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The 6 DJ 8 driver tube and the Zen Triode (Read 5253 times)
Mark
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The 6 DJ 8 driver tube and the Zen Triode
09/29/12 at 17:36:03
 
I would like people's opinions concerning using the 6DJ 8 preamp tubes to drive the front end of the Zen Triode Amplifier...

Some websites say that you need a particularly strong version of this tube to work right without an early failure... There's a lot of lore out there concerning this tube, and I'd like to seperate the wheat from the chaff on this issue...

I will say, that to date, a '59 Amperex Bugle Boy 6 DJ 8 with 'D' getter wins the prize for the most musical overall (so far)... I have about a dozen different driver tubes for the Zen, and I can pick this one out blindfolded every time... Liquid and musical... There may be better, and that's part of the purpose of this thread...

So, there we are... (m.)
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If a rabbit defined intelligence the way man does, then the most intelligent animal would be a rabbit, followed by the animal most willing to obey the commands of a rabbit. -Robert Brault, writer (b. 1938)
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jameskk
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Re: The 6 DJ 8 driver tube and the Zen Triode
Reply #1 - 09/30/12 at 11:40:20
 
I have RCA,Sylvania, tungsol,GE< and Orange amperex. havent tried a Bugle boy. the best advice i can give is alway go back to the stock tube ,and ask yourself .is it really better. So far, for me,  its been a waist of money. Did this with rectifiers too. so I have alot of extra tubes , not nessessarily better tubes. it is fun to experiment though!!!!
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Mark
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Re: The 6 DJ 8 driver tube and the Zen Triode
Reply #2 - 09/30/12 at 14:00:56
 
I've listened to both sides of the story on this issue, and I think it all depends on what the individual can hear... And also the program material...

Some [tube] comparisons tell a story right off for me... Others are more subtle... I think the more weak links I take out of my system, the more likely I am to hear a difference in driver tubes... (m.)
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If a rabbit defined intelligence the way man does, then the most intelligent animal would be a rabbit, followed by the animal most willing to obey the commands of a rabbit. -Robert Brault, writer (b. 1938)
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sberger
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Re: The 6 DJ 8 driver tube and the Zen Triode
Reply #3 - 09/30/12 at 14:20:57
 
Exactly. Rolling tubes isn't necessarily always about being better, but about changing flavors. As I posted in the Torii thread one of the coolest things to me about Decware stuff is how easy it is to tailor the sound to one's desire on any given day, any given moment. Do you need to buy a bunch of expensive tubes to get the best from the amps? Of course not. Steve certainly knows what he is doing. On the other hand, his tasted might not be yours. Having a choice in the matter is what makes this so much fun(to me) and/or maddening to others.

FWIW I agree with Mark about that Bugle Boy 6DJ8. Swell tube.
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jameskk
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Re: The 6 DJ 8 driver tube and the Zen Triode
Reply #4 - 10/05/12 at 10:59:15
 
you guys have me curious ,so I'm getting a couple from a friend . Rca ,made in holland ,and picked up 2 on ebay bugle boys all markings . more to come. Happy decfest for those who are going
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will
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Re: The 6 DJ 8 driver tube and the Zen Triode
Reply #5 - 10/05/12 at 16:07:00
 
In my system with the Torii as amp, I have tried lots of input tubes, and for my tastes the 6N1P is a nice sounding tube, but near the bottom of the NOS tubes I have. How this relates to the Zen Triode, I can't say, and obviously there are those who disagree with this for the Torii. Also, I have a lot of nice NOS tubes for comparators.

For me, the Torii is very tolerant of changes because you can adjust the bass and treble knobs to fine tune and you can change the Voltage Regulator tubes for more refining to taste.

I agree with Mark and sberger...to Mark's thought, I would add that within a given person's sound perception, in my experience, what we are able to hear is also based heavily in system/room characteristics. Over time, as my room and system have become more refined, I can both hear clearly any little change (ICs, Power cords, tubes, damping feet, even foot placement is clear etc), but also, about any tube set can sound good. Then with a little mixing and matching, about any tube I have can sound great!

But I do gravitate toward a certain range of sound with deep but refined bass (balancing clarity with body); open midrange with a slight warmth, texture, and lushness; and extended, but smooth highs.

Within this, as sberger speaks to, changing it up is a really fun and engaging, and I find the variations are endless and exciting. It can be a nice awakening to the subtle qualities of the sound and a deeper view in into the musical experience. But it can (sometimes) take changing the rectifier after the input to find balance. So I would think a small range of good rectifier variations along with the inputs could really help with tube rolling in the Triode.

I do have a lot of tubes, but lately, I find I mostly change rectifiers and inputs, with the power VR a nice tuning device to open it up or make it more dense if needed.

Also the tube Mark is talking about is the most respected Bugle Boy made...the late 50's D getter. I have not heard it, but my assumption is that it is a very, very good tube, and that the 60's BBs with hallow getters are good tubes, but not the same.

That said, in comparison with the 6N1P in my system, the early 60's Bugle boy is a good variation. It has similar warmth, more inner detail, texture, and sparkle, but a bit less bass density.

My favorite 6DJ8 today is a Mullard A-frame pull from parts connexion (I think they say they are near new..like less than 10% used) and it doesn't break the bank. It is  balanced top to bottom, has an amazing warmth and lushness without detail sacrifice, excellent detail retrieval, excellent dynamics (micro and macro)... and smooth highs (that is in the Torii). I tend more toward transparent warmth than darkish warmth myself. If the tube creates the "warmth" without the subtle inner details that bring out the subtleties and textures of the instrument/voice, and also the ambient spaciousness, I miss this aspect of  the "atmosphere," with its heightened sense of players in the room. For me, in my system, this tube has a lot of warmth, but it is refined warmth that is alive and atmospheric. Note: this is with a very open rectifier...

If anyone looks into these I would call, they had both A-frames and large hallow getters in this sale lot when I got mine, and they are not necessarily matched unless you ask.

All that said, I listen more to 7DJ8s than anything these days.
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« Last Edit: 10/05/12 at 21:24:30 by will »  

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jameskk
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Re: The 6 DJ 8 driver tube and the Zen Triode
Reply #6 - 10/11/12 at 13:55:14
 
Day 3 of having a bugle boy in my zen amp . I must say  this tube is very good , inner detail that i must say surpasses the 6n1p , better attack , but yet not overwhelming , just ordered a D getter ,as my comments are from a halo getter...... excellent tone also........ THANKS
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JD
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Re: The 6 DJ 8 driver tube and the Zen Triode
Reply #7 - 10/11/12 at 15:12:38
 
I have found my favorite "so far" to be an telefunken 7dj8's.
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Les Lammers
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Re: The 6 DJ 8 driver tube and the Zen Triode
Reply #8 - 10/11/12 at 17:58:11
 
A post from another forum.

About six years ago I purchased an integrated SET amp that used 12AU7s for preamp section. Obviously I wanted the "BEST" 12AU7 I could get for this amp. I wasn't that knowledgable at that time on the 12AU7 family, as I am now, so I asked the same question you just did, i.e., " What's the best 12AU7 tube?" As you can imagine I got the usual response buy: Amperex, Mullard, Telefunken, Siemens or Valvo.

Not knowing better, I quickly tried these different suggested tubes. However much to my surprise I wasn't satisfied with what I heard. I soon realized it was my ears I had to make happy, not anyone elses. To that end I set off to try almost every variation of the 12AU7 tube I could find: (12AU7A, 12AU7WA, 5814, 5814A, 5963, 6067, 6189, 6680, 6CC40, 7489, 7730, CK5814, CV491, ECC82, E82CC, ECC802, ECC802S and M8136) Not only did I try all these different variations, I tried as many different manufactuer's versions of these variations as well by: (Amperex, Brimar, Cifte, Electro Harmonics, GE, Mazda, Mullard, Phillips, RCA, RFT, RT, Siemens, Sylvania, Telefunken, Tesla, Tungsram & Tungsol) Nor did I stop there, because I was looking for the very best, I also tried every different color (black, gray and chrome/silver/nickel) and type of plate (both long/short/box/ribbed etc)

What I discovered was this. The tubes so many other people cited as being "THE BEST" simply weren't when used in my amp! I found it was actually the Mazda 6189/E82CC/12AU7WA "chrome plate" that sounded the best ---in my amp. It was much better than the highly touted Siemans "chrome-plate" or the much loved Amperex "bugle boys" or any Mullard I could find, yes even the 10M. The Mazda's were followed quite closely by the East German RFT 12AU7 yellow letter "mickey mouse ears." These two tubes blew all the other 12AU7's away when used in my amp , period.

What I'm getting at is the ONLY people who might actually honestly be able to help you would be:

1) people who own your amp --they know what the different tubes sound like in that amp.
2) people who listen to music you listen to --if you listen to New Age and another listens to Heavy Metal you're probably looking for different sonic qualities in a tube and every other component.
3) people who listen for what you listen for in music --even if you listen to the same music if one person focuses on soundstaging and you focus on PRaT, you might prefer different tubes.

Basically, you'll need to discover for yourself what's "THE BEST" 12AU7-type tube for you, in your amp, when you're listening to the music you love. Trust me on this, NO TUBE sounds the same in every amp. That may not help a lot but at least it's honest...
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I'll add that the rare = expensive tubes are not always the best sounding in yours or my system. You have to experiment and sometimes a run of the mill tube can be the 'silver bullet'.
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JD
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Re: The 6 DJ 8 driver tube and the Zen Triode
Reply #9 - 10/11/12 at 18:19:57
 
Great post Les well said.
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Les Lammers
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Re: The 6 DJ 8 driver tube and the Zen Triode
Reply #10 - 10/11/12 at 21:17:53
 
Hi JD,

Thanks. I have tried a lot of tubes over the past 20 years or so and found the above to be quite true. Also, the supply of the revered/touted tubes is getting low and prices are very high. There are 4 Telefunken ECC802S tubes on fleabay with a buy it now price of...$2200.   Roll Eyes
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« Last Edit: 10/11/12 at 21:20:30 by Les Lammers »  
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jameskk
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Re: The 6 DJ 8 driver tube and the Zen Triode
Reply #11 - 10/12/12 at 02:50:47
 
Please,please,please always go back to the stock tubes. theres somebody in East peoria that has a great set of ears ,and you can hear that with the stock tubes.......this is not my idea , but go to a Rite Aid ,buy the Dentek small brushes and some alcohol and clean all your dirty tube sockets and tube pins , no fault of anyone but they were probably dirty from new, yes new, anal, yes! does it make a difference ,yes.Will save you a ton of money. will I still seek out other tubes yes its fun!!!!!!!!!!!!!
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Mark
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Re: The 6 DJ 8 driver tube and the Zen Triode
Reply #12 - 10/12/12 at 14:31:33
 
Some good comments here... To this I would add, to note that any comparison with the 6N 1P tube vs. a vintage tube must take into account the hours on the vintage tube... Admittedly, I've been comparing the 6N1P to older tubes with at least a couple hundred hours on them already... That's because I'm on a budget, and buy only used tubes...

I have found some rather good Sylvania 6DJ 8s, and one Mullard... But in the end, you can't judge a tube by the numbers or even brands... You've got to listen... I listen almost exclusively to classical CDs...

I think I've developed a pretty good ear as a pianist, and also having done my fair share of recording  on some reasonably good gear... But even that is not the gold standard... The gold standard is how our own ears perceive the system we have, playing the program material we like... (m.)

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If a rabbit defined intelligence the way man does, then the most intelligent animal would be a rabbit, followed by the animal most willing to obey the commands of a rabbit. -Robert Brault, writer (b. 1938)
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Lon
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Re: The 6 DJ 8 driver tube and the Zen Triode
Reply #13 - 10/12/12 at 14:42:44
 
I've experimented with 6DJ8 tubes and really never found one that does the job for me. The 6N1P tube type has been the one I've gravitated to over the years and I've just held steady with those and built my rectification and regulation and power tube choices around them.
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will
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Re: The 6 DJ 8 driver tube and the Zen Triode
Reply #14 - 10/12/12 at 15:05:29
 
Clearly how a part sounds is finally taste/system/system synergy/room and music tastes if our listening is strictly of a type. I actually listen to a broad range of music, and my system sounds great with all.

And Steve has a great ear and is very skillful at amp design and implementation. In this, he has a very good sense of how to make an amp sound (and act) natural and transparent with as few parts as possible to influence or bias the sound. This makes his amps very tolerant of quality tube changes. And...Steve can't easily supply less common NOS or OS tubes in his production even if he were to like them better.

As far as tube information, it is surely subjective, but if we work to carefully compare tubes to a standard tube, tube traits-to-tube traits (in this case 6N1P to 6DJ8s) we can get a good sense of what the 6DJ8 might do with our own amp, then decide if it sounds like something we might like.

How else can we learn from one another...presumably the purpose of a forum like this???
Wink
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