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JJ 6CA7s (Read 18041 times)
kana813
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Re: JJ 6CA7s
Reply #45 - 01/01/12 at 01:49:17
 
So, what's everyone's final take on the JJs against the rest of the EL34/6CA7 types you've tried?

Hauoli Makahiki Hou!
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Pale Rider
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Re: JJ 6CA7s
Reply #46 - 01/02/12 at 00:26:39
 
Final take? The JJ 6CA7s are a bargain. I have two quads as backups for that time in the future when tubes cannot be gotten [heaven forbid], and because they are a bargain at today's NOS prices. But I still prefer the Treasures. Never ran the JJ EL34s that came with the Torii, but the 6CA7 is quite good, even considering I did not break the set in I tried for more than about 25 hours before listening.

And likewise, Happy New Year everyone!
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« Last Edit: 01/02/12 at 00:27:30 by Pale Rider »  

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kana813
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Re: JJ 6CA7s
Reply #47 - 01/02/12 at 05:13:45
 
PR,

Mahalo for the feedback, but since you haven't broken in the JJs,
you don't know if they can out performed the Treasures.

Have a great year.

PS- Installed the MK II upgrade in my PWD, more expense than changing tubes, but a nice improvement in resolution.



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« Last Edit: 01/02/12 at 05:15:15 by kana813 »  
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Lon
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Re: JJ 6CA7s
Reply #48 - 01/02/12 at 05:32:07
 
I've been using the JJs for a few weeks now, and I like them more or am used to them more. They're definitely a bargain. In comparison to the Winged Cs I've mainly used, my take is that they both are a shade on either side of a "neutral" mid-point, the JJs being a bit warmer and the Cs with a bit more sharpness.
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datman
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Re: JJ 6CA7s
Reply #49 - 01/02/12 at 19:28:12
 
I am finding the JJ's continue to sound better and better. I have several hundred hours on mine and they contine to improve.

Long live juicy sound!
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will
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Re: JJ 6CA7s
Reply #50 - 01/03/12 at 00:03:26
 
All the system/room individuality disclaimers.....

I agree with Datman, mine seem to be improving too with maybe 170 on them. Subtle, but happening and I could see how this could continue a while.

Also with Lon, for me these tubes take a bit of getting used to (and a good warmup!).

For context, I like a sound that is balanced, low bass to high-highs, with no part of the range particularly sticking out, and with a natural feeling midrange that has a bit of warmth, and a nice texture and spacial bloom, facilitating the sense of real players in the room. I like bass that is deep and tight enough to feel/sound like real bass instruments, and enough detail  (and range of detail) to bring out all the character and nuance of instruments and ambience, but without hardness.

....the quest for me seems to be to get enough detail (micro and macro) to bring out inner subtly, textures, and air but cradled in a natural and balanced body and depth. I need a saturated sound stage with realistic ambience that places the players in space, and passes through the walls of my room. And with just enough warmth to smooth detail without masking it, to convey natural body, and to bring all the players out both individually and together in a comfortable and convincing way. I wonder where that places me in tastes?

The JJ 6AC7.

I have a lot of tubes of all the Torii types, so I am coming from a perspective of variability of tube characteristics, not the stock set, and other than power, Old Stock. And in this context, this JJ is interesting. It can sound quite bad or quite good depending on what it is put with.

Relative to the other EL34 types I have (Cryod Ruby, cryod Tungsol, Winged -C, East German RTF/Siemens/Brimar, Groove Tube #7) I would place the JJs on the darker/heavier side, and slightly restrained. And though they are a warmish tube, I hesitate to use the term warmth without qualification. These tubes can be slightly warm to very warm with the right counterparts, but can also be dark, dense and congested with the wrong tubes. Warmth to me has a low/mid midrange bump (compared to transparent), but without masking texture, harmonics, and all the other inner detail important to a natural sound....that soft and warm euphonic thing tubes can bring…smoothing detail without taking it away.

The JJs have a solid build that you can hear. With my last tube set, using the very open cryo'd Ruby EL34, warmish inputs and rectifiers, and transparent VRs, the JJs sounded horrible…. like they feel….heavy, dark, restricting….held back. They did show good signs under these constraints though……balance from top to bottom, solidity across the range, deep, tight bass, and a nice "tubey" sound….articulate and atmospheric.

And once balanced with a synergistic blend, using the right relatively open tubes, the JJs to me sound very, very good. I don't know the current Torii stock tubes, but I am guessing that the VRs and Rectifiers are relatively transparent, setting the stage for these 6AC7s to perform well.

Personally, I just don't like them until I find synergy, but once found, they can sound exceptionally good…..balanced and natural….smooth but spacious, deep and articulate bass, smooth highs, excellent definition throughout, and with a warm "tubey" atmospheric quality that is magical and entrancing.

Finally, just like all the tubes, to get that transporting thing going, for me, they just need the right company!
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Morganc
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Re: JJ 6CA7s
Reply #51 - 01/03/12 at 13:35:13
 
Hi Will,
  Thanks for the info:   What is your favorite combo both with the JJ's and without them?    
Thanks,
Morgan
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will
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Re: JJ 6CA7s
Reply #52 - 01/05/12 at 01:58:01
 
Hey Morgan,

Being a bit tube crazy, and having enough good sounding ones, I can get most of them to sound good by complimenting well. I always have a sound I like, and I like shaking it up a bit, keeping the musical experience exciting and my creative exploration alive. It is progressive for me and I don't keep track except by my recollection of the character of a tube. So whichever set I am listening to is my favorite.

But as I re-look at the JJ 6AC7 your question sent me on an exploration.

For a warmish power tube, one approach could be to use some nice, open inputs with whatever else I have in there. I ended up the other way. I first found a input tube I wanted to enhance, and then set up a foundation I liked for it. I had liked the National 7DJ8 (after it burned in) the last time I was messing around with the JJs, and I ended up with it. I tended toward it too because Datman, the starter of this JJ interest, loved it with the JJs and I had been just a little hesitant about it finding the National a wee bit brusk and overstated. I wanted to look for what he heard. Other inputs I liked are some Mullard 6DJ8 and 6922 pulls, and one other 7DJ8, a Zaerix labeled Argentinian Philips tube, were all sounding good, but the National had something I wanted to work with...It has such an open, textural sound, with solid balance top to bottom, but is also relatively rich and smooth for a very open tube, so I decided to try to exploit its amazing inner detail while trying to keep the highs rich and smooth.

BTW when rolling, I cut off the amp and use a cotton rag to gently pull hot tubes, setting them down gently in the warm gear cabinet to cool. The hard part for me, is waiting for them to warm up a bit.

I find Rectifiers and VRs have a huge effect, and starting with a defined input with the JJ 6AC7 corroborated that big time. I tried two angles on this for my JJ set. One with a very transparent rectifier balanced with a warmer VR, and the other way...a warmer 5U4GB and a more transparent VR. I think I could have gone either way, but I am really liking the qualities of two 5U4s and they are fresh and open.

Thanks to Lon turning us on to 5U4GBs, they are really interesting to me too...more textural, often deeper and often with amazing inner detail compared to the 5U4G-STs I have. My current favorites are transparent ones that enhance the space, nuance and ambience of instruments while also having great textural detail, dynamics, and free flow. The sound stage ramifications of these can be really beautiful.

One is an extra tall bottle RCA, early 50s black plate with internals like STs (with the exposed glass surrounding the wires on bottom and rectangular top mica) and a top/side rectangular getter. It is a classic tube....with a very solid  character....deep/tight bass, open mids with amazing ambient information, clear/open highs and that indescribable "tubey" thing that brings out a solid, atmospheric, ambient structure. In general this tube in my setup needs something else with warmth to support its amazing, but very clear sound.

The other favorite has no label, sold as tall bottle RCA black plates, 1961-2, but they look just like some I have labeled Sylvania. They have a single, off center, top hallow getter. These are very revealing, but a little warmer, more textured and  a bit softer in the low end than the RCAs, so more flexible. I ended up with these in this set preferring its softer qualities with the National/JJs.

For me, the OA3 of choice these days when I want transparency is a Sylvania ST shape from 1981. I got these at tubeworld. Generally, the older STs tend to be warm, but these are transparent in a similar way to some straight OA3s but have a touch of ST rounding character. But with these open Rectifiers, and because the punch and power of OA3s sometimes gets overwhelming to me, I chose a slightly more low key and warmer OB3. Since i wanted rich texture I ended up with some great sounding Tungsol OB3-STs, calming the overall presentation a bit and adding some sweet warmth.

The set I ended up with is National 7DJ8 (mine are "premium"), JJ 6AC7, 60-61 Sylvania tall bottle black plate 5U4GB with off center top hallow getter, early (50s??) Tungsol OB3-ST, RCA OC2.

In my system/room I would call this a revealing, open tube set, with a very refined presentation of all the many shades of detail, and with a depth and richness that sweetens without clouding anything. Interesting... I wonder what will be next.

Interestingly, with this foundation, I was able to roll in a bunch of different 6DJ8s and 6922s with great results. That is new to me.

BTW, I tested this set with the Ruby-STs that shipped with my Torii and they were tonally relatively comparable with these 5U4GBs, but less refined, less micro detail, and therefore less nuance, texture, and ambience. Interestingly, my 40s and 50s RCA 5U4G-STs sounded thin with this tube set. The influence of tubes on each other and synergy in the Torii, to me, sometimes comes in unexpected ways.

Edit: Forgot the standard....my room, my gear, my tastes thing. Also, I forgot to add that I use Pure Music in a tricked out Mac, and found I liked their dithering algorithm bringing out natural sounding, smooth articulation, body, depth, and dynamics (maybe because there is a bit more black and less smearing) while enhancing the sound stage. Since it increased body and bass, I had to do some pretty deep low cuts that became necessary with several dithered plugins, so I have a very good basis for EQ refinement with little, narrow cuts scattered around the low end, and a major low shelf at about 17 Hz to balance the amazing thing Pure's dithering does with my system. Having several dithered plugins working makes Pure sound like a more neutral Audirvana if you know that one.

The reason I add this is that I think I recall 5U4GBs tending to being bassy, and I have control of the bass with my room treatments and EQ.
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« Last Edit: 01/05/12 at 02:52:42 by will »  

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Lon
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Re: JJ 6CA7s
Reply #53 - 01/05/12 at 03:31:20
 
Very interesting will. You sure enjoy rolling and do it systematically!

The "super cryo'd" 6N1P I purchased a few months ago just won't come out of the Torii. It really exhibits just the right balance of detail and tonality for my purposes and it works well with either the JJs or the Winged C. I've the JJs in for a few weeks now, they do take a long time to break in and they do sort of weasel their way under your skin. I may still prefer the Cs but the JJs are cheaper and quite easy to listen to. I'm using straight sided RCA 5U4GBs, straight sided RCA OA3s, and I'm back to using the Raytheon OC2s. Whenever I try any other tubes in the O_3 family, and I have five different pairs, I end up putting these RCA OA3s in, they just work for all my tube combinations.

The Torii is such a great platform stock, and in time you can really fine tune the amp to your taste (or more accurately, to discover what you like!)
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will
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Re: JJ 6CA7s
Reply #54 - 01/05/12 at 07:10:08
 
Yes this ended up being a systematic tube exploration, but only after wandering around for a while in my usual.....change this one or that until it syncs. But it wasn't totally working for these tubes once I got the hyper ear going and quested for the set that had the balance, warmth and all the subtle detail complexity I was after, and that would play well with various recording qualities. For my tastes, the JJs are a tricky tube to work with, but worth it, so I went systematic. How deep to go is sort of limitless is seems, or equally valid, we can get great, satisfying sound staying with, or close to stock.

I couldn't agree more....the Torii is a great platform.....however we use it. With the transparent and powerful foundation, and the complexities of the many tube sets, knobs, cables, and all the other pieces that contribute to great music, I really enjoy it as a beautiful and ever-evolving creative playground!
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kana813
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Re: JJ 6CA7s
Reply #55 - 01/11/12 at 03:41:31
 
Mahalo for the additional feedback on the JJ 6CA7s.

Ordered a quad from Doug's Tube, hope to have them for the weekend.

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Morganc
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Re: JJ 6CA7s
Reply #56 - 01/25/12 at 08:37:11
 
I am really enjoying these JJ tubes.  So far my only comparison is the Black Treasure but I am favoring the JJ's despite my really stiff prejudice that the BT would be better.  They have more air in the highs with added detail, and intimacy without any edginess or brightness at all.  And the bass is excellent in my system.
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Morganc
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Re: JJ 6CA7s
Reply #57 - 01/25/12 at 08:41:01
 
Lon:  where did you get the super cryo'd 6N1P's?  Still enjoying them?
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Lon
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Re: JJ 6CA7s
Reply #58 - 01/25/12 at 12:24:49
 
I got them from www.cryoset.com and I really enjoy them. They took a month to open up, that's my only caveat on these. They weren't impressive at first but after weeks the bass started to come in and in a month they were the best I'd ever had in the Mk III. Yes, I've had zero inclination to try another tube in those sockets after these broke in.
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« Last Edit: 01/25/12 at 13:20:07 by Lon »  

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will
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Re: JJ 6CA7s
Reply #59 - 01/25/12 at 22:35:26
 
Lon, For reference, could tell us the specific input tubes you have tried before arriving at the double cryo'd 6N1P?
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