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SE34.3 Tube Upgrades (Read 4815 times)
Palomino
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SE34.3 Tube Upgrades
03/19/13 at 14:47:49
 
I recently bought an RCA NOS 5U4G to replace my stock rectifier.  Sounds great and gives me a much more liquid sound.  I am looking to replace all the stock tubes and keep them as backup.

What suggestions does anyone have for power tubes?  I have heard JJ's Wing C's, and Mullard reissues mentioned.  Any power tubes specifically for the SE34.3?

Input tube recommendations?

I am on a budget, but will save for the right tubes.
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busterfree
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Re: SE34.3 Tube Upgrades
Reply #1 - 03/19/13 at 23:30:04
 
SED Winged C EL34 cyoed
Voshod 6N1P-EV Super Cryoed

both from cryoset dot com
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marky
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Re: SE34.3 Tube Upgrades
Reply #2 - 03/20/13 at 10:45:41
 
If someone has several sets of EL 34`s it would be interesting to hear what they think about new v nos Palomino.
I have nos and haven`t heard new. They sound just how I would want the SE341 to sound. I wont say what they are because I picked them from the lower end price of nos tubes to suit pocket ( $75 ea ), and as you mentioned you may save for nos if convinced, and the choice would be your own. In other words I`m putting my neck out and saying all nos would sound good, thats why they cost more.
You can allways find good deals on nos ; the manufactures give a new `spec` figure, but nos tubes  allways exceed this by upto 120% of spec. So when this figure creeps down to 100% or lower the price comes down.
I like to see if the tubes appear here https://www.tubeworld.com/6ca7.htm a kind of rogues gallery   Smiley
Some prices are in never never land, so when I see tubes offered at a lot less.....
ps I chose a millitary variety of Tesla.

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« Last Edit: 03/20/13 at 10:52:57 by marky »  

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Lon
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Re: SE34.3 Tube Upgrades
Reply #3 - 03/20/13 at 11:51:19
 
When I had the SE34.2 I used the same set as busterfree for a while (except the EL34 were not cryo'd, and with 'sixties RCA 5U4G rectifiers) and the sound was excellent.
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« Last Edit: 03/20/13 at 11:52:03 by Lon »  

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will
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Re: SE34.3 Tube Upgrades
Reply #4 - 03/20/13 at 19:15:49
 
Like you, I find the stock Ruby rectifier (that is if it is still stock) a good starting place. This is where your tube sound starts.

What are the other tubes you are using now? And is the RCA a GB (straight side bottle), and if so short or long, or a ST (coke bottle shape). Do you know what year it is. Hard to recommend tubes without a baseline to go from.

Being so simple and cleanly designed and built, your amp will sound really good with loads of different tubes. ]
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« Last Edit: 03/20/13 at 19:16:51 by will »  

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will
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Re: SE34.3 Tube Upgrades
Reply #5 - 03/20/13 at 19:19:29
 
Also, with what you have, how would you prefer the sound to change?
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Palomino
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Re: SE34.3 Tube Upgrades
Reply #6 - 03/20/13 at 19:19:42
 
I replaced the stock Ruby with what I think is a 60's RCA, coke bottle shape, black plates.

The power tubes are Tung Sol EL34B.  The input are some non-descript Russion tube, and also stock.
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will
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Re: SE34.3 Tube Upgrades
Reply #7 - 03/20/13 at 19:21:26
 
I suspect the inputs are 6N1Ps then...
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Palomino
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Re: SE34.3 Tube Upgrades
Reply #8 - 03/20/13 at 19:25:31
 
They are.  Sorry, should have been specific  I do have a set of Russian 6N2Ps as well.
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Palomino
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Re: SE34.3 Tube Upgrades
Reply #9 - 03/20/13 at 19:42:18
 
Oh, and by the way, I am not sure what I am looking for.  I am not unhappy with what I have.  

I just wanted to experiment with something well regarded by the folks here on the forum familiar with Decware gear/sound.  That and having a backup set of tubes were my goals.

Every time I have gone with a suggestion here on the forum for anything - interconnects, power gear, recordings, etc. they have not lead me wrong.
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will
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Re: SE34.3 Tube Upgrades
Reply #10 - 03/20/13 at 21:31:34
 
I like the idea of backup too! And if you think about how you choose that backup set you could potentially mix and match with your current tubes having multiple options that sound good if you enjoy changing things up now and then.

As a general piece of info, the 6N1P I think draws about 600mah compared to the 300 range for 6DJ8 and 6922 making the latter louder and having more headroom at higher volumes. I am not sure where 7DJ8s are in here, but volume-wise, they are also louder than 6N1P and clip much later in my Torii MkIII.

Hard to safely recommend tubes with the taste thing, and since NONE of our system/rooms sound alike...this is why I am interested in the tubes you have ...from there I can try to compare tube to tube in my setting giving a hopefully good reference of what to expect from a tube change.

Between the other input tubes you might like, generally, the 6DJ8 and 7DJ8 will be subtly more soft feeling (good soft) and textural.... and 6922s will be more articulate...more "accurate," having clearer "edges" and often go a bit deeper. Perhaps I would place the 7DJ8s as generally being sort of in between the 6DJ8 and 6922 having good texture and liveliness of the DJ8 integrated with a generally clear/openish sound.

I just put in my cryo'd Tungsol EL34s after quite a long time of not hearing them and am enjoying them. In the next few days I will compare some other power tubes relative to the Tungsol.

One that I and a bunch of others have been liking in the Torii's are the JJ6CA7. Also a lot of Torii folks are liking 7DJ8, as do I. They are really a good value still though they are getting rarer as folks catch onto them. And I think all of them I have sound quite good.

I have a pair of the following and I think they are really good tubes...big, "tubey" sound that has little sense of restriction, slightly warm, open, good depth and extension. I am listening to them with the Tungsol EL34s now and it is a notably solid sound that is atmospheric and live with a nice warmth to sweeten things without detail loss.

These tubes look Russian to me. They are unusual 7DJ8s from my collection, the rest being NOS european shapes and builds. And they have a particular character that is different too... a sort of bigness.

http://www.ebay.com/itm/NOS-Zaerix-PCC88-7DJ8-tubes-Matched-Pair-new-in-box-/160...

In my 34SE, I recall liking the 62NP, but only after quite a bit of breakin. This was before I became a tube freak though, so I have heard a lot of tubes now that I had not then.

More later.

Will
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« Last Edit: 03/20/13 at 21:35:23 by will »  

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Palomino
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Re: SE34.3 Tube Upgrades
Reply #11 - 03/22/13 at 17:33:42
 
Thanks everyone for the advice.  I have a couple I definitely want to try out.
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will
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Re: SE34.3 Tube Upgrades
Reply #12 - 03/22/13 at 22:56:31
 
I have been comparing the EL34 power tubes I have in my Torii MkIII. I would think the tube to tube signature comparison should translate well enough to the Rachel, though its sound would be different in this room, and likely more so in yours, our system/rooms being different.

These tubes all sound good. I fell into an interesting issue for analysis and recommendation while listening...Direct comparison can be confusing. Each of them sound like they have a little different power output and combining this with varying signature characteristics, I found I had to test them close together in time (just leaving enough time between listening for them to heat up well), but also I had to listen with more time between tubes in order to hear them more objectively. It is easy to get seduced by the more powerful or obvious expression, but sometimes the mellower one is just the ticket.

Also, all of my tubes except the Winged Cs came from cryoset, and cryoing does change them....some more than others. I think in general it refines the tube's basic characteristics....cleans out the cobwebs a bit without harshness, giving more definition top to bottom along with more spacial info and black.

I prefer cryo, but this choice too could be used for system refinement. For a more refined definition cryo'd tubes are a good tool. For a system/room tending to a little too much definition with a given tube or tube set, non-cryo will likely have more "mush" room...softer edges.

The difference is pretty clear in my system/room, but mine is very revealing. It may be very subtle to unnoticeable in some system/rooms. But then, if you look at structural benefits the cryo is said to provide, even if one can't hear it, it might be good especially when the cryo tubes are similarly priced.

Finally, this is not meant to be an exhaustive evaluation of these tubes, but a chance to look at the basic signature qualities as they present to my ears in my system.

The backup set I have in the Torii are:

5U4G-ST 50s RCA ribbed black plate (this one is slightly on the open side of my RCA STs)
OA3 1960 JAN Marshall
OC2 50s RCA
7DJ8 Zaerix labeled PCC88, looks Russian made to me


The Power tubes:

Tungsol EL34 cryoset:


Very powerful feeling. Forward. Excellent balance top to bottom. Slight warmth. Excellent dynamics and edge definition with an exceptionally tight bass, but still excellent texture. Very Good sound stage saturation. Very Good spacial atmosphere.

To me this sounds like an excellent tube doing everything in an even and powerful way. The amazing definition, power, and resulting forwardness could/would be disconcerting to some, and depending on system and tube balance, the mid-mids could be hardish, but they sound good here/now. The refined edge definition focus is at the expense of some atmospheric information...the way the sound eases off the attack creating close and far ambient decay...spacial info. This is not a big deal to me though as it only shows up by comparison...The tube sounds pretty natural within these characteristics to me. So if the system/room calls for these super-tube qualities, I would call this an excellent tube.


Golden Gate EL34 cryoset:

Though this tube has its own signature characteristics that are good (I have been listening to it for the last 6 weeks or so), this is a lot like a younger brother to the Tungsol. It has great definition and balance, but is a bit softer, warmer, and less forward. Great dynamics. Tight, but a little less tight bass. Similar potential caveats also depending on the rest that makes a tube set and system/room.....With this tube set, roughly speaking, it really is similar, but a little lower key. So for the purpose of having spare tubes to change things up from the Tungsol, I wouldn't think this is the one.


JJ6CA7 cryoset:

Now this is interesting. This tube has excellent definition and balance, very good dynamics, very good bass definition, very good texture, and feels a tad warmer than the Tungsol. It feels more laid back, open and rich, and definitely less forward, with the soundstage placement more typical to others in my system/room. Also, riding off the very good, but slightly softer feeling definition is a very good dose of ambient info (from close to far) giving a spaciousness and atmosphere to the tube...a sense of "big tubey" sound.

The combination of the above makes this tube more relaxed, more atmospheric, more forgiving...easier than the tungsol, but still with really good definition. Is it better? I really can't say...totally a taste thing as far as I can read it, but I feel comfortable calling it a great second power tube for quality variation, for refinement of preferences in a system/room, and for rolling in with other tubes.

This tube did take a looonnng time to burn in.


Winged C (this was the stock tube with my Torii and is not cryo'd):

The Winged C is an interesting tube. It always sounds really good. In the progression of warmth, it is the warmest of the tubes I have, but good warmth, darkish in the low mids, but relatively detailed. It is more dark than the others from the mid-mids down losing some definition, but retaining enough definition down the frequency spectrum to be convincing. So it does it well leaving a good strong bass that is not uncomfortably lacking tightness. To illustrate how little the darkness masks the detail, the soundstage is very good.

For me, this tube never stays in though, I think mostly because I find it off balance by my tastes and in my system/room. I attribute this mostly to the excellent, open and textural midrange and upper midrange of this tube, and to me, the slightly unsettling contrast of the dark enhancement coming a little bit too fast and hard in the lower mids to mid-bass. The very open mids make the slightly dark lower regions sound a little veiled or restricted, or put another way, the darkish lower regions make the upper mids sound a little bit too open and bright. This is subtle, but the way i hear it is disconcerting to me.

This is a really good tube though by most reviews and standards, and if a system/room needs to bring out a bit more texture and upper midrange, while enhancing the system/room low mids down with a darker/bigger sound, this tube could be a great one to have in one's collection.

Ruby EL34BHT cryoset:

Without sounding like the JJ6CA7, this is in many ways like it, but with more emphasis on detail and openness. It is brighter feeling with less darkness in the "warmth" but retains a bigness and some lushness, and overall, still sounds somewhat warm to me. It feels like the bass goes a little less deep and is not as big, but that may be in part the mid-mids and upper-mids being slightly emphasized....probably a bit of both. This tube says excellent detail and spaciousness more than the others. The excellent soundstage reflects this...saturated but with notable spaciousness and air. But all these tubes have a good sound stage in this setup, the main differences being the depth of saturation and how the space between the instruments is filled, which is interrelated...this one has a more spacious feel.

Depending on system/room and tubes, the mid-mids could possibly be on the bright/hard side, but they sound good here/now. Also, depending on conditions they could be a bit lean sounding. So these are the bright/lean ones in my test, but not so much so that I will not leave them in and play around a little with the other tubes. They have very good qualities and a compelling sound that somehow blends transparency with atmosphere in a nice way.

If a system/room/ or tube set feels a bit too dark and bassy, this tube might be just the ticket. Within its characteristic values, it is a really good sounding tube to me. It feels fresh and lively with a sense of transparency, but enough warmth and atmosphere to soften the edges of things with a slightly lush tubey quality.


Rectifiers...I will probably start playing with this tube set (Ruby EL34BHT) by putting in a 50's Raytheon 5U4GB with rectangular getters just down the top side of the plates. These tubes are textural and warm with deeper bass than the STs in this listening test, but without a sense of being too dark to me...the balance of detail carrying the dark very well and helping to create a very nice version of what "warmth" means to me.

This talk about darkness, warmth and bass reminds me. To me, the Rectifier is a great and inexpensive way to change up and refine the sound, especially with the Rachel's single tube. And they can be gotten inexpensively on EBAY. I so far find deeper bass being a characteristic in particular with 5U4GBs...but it may be just the ones I got. Also, texture and spaciousness is often a bit better with the GBs I have. For generally balanced sound and smoothness the older STs seem to excel. Also, since the Rectifier is the beginning of the tube sound, it can have some very real influence on the system sound.  So having a few (or a number of) varied and good sounding rectifiers to tune a system is to me a smart tool.



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« Last Edit: 03/23/13 at 21:54:40 by will »  

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Lord Soth
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Re: SE34.3 Tube Upgrades
Reply #13 - 03/23/13 at 02:12:38
 
Hi Will,

Thanks for great write-up on Cryoset Power tubes!
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Palomino
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Re: SE34.3 Tube Upgrades
Reply #14 - 03/23/13 at 13:58:55
 
+1 on the review.

Based on your descriptions, I may try a set of the Ruby EL34BHT.  You also helped me formulate an opinion on what I am looking for in terms of sound.  At $40 for a pair they are also very reasonably priced.  I find cryoset pricing to be a good deal as well.

For example, I have a local cryo guy that charges $8 per tube, so cryoset is below what I would pay if I bought these off ebay or elsewhere and had them treated.  No additional wait cost for processing as well.

Anyway thanks for the advice.
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