difference.

    It's hard to keep that audio memory even in the minute or two it takes to roll a tube though. But I'm sure if there was a large difference I'd be able to tell. For instance, before I bought the Vali 2, I hooked up my T1's to my old Matrix M Stage just for a stop-gap between good amps (the HD-DAC1 and the as-yet-to-be-ordered Vali 2). Even though it had been a day or two since I had heard the HD-DAC 1, I instantly could tell a large difference between it and the Matrix (the Matrix clearly sounded worse in every possible way). So audio memory can be long lasting if the differences are large enough.
  15. rnros
    Agree with @chef8489. The Vali2 is very responsive to tube rolling.
    PoSR77 and chef8489 like this.
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