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Torii MK4 - Tube Rolling and Some Observations (Read 4258 times)
Lord Soth
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Torii MK4 - Tube Rolling and Some Observations
11/16/13 at 18:38:26
 
The following is meant to provide some feedback on the new Torii MK4 and on my (input) tube-rolling attempts.

I finally burned in my Torii MK4 for 100+ hours.
So, IMHO, the sonics have stabilised enough for me to report on my tube-rolling attempts.

My Audio Chain consists of

Oppo BDP 95
-> Soundsilver Symmetry Interconnects
-> Torii MK 4
-> Clearday Double Shotgun Speaker Cables
-> Alesis Monitor One Mk2 (Passive) Speakers (TEC 1994 Winner)

Tubes Used (Kept Constant during input tube-rolling)

Rectifier : Brimar 5R4GY "D' Getter
VR Tubes : RCA 0A3 "D" Getter,
                RCA 0C2 "0" Getter (any "D" getter versions out there???)
Output Tubes : GEC KT66 Gray Glass "D" Getter

Observations
1. The Torii MK4 is very transparent.
I also have a SE based EL34 tube amp (6 Moons Realisation award winner) which is also very clear sonically.
Both have the same resolution so Steve did not "BS" us when he made the bold claim that the PP Torii MK3 (and now 4) amp has the transparency of an SET based amp.

2. Because of the sonic transparency, in my system, the "best" sounding input tube would therefore be a "warm" one.
I rolled the following input tubes

(a) Philips (Holland) E88CC SQ Gray Shields "O" Getter
(b) Telefunken E88CC <> "O" Getter" Gray Shields
(c) Lorenz Stuttgart 3 Mica CCa "O" Getter Gray Shields
(d) Mullard (Holland) PCC88 Pinched Waist "D" Getter Gray Shields

No major surprises, the best sounding is the Pinched Waist, (d) above.

Tube (a) Had a nice touch of tube warmth but was not warm enough in my audio chain.

Tube (b) Had wonderful mids (and presence) but the bass was really lacking

Tube (c) Turned my Torii MK4 into the "Mystery amp"
High Resolution (HD Tracks) FLAC files sounded fantastic.
Low res Redbook CD FLAC were sonically atrocious.
If I lived on only High Resolution FLAC files, this would be my ticket.

Tube (d) Is the "Best" because it retained the sonic strengths of (a) to (c) whilst it overcame all the various shortcomings the above-mentioned tubes.

The Pinched Waist had
(i) More tube warmth than (a)
(ii) Had the glorious mids of (b) but was not lacking in the bass department
(iii) Was more forgiving than (c) above.
My low res sonic files did not sound like crap.
In fact, they sounded so good and non-fatiguing, I listened to low res files until 4 in the morning during one of my sessions.

Input Tube Recommendations (and musings)
My audio chain consists of pure silver interconnects and speaker cables so a warm input tube sounds best.
Any other CCa (e.g. Siemens) type of tube is likely to create an overdose of sonic transparency.

3. The Torii MK3 was built based on EL34 tubes.
On the new Torii Mk4, if you use a fat coke bottle rectifier (e.g. 5U4G or 5R4G) and 2 of those fat bottle output tubes (e.g. KT66), during installation, the tubes are likely to "say cheers" to one another!
After installation, the ventilation gap was only around 1-2 cm.
I hope this does not affect the tube life of my NOS tubes, I would have preferred a ventilation gap of at least 1 inch.

4. Sonic Depth and Width
The Torii MK4 has very good sonic depth and width.
The input tube also plays a part in affecting the size of the soundstage.

5. Positive Feedback Switch
My speakers did not whistle so it is compatible with this feature.
In my system, when the switch is turned on, it seemed to cause an expansion of the soundstage by at least 2 fold.
However, the sonics were more diffused and I preferred to leave the switch turned off (permanently).

6. Bass Switch
Bass was over boomy if I turned it on, so I left it in the "off" position (permanently).

7. Treble Switch
I left it (permanently) in the middle position cause it sounds wonderful to me.
Did not really experiment with this.

8. Volume Knob
With my current tubes, and my 88db speakers, I never have to turn the volume beyond the half-way mark.

9. Speaker Impedance (aka Epilogue)
This is a caveat to the above.
My Torii MK4 was built with 8 - 16 Ohms speaker taps.

However, despite the fact that
(a) there is a speaker impedance mismatch
(b) my speakers have cross-overs

The 8 Ohms tap sounds so good when paired with my current 4 Ohms speakers (with cross-overs!!!) that I'm seriously thinking of abandoning my original plan to use the amp with the 16 Ohms Zu Soul Superflys.

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jsm71
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Re: Torii MK4 - Tube Rolling and Some Observations
Reply #1 - 11/17/13 at 00:56:26
 
Thanks for your observations.  Everything is so dependent on other equipment, the room, and personal tastes.  I have not decided that any of the settings are permanent yet on my MK IV but I'm starting to believe I'm close.

I was particularly interested in your trials of input tubes.  I have been thinking that those will get changed next.  I also am thinking of trying to get more warmth in that area.

My speakers have pretty tight bass so I've been using the bass setting on the "more" position.  I also am using the positive feedback switch turned on.  I have the tweeter control off.  I have a similar control on my speakers and by turning it up there gives the speakers higher efficiency.  I also am using the 8 ohm tap.

The rectifier was my first change due to bumping bottles as you pointed out.  I went with Philips 5R4GYS which have a great sound and are slightly slimmer than the stock tubes.  I agree, more clearance would have been preferred.

Lots of fun and further experimentation is yet to come.  Were the GEC KT66s the first 66 tube you went with or did you try others?  I bought the Tung Sols but am open to trying others.

Scott
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Lord Soth
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Re: Torii MK4 - Tube Rolling and Some Observations
Reply #2 - 11/17/13 at 03:50:28
 
Hi Scott,

I've been using only the GEC KT66 in my Torii MK4 since the very beginning.

The reasons are due to the following below.

I learnt a very expensive lesson from tube-rolling various NOS EL34s ( on my non Decware SE EL34 amp) and 6DJ8 tubes (on my CSP2+).

For the EL34s, I started out with Mullard Xf2s ( and Other Mullard variants ) and then rolled Amperex "D" getters and finally the metal base philips EL34s.

Likewise for 6DJ8 tubes, I spent a minor fortune playing with almost all the various makes of tubes mentioned in Joe's tube lore and other exotic tubes such as Tungram, Teslas, Russian and Lorenz Stuttgart tubes.

My conclusion is that, most of the time, conventional wisdom applies when it comes to NOS tubes.
If I had just bought a pair of Pinched Waist 6922s or Metal Base EL34s in the very beginning, I would have saved myself a lot of $$$$ in the process.

So when Steve announced that KT66 tubes work better than EL34s, I decided to just get a Quad ( I got 2) of GEC Gray Glass NOS tubes and be done with the tube rolling. Smiley

For the rectifier, I also decided to tap on the experience of another tube roller.
He concluded that the Brimar 5R4 rectifier ranks alongside the famous GEC U52 rectifier.
I carried out a simple 5R4 rectifier shootout myself and found the Philips 5R4GYS to be a very good rectifier too BTW.

So some lessons I learnt from tube-rolling are:

1. Always get the "best" NOS tubes at the start
Coz it will work out to be much cheaper in the long run Wink

2. Input tube sensitivity
The Torii MK4 is very sensitive to tube rolling.
By keeping other tubes constant, a Torii MK4 owner should be able to get the required sound he likes or requires just by changing the input tube.

I think this applies to just about any other Decware amp (e.g. CSP3) due to the inherent simple design.
The stock tube configuration should be good enough for most audiophiles but Decware amps will scale upwards sonically if one uses better NOS tubes.

3. Tuberolling can still spring surprises too
This seems to be a contradiction but I've found the Siemens E288CC to work exceptionally well in my CSP2+ and CSP3.
This is despite the bashing from Joe's tube lore.
So despite my current disposition on tube-rolling ( or lack of), I would still encourage anyone to tube-roll, but only if their budget allows for it.

I also sincerely hope that other fellow Decware fans will share their tube rolling experiences. Smiley



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Lord Soth
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Re: Torii MK4 - Tube Rolling and Some Observations
Reply #3 - 11/17/13 at 14:30:15
 
Hi Scott,

My Pinched Waist Mullard PCC88 were made by the Philips Holland Heelen factory with the "Delta" factory sign.

Some of the pinched waist PCC88s are also labelled as Valvo but were supplied by the Philips Holland factory.

BTW the Pinched Waist Valvo "D" tubes do not sound as good as the Pinched Waist "Delta" tubes.

I also have some real Mullard Blackburn PCC88 and ECC88s with the Blackburn"B" factory codes. These are nice and warm but the bass seems to be not as tight as I like.

Although i got my Pinched Waist tubes from EBay, I believe that Brent Jesse Audio has the Pinched Waist tubes for sale from time to time.

Langrex UK currently has some Brimar 5r4 rectifiers for sale if you are interested.

My RCA VR tubes were purchased from vacuumtubes.net
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jsm71
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Re: Torii MK4 - Tube Rolling and Some Observations
Reply #4 - 11/17/13 at 14:33:36
 
Lord Soth,  I did a little research this morning and can't find the Mullard PCC88s.  Where do you get these?  I have good results buying from Tube Depot or Upscale Audio and they don't show these.

Scott
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Lord Soth
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Re: Torii MK4 - Tube Rolling and Some Observations
Reply #5 - 11/18/13 at 02:56:23
 
Dear Scott,

Somehow my reply to your query was posted prior to your post.

Anyway, for any other tube rollers out there,

Here's some commonly available (for now;) warm sounding alternatives to the pinched waist PCC88  (delta Holland) ranked in decreasing order

1. Amperex ( *) USA 6922 Gray Shields either "O" or "D" getters
These are sonically very close to the more famous and expensive Pinched Waist 6922s.
The $$ premium paid for an actual Pinched Waist over non Pinched Waist Amerex tube is IMHO about 10% improvement.
When a Pinched Waist 6922 is compared against a Pinched Waist PCC88, the premium paid is only for a lifting of a slight sonic veil, about 1-2%.

2. Telefunken E88CC <>
Glorious mids but bass is usually weak.
Mids are not as forward sounding  ( my personal preference ) as compared with Philips tubes
For vocals only listeners, should be good enough.

2. Mullard Blackburn (B code) 6DJ8 tubes Gray Shields
These are very warm tubes, problem is that they could be too warm (I.e. Bass could be too flabby in some audio chains)
Just a caveat, could still work wonders in your audio chain.

3. Russian 6N1Ps
Very warm but not as sonically transparent as European / American tubes
Takes ages to bloom sonically.

Other notes
For more tube warmth, I highly recommend that the NOS input tube for the Torii MK4 should be of the older "Gray Shield" variety.
New Silver Shields are brighter sounding.

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jsm71
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Re: Torii MK4 - Tube Rolling and Some Observations
Reply #6 - 11/18/13 at 14:24:27
 
If one was on a budget, couldn't upgrade all their tubes at once, or is just a cheap bastard like me, would you recommend putting your money more into NOS input tubes or better output tubes?  Where's the best bang for the buck, or are gains worth the money regardless of where spent?
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tgarden
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Re: Torii MK4 - Tube Rolling and Some Observations
Reply #7 - 11/18/13 at 17:34:19
 
Spend your money on better input tubes first. The stock ones are nothing to jump up and down about.

A decent pair of rectifiers makes a nice difference, also.

My experience with the Torii I, II, III, and III/IV conversion, anyway.

Mike in Seattle area
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Lord Soth
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Re: Torii MK4 - Tube Rolling and Some Observations
Reply #8 - 11/19/13 at 01:50:54
 
The Philips 5R4GYS Rectifier for about $50 ea from Upscale Audio is highly recommended as one of those best bang for buck upgrades.

Steve mentioned that the gain of the input tubes for the MK4 was increased over the MK3. So any investment in the input tubes will be worth it,I.e. The MK4 is very responsive to input tube rolling.
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JD
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Re: Torii MK4 - Tube Rolling and Some Observations
Reply #9 - 11/19/13 at 13:35:12
 
I second the rectifiers and input recommendations. Only rectifier I've found better than the Phillips 5r4gys are early 50's RCA 5r4gys...simply amazing and transformed my system (I have them in my ZP3, and CSP2+ as well).  Inputs are also extremely important. In my Torii 3 I've found NOS 6922 to my liking...Telefunkens and Mullards at the top. Good luck and have a blast!

JD
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Lon
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Re: Torii MK4 - Tube Rolling and Some Observations
Reply #10 - 11/19/13 at 13:54:40
 
Never tried the 5R4 type in the Torii. . . saw a pair of RCA on ebay cheap and went for them. Thanks for the nudge.

I really like the old RCA 5U4 in the Torii now, so they have a lot to overcome. I've never preferred anything but the 5Y3 type in the CSP2 or CSP2+ or ZP3--the larger rectifiers just alter the sound from "neutral" too much for my taste and material.
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« Last Edit: 11/19/13 at 13:55:36 by Lon »  

Decware:ERR,HR-1,ZP3,CSP2+(2),Torii Mk III, PS Audio PWT+PWD MkII,PowerBases,PPP,AC-12 pcs, Denon DBP-A100, Denon DCD-A100, Rega RP3 +TTPSU,white belt+Exact2, VooDoo Cable IC: Evo and UL, Mapleshade:Double Heiix Samsonv2+v3 and 4"platforms,Herbie's IsoCups+Tendft
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JD
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Re: Torii MK4 - Tube Rolling and Some Observations
Reply #11 - 11/19/13 at 15:27:07
 
Let me know what you think when you try them Lon.  They definitely do something (alter/enhance/change) to the music and neutral does not come to mind so they might not be to your liking...but curious to see what you think. I find the biggest change is when I listen to my fm tuner (91.9 fm out of Boston if anyone is curious) seems to add some weight, air and texture.  I should be receiving some diffusers in the next few weeks to add to my room that I also added a new credenza to as well that is holding all my equipment.  It's amazing how even the smallest change can "do" something to the music both positive and negative.  Took me 1.5 hrs the other night to figure out  what was causing the thumping noise from my ZP3 that started when I rearranged all my equipment...patience is definitely a virtue.  
JD
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tgarden
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Re: Torii MK4 - Tube Rolling and Some Observations
Reply #12 - 11/19/13 at 15:41:18
 
I have never tried the 5R4 type in the Torii either, but forum member Will has kindly lent me a pair, that I will soon audition. Looking forward to seeing what they do.

I'm with Lon on using 5Y3 types in the ZP3.  It's what Steve voiced the ZP3 with.  I've tried several 5U4 variants in the ZP3, and thought they distorted the sound.  It sounded off.

I like pre WWII RCA 5Y3's in my ZP3, but have found a 40's KenRad 5Y3GT (hanging filaments) that has adds a bit of slam/kick to the sound.

Mike
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« Last Edit: 11/19/13 at 15:42:34 by tgarden »  
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Lon
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Re: Torii MK4 - Tube Rolling and Some Observations
Reply #13 - 11/19/13 at 15:49:54
 
Patience is definitely a virtue! And the amazing blessing and curse of these machines is that you can hear everything . . .cables, power, isolation, and especially tube rolling.

I'll look forward to the rectifiers to see what they'll do in both Toriis. I have two Mk IIIs in two systems and the rooms are significantly different that one tube type may well work better than another in each system.

It's amazing to me when I get it right and mediocre recordings are very listenable and I can get immersed in the music, or the tv show or the movie. . . . . It's astonishing how Decware has changed the quality of my listening and viewing life.
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Lon
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Re: Torii MK4 - Tube Rolling and Some Observations
Reply #14 - 11/23/13 at 23:02:26
 
Got these in. Tried them a few hours. Took them out.

Not for me. Too dry and tight and big sounding, not accurate in my system. Reminded me of the Valve Art 274B. When I can let them burn in for a day or so I will and try listening again.
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« Last Edit: 11/26/13 at 11:01:11 by Lon »  

Decware:ERR,HR-1,ZP3,CSP2+(2),Torii Mk III, PS Audio PWT+PWD MkII,PowerBases,PPP,AC-12 pcs, Denon DBP-A100, Denon DCD-A100, Rega RP3 +TTPSU,white belt+Exact2, VooDoo Cable IC: Evo and UL, Mapleshade:Double Heiix Samsonv2+v3 and 4"platforms,Herbie's IsoCups+Tendft
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Lord Soth
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Re: Torii MK4 - Tube Rolling and Some Observations
Reply #15 - 11/26/13 at 04:42:43
 
I've tested the various types of 5R4GY rectifiers before.

My results are ( in decreasing order of preference)

1. Brimar 5R4GY ("D" getter)
Warmest mids with that "extra" seductive quality.
Same as 2 below, a great all rounder .

2. Philips 5R4GYS ("O" getter 1970s)
Warm mids, with great performance at both bass and top end treble.

3. RCA 5R4GY ( "D" getter)
Clinical Solid state sounding in my setup.
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Lon
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Re: Torii MK4 - Tube Rolling and Some Observations
Reply #16 - 11/26/13 at 11:15:13
 
My findings for the RCA in the Mk III are similar to yours. They may never go back in. . . .

I'll stick to the wonderful old RCA 5U4G that are in now.
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JD
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Re: Torii MK4 - Tube Rolling and Some Observations
Reply #17 - 11/26/13 at 12:17:53
 
It's fascinating how what we all hear.  I'll have to search for a couple of the Brimar's.  I enjoy the RCA's over the Phillips but understand why Lon sticks by his trusty old NOS RCA 5u4g's.  Experienced some listening fatigue (never really happened before) this weekend and traced it to my RCA 5r4gy's( clinical is a good description).  It's weird but I preferred the sound when they were breaking in as compared to broken in... Still kept them in my Zp3 and Csp2+ but put back the 5u4g's in my Torii and the sound relaxed greatly.  

Enjoy the Thanksgiving holiday Decware peeps.

JD
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Lord Soth
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Re: Torii MK4 - Tube Rolling and Some Observations
Reply #18 - 12/07/13 at 10:00:51
 

Just wanted to share more details about my Torii MK4.

It currently sounds better without the CSP3 in my audio chain.
http://www.decware.com/cgi-bin/yabb22/YaBB.pl?num=1386397153/0#0

At 150hrs, it has really bloomed like a sonic rose.
This will really be the last amp I will ever need. Smiley
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tgarden
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Re: Torii MK4 - Tube Rolling and Some Observations
Reply #19 - 12/07/13 at 19:49:55
 
I would not be surprised if you see further bloom, once you reach 400-500 hours of playing time.

That was my experience with my Mark III/IV conversion.

I'm currently at 850 hours.  I saw sonic improvement past the 600 hour mark, but just a little.

Every bit makes a difference, though!
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Lin
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Re: Torii MK4 - Tube Rolling and Some Observations
Reply #20 - 12/07/13 at 20:01:30
 
You have been running your amp 15 hours a day? Shocked
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CSP2 ~ Original Blue Torii ~ and a frightfully large amount of other bits and pieces.
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tgarden
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Re: Torii MK4 - Tube Rolling and Some Observations
Reply #21 - 12/08/13 at 16:35:52
 
I Like Music.  As does my wife (who frequently works from home), my daughter and her friends, and our several friends who visit weekly.  We also have a number of friends who stop by from time to time.

TV, cable, electronic games, texting; I have zero interest in the latter two and minimal interest in the others.  I spend less than thirty minutes per day on the web.

We have great FM stations in the Seattle area, and I own close to 3000 LPs, all purchased within the last ten years.

My time is spent listening to music and interacting with people, face to face.

Mike in Seattle area



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« Last Edit: 12/08/13 at 16:38:28 by tgarden »  
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Re: Torii MK4 - Tube Rolling and Some Observations
Reply #22 - 12/08/13 at 18:12:34
 
I was going to start a new thread but decided to ask my question here.  A few days ago i took out the KT66's and put in some  Siemens/RTF EL34's.  I was surprised at the difference...I prefer the EL34's...at least for now.  My question is, has anyone tried the 6L6 type tube in a Torii.  I'd also be interested in what input/signal tubes people are using in the Torii and CSP3 and their impressions.  I'm using some Amprex 7803's in the Torii which I like.  Mark.
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Re: Torii MK4 - Tube Rolling and Some Observations
Reply #23 - 12/08/13 at 18:39:06
 
Hi Mark,  I'm glad you like those Amperex 7308's.   I've been very happy with them in my MK III/IV Torii conversion.  Amperex pinched waist 6922's would probably be sublime in the MK IV, but for what a tightly matched pair would cost, I'd rather put the difference between those and 7308's, in a better source component.

About a year ago, I tried a "loaner" pair of the pinched waist 6922's, in my then MK III.  They were a smidgen nicer than the 7308's, but the price for a tightly matched pair would be very high.

In the next week, I'll compare my Siemens/RFT EL34's to the existing Tungsol KT66's.

I'm curious also, if anyone has compared KT66's to 6L6 tube types in the MKIV?

Mike in Seattle area.
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Re: Torii MK4 - Tube Rolling and Some Observations
Reply #24 - 01/21/14 at 10:42:33
 
I must agree tube rolling is expensive, I have settled on RCA 5U4GB rectifier Top O Getters, Sylvania OA3, matched quad RCA 6L6GC Black Plate, Mullard gold pin E88CC 6922. I was originally a bit disappointed, but now a few months later the sound is really coming along nicely, especially using my Klipsch RF7ii, at first they were way to treble sounding, I have put a 10 ohm resister between the cross overs to get a bit more bass. I purchsed the speakers same time I got the amp, so both bits of gear sound a lot warmer now, I only play records on this system. It is pretty hard when the speakers have 101db senstivity, I have to buy new or mint condition records, anything less is a waste of time.
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will
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Re: Torii MK4 - Tube Rolling and Some Observations
Reply #25 - 01/22/14 at 16:06:40
 
My MKIV is still a little green (325-350hrs), but lately seems to have made some strides toward its real sound. I am guessing the caps have woken up again, this time being very, very good in the circuit.

Being used to EL34s in my MkIII, I have found the Tungsol KT66 and Psvane 5881s a bit flat sounding, unemotional, and a little veiled in the lower mids. But this is hair splitting, actually the stock tubes were really nice in breakin. Impressive voicing. The sound was big, open, detailed, extending, and rich. But with a little tube play, both power tubes are quite impressive in their own right. They just take a little work for me to get close to the sublime. The main disconcerting thing I was getting was an odd distance from the music....it sounded great, but not quite having the sense of players in the room except with recordings mastered to give this vibe.

Right now I am listening to the 5881s with Chatham 5R4GWYs, Westinghouse labelled 50s OB2, cryo'd RCA OC2, and Valvo 6DJ8s. All of the tubes other than the 5881s are very solid and open helping to bring out a very expressive and balanced sound that is quite detailed, but warm and sweet, and smooth. The 5881s to me are open in the mid/upper mids, but can be a bit thick in the low mids and bottom, though detailed throughout. So I am using tubes to open the low end up a bit. Actually, these OB3s have a beautiful warmth, but they reduce the slightly forward push of the amp (in this system/room) a bit compared to OA3s, and reduce the low-mid  and bass a touch, contributing to the opening of the set. It sounds incredible. I was even able to start liking the feedback mode switched in, where before this breakin breakthrough, I found that sound a bit diffused.

This sound is very, very good to me. Rich but clarified with inner/micro detail and micro dynamics that are exceptional, AND without hardness.

I still keep trying to get to know the amp with the KT66 types since it was voiced this way. But for a few days I put in some cryod Mullard reissue EL34s, the ones I had been favoring in my MkIII, and I was floored by the sweet lushness, amazing detail, great balance and extension, openness and warmth. I did have to turn the treble knobs down more with them, but they sounded really really beautiful with the other tubes I had in. It will be interesting to try them again as the amp breaks in more.

The other thing I noticed before this breakin shift was that tube rolling made a difference, but not like my tuned for transparency MKIII. But this is changing, tube rolling is becoming more powerful. Part of this is I think the level of sophistication of the MKIV circuit. At this point, it really does have a distinct signature that brings out the detail, body, textures, timbre and balance of the music beautifully, but may also contribute to the tubes being a little less dominant in the sound compared to my MkIII.

I am loving this amp. Still getting to know it, but at this point very impressed at the level of sophistication Steve has brought to it. And from the MkIII breakin experience, I can only expect this to improve.
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« Last Edit: 01/22/14 at 16:17:34 by will »  

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Re: Torii MK4 - Tube Rolling and Some Observations
Reply #26 - 01/22/14 at 16:21:43
 
Thanks for the update will. Glad you are enjoying the amp so much!
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Re: Torii MK4 - Tube Rolling and Some Observations
Reply #27 - 01/22/14 at 17:02:11
 
Hi Will,

Thanks for taking the effort to share your detailed experience.

I've already lost track of the number of hours on my Torii MK4, but the sonic "presence" seems to be improving day by day, I think my amp is even greener than I initially thought. Smiley

Your comment about the EL34s has piqued my interest.

I'm really tempted to remove the existing KT66 and tube roll my stash of EL34s just to see what the "Hazen Grid mod" fuss is all about.

Maybe in a month or two, I'll pop in the Metal base EL34s which I originally intended to keep as spares for this amp.

As General Maximus (Gladiator) once said, "at my signal, unleash hell! " Wink

Cheers!
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Re: Torii MK4 - Tube Rolling and Some Observations
Reply #28 - 01/22/14 at 20:08:46
 
LS,

I imagine you will be impressed with the EL34s, especially since you are a tube guy and can mix and match to refine. What I think I heard was all that is reflected in the MKIV refinements over the MKIII, as well as the long heritage of the MKIV development having been part of an EL34 lineage, the EL34 MKIII being its starting point. I don't recall how it went exactly, but suspect Steve did development of the IV with EL34s, and later, in refining the design and voicing, got to preferring
the KT66 for their many good qualities.

It of course depends on the other tubes, and the stock Ruby 5U4G, OC2, OC3s, and EH 6922s are all sort of big and/or open.

All in all, I suspect there will be a number of folks who prefer EL34s and a number who prefer the 6L6GC/KT66 family, and probably ones like me that like both.

Will
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« Last Edit: 01/22/14 at 20:14:30 by will »  

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Re: Torii MK4 - Tube Rolling and Some Observations
Reply #29 - 01/22/14 at 23:13:35
 
I have been using my MK IV with Tesla 7DJ8 PCC88 tubes in the input positions with good results.
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Re: Torii MK4 - Tube Rolling and Some Observations
Reply #30 - 02/08/14 at 08:37:55
 
It has been a couple of months since I listened to my Torii MK4.

I have lost track of the exact number of hours in total but I believe that my amp and current tube/speaker combination has reached a new final level of musical enjoyment.

The forgiving nature of the Torii MK4 now applies to every piece of music which I play on the system. I suppose this was the trait of the Torii MK3? Wink
By "forgiving", I'm referring to the aspect whereby one can listen to every single track of any CD and not be put off by any song.
Most amps and audio systems are such that one can only listen to a couple of "favourites" and have to skip the other tracks.
This situation no longer applies to my Torii MK4.

In addition, I'm finally at the ZEN stage whereby I no longer analyze any of the music tracks.
Every music track I play just grabs me and makes me float in the music.

I also mentioned earlier that I was using mismatched 4 ohms speakers on the 8 ohms taps.
Now I really won't consider getting the 16ohm ZUs as originally planned coz I really don't need it any more.

I sincerely hope all other Torii MK4 owners out there will also reach this audio level with their audio chains too!

Just a quick summary of my audio chain:
(No more need to tinker anymore!!!! Wink
Oppo 95 -> SoundSilver symmetry silver cables -> Torii MK4 -> Clearday DoubleShotgun silver speaker cables-> Alesis Monitor One MK2 Passive speakers

Tubes: ALL NOS
(Also finally no more tuberolling required!!! Wink Whew and a tremendous sigh of relief)

Brimar 5r4GY rectifier "D" getters
RCA NOS OA3 "D" getters
RCA OC2 "O" getters
Holland Heerlen made Pinched Waist PCC88 "D" getters
GEC Gray glass KT66 ("CUP" getters??? my guess since the gray glass obscures my view)
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Re: Torii MK4 - Tube Rolling and Some Observations
Reply #31 - 02/08/14 at 14:44:25
 
Congratulations LS!
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Re: Torii MK4 - Tube Rolling and Some Observations
Reply #32 - 02/11/14 at 10:02:41
 
Hi Will,

Thanks. Smiley

My current Torri MK4 combo now allows me to enjoy redbook CDs, and even MP3s too!
I have some music tracks bought a long time ago from Amazon and they were only available in that format.
The MP3s no longer sound like CRAP.

Hi res files still sound better but I am no longer restricted to just hi res music as when the Torii MK4 first arrived in my home.

My Tony Bennett Duets redbook CD currently sounds like a "live" jazz performance is taking place in my home.
I won't even need to get a hi res version if such a thing exists.
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Re: Torii MK4 - Tube Rolling and Some Observations
Reply #33 - 02/13/14 at 01:07:40
 
Lord Soth,

I am having a similar experience. Extraordinary detail, micro and macro, and micro dynamics, AND forgiving! I seem to be most happy with Psvane 5881s (sort of between the lush, round and detailed tone of EL34s and the linear and drier Tungsol KT66s). The Psvanes took a long time to get there, but here they are round, sweet, linear and detailed. Right now complimented by early 50s RCA 5U4G-STs, Westinghouse labelled 50s OB3s, RCA cryo'd OC2s, and Russian made Zearix labelled PCC88s.

I love the people who give us the possibility to feel the Players in the living room!
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Re: Torii MK4 - Tube Rolling and Some Observations
Reply #34 - 02/13/14 at 04:07:48
 
I couldn't be more pleased with the results you're all getting with the MK IV post burn-in and just wanted to drop in to say hi and give you some insights...

My favorite input tube in the TORII MKIV is a Siemens PCC88 / 7DJ8 long bottle.  However, 7DJ8's in general are great due to their high linearity in this amp.  Really tightens the bass on problematic speakers not to mention the transparency and silkiness are amazing.  

My second favorite is the 6N23P and I am trying to ship TORII's with this tube in place of the Electro Harmonix 6922 due to recent noise issues with the current batch of EH6922's.  

The 6N23P tubes are all over the place matching wise.  I bring this up because I found in the TORII MK IV as well as the Mystery Amp, it is important to have both input tubes matched in gain so that both channels put out the same amount of power at any given point on the volume dial.  With dual volume it of course wouldn't matter, but with a single ganged volume control it's nice to at least start with perfectly matching channels.

So using the 6N23P I installed 10 tubes in the MK IV, one at a time and measured the power output from the amplifier to see how big the differences would be.  (iPod as a source with 1/2 volt output) and the amplifier turned exactly half way up, which represents a nice healthy listening level on most any speaker.

The lowest tubes allowed the amp to put out 2 watts RMS, while the highest tubes allowed the amp to put out 13 watt RMS at the same volume setting.  Also the weaker tubes that gave the 2 watt figure limited the max power of the amp to 20 watts, while the stronger tubes held perfectly clean past 30 watts.  

Bottom line is that you don't really want to have 3.4 watts on one side and 6.5 watts on the other because your imaging will suffer as well as dynamics.

And as far as I can tell when studying the amplifier at listening levels there is a PEAK RMS level of 2 watts with the average being less than 1 watt.  However, the peak power at this same listening level is over 17 watts making it's headroom exceed 12db on the weakest input tubes.  Of course if the music wasn't compressed and we had normal strength tubes this same level would yield almost twice that.  Ahh, the magic of tubes... 24dB of headroom is more than most CD's with compression of any kind so the dynamic headroom of the amplifier exceeds the ability of the recordings.

Anyway, if you run your TORII MK IV's with EL34's and haven't tried 7DJ8's be sure to do so.  Same is true for most other output tube choices as well.

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Re: Torii MK4 - Tube Rolling and Some Observations
Reply #35 - 02/13/14 at 05:48:49
 
I think with my cryo'd Tungsol KT66 that some early 60s Siemens PCC88s are a favorite of mine too. They are not tall bottles, but very nice with the Tungsols. With some inputs the TS KT66 can be a little edgy to me they are so spacious, defined, powerful and dynamic, but with these Siemens they are beautiful. Funny, I had just bought some tall bottle Siemens PCC88s that will be coming soon.

EDIT: Now that I am exploring the TS KT66 after the Psvanes, I find the KT66 more difficult by comparison. With thier inherent dynamics, articulation, openness, they seem more responsive to the inputs for better or worse, and sound quite good with some, and too edgy for me with others. The bass is more controlled with them also, my usual peaks at 40-45 and 60-65 hardly an issue. They appear not as forgiving, but exhibit characteristics that could be pretty amazing, especially for a big, tight bass. I am doing some measurements and EQs, and will report later, but the first measurements are interesting. The peaks and valleys of the Psvanes 5881 are pretty different than those of the KT66 bottom to top.
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« Last Edit: 02/13/14 at 22:52:54 by will »  

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Re: Torii MK4 - Tube Rolling and Some Observations
Reply #36 - 02/20/14 at 19:01:58
 
I have been listening to Siemens tall bottle PCC88/7DJ8s for a few days now. Not enough for them to be burnt in, but they are really sounding good here too with cryo'd Tungsol KT66s....rich, balanced, warmish, and detailed.
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Re: Torii MK4 - Tube Rolling and Some Observations
Reply #37 - 02/21/14 at 01:26:14
 
I happen to be using Tesla yellow label (pre-war) PCC88's with the kind of results that you described.
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Re: Torii MK4 - Tube Rolling and Some Observations
Reply #38 - 03/06/14 at 03:08:41
 
Hi everyone,

I'm a big fan of the Game of Thrones ( "GOT" ) mini-series ( music + show ) .

Wanted to share some more of the great experience I am having using the Torii MK4 in a home-theatre setup.

I am getting amazing 3D holographic sonics with just a simple 2 speaker system without any subs or room treatment .... Blah blah blah.

For e.g., during the opening sequence of the GOT, there is an orb representing the Sun. There is a sonic effect of "sizzling" heat emanating from the Sun from different vantage points from a 3D sonic viewpoint.

The sound of the sizzling heat was so intense and realistic that a family member sitting on the sofa with me jumped slightly coz she thought that she would be burnt to a crisp by the Sizzling Sun!
There is no real heat generated, of course, except from the tubes Wink but this just shows how realistic the Mk4 can render 3D surround sound for home theatre usage! Smiley
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Re: Torii MK4 - Tube Rolling and Some Observations
Reply #39 - 03/06/14 at 13:53:17
 

That's pretty awesome, LS. I love GOT as well, I think I need to rewatch a bunch of episodes on the Mystery Amp now. Though my Home Theater setup is no slouch, it doesn't have that 3D effect the Decware gear brings out!
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Re: Torii MK4 - Tube Rolling and Some Observations
Reply #40 - 03/07/14 at 01:40:52
 
Hi LR,

I've seen the online pictures of your wonderful setup.
Your listening space is more demanding than mine.

My music / home theatre room is a cozy man-cave whereby my position is slightly further than near field listening - about 12-13 feet away from the speakers.
This is why, IMHO, I could  still get those 3D effects without having to fiddle with room treatments and such , which I believe is required for most listening rooms.

My setup is based on just the simple principle of the audio equilateral triangle.
I also went through a diverse bunch of interconnects etc like most people until I reached audio nirvana.
System synergy was also by luck, I suppose. Wink

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Re: Torii MK4 - Tube Rolling and Some Observations
Reply #41 - 03/20/14 at 06:44:21
 
Has anyone tried different power tubes? I am using the KT66 just bought some 6V6's made by "Reflector" NOS. Anyone try out 6V6's?
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Re: Torii MK4 - Tube Rolling and Some Observations
Reply #42 - 03/20/14 at 12:14:15
 
6V6 will not work in this amp.
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Re: Torii MK4 - Tube Rolling and Some Observations
Reply #43 - 03/22/14 at 06:19:08
 
Oops I ment 6L6. Anyone try those yet? I just got some. They need breaking in so I really cant compare them yet.
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Re: Torii MK4 - Tube Rolling and Some Observations
Reply #44 - 03/22/14 at 13:39:54
 
I have not tried 6L6 in the amp. The 6L6 is an older development that the KT66 was meant to improve on. According to Steve's tube comparison chart, a 6L6 offers an overall wetter tone (more lush?), less power, looser bass and muffled highs. Why anyone would want that over the KT66 or EL34 is beyond me.
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Re: Torii MK4 - Tube Rolling and Some Observations
Reply #45 - 03/22/14 at 13:46:01
 
Each room and system is different. And program material. I find that a lusher presentation works better with most of what I listen to than a more clinical presentation. For me the material rules the hardware rather than I listen to things that sound great on my hardware.

May try those, they sound really good in guitar amps (I like a lush, warm guitar sound).
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Re: Torii MK4 - Tube Rolling and Some Observations
Reply #46 - 03/22/14 at 13:58:37
 
Just ordered a quad of TAD 6L6 from cryoset. Using the KT66 has made me want to experiment. With the bass control on the Mk III I can fix any loose bass. My recent very positive experience with cryo'd TAD EL84 in my Zen C amp has me wanting to try more TAD tubes.
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Re: Torii MK4 - Tube Rolling and Some Observations
Reply #47 - 03/23/14 at 04:09:23
 
Hey guys, I'm using the Cryoed NOS Reflector 6L6's right now. Just put them in so they are no where near as broke in as my KT66's were. I like them though. At first fire up they gave some good pops in the speakers then they kind of came across kind of "Thin" sounding. Then as the night wore on and on to the next day they def. sounded more full and "Lush" sounding than the day before. I like the KT66's as they do sound amazing, but I'm just curious as to what other tubes would sound like. The 6L6's def. made it sound like a total different animal than before. Seems to have more of the typical warm tube kind of sound. Looking forward to them breaking in more. Steve's description of them in the MK4 page are spot on. Why use them? It's different. I really cant tell much of a power deference. Love my MK4 conversion. Decware customer service is great too! Steve is a great help. I have only played around with the preamp and power tubes. Changing the tubes really does change everything.
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Re: Torii MK4 - Tube Rolling and Some Observations
Reply #48 - 03/25/14 at 02:43:42
 
I have about six hours on a matched quad of cryo'd TAD 6L6WGC-STR in my newest Mk III and I am enjoying the sound. Sort of a cross between the cry'od 6CA7 and the cryo'd Tungsol KT-66 that I have been using recently. Quite dynmic and rich sounding, not quite as big and open as the KT-66 but more so than the 6CA7 and a darker, richer sound. Very promising, let's see how they burn in. I've been quite impressed with TAD tubes, they are very well made and the EL84s I bought for the C amp in my Dad's system sound superb.
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« Last Edit: 03/25/14 at 03:04:05 by Lon »  

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Re: Torii MK4 - Tube Rolling and Some Observations
Reply #49 - 03/25/14 at 05:42:37
 
Hi Lon,

Real curious on how they turn out for you.  Nice description on them at cryoset.

 "The TAD 6L6WGC-STR is the preferred choice for classic tone with warm clean and rich, sweet mids when pushed."

 That would be a plus in my mind.   I also see TAD makes an EL34 which supposedly sound a lot like Mullards per the Cryoset description ,  and they would utilize the Haazen grid mod.

I may try them out soon, question is which type..??

Greg
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« Last Edit: 03/25/14 at 06:11:47 by Greg12 »  

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Re: Torii MK4 - Tube Rolling and Some Observations
Reply #50 - 03/25/14 at 11:41:30
 
I'll keep you posted. So far, 12 hours or so in, they're doing quite well. Like the 6CA7 they impart a vintage like sound. They have plenty of power for my needs. No real sonic detributes.
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Re: Torii MK4 - Tube Rolling and Some Observations
Reply #51 - 03/25/14 at 23:14:09
 
Greg12,

I seem to recall some time ago that Ron thought the Ruby EL34 BHT had the same look and construction as the TAD 34B-STR. So I thought, a lot cheaper, though lacking whatever selection process TAD uses and I got the Rubys. I like them, but I would not call them rich per se. If they are the same now, thought you might want to check.
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« Last Edit: 03/25/14 at 23:16:44 by will »  

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Re: Torii MK4 - Tube Rolling and Some Observations
Reply #52 - 03/26/14 at 02:17:34
 
Thanks Will.  I'll keep them in mind for down the road. A lot of great choices.  Of course I still really like the OEM Tung-Sols, wonder it the cryo'd version do anything better.

But, it's all kind of moot for now.  Every time I start to think about ordering more tubes, I see a record I buy instead. Smiley

Greg

P.S.  Hope you are still enjoying the Mullards I sent you.  You're probably right in that I didn't give enough time to burn in.
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Re: Torii MK4 - Tube Rolling and Some Observations
Reply #53 - 03/26/14 at 16:24:49
 
Yes I do like those Mullards, and they did change in good ways with more burnin, mostly opening/tightening up mid-mids down to a warm, balanced detail, while smoothing and softening the hardish edges in the upper mids. When I first heard them I thought they showed a variation of many unbroken in power tubes actually....but more exaggerated in the imbalance of open/bright upper mids and too thick low mids-to-bass.

I have not tried the Tungsol EL34s except cryo'd, but would not be surprised if the "softer" quality of "raw" tubes might not be a benefit to that particular tube. It is so articulate that the subtle cleaning up, clarifying, and extension cryo tends to do may be a little over-kill for my tastes with that particular tube...just speculating though!

I have been exploring a few KT66/6L6 types but not as much as I would like...been caught by too many things that have kept me from being able to play with my system...hopefully this will change in the next weeks for the better...audio therapy is what I could use more of theses days...so I hear you on buying records!
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Lon
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Re: Torii MK4 - Tube Rolling and Some Observations
Reply #54 - 04/05/14 at 16:21:26
 
Well, ultimately the cryo'd Tung-Sol KT-66 are a better fit for my Mk III than the cryo'd TAD 6L6WGC-STR. I just can't not have that wide open midrange that the Tung-Sols bring, along with the forgiving top end. The TADs are quite good, but just not quite "involving" enough at this time in that machine. I'll put them back in at some point when more broken in.

In the meantime I've put the cryo'd TAD 6L6WGC-STR in the Torii Mk II that I have in my Dad's system ast the moment. They are sounding very good there. The Mk II has a slight retro vibe to the sound in comparison to my Mk IIIs and these tubes and the ERRs both complement this well. In the opposite of what Jim quotes Steve as saying about 6L6 tubes, these have a ver upward tilt with a tight and focused bass. At least in their current status of a few hundred hours on them. I've had to dial the treble way back with the treble cut circuit, but doing so I have a very nicely balanced and dynamic presentation, well-suited for the classical music that gets spun in this system. And they are very robustly built, quite handsome tubes.
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Re: Torii MK4 - Tube Rolling and Some Observations
Reply #55 - 04/06/14 at 02:58:09
 
I seem to have gone full circle, amp came with the KT66, then I put in RCA 6L6 black plates, now I have Svetlana EL34, the EL34 seem to have more crunch and warmer sound than the RCA and KT66. I'm having so much trouble trying to tone down my Klipsch RF7-II speakers, the horns are so overpowering, next step is to have the speaker crossovers modified by DeanG, this is my last resort. I'm don't think I would buy horn speakers again. Sensitivity of 101db is too high, can only play new and mint records, picks up everything.
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