What is the favourite tube on your SOHA?
Mar 21, 2007 at 10:21 PM Thread Starter Post #1 of 89

Ferrari

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As stated at the title... from all the tubes you have tried so far on your SOHA, what is your favourite (brand, type)?
Feel free to share your experiences here...

Personally... I have tried the following tubes, also listed by preference:

RFT ECC82 (German made): cristal clear, balanced sound, very tight bass, most silent tube I have used so far
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.
JJ ECC82: strong bass but not so balanced as the RFT ECC82
RCA 5963: not so bassy and a bit more details coparing to the JJ ECC82
GE 5963: well balanced sound but the bass is a bit muddy, also the most noisy tube I have.
EI Elites 12AU7EG: gold pins, very nice to see but the sound is not my tast, simply not so musical as the other tubes I have used.

Note that this list is pure my personal preference, listened with my SOHA via Beyer DT990.
You might have a totally different preferrence than me.
 
Mar 21, 2007 at 11:52 PM Post #2 of 89

tomb

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You have a bad tube with that GE 5963 - you should try another one.

Best all around: GE 5963 (I have about a dozen of these - it's no fluke)
Best highs: GE 6680

Pretty d*mn good: Raytheon CK5814A, TungSol 5814A
OK: Sylvania Gold 5814A, RCA Command 5814A (black plate)

Not worth the trouble: JAN Phillips 5814A, 6189, GE 5-Star 5814A (have a couple of the GE 5-star, being bad is no fluke in this case, either)

NEW TUBES:
JJ - pretty good, ranks with NOS "Pretty d*mn good", but punchier, lots of brraat and pretty good sparkle.
ElectroHarmonix (break-in king - took a couple of weeks - very powerful slam with Grado-like metal-detail tube)
EI Gold 12AU7 - OK, good detail but sort of unspectacular - not up to the level of the JJ or EH.

In sum, the new tubes do pretty well. None are quite as good as the GE 5963 or the GE 6680, IMHO, but the the JJ and EH come pretty close. All those people who went for the JJ should not feel that they are missing much by not going with another tube, IMHO.

I have had no noise issues with any tube save an RCA 5963 and a National 5963 that both had horrible microphonics - I always chalk that up to the specific tube, though. It's usually when someone back in the day messed up on the assembly line and the spacers, getter, or something else gets mis-aligned. In one case, the getter was jammed up against the plates.

I have read that your RFT is a mighty fine tube. However, I haven't paid more than $10-$12 for any of mine except the EI, which was $15. Many of the 5963's were $4.
 
Mar 22, 2007 at 2:01 AM Post #3 of 89

ericj

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i have to agree that my GE 5963 is quite good. Sounds like you have a bad tube.

I also have some RCA 5963 which i like ok, some sylvania 12au7a's that are alright, a telefunken 12au7a that needs some more burn-in.

I also have a number of flatly awful 5963's which were sold to me as RCA but which are probably of chinese manufacture. The only identifying markings are the octagon and a small "hc" "nc" or similar two-letter marking near the base. These have a square getter that is welded to the top of the cathode at one corner, at an angle, and have a thin sheet of metal spot-welded at one point to the square frame. They are fantastically microphonic, have harsh highs, and muddy everything else.

the tricky thing about the SOHA is that the normal rules of thumb about what brand or type of tube is 'best' don't generally hold true. You could end up spending $20 on a tube that might sound great in some other piece of gear but not so hot in the SOHA. You could also pay a whole dollar for something that sounds pretty good.
 
Mar 22, 2007 at 2:44 AM Post #6 of 89

tomb

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Quote:

Originally Posted by heatmizer /img/forum/go_quote.gif
how would you guys compare a rca5963 (came with the kit) and a ElectroHarmonix 12au7 local store has them for 10 $US ?


$10 locally for an EH is a good price. You will pay $6 shipping for a not much lower price ($9-$10) at most web tube dealers. The EH is good enough that it is well worth much more than that price to try it.

Give it a long time for break-in, though. That thing took a couple of weeks for me before it became very smooth and lost some of the huge boom. It's very powerful initially, almost overwhelming. It's also the fattest 12AU7 around, which is kind of cool - makes it seem even more powerful. There is nothing like it in the NOS tubes I've tried.

P.S. I also agree completely with Eric's post.
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Maybe the Chinese factory got the mistaken idea to attach the getter in that way.
 
Mar 22, 2007 at 4:00 AM Post #7 of 89

lutefisk

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"What is the favourite tube on your SOHA?"

First I tried Electroharminix (non-gold pin) and JJ (non-gold pin).

I preferred the EH: nice dynamics, sparkle, a better match for Grado 325s (black). JJ was not bad though, just a bit thicker in the lower registers.

I now use an Amperex BugleBoy I picked up used from Tube Depot. Nice service and helpful folks. This is my favorite of the three. A bit noisy until I cleaned the pins. Now is fine. Best balance of the group, it is quiet, maybe not as quiet as the EH, very good soundstage
 
Mar 22, 2007 at 4:13 AM Post #8 of 89

FallenAngel

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Haven't spent enough time with all of them to make up my mind completely (damn the PPAv2 I finished just recently). So far between the JJ, ElectroHarmonix and 6680, I'm trying out and very much enjoying the 6680.

ElectroHarmonix was really nice though, super fast.

Listened to GE 5963 for a few minutes while testing a very buggy soha build, it's impressive. Definite contender to the best of the bunch, but the 6680 in there now is in the lead
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Mar 22, 2007 at 4:31 AM Post #9 of 89

Slaughter

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GE5963 for me, so far. The RCA 5963's gray and black plates sounded good, but every RCA I have tried has been extremely microphonic.
 
Mar 22, 2007 at 10:22 AM Post #15 of 89

headphonejunkie

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I have been listening to an EH 12au7 and it sounds pretty darn good. I have a GE 5814a 5star that is good too. My RFT is running second or third right now. I did not like the JJ I Have. It is probably the worst tube I have so far. I want to get a mullard but they are expensive on ebay. Everyone is willing to pay big bucks for them.I just got a volex power cord and I don't know if it is me or not but the soundstage seemed to open up compared to a jellyfish cord I have.
 

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