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Which input tube for a splash of seduction? (Read 33784 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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Lon
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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 »  

Troii III; Wyred 4 Sound STP-SE; Sonore Signature Series Music Server; Wyred 4 Sound DAC-2; ExactPower EP15A; Musical Affairs Grand Crescendo SAG Speakers
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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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Pale Rider
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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 »  

Mac mini, Tranquility DAC, modded Oppo 83, CSP3, TORII MkIV, Morrow SP-7, HR-1s...VHaudio DIY, Grover, MAC ICs...PSAudio P5 and Shunyata Defender, PI Audio and DIY power cables, HerbiesAudioLab isocups and tube dampers...
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