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What tubes sound the best in your SE84CKC? (Read 4596 times)
edtyre
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What tubes sound the best in your SE84CKC?
02/18/14 at 00:42:36
 
Just got my new Zen and i am very happy with the stock sound driving my vintage Altec Lansing Laguna's. Surprised at the loudness level for just the two watts  :)

For a little better sound i have replaced the stock rectifier with a NOS Mullard GZ-32 and the input tube with NOS Amperex 7308, but changing the output tubes to some other EL-84's….the sound is worse. Even with
some really good vintage tubes, i have found the sound to the best with
the stock Russian Rockets. With the EL-84's the volume level seems a lot lower and there a muddy sound with a tad of distortion. YUCK!!

What are others using?
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Doorman
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Re: What tubes sound the best in your SE84CKC?
Reply #1 - 02/18/14 at 00:47:31
 
I know you're aware that the sound will change a lot as your new amp
settles in. This can take some time, so while it's tempting to start tube swapping straightaway, what sounds " off " today may be much more
involving down the road.
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edtyre
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Re: What tubes sound the best in your SE84CKC?
Reply #2 - 02/18/14 at 01:51:02
 
Doorman i appreciate the fast reply and i agree the amp will sound different in the future, but tell me what tubes you are using like i asked.

I have 3 other tube amps including a SE34I.2, which i switched out the
stock tubes the first day i got it for vintage tubes and now it's 6 years later and the vintage tubes still sound WAY better than the originals.
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busterfree
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Re: What tubes sound the best in your SE84CKC?
Reply #3 - 02/18/14 at 01:59:00
 
I only use 6P15P-EV output tubes.
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Rivieraranch
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Re: What tubes sound the best in your SE84CKC?
Reply #4 - 02/18/14 at 02:37:12
 
The CKC pushed the limits of the 6922 type input tube so I doubt that the 7308 would do better than the 6N1P-EV
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jameskk
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Re: What tubes sound the best in your SE84CKC?
Reply #5 - 09/12/14 at 19:19:29
 
always go back to the tubes Mr. Deckert supplies, you might be surprised, and save a ton of money!!!
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Lonely Raven
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Re: What tubes sound the best in your SE84CKC?
Reply #6 - 09/15/14 at 16:38:25
 
I agree - I was just mentioning that I went back to the tubes Steve put in my old Zen after it's recent tune-up.
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jameskk
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Re: What tubes sound the best in your SE84CKC?
Reply #7 - 09/20/14 at 17:36:12
 
tesla 7dj8seems as good as 6n1p. Any thoughts on the large labeled 6p15ev as opposed to the small label of the same tube????
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« Last Edit: 09/20/14 at 17:43:07 by jameskk »  
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Acetone
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Re: What tubes sound the best in your SE84CKC?
Reply #8 - 11/14/14 at 18:01:03
 
60's Phillips  SQ E88CC  60's,  Phillips 5R4GYS best combo for me so far. I don't roll the 6P15P supplied with the Zen.
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flapland
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Re: What tubes sound the best in your SE84CKC?
Reply #9 - 03/14/15 at 15:46:29
 
I have tried Mullard labeled but Philips(Canada) made EL84 but they sound muffled and rolled off. These valves(I am in the UK  :) ) are tested and known to be good. The amp was built last year so I assume current spec so just wondering if standard EL84 can work successfully or with any modifications.

I have had good success however with Philips and Ferrantti 5r4gy's.

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Lon
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Re: What tubes sound the best in your SE84CKC?
Reply #10 - 03/14/15 at 16:47:10
 
EL84s in Zen amps have been problematic imo. I have used them in my Zen amp #27 (which was upgraded to an "A"--the first version to use the SV83) and my old trusty Select and my Zen C amp which is modded by Eddie Vaughn. In each of the amps, some brands definitely sounded better than other brands. There's nowhere for sound to hide in these amps, each part and tube is a big part of the whole.

In the A SV83 just always sounded better, though some EL84 came close (Sovtek, surprisingly enough, bested other brands). In the Select I found an old pair of RCA EL84 that really did sound good, almost as good as the SV83 tubes, and gave just a touch of classic warmth, a brush-by kiss of old school tube sound. Quite nice! The modded C amp. . . well I've tried SVi83s and both Mullard Reissue and TAD EL84s and I am using the TAD, they just give a bit of richness that the SV83s seem to need, and it makes me wonder if the mods Eddie did favor or were meant to maximize EL84 use. The amp is sounding really really good in my fiancee's system with the TAD EL84s.
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« Last Edit: 03/14/15 at 16:52:52 by Lon »  

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flapland
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Re: What tubes sound the best in your SE84CKC?
Reply #11 - 03/14/15 at 16:52:41
 
Philip, thanks for the response. It sounds like a standard SE84CKC isn't ideal and I may need some modification if I want to use EL84's. Shame but I think its one of those comprises I have to face as Decware focused on getting the best out of well made but low cost SV83's.

Currently listening into Auditorium 23 Solovox which are 95db sensitivity and were a great 2nd hand bargain.
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huguesb
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Re: What tubes sound the best in your SE84CKC?
Reply #12 - 03/26/15 at 20:48:27
 
On my side, I replaced the input tube (6n1p) with a 6n2p-ev. This gave me a warmer sound than the 6n1p with the switch in the laid back position.

I was unable to decide between the two positions until I tried this tube.
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Acetone
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Re: What tubes sound the best in your SE84CKC?
Reply #13 - 04/09/15 at 22:48:44
 
Curently have:  Amperex W. Ger nos 62' ECC88-6DJ8 -input,  6p15p-ev -output, and Philips 5R4GYS -rect...sound is excellent.
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FullRangeMan
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Re: What tubes sound the best in your SE84CKC?
Reply #14 - 07/25/15 at 04:31:10
 
On my side, I replaced the input tube (6n1p) with a 6n2p-ev. This gave me a warmer sound than the 6n1p with the switch in the laid back position.
Huguesb,
What is this switch you refer?
Thanks
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alper_yilmaz
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Re: What tubes sound the best in your SE84CKC?
Reply #15 - 11/11/15 at 09:13:32
 
I used to have a pair of SE84C+ and I will be receiving a SE84UFO shortly.  My tube-rolling experience with Decware gear has always brought me back to the original input (6N1Ps or 6N2Ps) and output tubes.  Yet, the rectifiers have significantly contributed to the signature sound of the amps.  

On my SE84C+'s, I used 6N1P's and SV83's that came stock with the amps and a pair of NOS RCA 5U4GB's from 60's.  On my TORII mkII, I used a pair of 6N2P's and Mullard EL34's that came with the amp and a pair of NOS Mullard GZ32's.  With the TABOO, pretty much the same; yet a NOS RCA 5Y3GT at the rectifier slot.  Most probably, I will be just swapping the rectifier tube in my newly ordered SE84UFO and I won't look back!   Smiley

Best,

Alper
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Ellsworth
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Re: What tubes sound the best in your SE84CKC?
Reply #16 - 11/28/15 at 15:04:16
 
I am about 20 hours into my new SuperZen and just put in a nice Telefunken 6922.  What a difference that made - it is quieter, more detailed, and more layered than the stock tube.  

As a newbie to SET amps, I am curious if there are any rules of thumb about which tubes impact the sound most.  It seems that it would make sense to settle on the rectifier and  driver tubes and then just change out the input tube when you want some variety.

I plan to try an Amperex on the input tube at some point to see if that gives me a more 3D soundstage like the Mazda Ciftes did for my Rogue hybrid amp.
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mark58
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Re: What tubes sound the best in your SE84CKC?
Reply #17 - 11/28/15 at 15:45:22
 
Ellsworth,  there are few rules, just use tubes compatible with the amp. I have a pair of Zen Signature Monoblocks (2.3 WPC) that are no longer made.  They are like each channel of your amp in two different units...they use the same tubes as your Amp.

Most here have not gone to the EL-84 but rather kept the Russian output tubes.  I did buy some NOS SV83's but the tubes Steve sends are military spec of the same tube...I'm not sure whether there's much of a sonic difference. I have not used EL-84s so can't comment on them.

For the Rectifier I tried a few and have settled on 50's RCA 5U4Gs.  They sound nice and are relatively inexpensive.

For inputs my favorites are the Amperex White labels 6DJ8, 6922 and 7308 tubes.  Recently I  tried a Mullard 6DJ8 which was very good but I was running it with an Amperex 6DJ8 in the other Amp so until I get another Mullard, I couldn't say that I preferred the Mullard over the Amperex.  I have found myself rolling the input tubes quite a bit so all the tubes will get time in the  Amps.

In regards to  which tubes are most important to the sound, for me, once I settled on a Rectifier, it is the inputs that I've concentrated on, leaving the SV83 in the outputs.  I'll leave the descriptions of the sound with each tube to others with better Audio Lingo than I.  My experience has been mainly with the Amperex family so others will have to comment on different brands.  Hope this helps,  Mark.
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« Last Edit: 11/28/15 at 23:26:35 by mark58 »  

"The man that hath no music in himself, nor is not moved with the concord of sweet sounds, is fit for treasons, deceptions, and spoils;
The motions of his spirit are dull as night and his affections dark as Hell. Let no such man be trusted." William Shakespeare
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Ellsworth
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Re: What tubes sound the best in your SE84CKC?
Reply #18 - 11/28/15 at 19:08:59
 
Mark 58,  many thanks for your reply.  It was very useful.  What you say seems to make sense to me as a general approach.  I am going to try a couple tubes from the Amperex family at some point. I still need to let my amp break in for a while to get a good feel for the sound.
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rjw
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Re: What tubes sound the best in your SE84CKC?
Reply #19 - 04/20/16 at 18:24:02
 
I think the tubes that are sent with the SE84UFO sound real good. But the setup I like with my speakers and the the acoustics of my listening room are a SED Wing-C 5U4G rectifier, a pair of tubestore Preferred Series 7189 power tubes and a Ediswan/Brimar CV2492/6922 signal tube. While the DecWare supplied tubes sound real good, my tube setup sounds magical in my listening room with my speakers.
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« Last Edit: 04/20/16 at 18:25:02 by rjw »  
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jaco03
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Re: What tubes sound the best in your SE84CKC?
Reply #20 - 07/16/16 at 05:04:30
 
I bought my CkC in 2013 and left the stock tubes in until today.  I got a pair of amperex 6922s and a pair of telefunken 6922s. My seller threw in a used Phillips and a toshiba 6922 to try, both measuring well on the tester. I also bought a sylvania gz32. So I am now listening with the gz32 and amperex in the system and immediate impression is that there much more detail and depth to the sound. Made the 6n1p/274b combo sound  like it lacked warmth and accuracy..
Will enjoy it for a month or two before I roll in another 6922 in.
For what it's worth I am using a dddac 1543 12-chip d/a converter with Steves tube output stage I built from his kit with the CKC powering Klipsch klf20s.
I used to own the zen B which was upgraded along the way and I found the Siemens gold pin 6922s to be my favorite input tube.
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