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Rectifiers make a very big difference but I have no experience with the brimar ez80..
A re-post of my answer to a similar question, some time ago. Please note that I have a WA3 (not a WA2, so YMMV). Also, since writing this, I've spent more time with a pair of GEC 6AS7g "Brown Base" power tubes - I like 'em a lot. So, in the list below, I would place the GECs at 1.5.
Hey, thanks for nice summary.
Are these the Tung-Sol 7236'es you write about ?
GEC 6AS7g "Brown Base" .... this thing is impossible to get these days isn't it ?
I would assume they are the same. Yes, the GECs are unicorn tubes and seem to be even more rare than the WE421a w/ bottom D-getters.
Huge THANKS to everyone who came out to see us at CanJam NYC 2018. We made a short video.
do you have the tradition/regular 300b and the balloon one? what's the difference?
Ok, thank you !
Btw, may I ask how do I find out I'm looking at "D-getter" version of the tube ? I'm such a tubenoob I understand what shield is on ECC88 type tubes, since there are silver and gray shields which is quite easy to see, but I'm not sure what does "bottom D-getter" mean or how does it look like.
The balloon 300B is a visual variation. The internals are usually the same as a corresponding 300B from the same manufacturer. I have EML 520B V3 (Incredible Sound and Power and a huge tube 8.5 inches from base to top ), EML 300B-XLS (Very Similar to the 520B V3 In sound), EML 300B Mesh (My least Favourite, OK sound but has a harshness to it, even broken in), KR 300B (Really nice sound). My only caution is that the exotic 300B's are good in WOO Amps with auto biasing. Other manufacturers may not recommend them. Always try to check first. The KR's at work:
sorry, i actually meant, just what's the difference between the kr audio regular 300b and the balloon 300b
My understanding is that is an aesthetic construct. No functional value.
For ME the best power tubes are the gec 6as7g
Exceptional detail. Great layering. Exceptional extension through both lower and upper ends. Not grainy or muddy at all (like cheaper tubes).
PERSONALLY i easily rate these above the tung sol 5998. SImply more magical (with my hd800)
They do pop up from ebay from professional tube sellers/stores for about $500-$600 usd a pair. I have three pairs (not NOS but very good) that i picked up along the way a lot cheaper - patience and luck.
You can sometimes find a pair for about $300 - just check the seller has a good history and accepts returns if you find them noisy (eg humming)
I use these 90-95% of the time because of what it delivers as described above.
I would easily spend $500/600 if i needed a new pair without blinking...after i checked i had the money for it of course and looked around for a deal
I have never been bothered about round v non round bases. As long as they are brown.
And I have never been overly concerned about matched pairs - unless i was to spend $500+
You'll see seller called "yitry" comes up with pairs on ebay from time to time - that is Langrex in the UK
See the attached photo form my collection. Those 'D'-shaped loops at the bottom are D-getters. If you look at the 5998 and many of the WE 421a tubes I've seen, they are missing these.
Tube manufacturers would routinely re-label someone else's tubes to fill a sales order. For example, I have a set of Telefunken E288CC driver tubes, but they are really Siemens tubes from the early '60s (Telefunken never made an E288CC, but they did make E188CC tubes). I'm not a tube historian, so take my comments with the appropriate grain of salt.
However, I believe the 5998 / 421a confusion comes from re-branding of another vendor's tube. All of the 421a tubes I own came from a Western Bell person's estate sale and I believe they are Western Electric OEM tubes.
And, FWIW, they really do outshine the GECs and everything else I've heard.
Thank you guys that's awesome info, exactly what I was looking for.
Now I finally get what is "D-getter" ; )
I agree with you guys the 5998's I own are simply outstanding in their sound quality, I also owned many different 6as7g's & 6080's which sound great especially the mullards, but none are really even close to the 5998's, this is very subjective of course and is only my opinion..enjoy
Great system! I am a fan of PS Audio products as well.