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Which input tube for a splash of seduction? (Read 12137 times)
Gopher
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Which input tube for a splash of seduction?
07/03/11 at 19:13:18
 
I am a new Torii 3 owner and the amp is very impressive driving my Zu Soul Superfly speakers.  The control, transparency, and staging are all really excellent in this pairing and things sound impressive top to bottom.

The one area I wouldn't mind tweaking slightly is wanting for a touch of romance.  I'm not talking flabby, colored, compromised sound, but just a slightly more emotionally stirring presentation, similar to what I experienced with Shindo.

I've got Shuguang BTs in the output positions, the rest stock--From what I've read National 7DJ8s may be a good match for these outputs.

Any further feedback?  I also noticed many are using RCA rectifiers, what was the significance of that?
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Re: Which input tube for a splash of seduction?
Reply #1 - 07/03/11 at 19:35:56
 
The RCA rectifiers may be just the trick for you. They have a meaty and yet controlled bottom end and a well-mannered dynamic presentation.

If you don't need the grunt, I really like 6N2Ps in place of 6922 etc. Warm and with enough detail. Some might call that romantic.
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Pale Rider
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Re: Which input tube for a splash of seduction?
Reply #2 - 07/03/11 at 21:36:28
 
Gopher, looking forward to your feedback. I have both the National and Ediswan 6922 tubes lined up to try in the Torii. I need to track down the RCA rectifier.
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Gopher
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Re: Which input tube for a splash of seduction?
Reply #3 - 07/05/11 at 03:06:34
 
Thanks, guys.  I am going to start with a pair of RCA 5u4g tubes to see what that yields.  

The amp, with BT outputs and all else stock is sounding very good, even without burn in.  Right now its a little bit on the intellectually stimulating side and not quite on the absolutely musically mesmerizing side I've experienced with some pricier gear, but again--this unit isn't burned in AND the tubes haven't been fine tuned for me.  I see a lot of potential here.

I'm still debating whether to use a preamp with it and tired a Tubeguru.hu pre with it Saturday.  The preamp lent surprisingly little to the presentation but didn't feel it brought enough to the table....  maybe I'll save ~3k.  

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datman
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Re: Which input tube for a splash of seduction?
Reply #4 - 07/05/11 at 04:18:51
 
I'm the one with the National 7DJ8's in my Torii III. I specifically wanted a tube to REALLY sweeten up the sound of the amp. Kevin at Upscale Audio wholeheartedly recommended these and boy, was he right!

Sweetness without syrup. Lows without boom and highs without etch. What more could you ask for?

I am still experimenting with the 0C2 input voltage regulator and am currently  liking the 0B2 in this position. I am certain this will change over time as my mental acuity ebbs and flows.

You don't have to be crazy to participate in this hobby, but it certainly helps!
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« Last Edit: 07/05/11 at 04:20:12 by datman »  

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Pale Rider
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Re: Which input tube for a splash of seduction?
Reply #5 - 07/05/11 at 04:49:45
 
Got my Nationals and Ediswans from Upscale also. And crazy does help. Wink
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Gopher
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Re: Which input tube for a splash of seduction?
Reply #6 - 07/06/11 at 01:28:09
 
datman,

Is the driver grade the one I ought to buy from upscale?   Any reason to go with the gold or platinum for this position?
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datman
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Re: Which input tube for a splash of seduction?
Reply #7 - 07/06/11 at 01:37:36
 
I am sure the driver grade will be fine.  I would imagine triode balance is more important than microphonics in this application. Usually at Upscale I tend to buy what Kevin suggests.

This having been said, I always buy the highest grade available. Generally, the difference in cost is actually fairly inexpensive ego gratification.
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Re: Which input tube for a splash of seduction?
Reply #8 - 07/06/11 at 05:26:21
 
Quote:
This having been said, I always buy the highest grade available. Generally, the difference in cost is actually fairly inexpensive ego gratification.

Spot on, datman. I have a feeling there is a bit of ego stroking in higher graded tubes. But like you, I buy the highest grade I can. I did that with the Shuguang Treasures (which I will be testing this week against the quad I picked up on fleabay), and I did it with both the Nationals and Ediswans. Now, maybe platinum grade isn't necessary, but in an amp like the Torii—which I have yet to hear, but is by all accounts exceptionally revealing—I am not sure I would see the point in not buying the best that one could afford.

In fairness, at this stage, that's just an abstract point of view when it comes to the Torii, and I will admit that Steve's own words suggest that less-than-perfectly-matched tubes should do just fine in Decware's self-biasing circuits.
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Gopher
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Re: Which input tube for a splash of seduction?
Reply #9 - 07/06/11 at 15:44:06
 
Welp, I bought the driver grade Nationals last night--hopefully it wasnt a mistake.  In hindsight I should have split the difference and gone gold at least.

I'm excited to hear how these things do!  Hopefully they arrive before the weekend.
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will
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Re: Which input tube for a splash of seduction?
Reply #10 - 07/06/11 at 19:13:09
 
I think synergy makes all the difference, and all the tubes in the Torii matter. So I just put in the stock 6N1Ps that came with mine as a point of reference for heading into a sweeter "romantic" sound. Right now I am using RCA 5U4G-ST (coke bottle.... off branding cheap from brent jesse), cryo'd Ruby EL34BSTs (Shuguang/not treasures), RCA OA3s and RCA OC2s. From this, I will change only input tubes for this comparison.

But no matter what inputs you use, something very useful with the torii is the reg tubes. OA3s to OB3s or OC3Ws will lower the grid voltage opening things up without extreme signature shifts. Or, for an input tube shift, you can change the OC2s to OB2s directly "tweaking" the input tube sound toward more detail/less warmth. So depending on the objective, if the general sound is good, you can really tune it to taste with the regulators in a really inexpensive way.

Smiley

Then there are feet and tube dampers. The first thing I noticed with the 6N1Ps is that they are richened/smoothed up a notch by putting herbiesaudiolab RX tube dampers on them. In my experience, these tube dampers and herbies isocup feet w/lampblack balls level the playing field of tubes. By cutting vibration and  microphonics tubes tend to sound better while making them more readable. My feet have stainless basses and actually I am using two w/lampblack balls and two w/picture jasper balls under the Torii at the moment...a bit more focus and detail than lampblacks alone). I don't use tube dampers on all the tubes. Like now I don't have them on the back EL34s, or the regulators. I try to hold the a fine line between things getting so smooth that I lose musicality.

Anyway, I replaced the 6N1Ps with some "premium" national 7DJ8s, and what I heard first was more power! So I turned it down. Then I heard increased dynamics, space, texture, definition and a slight bawdy openness quality that I like as it tends to pull a "liveness" from the sound. That could perhaps move them into the romantic depending on how you look at it....definitely more everything good, but with a similar richness as the 6N1P. The only down side might be that they could be thought of as a little brash and unrefined. But then I put on the RX dampers, and this refined them notably. I like this tube, but I like an open live sound. So I think this tube will probably not be a mistake. Just might be worth a look at the RX dampers and perhap feet if they are a little brash after burnin.

Another tube in a similar arena is the Matsushita/National 6922 (also Mullard tooling) from tubemonger 80 for a pair.....warmer, with more of the 6922 solidity....I would say more even mannered than the national 7DJ8, though I don't suggest this as necessarily a better trait, just different. Also I have a pair of Mullard CV2492 E88CC 6922 - M. Pairs USED 1969-1978 Dimple Disc Getter - Gt. Britain also from tubemonger. At $75 a pair, this is a good way to try the famed Mullards without too much investment. And unlike some tube companies, tubemonger's sets are all well matched ('Premium" or better) unless marked with "imperfect scores." I find these Mullards sort of in between the two japanese tubes with the sort of even refinement of the 6922 and a nice, (though slightly more refined) open clarity of the 7DJ8, and they are couched in a classic warmth. It is a detailed warmth without too much sense of a darkish veil....a "warmth" I prefer. Probably a decent choice if the 7DJ8s are not quite refined/sweet/warm enough Smiley

Lastly, In the quest for romance, I wanted to look at Amperex. I put in some Bugle Boy pulls from nostubestore.com. @$64 a pair (before shipping from Turkey), a cheap way to try really nice NOS tubes. I have always loved aspects of these tubes.....their soft, but detailed and musical character. Like the Mullards, warmth without veils, but also with a micro detail I really like from good 6DJ8s. Also in the Amperex vein, the orange globe/a-frame 6DJ8 pulls (56/pr from nostubestore) ...definately the Amperex micro detail and brighter upper midrange than the Bugle Boys, but quite a bit in the same family. I really like Amperex tubes, and the 6DJ8s in particular have a nice warmth we might call romantic. These may be worth look too if you feel the need to roll the 7DJ8s. My input tube of choice lately is a pair of early 60s Philips/Amperex 6922/E88CC SQ, also from nostubestore but not listed on the site. Very transparent, refined, open, smooth and warm without loss of detail. But they were 90 each. Koray at the nostubestore, is a really good resource by the way if you email him.

Wink

All of these are nice tubes that I suspect would do good things toward bringing in that sort of real/live sound that we might count as sweeter and richer, and to me, all have notable improvements over the 6N1P. And again, these comparisons are just changing the inputs. I will often change the regs, rectifiers or power tubes to refine things.  

Also again, with this many tubes in a Torii, vibration is a thing, so if this is not solved in your system, I think the herbies stuff is well worth a look/try (90 day return) making tube rolling no less fun, but a little less important.
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« Last Edit: 07/06/11 at 20:30:45 by will »  

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Pale Rider
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Re: Which input tube for a splash of seduction?
Reply #11 - 07/06/11 at 19:59:20
 
Will, what a tremendous post! Thanks much for sharing these experiences and impressions.
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will
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Re: Which input tube for a splash of seduction?
Reply #12 - 07/06/11 at 23:24:50
 
Your are welcome PR. I hope it is useful since room and tastes are so much a part of it, and we all perceive subtleties differently. I am afraid for me, with my ears, subtle in audio is really sort of rare these days. When working out the details it all seems sort of big to me!

And I was glad the question was only about romance/seduction, narrowing the field. I have a lot of tubes! And I feel like I am just now learning to use them more fully after a long time exploring. Finely tuned tuning can get confusing with all the tube sets, knobs and switches on the Torii, each effecting everything else in its own particular way. But man, what tools they are after getting a bit of a handle on them, and more importantly, how they work together.

For example, a long time ago, I had sort of blown off the OB2 input regs because they have such a big impact on the amp's sound....finding them interesting, but too bright hard and lean in comparison to the OC2. But I had found RCA OC2, which I like better than Raytheon (a little more detailed/less warm), and been using OB3 and OC3W power regs almost exclusively (already toning down the push of the amp). Also I did not have bass knobs then.

Lately, I have been playing RCA OB2s into the game smarter. Like today.....I had a big detailed sound that was warmish using OA3 power regs (the biggest sounding regs) very articulate and warmish Amperex 6922s that go deep, and when I first put in the OB2s it was as expected, really bringing out the transparent top of the Amperex......too bright/clear in the mids by far, but interesting elsewhere. And by reducing the treble knobs quite a bit and then tuning the bass knobs....the OB2 brings to this particular tube set, a very compelling signature shift with loads of detail throughout the spectrum and a still very convincing bass. I like it.

With this quality of sound, I really love the game. It all sounds good, but the exquisite lurks in there and when I hear it, it awakens new subtle explorations in the quest for more experience of it with a broader range of recordings.
Cool
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« Last Edit: 07/06/11 at 23:31:17 by will »  

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Gopher
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Re: Which input tube for a splash of seduction?
Reply #13 - 07/07/11 at 03:09:11
 
Thank you so much for sharing your experience and thoughts, Will.  Some very good information in there, albeit a bit intimidating as I'm not much of a tweaker and don't have the experience to really change multiple tube types to tailor a certain sound.    Lot of variables for this amp!

You aren't a NYer by chance?  lol.  I would love to hear an experienced Torii-phile's opinion on how its sounding in my moderately treated room to see if they had insight on the treble/bass knobs or the tube compliment for my living room.
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will
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Re: Which input tube for a splash of seduction?
Reply #14 - 07/07/11 at 06:10:05
 
Gopher,

Nope I live in New Mexico. And I am not a tweaker, just a quester, and the quest has opened interesting doors little by little to a point now where, like many, it has become a more serious hobby for me. To me it is all about the sound. If you like it, it is good sound. And if you find things that could sound better, and it stimulates investigation, then new information enters the equation. And all rooms are good that sound good to the room user.

But to more practical matters. All the knobs and switches are totally tools for tailoring the sound to taste. And for me, since I like to mess around, they change. Sometimes I like the impedance switches one way, and other times, the other way. And the same for the bias switch though with my speakers I tend to end up back at the softer impedance setting and the neutral bias setting.

The bass knobs were a little weird to me, but made more sense once I understood what they do. Basically, depending on your speaker drivers, full one way will be the tightest sound...with the least driver movement. Full the other will be more open with the greatest driver throw and less tight bass. After figuring that out, the rest makes sense in between the two extremes.

Seems like for many, these things are plenty to play with to fine-tune the sound. Or you can go feako like me and play with it all! Wink

Something that happened to me was that this amp pulled a lot from my system/room revealing things that were not there before, setting me to looking at room, cables, tubes, resonance damping and all in a deeper way. And one thing led to another......but simple things like room treatment placement, and gear and speaker placement can really make big differences.

And your amp is still barely burnt in and it will continue to change for a while. Lots of fun ahead! Smiley But as to how the torii can sound! It can sound absolutely engrossing and enchanting. It can sound clean, or warm, transparent or colored....it can sound pretty much like you want it to with care, thought and effort!
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« Last Edit: 07/07/11 at 06:19:04 by will »  

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Pale Rider
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Re: Which input tube for a splash of seduction?
Reply #15 - 07/07/11 at 15:48:21
 
Quote:
With this quality of sound, I really love the game. It all sounds good, but the exquisite lurks in there and when I hear it, it awakens new subtle explorations in the quest for more experience of it with a broader range of recordings.

Will, I think this is what Steve is saying about taking the time to find out what the Torii can really do. The exquisite lurks in there. I feel that way about the Taboo right now, with its combo of the Mullard rectifier, the Mullard signal, and the 6P15P output tubes. Along with the Mullard in the ZSTAGE, the combo sings, maybe a touch like Queen's Fat Bottomed Girls ;), but so sweet. I may try to tighten the bass up a tad, but I may not. It is that close to perfect.

With the first Torii in shipment, I am looking forward to all the possibilities.
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will
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Re: Which input tube for a splash of seduction?
Reply #16 - 07/07/11 at 15:57:52
 
PR. That is great you have the Taboo where you want it! Good luck with the Torii! Fun!
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« Last Edit: 07/07/11 at 15:58:36 by will »  

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Re: Which input tube for a splash of seduction?
Reply #17 - 07/07/11 at 17:38:03
 
Fun indeed. And then, there is the Ultra, of course. I ordered it without tubes, so I won't quite know what it is supposed to sound like. I think Lon cautioned me on that point, but I was reckless. Wink Anyway, there will be a lot of virgin (to me) sockets.
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Gopher
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Re: Which input tube for a splash of seduction?
Reply #18 - 07/07/11 at 19:10:31
 
Thanks guys.  In addition to those Nationals (changed order with upscale audio to platinum) I sourced some RCA 5u4gs to replace the Chinese that came with my Torii.

The rectifiers should be here Saturday, the nationals on the 12th.   In the meantime I'm going to try swapping the output tubes (Shuguang Black Treasures) in favor of stock (wing cs).  I only listened briefly with the SEDs before swapping them out and they deserve revisiting.  I know I'm in the minority, but I havent been too wild about Black Treasure and Psvanes in the past and only purchased thse as I saw Steve offers them specifically for this amp.  

Maybe stock will give me my romance, lol.  No shortage of variables with this amp!
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Re: Which input tube for a splash of seduction?
Reply #19 - 07/07/11 at 19:16:18
 
PR, I suspect you will love all those explorations!

As I give the quest for engaging music at home more thought, it brings up some interesting stuff. It seems to me that the nature of life is to change and transform as we develop in interaction with our environment. And if we oppose the natural flow of change, trying to stop it, we get sad or sick. But if we accept its nature in reality, and nurture it in directions that are healthy for us, then change is our friend and it can happen much more rapidly than what is culturally expected. The foundation of change appears to be nature itself…the nature of all of us at once working in our own, and in our collective efforts to get better. And for most of us, a main thing we can influence is our environment.

The Torii (or other good music maker) is a big player in a lot of our environments, and since it can contribute to a natural conveyance of music, it gives us something we subconsciously like, something we develop a natural affinity with. So it can become a huge aspect of our time. This makes it a big player in our transformation in time. It and all its associates in our musical environments influence us on all levels, cellular to quantum, contributing to how and who we are. The frequencies, waves and patterns imprint us with information and patterning, and we heighten this interaction as we engage in the music.

Since music is for most of us heavily weighted in open mind consciousness or right brain, non linear perception and integration, it integrates in more rounded/overlapping/intuitive ways than linear process. In this, because it sympathizes with our deeper nature, making us feel better, we tend to take in natural art without many filters . In other words, we take in natural art, be it a wilderness environment, basket, painting, music or whatever as it was expressed, in an artistic way. This in many ways awakens a connection to the world for us, and is therefore a sort of food that we can come to crave once recognized.

In the natural comfort of this interaction, many overlaid and interdependent flows of information come in at once bypassing the comparatively glacial linear flow. I think this is a big part of why art is so compelling, it activates much of our natural mind function…..the function that allows "mind" to breath freely and interactively in nature.

Finally, by engaging deeply in the music, transformation (that we may not even notice) is natural. In this, something that was not there in this moment is potentially there in the next, just because we are different and therefore respond differently in our environment. So what is "right" now, may need refining as time passes.

Thus the game. As we change, we feel and respond differently, and for something we have an interactive relationship with, like our music environment, we may then be compelled to adjust it to suit what we believe will make us feel better now. And on and on and on it can go. But then there are things that just satisfy! Like a waterfall a Yosemite, or a Van Gogh, or your Taboo setup….things that are so close to natural balance that we just dive in and enjoy them. Or, like me, in a place of brilliance with the music, but at the moment, I love to explore nuances, nuances that shift in my every-changing sense of sympathetic interaction.

I think this points to the main part of the Decware beauty...it is natural enough in its conveyance of music that we crave interaction with it. It can carry natural frequencies, waves and patterns of music into our homes and daily lives. And in doing so in a way that we intuitively "know" to be real and comfortable, it sparks creativity...a fundamental, but culturally devalued aspect of our nature. This creativity can be sheerly in the experience/exploration of the music, or in the fun of coaxing the music toward a more sympathetic presentation, and for most of us, a combination.

So finally, to me, the game seems to be a product of creativity blooming into interactive processes toward more balanced and accessible musical engagement. And it can be looked at as a quest in resolving some levels of dissatisfaction, or as a quest toward natural refinement. I prefer the latter since it is the basis of natural transformation, and since the desire for more balance innately carries with it an interest in the unknown, it is the foundation of creativity. In this we explore and discover, explore and discover….discovering the experience of creative process and art.

Long story short, I think Decware and other natural conveyers of music are tools for creative exploration and the resultant art of creating and enjoying music at home. And anything that brings the creative into our lives is priceless.
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Re: Which input tube for a splash of seduction?
Reply #20 - 07/07/11 at 19:19:15
 
Gopher,

Have fun! But also remember that the amp, tubes and cables need a lot of burnin. Some more than others. I think I recall that the Treasures need at least 300 hours! The Empirical burnin CD may be a good friend for now!
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Re: Which input tube for a splash of seduction?
Reply #21 - 07/07/11 at 20:26:57
 
Gopher, I can't recall the amp you got. Wasn't it a very lightly used one?

Also, I wonder if you can describe what is missing in your sound, and describe what you would like that is not there? Semantics are such a mine field, and each system/room makes the same components act/sound differently, so I am just wondering if you can get more specific than "romance".

Once your system is all settled in, and if you are up for it, I would surely be interested in your impressions comparing the Winged Cs to the Treasures. The information on them is a little vague to me and they cost a pretty penny, so I have been reticent.
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Re: Which input tube for a splash of seduction?
Reply #22 - 07/07/11 at 23:08:00
 
Will,

I purchased this Torii lightly used from a gentleman in IL who had it posted on audiogon.  Rather than shipping it to me, he brought it to Steve for an inspection, the installation of a bass knob (it was an earlier Torii 3) and I had him swap the taps from 4ohm/8ohm to 8ohm/16ohm (I have Zu Soul Superfly 16ohm speakers).

The sound is fairly complete as is.  I'm experiencing awesome dynamics, powerful but controlled bass, nice harmonic richness/a very textured sound and overall resolution is great--its very accurate and sometimes honesty isn't always flattering.  I guess I'd like a splash more warmth and sweetness.  The mids are very meaty and textured, but a splash more tonal coloring would paint a really beautiful picture.

For perspective, before using the Torii as an integrated I was using a significantly more expensive combination of the Shindo Auregies preamplifier driving 845 SET monoblocks (with 300B drivers).

This is giving me a similar presentation then the esoteric separates, better in many instances, but its not quite as emotionally compelling and I imagine the things I bring up wanting may play a part.  

My room has some acoustic treatments to it, though I never took proper measurements--just went to town with some GIK pannels and the reflection point mirror tricks--it did help greatly as before the treatment my room was sounding miserable.
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Re: Which input tube for a splash of seduction?
Reply #23 - 07/07/11 at 23:57:52
 
I don't think the Shuguang Black Treasures are bad at all in this amp.  I tried going back to the winged cs to begin tonights listening session and it sounded threadbare by comparison.  

I'm glad I did right for once with high end Chinese tubes.  I've owned at least 5 other iterations of Black Treasure and Psvane and none have really impressed me (some I actually hate!)
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Re: Which input tube for a splash of seduction?
Reply #24 - 07/08/11 at 00:19:40
 
Damn it G, you were supposed to say that the Winged Cs were just fine in comparison to the Treasures. Smiley

If I can find a job this year, I'll probably have to try them. Maybe Greg will tell us that the ones from ebay are just as good, that will help.
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Re: Which input tube for a splash of seduction?
Reply #25 - 07/08/11 at 01:01:45
 
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Re: Which input tube for a splash of seduction?
Reply #26 - 07/08/11 at 21:05:48
 
Gopher,

It will be interesting to see what you think of the National 7DJ8s.

In thinking of my setup, the Torii is not at all cool, in fact, I work to open/brighten it up, but this could be mostly room and tastes??? I do like what you seem to like and call romance....that captivating textural warmth but with detail and punch to further enliven the sense of realism. I would call my sound dynamic, slightly warm, textural, harmonically rich, and with clarity and sparkle so you can hear all the cool stuff like drum skins, reeds, keys, pads and the like, and cymbals sound just like cymbals, but string basses or kicks sound just right too. I think this combination is what makes it engaging, and is what evokes terms like romantic for me....it is an amazing thing to be able to be completely absorbed by the music.

So it is odd to me that your setup is a little cool. And you probably have looked at this, but I find bringing a new component into the system can require re-looking at speaker placement, cable configuration and so on. Makes sense since each component has a signature and in turn adjusts the signature of the entire system/room.

So I wonder...since you got a sweetness you liked from your previous setup, did you have to do any work to get there beside room treatments. Did you choose interconnects, speaker cables, power cables, or whatever to open/brighten up the old setup??? It could be that what was beneficial to the old amps might be working a little against the new amp.

As you have heard, the Torii is very revealing, and this can be good or bad...but for me, definitely good in the end if a little demanding. Every single thing I do in my system can be heard be it foot type and placement, different cables, minor speaker shifts...like I have all different audio power cables, and by shifting them around to different components, there is definitely cable to gear synergy for my tastes with particular configurations, and the opposite with others. Same with ICs. And some pretty subtle speaker placement and toe shifts can have a pretty strong impact in my room. This stuff is just so revealing, and I would say, not designed to color the sound much.

Just some more thoughts.
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Re: Which input tube for a splash of seduction?
Reply #27 - 07/09/11 at 02:59:18
 
Will,

Very insightful of you!  I actually struggled deeply with room issues before selling my Shindo/845s in an act of frustration before trying the Torii.  Here is a link to my journey:  http://www.audiocircle.com/index.php?topic=94834.0  I think I actually need additional treatments but the wife's foot is kinda down and I've gotta work on bringing the aesthetic back up after all my experimenting:  http://www.audiocircle.com/index.php?topic=95556.0

I didn't say it was at all coolish.  My sound is very neutral and transparant, I'm not looking for greater accuracy--if anything I'm looking for a little embellishment.  For perspective, I prioritize emotional involvement over audiophile adjectives any day of the week.  My gut tells me the Torii may allow me to achieve both.  I'm hoping the Nationals are in my mail box tomorrow, but I imagine it will take a while to burn them in...
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Re: Which input tube for a splash of seduction?
Reply #28 - 07/09/11 at 03:19:50
 
It didn't take more than 10 hours for the 7DJ8's to break in. They have sounded excellent from the start.
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Re: Which input tube for a splash of seduction?
Reply #29 - 07/09/11 at 03:45:15
 
Gopher, if the Nationals aren't your cup of tea, have you tried the 6N1P or the 6N2P?  Like you I look for that little bit of forgiveness, that little diminishment of brutal detail that brings a romantic edge to the utter transparncy and can make less perfect recordings stand out less. These tube types have gotten me there.
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Re: Which input tube for a splash of seduction?
Reply #30 - 07/09/11 at 06:37:03
 
Gopher,

I guess I equated desire for warmth and sweetness as equivalent to your sound being a little cool for your tastes. Semantics are hard. And I was not suggesting bringing articulation to the system, I was wondering if you had done work with your old setup to open/brighten the sound, perhaps being good for the old system, and perhaps over-compensation for the Torii. Then, if so, it is possible that these could be re-adjusted with the Torii to sway things toward a sound you find sweeter. But if everything is great other than a little "embellishment" I suspect you can find that with tubes.
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Re: Which input tube for a splash of seduction?
Reply #31 - 07/09/11 at 18:59:06
 
I received the RCA 5u4gs today and they're plugged in now.  They may need some time to settle, but the first thing I notice is a significantly less impactfull bass and a little vagueness to the sound like a light veil.

I guess I'll see what a weekends worth of burn in/settling time brings.
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Re: Which input tube for a splash of seduction?
Reply #32 - 07/09/11 at 20:07:27
 
I think that will change when breakin is past. I find these to give me the deepest and warmest bass of any other brands and types I've tried, and a bit of bloom others don't.

Here's hoping they're what you like! If you find you don't like them, I may be interested in buying the pair from you. . . .
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Re: Which input tube for a splash of seduction?
Reply #33 - 07/09/11 at 21:10:07
 
Gopher, Did you get 5U4G-ST (coke bottle shape like the rubys) or 5U4G-B (straight side, bottle shape.) I have no experience with the B. And my interpretation of the ST may not be like yours, but can see how you could see it that way. I put the Rubies in to check with my current tube set, and with these amp settings. For my system, the bass with the RCAs is more focused and defined, but I would not say there is a lot less.....and everything is more liquid/sweet, the Rubies having an edginess by contrast.

With this setup, the Rubys are way in-your-face. But with a softer/warmer tube set, they might sound quite good to me. Interested, I then put some herbies RX tube dampers on the Rubys, and they became more liquid and balanced, with tighter bass, and less edgy, but still edgy. So I guess it is really relative to everything else. One thing is for sure, if I were using the Rubies, I would play with my amp adjustments and tubes (set now for the RCAs) to adjust to what they bring to the sound. The difference between them and the RCAs are notable, begging for a synergy that this set and settings don't give them.

Also, I find at times that some combinations of tubes can make the qualities of individual tubes change in unusual ways, bringing out different things than expected as some other tube in the setup takes a dominant influence over them.

Finally, if your tubes are NOS, I agree with Lon, they will likely take a while to settle in. I seem to remember my RCAs taking something like 50 hours???? to begin to open up, but can't be sure about that.

If you can run the system while away, and since you have very specific tastes and are playing with new stuff a lot, the Esoteric/Iso-tek Burnin CD may be worth a serious look. It is supposed to shorten burnin a lot in a safe, mathematically calculated way. It took me a long time to get there, but I recently had a lot of new/repaired stuff at once and the burnin was killing me after having really good sound, so I was happy to spend the thirty bucks or so it costs. There is a good review on it out there somewhere.
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Re: Which input tube for a splash of seduction?
Reply #34 - 07/09/11 at 22:13:49
 
I did have an ST type pair of RCAs years ago, but in comparison I've preferred the B type, both looks (never really like the coke bottle shape) and sound. My remarks above were about the B type in the Torii Mk II and III.

The new Electro Harmonix B type is a decent modern tube, sort of in between the Ruby (which really never has worked out for me well) and the RCA.
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« Last Edit: 07/09/11 at 22:14:32 by Lon »  

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Re: Which input tube for a splash of seduction?
Reply #35 - 07/09/11 at 22:24:40
 
I suspect they'll change with some hours as well.  It is one 1953 and 1955 coke bottle RCA 5u4g.  I purchased them from tubeword where they tested new but had smudged labels.  

I was just posting some initial findings--I'm not worried about it or anything.  These things probably haven't seen any usage in a couple decades (if they ever did) I'll give them a fair chance to warm up.  The decrease in bass quantity was a little surprising, but I've been in the hobby long enough not to judge a tube (or most equipment) immediately.

I do have the Isotek burn in tones which I will be running over night at a low volume.  Until then I'll leave my system on idling--unfortunately my listening room is also my living room and my wife and kid need to utilize this area--especially on weekends, without listening to burn in tones in the back ground...  they just don't get it!   Grin

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Re: Which input tube for a splash of seduction?
Reply #36 - 07/10/11 at 02:55:19
 
Quote:
I did have an ST type pair of RCAs years ago, but in comparison I've preferred the B type, both looks (never really like the coke bottle shape) and sound. My remarks above were about the B type in the Torii Mk II and III.

Lon, I am just shocked. Dazed. Confused. On looks alone, the bottle shape has a seductiveness that rivals Sophia Loren. Seriously, you have completely undone the underpinnings of my world. Wink
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Re: Which input tube for a splash of seduction?
Reply #37 - 07/10/11 at 14:33:01
 
Sorry to undermine those underpinnings. Smiley I'm sure a nice nap will restore them.

I'm a lover all sort of womanly body shapes, but like my valves symmetrically round and straight.
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Re: Which input tube for a splash of seduction?
Reply #38 - 07/10/11 at 15:24:34
 
Quote:
I did have an ST type pair of RCAs years ago, but in comparison I've preferred the B type, both looks (never really like the coke bottle shape) and sound. My remarks above were about the B type in the Torii Mk II and III.


That is funny Lon. If I remember correctly, it was your love of the RCA 5U4G that finally got me off my butt to try some. I had been using 5AR4s then. And since the stock Ruby was an ST, and since Brent Jesse recommended STs over Bs, it never occurred to me that you were referring to 5U4G-Bs.

But I really like the sound and shape of the ST so no problem....just interesting. Wink

Now I'll have to find some Bs to try!
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« Last Edit: 07/10/11 at 15:25:35 by will »  

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Re: Which input tube for a splash of seduction?
Reply #39 - 07/10/11 at 15:43:27
 
It is worth a chuckle. I confess it's been long enough, and enough system changes, that I may even prefer the sound of the ST now, it's hard to know. But I really do enjoy my Bs (the ones I'm using came with Bob's Torii Mk II). One of them is giving me problems (it seems to be problematic making contact and glowing, every now and then I have to re-seat it in the socket) and in time I'll be looking for a new one. I used the Electroharmonix 5U4GB for a spell, which is almost as good (a less lush presentation but very dynamic) and those are now in my second system Mk II.

I believe I am using a very similar RCA in my CSP2. I'm telling you, the CSP2 has become an integral part of my system, probably in a similar way that your ZSTAGE has to yours. I can change the entire signature of the amp just by adjusting the gain pots. It's like having several different amps by that method alone, let alone the changes you can make to the Mk III with input bias and speaker settings. Coupled with the electrical accuracy and stability the PS Audio Premier has brought to the scene, I'm just constantly rediscovering my system's playback beauty. It's nothing like real live music Smiley but it's glorious.
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Re: Which input tube for a splash of seduction?
Reply #40 - 07/10/11 at 15:53:23
 
Damn, it sounds like the Music Direct Ps Audio Premier was a deal not to miss, but alas, I did.

And yes, I totally get the gain stage thing. Great tool! I would love to hear the CSP2 in that capacity.
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Re: Which input tube for a splash of seduction?
Reply #41 - 07/10/11 at 16:46:21
 
Will, indeed, tha PSA Power Plant was a great deal at Music Direct. I wish I had just gone ahead and bought two. There is one right now in black on fleabay, (used to be two of them), used, but the price is not bad, starting at 949 with a BIN of 1149. In the alternative, I can attest that the Transcendent Balanced Power Supply is very effective at creating a black background, with no discernible hum or noise. It was also fun to put together. I plan to pair it with a PSA Quintet.
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Re: Which input tube for a splash of seduction?
Reply #42 - 07/10/11 at 17:07:55
 
Thanks Greg, If you could have only one, your balanced or your regen, which would you have? Does one do things better or more completely than he other sound-wise? And when you say there is no discernible noise from the balanced kit, do you mean the unit adds no noise, or the unit eliminates all noise previously heard? Sorry to get off topic, but actually power noise has a big impact on tube sound> Roll Eyes
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Re: Which input tube for a splash of seduction?
Reply #43 - 07/10/11 at 22:57:00
 
Will, I cannot yet say that the BPS reduces noise, though I believe it does. It does not reduce the THD coming out of the wall socket, but its design should have less noise, and the sense of black would seem to support that. It is definitely "blacker" than the Monster AVS-2000 it has replaced. But if I had to choose between just one—the BPS or the PPP—I would almost certainly choose the PPP. While more expensive, it is more flexible, has more current capability, has the isolated zones, etc.
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Re: Which input tube for a splash of seduction?
Reply #44 - 07/11/11 at 01:54:44
 
I did a little passive listening today and things sounded a bit more relaxed with the RCA 5u4gs.  The bass impact was definitely not where it was, but it was still pleasing and I suspect I can dial some in with the bass knob once things settle.  

The Nationals should be in on tuesday and I'm hoping to be acquainted with the sound by that time--I usually get a bit of time to listen on monday nights.  I also purchased some OA3 tubes on ebay (mine only came with the reg tubes that burn purple).

So I'll have some combinations to play with.

Ohh another variable that changed is that my GIK tri-traps were dropped off at my parents house to reside until I sell my condo.  They were a major issue for my wife, so I'm just using some also very good (and less intrusive) vimak corner traps up front.  They'll have to do for now--truthfully I don't hear a big difference between the two bass traps.
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Re: Which input tube for a splash of seduction?
Reply #45 - 07/11/11 at 02:28:13
 
Thanks Greg. I am considering the PS thing and this helps. I actually have a pretty quiet, very black background, great resolution and clarity, and great dynamics now with a complex of a audio brickwall surge/filter, a bunch of alan maher's little boxes and a Kemp Schumann Resonator, so I don't quite know why I am looking. But yours and Lon's praise of the PS rig got me going and you know........


Gopher,

Sounds like the less intrusive bass traps work. I made a bunch built into a naturally hidden alcove using rigid fiberboard. One diaphragmatic for low bass, and several others different thicknesses and covered with cloth for higher bass and low mids.

I wonder what those purple burning VRegs are. I had thought your setup was all stock other than the Treasures, but stock RCA OA3s burn orange, and this could help explain some of your missing warmth and romance. Are the VRs you have marked? May be OB3s, OC3s, or OD3s. Or they might have the voltage marked on them like VR90 for OB3s. I am thinking purple might be a OC3 or OD3....the lowest key options.

I suspect the OA3 might really help toward your more romantic/engaging goal. They will push your tubes with more dynamics, body, weight and more everything else basically. I think you are in for a pretty different amp once you have all your choices in place.
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Re: Which input tube for a splash of seduction?
Reply #46 - 07/11/11 at 03:38:18
 
The gentleman I bought it from didn't roll tubes and gave it to me as he picked it up (locally) from Steve.  He did not have as many tubes as it sounded like the Torii normally came with.

I have VR150 tubes it appears, so when I get the OA3s in there I should be at least starting from a stock base.  I also couldn't tell what my inputs were 6N1P, 6922, etc.  When I turn my amp off later I'll try and read it again but I was unsure.

Right now we're working with:

Shuguang Black Treasure/Winged "C"s output
RCA 5u4gs/ Chinese 5u4g
VR150s/ soon to be OA3s
wildcard 6922 variant/Nationals

My amp is configured for 8 ohm/16 ohm, I do have a bass control, but it was added after the original sale by Steve and I do NOT seem to have the bias switch--it seems I have dual mono input selectors.

DAMN!  I wish I'd realized the Reg was probably a culprit--it was a suspicion, though not a strong one--had I known I'd have paid more and bought it locally...  Now I've gotta wait for these suckers to come from friggin' Lithuania  ;D
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« Last Edit: 07/11/11 at 03:41:12 by Gopher »  
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will
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Re: Which input tube for a splash of seduction?
Reply #47 - 07/11/11 at 04:02:56
 
VR-150 is an OD3. I would say that your sound will have notably more density, dynamics, body, weight and texture with the OA3s. The OD3 creates the lowest grid voltage. Big difference coming your way! Maybe too much, but you will have to see.

I got an OA3 from tubeworld after I broke one of mine and it was not expensive if you want to get it done.

My 6N1Ps from Decware have had a diamond on them on one side and letters on the other.

If you have the bias switch, which I thought they all had, it is the one on the front right, right of the volume, the left of the volume one should be your input selector. Toward you should punch things up a bit and back more neutral.

The switches outside the power switches (on the back) are the impedance adjusting switches and create a big shift in the sound. Steve told me neither way is necessarily right or wrong....a taste thing.

Have fun!
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« Last Edit: 07/11/11 at 06:13:49 by will »  

PSA P5/modified Brickwall/Shunyata Defender/more; MacMini/Audirvana>Jitterbug/Regen> modified Gustard x20pro DAC; DIY + Pi Audio PCs; DIY ICs + USB; modified Jupiter CSP3, Torii MKIV, HR1; DIY Speaker Cables; feet - Madscientist, SynRes, Archie's, Herbie's isocup
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will
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Re: Which input tube for a splash of seduction?
Reply #48 - 07/11/11 at 06:25:32
 
Gopher, don't know, but I get the urge for the amp to sound like you want it to. It could be worth it to pick up a pair of OB3s too if you get some OA3s from a more local source. This would be a cheap insurance policy just in case the OA3 is too intense/dense for you. If the OD3 has you almost there, it is a pretty big jump from a OD3 to the OA3. At least to me it is.
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« Last Edit: 07/11/11 at 06:26:21 by will »  

PSA P5/modified Brickwall/Shunyata Defender/more; MacMini/Audirvana>Jitterbug/Regen> modified Gustard x20pro DAC; DIY + Pi Audio PCs; DIY ICs + USB; modified Jupiter CSP3, Torii MKIV, HR1; DIY Speaker Cables; feet - Madscientist, SynRes, Archie's, Herbie's isocup
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Gopher
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Re: Which input tube for a splash of seduction?
Reply #49 - 07/11/11 at 20:25:57
 
Very interesting.

Density, body, weight and texture are already strong suits for this amplifier--I have a hard time conceptualizing more, but am excited to experience it.

I'm somewhat of a texture/density junkie, so it will be interesting to experiment.
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