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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. roshambo
    I tried out both the 6CG7EH and JJ Goldpins 6922, and greatly prefer the JJ's.

    The EH is definitely a different sound. Warm, but seems compressed or even a hair muffled. Both bass and treble seem to roll off, and resolution seems less. I did some rolling at work with a buddy and he immediately remarked the JJ was a "significant upgrade" over the 6CG7.
     
    bcowen likes this.
  2. bcowen
    Did you use an adapter for the 6CG7, or just plug it straight in? Have quite a few 6CG7/6FQ7's in the stash, but I'm not buying another adapter....at least until next week. :grimacing:
     
  3. bcowen
    You have great taste in music! Picked up a Yes LP ('90125') at a garage sale a couple weekends ago. Even though I grew up in their era, I had no idea those guys could rock out like that. "Hold On" and "City of Love" are some real headbangin' treats.

    And you also have great taste in equipment...although my 'phones are different, what feeds them mimics yours exactly. :ksc75smile:
     
    luckybaer likes this.
  4. Mr Trev
    From what I remember the 6cg7 has the same pinout as the 6dj8 so no adapter required. Of course you could use a socket saver too… just cause.
    A decent 6cg7 is still on my shopping list… Lemme know what sounds good
     
    bcowen likes this.
  5. roshambo
    6CG7 plugged straight in just fine. Not using any adapters or socket savers.
     
    bcowen and volly like this.
  6. luckybaer
    Haha! Thanks for the compliments. 90125 is one of my favorites. I have a couple of different releases of that album: one from Audio Fidelity and another one from Rhino. I had a cassette of that album when I was in high school. It may even still be lying around somewhere, but I’ve no means with which to listen!
     
    volly likes this.
  7. scotvl
    I posted this in the official Vali 2 thread but this one seems to be where you guys are hanging out so I'll ask here and maybe get some tube rolling recommendations while I'm at it.

    I'm thinking of picking up the vali 2 to primarily use on my night stand for listening before bed with IEMs and I want to try it out as a preamp for my home system to try to mellow out my Polk RTI A9s once in a while for 2 channel listening. I was wondering if anyone here has tried using the vali 2 as a preamp and what you thought about it. Also what would be a good tube for a 16 ohm dynamic driver IEM with low noise lush mids and good sound stage and what would be a good tube to try in the Vali 2 as a preamp to try and warm up my Polk RTI A9s in my home theatre rig for 2 Channel listening. Thanks
     
  8. winders
    I use my Vali 2 as a preamp for my powdered monitors 99% of the time. It's no Saga but it is a reasonable preamp how I use it. I think the best all around tube is the WE396A/2C51 using an 5670 to 6922 adapter. Inexpensive and wonderful sounding.
     
    volly likes this.
  9. luckybaer
    I've never tried the Vali 2 as a preamp, and I've only listened to IEMs (Massdrop x NuForce EDC) for a few minutes - everything sounded good, and I didn't detect any noise/hiss at the levels at which I listen (pretty low levels, though).

    As far as tubes go, why not give the tube that comes with it a try for a while? That way you'll have a baseline reference prior to trying something else. Once you've gotten a feel for them, there are lots of tubes to try. Some good ones for around $15 each!

    There are a couple of "entry-level" tubes that I enjoyed:

    JJ E88CC:
    A fuller sound than the stock tube, with more bass than the EH 6922. An inoffensive listen - especially with headphones that are not bass heavy. Very reasonably priced. Pairs well with my DT880 and K601. OK with HD650, meh with AH-D2000.
    https://www.tubedepot.com/products/jj-e88cc-6922-preamp-vacuum-tube

    Electro Harmonix 6922
    To my ears, the EH 6922 is a tad bit cleaner sounding than the JJ. It doesn't have as much "thump" as the JJ, but it is more than adequate. I have to really focus to tell the difference between the two - the amount of bass being the most obvious difference. A good, all-around tube that won't break the bank. I like this one with the HD650, but it does well with every headphone I own (not sure about SR-80e, because I haven't spent much time with them lately).
    https://www.tubedepot.com/products/electro-harmonix-6922-eh-preamp-vacuum-tube

    The following tubes are a step up the ladder in price (and in sound quality) from the previous two tubes.

    Matsu****a National PCC88/7DJ8
    A step up from the JJ and the EH above. Tighter, deeper bass. Smoother mids. Better treble extension (as I mentioned in an earlier post, cymbal decay is the most obvious example). More than 2x as much as the JJ or EH. A very pleasant, intimate listening experience. I've listened mostly with my DT880, and it is awesome.
    https://www.upscaleaudio.com/collections/preamp-tubes/products/matsu****a-national-pcc88-7dj8

    Philips PCC88/7DJ8
    Also a step up from the EH and JJ, and also 2x or 3x more expensive. I haven't compared the Philips to the Matsu****a A/B yet, so I can't comment on which one I prefer. My suspicion is that there are differences, but none that would definitely stick out as a reason for preferring one over the other. Like the Matsu****a, I really enjoy it with the DT880. Everything else sounds good with it, but the DT880 really blossoms with the last two tubes on this list.
    https://www.upscaleaudio.com/collections/preamp-tubes/products/philips-pcc88-7dj8
     
    volly and scotvl like this.
  10. scotvl
    Thanks for the reply, I just want to colour the sound a bit to roll off or tame the highs a bit and have read people saying the Vali 2 isn't that great as a preamp. My Polk RTI A9s are biamped right now with my pioneer 1227k powering the two midrange and tweeters and I have the preouts from the pioneer going to a crown X2000 feeding 330 watts to the 3 woofers of each A9 . My plan is to cut the pioneers class D amps out of the picture completely except for surround and power the speakers completely from the X2000. I'm planning on either putting the Vali 2 in between the pioneer and the amplifier or just running from the line out of my FiiO x3ii into the Vali 2 into the amp.
    I hope it makes a difference, plus tube rolling looks like a fun way to change up the sound until I can afford a proper 2 Channel system.

    Editing to say thanks for the tube recommendation, is the tube depot a good place to buy tubes when I'm ready?

    https://www.tubedepot.com/products/396a-2c51-we
     
    Last edited: Feb 15, 2018
  11. Mr Trev
    Having only owned the amp for a little over a month I haven't collected/hoarded many tubes yet. One question I do have is what a realistic price range to pay for tubes? I'm completely loathe to pay more for a tube than I paid for the amp. I've also read impressions (some conflicting) that the Vali 2 isn't particularly good at showcasing differences in tubes (due to negative feedback in the circuit?) in the first place. What do you guys think?
     
  12. winders
    I would not use the Vali 2 as a preamp in a normal 2 channel setup. It works fine with my powered monitors at my desk.

    I would would bu the WE396A/2C51 tubes on ebay. $100 per pair/$50 single is the most I would pay. Adapters are hard to get in a timely manner so I would be buying one of those now.
     
    scotvl likes this.
  13. winders
    Rubbish. Quality tubes make a difference. The quality tubes I would use from the 6922 family cost a lot more than the same to better quality tubes in the 5670 family. That's why I recommend getting the 5670 to 6922 adapter and WE396A tubes. That should cost well under $100.
     
    volly likes this.
  14. scotvl
    Thanks for the detailed tube descriptions, I've got some reading to do. I will try out the stock tube but my tinkering side will force me to order a couple of cheaper ones to try tube rolling out. I'm most intrigued by being able to change sonic characteristics so easily just by swapping out a piece of glass. Thank you, I'm sure I'll have more questions soon.
     
    luckybaer likes this.
  15. scotvl

    Thanks my system was built for home theatre when I put it together a few years ago and it's not what I would put together for 2 Channel. I just wanted to try to see if I could change up the sound on the odd day I get the living room to myself so I would take the Vali 2 out when I'm done. Maybe I should be looking more at the Lyre 2 or valhalla 2 but then I have to buy more tubes to roll.
     
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