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Torii Mk3 and KT66's (Read 3080 times)
tom collins
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Torii Mk3 and KT66's
11/26/13 at 19:59:10
 
Friends:  After a buddy got his Mk4, I asked him to bring over his Tung-sol reissue KT66s to try in my Mk3.  They definitely put the "power" in power amp.  I was able to buy a quad of Gold Lion reissues.  They have tremendous authority and do not tend to run out of breath as the EL34s can.  I am using Decware ERR's and they will absolutely fill the room up with just a little volume.  The only downside is that the Hazen grid in not used with these tubes so a little of the SET like beauty is given up.  But, with both sets, one can go back and forth depending on mood.
This is like driving the car with the supercharger after driving the standard car.  Worth a try in my book.
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orangecrush
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Re: Torii Mk3 and KT66's
Reply #1 - 11/28/13 at 15:56:11
 
I am using Genalex Gold Lions KT77's (Cyroset) and there are hands down the best power tube I have had in the MK3. They have the authority you mention but without sacrificing that beautiful EL34 midrange emphasis what brought me to the Torrii in the first place.

I did not know you can run KT66's in the MK3. The old MK3 web page only gives these choices:

OUTPUT TUBE CHOICES: EL34 6CA7 KT77 6550 KT88
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« Last Edit: 11/28/13 at 17:33:54 by orangecrush »  
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agustinf
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Re: Torii Mk3 and KT66's
Reply #2 - 12/14/13 at 13:06:50
 
Gentlemen, What kind of music and speakers are you listening to? I'd love to hear more impressions.

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Lon
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Re: Torii Mk3 and KT66's
Reply #3 - 12/14/13 at 13:13:13
 
I'd be tempted to try these tubes but. . . "a little of the SET like beauty is lost" . . . due to the Hazen grid mod incompatibility. I'd not like to surrender that, that's the beauty of the Mk III for me. I love the JJ 6CA7s and will be sticking with them at least another year (new cryo'd set in the closet awaiting a swap early in the coming year).
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Rivieraranch
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Re: Torii Mk3 and KT66's
Reply #4 - 12/14/13 at 18:39:28
 
I have been playing my new MK IV a lot with the KT66 tubes I got from Jim McShane. I have to say that the detail is striking. The gain characteristics of the amp are gentle and very much like the Zen and Superzen. It does not distort even at full range. Maybe someday I will look into some KT77 or JJ 6CA7's to see how they would do.
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agustinf
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Re: Torii Mk3 and KT66's
Reply #5 - 12/22/13 at 14:38:02
 
Hi RR,  are you using the 66s permanently in your torii or are you switching with other types of tubes?
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Rivieraranch
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Re: Torii Mk3 and KT66's
Reply #6 - 12/22/13 at 19:47:09
 
I've used only the KT66. I heard a MKIV at DECFEST with EL34's in it and I did not like it as much as with the KT66. I think the inputs offer the most variation of the sound. I am using JJ6922's right now. I ordered some Tesla yellow label PCC88's to see how they'd sound.
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DaveH
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Re: Torii Mk3 and KT66's
Reply #7 - 12/28/13 at 17:03:21
 
Actually I was wondering if someone might comment on a Tori Mk III with GL KT77's or similar vs a Torii Mk IV or a mystery amp. I could use a bit moe slam from my Ref 3A GV's. Happy new year to all.
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orangecrush
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Re: Torii Mk3 and KT66's
Reply #8 - 12/31/13 at 19:26:55
 
I use the Genalex Gold lions KT77 in my Torri III, and they clearly better very other tube I have used. They give immediate boost in authority and low end grunt and fullness without sacrificing any transparency. While they don't use the hazen grid, I don't care, because they sound so good. Fantastic build quality.

How efficient are those speakers?


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DaveH
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Re: Torii Mk3 and KT66's
Reply #9 - 12/31/13 at 20:48:47
 
Thanks for the reply OC. The GV's are 90 db efficient, and have a very flat impedance curve at 5 ohms. Tighter low end would be a plus. Regards, Happy New Year,  Dave H.
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Lon
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Re: Torii Mk3 and KT66's
Reply #10 - 03/13/14 at 21:02:49
 
Well, I bought a quad of Tung-Sol KT-66 from Mike and must say I was very surprised when I put them in the Torii. I love the JJ 6CA7 but these tubes have shown me a muddiness in the mid bass that I wasn't aware of. The midrange as a result seems even more open and the sound is quite big. I'm not always comfortable with that, but imaging and soundstaging are more accurate than usually I find with "big sounding" tubes (mainly rectifiers). These KT-66 are also just a bit more forgiving of source imperfections.

I confess I do hear a bit of the missing detail and "delineation" that I attribute to the loss of the Hazen Grid Goodiness.

Leaving them in a while and enjoying their sound. I see cryoset sells JJs and Genelex as well as the Tung-Sol. Just what I needed, more tubes to roll!
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« Last Edit: 03/13/14 at 21:28:53 by Lon »  

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tgarden
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Re: Torii Mk3 and KT66's
Reply #11 - 03/14/14 at 20:02:20
 
Lon, glad you like 'em.  Have fun!

Mike
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Lon
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Re: Torii Mk3 and KT66's
Reply #12 - 03/14/14 at 20:11:31
 
Thanks Mike. They're sounding very nice, I'm enjoying the change and doing a bit of tweeking to see what's what.
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kiwidave
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Re: Torii Mk3 and KT66's
Reply #13 - 04/28/14 at 11:25:51
 
Took the plunge (they're not cheap) and bought the Genalex Gold Lion KT77s for my Torri III, based on the positive feedback here.  I've immediately noticed a big improvement over the JJs - I have slightly less efficient speakers (89db) and the extra power/authority means I can relax more into the music - there is a fraction less subtlety and a rawer sound (perhaps this will improve with burn-in) but the upside for my system is so significant that it's not missed - particularly for rock and pop genres it's made some of the source material much more listenable.   Many thanks Orangecrush!

Do you guys have any advice on other tubes that have provided you a significant improvement over the stock tubes for the Torii III?
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Lon
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Re: Torii Mk3 and KT66's
Reply #14 - 06/17/14 at 22:10:30
 
kiwidave, definitely try KT-66.

In reference to the above about "the little bit of SET magic" that is lost with using the KT-66 I would counter that to be honest you lose a little bit of high end detail with the use of these and their not utilizing the Hazen Grid Mod. And for most of the recordings I have on hand that is not a bad thing. The midrange is so open and spacious with these, as well as the bump in headroom.

I've started using a set of Genalex KT-66, replacing the Tung-Sol KT-66. At the moment I'd say the Genalex is tighter and tauter and I might prefer the Tung-Sols expansive warmth BUT these cryo'd Genelax are quite new and my experience tells me they'll change.
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zen101
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Re: Torii Mk3 and KT66's
Reply #15 - 07/03/14 at 02:05:31
 
Is it ok to use KT66 with a Torii MKIII??? I thought it could only be used in MKIV Torii's?
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mark58
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Re: Torii Mk3 and KT66's
Reply #16 - 07/03/14 at 02:41:03
 
You can use KT-66 tubes in a Torii MK III.  Several here have done it and like the result but it doesn't utilize the Hazen Grid Technology. Below is what Steve says on page 4 of the owners manual...link provided.

I've got a MK IV and except for a brief time running the stock KT-66s I ordered with it,  I've been using Seimens/RFT EL-34s.  I like these best but I seem to be in the minority on this.  Mark.

Unlike the TORII MK II that used EL34, KT77, 6550 or KT88 without re-biasing the TORII
MK III uses our new Hazen Grid Technology to push the transparency, speed, tightness to
a level that greatly surpasses the alternate tubes. Since this is the case, extra voicing
was used to get the maximum sonics from the EL34 at the cost of making any of the
above listed alternates a waste of time because they will not sound as good.

http://www.decware.com/newsite/TORIIMK3Manual.pdf
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« Last Edit: 07/03/14 at 02:44:22 by mark58 »  
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Brian
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Re: Torii Mk3 and KT66's
Reply #17 - 07/03/14 at 06:35:44
 
Have you found that as a group, Beam tetrodes  sound more dynamic than true Pentodes?
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Lon
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Re: Torii Mk3 and KT66's
Reply #18 - 07/03/14 at 10:50:44
 
mark58 wrote on 07/03/14 at 02:41:03:
You can use KT-66 tubes in a Torii MK III.  Several here have done it and like the result but it doesn't utilize the Hazen Grid Technology. Below is what Steve says on page 4 of the owners manual...link provided.

I've got a MK IV and except for a brief time running the stock KT-66s I ordered with it,  I've been using Seimens/RFT EL-34s.  I like these best but I seem to be in the minority on this.  Mark.

Unlike the TORII MK II that used EL34, KT77, 6550 or KT88 without re-biasing the TORII
MK III uses our new Hazen Grid Technology to push the transparency, speed, tightness to
a level that greatly surpasses the alternate tubes. Since this is the case, extra voicing
was used to get the maximum sonics from the EL34 at the cost of making any of the
above listed alternates a waste of time because they will not sound as good.

http://www.decware.com/newsite/TORIIMK3Manual.pdf

Well, that's in the manual alright. But, in actuality, to my ears, in my system, the Hazen Grid thing. . .well it's an extra level of bright detail that I don't think that I need that badly with my material. When I run 6L6 or KT66 in the Mk IIIs they sound fantastic, better than EL34, to me. So I would say they are well worth a try, one might easily prefer one tube type to the other. I am convinced that for me it's best to continue using KT66 in my Mk III. The sound is so big and open and with an ease that no EL34 or 6CA7 quite had.
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« Last Edit: 07/03/14 at 10:55:37 by Lon »  

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zen101
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Re: Torii Mk3 and KT66's
Reply #19 - 07/13/14 at 03:34:47
 
It does not say in the manual that you can use kt-66 or 6l6 in the Torii MKIII?   Huh
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Lord Soth
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Re: Torii Mk3 and KT66's
Reply #20 - 07/22/14 at 17:21:51
 
You can safely use a KT66 in place of the EL34.

The following link is useful for learning more.

http://www.thetubestore.com/Resources/Product-Reviews/KT66-Tube-Review

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Greg12
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Re: Torii Mk3 and KT66's
Reply #21 - 07/27/14 at 01:54:19
 
Ok Lon, you sold me on the KT66.  I order a quad of Gold Lions from Cryoset, shipped today.  Been mostly using the Tung-sol EL34's that came w/ the MKIII,  Today before going into work I put the GL KT77's back in.  Love the life they bring.  I Just found a Mono WLP of Time Out today and man did the drum solo on Take Five kick arse.  Wow.  I was really bummed I had to leave for work at 3.  Oh well.  Looking forward to the 66's.  That'll give me 3 types of power tubes to play with.  Can't wait until Thursday when I'll be off work for 6 days...  This is a great thread.

Greg
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« Last Edit: 07/27/14 at 01:59:13 by Greg12 »  

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Lon
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Re: Torii Mk3 and KT66's
Reply #22 - 07/27/14 at 13:21:13
 
Greg,

I think you'll really enjoy the Gold Lions. Once I popped in KT-66 I just haven't wanted any other tube types in these amps. Both my Torii Mk IIIs now have them installed, and when I'm flush enough again I'm going to pop a pair into my Torii Mk II as Steve said I could put any tubes I would put into the Mk IIIs into the Mk II. As this is the amp I listen to most (as I spend over sixty hours a week caring for my parents and my Dad loves to listen to classical music) I probably should do that sooner rather than later. Thinking of trying the TAD (cryo'd).
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Greg12
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Re: Torii Mk3 and KT66's
Reply #23 - 07/27/14 at 15:02:39
 
Lon,

That's quite the testimonial there.  Now I'm really anticipating the KT66's I ordered.  I can see how you'd go with the TAD's for your MKII, the descriptions I've read of the tonal qualities they supposedly impart sound cool.  And why not,  that'll give you 3 brands to compare.   For me,  I like the idea of my Jupiter capped III running them.  I'm closer to hearing what the IV is all about, but still have the greater flexibility of the III's treble/bass controls.  Having the KT66's installed, I think, will take some of the urge out of sending my Torii in for the upgrade to a IV.  I've really been on the fence about having it done, but  $450 plus shipping and the wait..  whew..  that's what's stopped me so far.

Greg
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« Last Edit: 07/27/14 at 15:06:27 by Greg12 »  

Torii MkIII, DM947 speakers, Oppo 105
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Lon
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Re: Torii Mk3 and KT66's
Reply #24 - 07/27/14 at 18:07:28
 
Yeah, the limited flexibility of tonal controls has kept me from both the IV and the ZMA. I love the IIIs and I"m good for decades!
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Lonely Raven
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Re: Torii Mk3 and KT66's
Reply #25 - 07/27/14 at 21:31:56
 
Quote:
I love the IIIs and I"m good for decades!


I have a friend that's interested in taking the leap from consumer goods to the Torrii after listening to my setup. What you said is word for word what I told him if he went for at least a Torii III. If he decides to pull the trigger, I might be putting out an APB on a used one. We just need to test his B&W 805 on my setup and see if he thinks he'd be happy with those speakers on Decware gear. I'm also trying to get him to come down for Decfest and really wade out into the deep water with us.  :)

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Lon
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Re: Torii Mk3 and KT66's
Reply #26 - 07/27/14 at 21:51:55
 
I hope your friend's speakers respond well and he takes the plunge. Really, with the right speakers (for me the HR-1s, they are a match made in heaven for the Mk IIIs, especially with the bass controls!) and a great source (the Mk III will show up a bad one!) you can spend a lifetime with this amp just settling into musical enjoyment and stress relief. I'd rather have that than the ultra introspective window of the little amps (and from what I read the ZMA). I'd rather browse along the big picture than peer through a magnifier.

And if you want to go the real exploratory distance that will has (exhibited by his amazing post from yesterday) you can take the Mk III into amazing realms of detail and exhibition. I start on that path at times, but pull back because it takes me away from the music. I know that's ME, it takes some others INTO the music, I wish it did me, but I find the level I've taken it to to be the right one for me.
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« Last Edit: 07/27/14 at 21:54:08 by Lon »  

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Re: Torii Mk3 and KT66's
Reply #27 - 07/27/14 at 23:06:21
 
Quote:
I'd rather have that than the ultra introspective window of the little amps (and from what I read the ZMA)


While I can't bring myself to say the ZMA is forgiving (it's not), it's also not clinical to the point of being difficult. With the DirectStream and it's natural and musical presentation, the ZMA reveals how natural it really is. I see now how etched the Oppo was - great sounding with great recordings, but painful on dry, highly compressed recordings. The DS and ZMA while not forgiving are not any more harsh than the original recording.

I love Queen's "Somebody to Love", but it's pretty much an unlistenable recording...the chorus is like nails on a chalkboard to me with how strained and screechy it is (at least all the records I've been able to source). The DS/ZMA combo it's almost tolerable, but you can't make a silk purse and all that.
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Lon
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Re: Torii Mk3 and KT66's
Reply #28 - 07/27/14 at 23:43:52
 
Well, just reading between the lines on a lot of comments on the ZMA it seems more like the little Zens in that sense than the Mk IIs and Mk IIIs are to me. It's unfair to make such a generalization without experiencing the amp, but after years of listening to Steve's amps I sort of can get an idea.

It seems to me that Steve moves more and more towards detail and detail and detail in his designs and I find that I get a more musical presentation with a little less detail than he seems to be moving towards. The Mk III is almost that over the edge for me, but with judicious tube rolling I can get right where I want it, it works wonderfully for my speakers (boy howdy, they just amaze me) and so I'm dropping anchor right here.
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Re: Torii Mk3 and KT66's
Reply #29 - 07/28/14 at 21:29:07
 
Got the tubes in the mail today, had about 20mins to install them and listen to Whole Lotta Love on ZepII prior to leaving for work.  Man oh man.  With only 5mins of warm up, I noticed such an effortless sound.  Clean, easy everything.   I left the house w/ Pandora on and instructions to the kids to keep it running all night.  Gotta get them burned in.  I can tell these are going to be great tubes already.   Smiley  
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« Last Edit: 07/28/14 at 21:29:53 by Greg12 »  

Torii MkIII, DM947 speakers, Oppo 105
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Lon
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Re: Torii Mk3 and KT66's
Reply #30 - 07/28/14 at 21:31:34
 
:)

Give them Whole Lotta Love and they'll take you Over the Hills and Far Away to Kashmir.
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Greg12
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Re: Torii Mk3 and KT66's
Reply #31 - 07/28/14 at 21:45:44
 
Grin
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Torii MkIII, DM947 speakers, Oppo 105
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Re: Torii Mk3 and KT66's
Reply #32 - 07/28/14 at 22:14:59
 

Oh Lon, that was so bad...almost like a bad geek pun. LOL

I'm still considering trying those Cryoset Golden Lions. I'm looking forward to hearing what you think once their more burned in Greg.
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Re: Torii Mk3 and KT66's
Reply #33 - 07/28/14 at 22:19:45
 
Not my finest work, agreed. That's when I can string together Duke Ellington titles.

They're really great tubes. I like the Tung-Sol too, but the Gold Lion have an edge with a meatier midrange, while the Tung-Sol seem to have a more wide open one, one could love either depending on the needs of your system.
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Re: Torii Mk3 and KT66's
Reply #34 - 07/29/14 at 05:19:09
 
M Gold Lions were very good right off in the MKIV too, and burned in better!
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« Last Edit: 07/29/14 at 05:20:18 by will »  

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Re: Torii Mk3 and KT66's
Reply #35 - 08/02/14 at 01:47:30
 
I'm really liking these a lot.  If I didn't know better, I'd say the Torii III was built around thesr tubes. Best bass yet coming out of the Monoliths. Tight, fast and deep. Not bloated at all.  Treble is natural sounding.  You know, since I put these babies in on Monday, I haven't once got up to change the bass/treble controls.  Doesn't matter what I have on, it sounds great as is.  With the el34s it seems like I'm always fiddling around with the dials.  I have about 75 hrs on them now.  Great tubes, they will stay in.

Greg
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Re: Torii Mk3 and KT66's
Reply #36 - 08/02/14 at 02:50:19
 
Just as I predicted. Over the Hills and Far Away the best tubes I've tried in the Mk IIIs. Mine are bringing me a lot of joy as well. Glad you gave them a go!
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Re: Torii Mk3 and KT66's
Reply #37 - 08/15/14 at 02:25:18
 
So tonight I bought the 2 lp set of The Cure - Kiss Me, Kiss Me Kiss Me.  I put on "All I Want".  Seemed narrow and thin.   Sounded like a Mono recording but the singer was dead center and in front of the band.  Kind of a cool but narrow 3D effect. Sonically though it seemed sorta sterile.  However, it reminded that I've spent the last week or so, missing the EL34 sound.  the warmth and richness of them  I guess.   So I put the 34's back in.  Soundstage spread out, singer sounded more a part of the band.  And that nice tone was back.  A sweet presentation in its own right.

So, are the KT66's the end all beat all?  Well, after a couple weeks.. all I can say is, well,  it depends.  It depends on the recording, and it depends on the mood you're in.  Keep in mind, it was just one song of one record.  But it did sound better than the 66's.

So back to the 34's for awhile.  I love having options.  What ever the mood,  find the tubes that will satisfy.  Awesome amp this MK III.

Greg
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« Last Edit: 08/15/14 at 03:45:41 by Greg12 »  

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Re: Torii Mk3 and KT66's
Reply #38 - Yesterday at 18:46:00
 
Hi Greg,

After reading your review, I just had to roll in my NOS metal base EL34s into my Torii MK4.

This was against the NOS GEC Grayglass KT66s....

And the results......

Wait for it......

The EL34s WIN!!!

Your remarks were spot on.

The soundstage is much wider.

The EL34 has a much nicer ( i.e. seductive) midrange tone, it really deserves its nickname of the "queen of midrange".

Will post more details in the Torii MK4 forum.
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Re: Torii Mk3 and KT66's
Reply #39 - Yesterday at 18:49:02
 
Interesting. I had done this a few weeks ago, just before I got the DirectStream DAC in from PS Audio. . . and I still really like the KT-66 in my Mk III. They are not coming out. Smiley
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Re: Torii Mk3 and KT66's
Reply #40 - Yesterday at 19:29:45
 
Hi Lon,

Greg is really spot on with his observations.

Both the KT66 and EL34 work very well in the Torii MK4 amp.
(The MK4 and MK3 have the same DNA so any tube rolling experiences between the 2 amps should be similar).

For many months, I too was really contented with the KT66s.
I've been using only the KT66 in my MK4 since the very beginning.

I just love listening to music with female vocals and the EL34s have the midrange edge over the KT66.

So it might all boil down to (my own ) personal preference.
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Re: Torii Mk3 and KT66's
Reply #41 - Yesterday at 19:44:13
 
Oh of course, personal preference (though that's not always stated, I see some really sweeping statements at time that one might infer are meant to be universal). And note I have the Mk III, not the IV, they're different animals.They share DNA but the controls are differnt and there are circuitry differences.  AND I listen primarily to instrumental music, acoustic instruments more than otherwise, and I find the better (imo) treble of the KT-66 to be a deciding factor. And oddly, I get a wider, bigger soundstage from the KT-66 than EL34, but that may be a Mk III or a frequency control difference.
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« Last Edit: Yesterday at 19:57:15 by Lon »  

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Re: Torii Mk3 and KT66's
Reply #42 - Yesterday at 20:47:19
 
Could be your HR-1`s Lon. Omnis radiate a bigger soundstage ?
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Re: Torii Mk3 and KT66's
Reply #43 - Yesterday at 20:50:32
 
But then why wouldn't the EL-34s radiate a bigger one if they do so on the Mk IV??

I don't know. All this just proves to me over and over again what this forum has always shown me: there are few absolutes at all in these impressions and statements. Partly because of the clarity and resolution of the Decware components we all hear things a bit differently and the clear resolving allows us to tailor the systems more easily towards what we want to hear. And we all want to hear a bit differently.

Or that's what I sense more and more as the years and posts go by.
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Re: Torii Mk3 and KT66's
Reply #44 - Yesterday at 21:06:45
 
I'll say this about the midrange in my system, which was fortified by my listening last time to the EL-34s:

With the EL-34, whether because of their tube type, how they interact in the Toriis, or the Hazen Grid Mod, the midrange seems a bit slower and thicker. This may be the "majic," the "special tone" that some hear. It sounds a bit more romantic, a bit more like classic tube gear to me. I used to prefer this, especially with the sort of tiny edge to the treble I sense with many EL-34s in my system.

With the KT-66s the mid range is so open and fast that it might almost be considered invisible. A wide open plain appears and the instruments dance about on it. No romance, no classic tone, an instrument or voice is full and transients snap.

I have come to prefer this cloak of midrange invisibility, it suits my music best, but I think that's only because the treble wiht the KT-66 tubes is also faster, with less glare or grain.

Just my generalizations of the sound of these frequency ranges as presented by my system based on my listening for some time to the two tube types.
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Re: Torii Mk3 and KT66's
Reply #45 - Today at 00:59:40
 
Hi Lon and Lord Soth,

I wonder if some of my results could be that I'm using 5y3gt rect's.  It's the only rect. I've used that gets the bass right.  I've tried Upscale's Phillips and RCA 5u4gb's. Too tubby, w/ any power tube I have.  kt77,66 and 34's.  the 5y3gt's lean the bass enough to make it sound tight,  but perhaps they lean the mid's too.  Which seems fine with the mid rangy 34's,  but is too much so w/ the kt66's.  I don't know.  I'm not giving up on the 66's tho,  they are really fine w/ the right music.  

Now that the kids school year is starting up again, and my wife's too (teaching asst.) I'll be able to really play around with the different  power tubes I have and see if I can narrow down a certain type of music they each work best for. I work 2nd shift so will have the house to myself during school hrs.  ;)  

Greg
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« Last Edit: Today at 01:01:06 by Greg12 »  

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Re: Torii Mk3 and KT66's
Reply #46 - Today at 02:47:01
 
That's possible. I'm now using 5V4, a squat bottle type, old RCAs, that are just wonderful in the Torii Mk III.
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Re: Torii Mk3 and KT66's
Reply #47 - Today at 03:01:56
 
Lon,  5V4...I've never even considered these.  How do they compare to the coke bottle RCA 5U4Gs you'd been using previously? Mark.
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Re: Torii Mk3 and KT66's
Reply #48 - Today at 03:13:18
 
Very similar, really, perhaps a bit . . . darker. They contribute to a very smooth and solid foundation and allow a lot of tuning using the tone controls. They work really well with my other surprising tubes, Arcturus OB3s.  I like these RCA 5V4s, like the look as well.
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