There is a method to the madness, and you nailed it with the patience part. It's taken me quite a few tubes and 6 months of methodically swapping and listening to get a handle on what tubes work well with others and what this amp can really do. With what I am hearing now, I think it was all worth it. It really has been a journey though and I started out with the rarest and most expensive tubes I could find thinking those were the best, and to my surprise some of the cheapest and least talked about tubes (RFT and Tungsram Foil Disc Getters) actually ended up being my favorite ones. I have since sold off all my expensive tubes, and now I just rock the affordable ones that play well together and could not be happier with the results. This amp is a keeper for me, and pairs so well with my Atticus it's ridiculous. The midrange magic of the Pendant SE and midrange magic of the Atticus combined is really something special, and I can't get enough. The Pendant SE and Atticus truly go together like PB&J, and I am pleased as can be with the pairing.When I had a Pendant there were SO many combo's that sounded really good to flat out great!
Wes has the patience to methodically swap tubes and then listen to what he hears. I would either change too many at one time or lose track of what rectifier, input and power tubes I had used in a given combination.
The nice thing, for me, about the BB amp is the input tube is generally the only one I swap so I'm am not wondering what tube did what!