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Homegrown Zen Dually! (Read 5124 times)
Core32
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Homegrown Zen Dually!
07/10/15 at 01:23:56
 
Rather than use the ZKIT-1 board I went exclusively P2P and silver solder with these.
I included the Hazen grid mod, input tube bias switch and a single mA meter that displays individual output tube bias current using one switch contact pair to go from left tube to right.
Not enough room on my panel for two meters unfortunately.
Edcor power and output transformers.
Upgraded caps to Jantzen Audio 1200V Z-Superior.
Upgraded resistors to PRP PR9372 Audio for metal film and TAKMAN REX for carbon film.
ALPS Blue dual 100K attenuator.
I'm using RCA 5U4GB rectifiers.
Two matched pair of Stone's Svetlana SV83 for power. Thanks Stone!
And at present a matched pair (one in each amp of course) of JJ E88CC for the input. I'm looking to upgrade the JJs.
I'm also running the DIY Western Electric 16GA wire discussed here in a bi-amp configuration.
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stone_of_tone
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Re: Homegrown Zen Dually!
Reply #1 - 07/10/15 at 14:31:52
 
Awesome System Core! If you want more Svetlana NOS SV83's let me know. †Where's my Star Trek Transporter?!  I would love to hear.
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« Last Edit: 07/10/15 at 14:34:46 by stone_of_tone »  

Sony as Transport
Illuminati D-60
Audio Alchemy DTI-Pro
Audio Magic Mystic Reference I2S
Audio Alchemy DDE 3.0
Kimber Select 1030
Zen Select #76
Kimber Select 3033
Polk Audio LS-90
Tri-config/TipToes & Vibropods underneath Speakers
360 degree Rm Treats
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mark58
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Re: Homegrown Zen Dually!
Reply #2 - 07/11/15 at 12:54:15
 
Core, †very cool. †I'm no DIYer but enjoyed following your other post as you built these. †What source are you using?

In regards to upgrading input tubes. †I own a pair of 2008 Zen Signature Mono Blocks that would be more like two of the Z kit 2s. †I have enjoyed three different inputs most in them...all Amperex...the Bugle Boy 6JD8s with omega Alinco Super †7XRS speakers, the white label 6299 with both the omegas and a pair of Zu Audio Soul speakers and last a pair of 7308s with the Souls. I use the same power tubes as you and a pair of 50's RCA 5U4Gs as rectifiers. And a pair of RCA OA3s. †All this combines for a very special 2.3 WPC Zen magic in my second system. Keep us updated on your Babies. †Mark.

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« Last Edit: 07/11/15 at 13:01:42 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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Core32
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Re: Homegrown Zen Dually!
Reply #3 - 07/11/15 at 16:51:21
 
Thank you gentlemen. Another pic...
Stone, I may be in the market for backup sets but I'm sure I don't need the full stash you are selling. †:)

Mark,
I have come back to the nightly listening world after many years of working too many hours.
I finally have sold off almost all of my HT gear and am slowly rebuilding, trying to set up for retirement in 5 years or so.
The 20 year old Def Techs in the pictures will most likely be the last to go since they are too heavy to move, lol.
Right now my source is mainly the Emotiva Stealth DC-1 DAC:
https://emotiva.com/products/electronics/dacs/stealth-dc-1
For the entry level price it received decent head-to-head reviews and put me back in touch with all the music without an initial investment rebuilding my vinyl and CD collections.
I will eventually change that out for something like the ZDSD but I have not decided what type device best suits my future needs.
I built my own rack mount HTPC which connects via USB and I only use it for audio, TIDAL streaming for the most part.
I have two decent turntables, a Vinyl Nirvana refurbished Thorens TD166 mkII manual and a Denon DP-45F but my vinyl collection is old with heavy wear so I am not sure if I will keep these in the long run.
I have a PrimaLuna Dialogue 2 integrated that I am selling to fund my next purchase, be it updated DAC or TORII JR.
Oh, and the old Pioneer Elite RPTV in the picture still "functions" and fills that nice hole in the wall I had built just for it. That big bastard was top of the line and cost me nearly $4K when new and it's best input is S-Video.   Roll Eyes
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stone_of_tone
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Re: Homegrown Zen Dually!
Reply #4 - 07/11/15 at 21:42:50
 
Core32, I will gladly sell you 2, 3 or 4 pair for backup. Yes, I did notice the classic Pioneer!
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Sony as Transport
Illuminati D-60
Audio Alchemy DTI-Pro
Audio Magic Mystic Reference I2S
Audio Alchemy DDE 3.0
Kimber Select 1030
Zen Select #76
Kimber Select 3033
Polk Audio LS-90
Tri-config/TipToes & Vibropods underneath Speakers
360 degree Rm Treats
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Core32
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Re: Homegrown Zen Dually!
Reply #5 - 07/12/15 at 01:27:49
 
Stone,
I will PM you to discuss.

Mark,
I would like to try some Amperex BB tubes. From my reading it seems that there are a lot of fakes and "marking modified" copies out there when it comes to picking a color of text and country of origin.
Any tips on Ebay seller or tube shop would be appreciated.
Thanks!
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mark58
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Re: Homegrown Zen Dually!
Reply #6 - 07/12/15 at 19:06:07
 
Core, †I have bought all my tubes from either ebay or Decware members. †On ebay it's important to look at feedback...if people are not satisfied they are likely to leave negative feedback, more so than positive when happy with the transaction. †I sometimes read the negatives if it's a new seller to me. †Also, I usually, but not always require test results, the name of the tester and the minimum good value and NOS value for the tester used. †Photos are key...so you can look for yourself for characteristics that should be seen. †Also, sometimes the tube described is not really what you see...ie... a date is given that isn't confirmed by date codes on the tube or when labeling is worn the seller may have erroneously listed the wrong brand. †Also ask if you have questions...sometimes the best deals are where the seller has done a poor job describing and listing the tube. †If a seller is unwilling to reply to your question...take a pass.

For a long time I didn't buy from foreign sellers but have relaxed this a bit. †I've bought Russian tubes from Russian/Eastern European sellers that have high feedback scores and other Decware members have bought from without incident. †Normally shipping is so much higher it's not worth buying anywhere except the USA...provided that's where you live.

There are numerous blogs and sites where helpful info can be obtained...two that helped me were Joe's Tube Lore and Brent Jesse's site but there are many more sites...just do google searches. The Decware site has lots of impressions on tubes used in Decware Gear and lots of helpful Audio Nuts that have already gone through the journey you're starting. Again do searches.

I have copied some info on counterfeits from both sites and given you the links below. †There are often deals on nice strong tubes if you are patient. †For example, the pair of good testing 1965 Amperex Bugle Boys I bought last summer cost $30...a great deal. †But you can always buy from a reputable dealer for a lot more and not have to go through the hassles of learning about what you're buying. †I actually enjoy the search and especially finding a gem that others have overlooked. †Good Luck, †if you have other questions, I'll try to answer. †Mark.

http://www.audioasylum.com/scripts/d.pl?audio/faq/joes-tubes.html#6DJ8
Danger Will Robinson!
Be careful when you chase these guys. The reputation of Siemens & Amperexes precedes them and they are frequent targets for counterfeiters. How do you know if a tube in question is the genuine article? Well, fortunately there are a few basic checks you can perform to differentiate true Siemens & Amperexes from relabeled Sylvanias and Tungsrams.
First, check the top of the tube in question. Siemens & Amperexes always have small ridges in the surface of the glass on top of the tube radiating outward from the nipple. These tubes will have 4 ridges, though sometimes only two of them are easily visible. The concept here is to look down on the top of the tube. The 2 or 4 ridges should divide the circular silver top of the tube in half or into quarters. No ridges? No genuine article pass on it.
Second, check the metal shield above the upper mica spacer. On Siemens & Amperexes itís circular with two raised rectangular sections on opposite edges of the shield. On most fakes that shield is a perfectly flat disc.
Third, about 90% of Siemens tubes have a 1 or 2 digit number molded into the inside bottom of the tube glass centered between the pins. It can sometimes be very hard to see but itís usually there. Remember, not all Siemens have it, but if your tube passes test one & two and has the number(s), it's a Siemens.
Fourth, familiarize yourself with the shape of the glass bottle on your stock Sovteks. Note that the top is smooth (no ridges) and rather rounded and the tube is short & large in diameter these traits are common to all Russian tubes in this family. Siemens & Amperexes are only about 80 to 85% of the diameter of the Russian versions and tend to have squarer shoulders on top rather than the rounded top of the Sovtek. You should be able to spot the difference between a Russian and a genuine NOS tube just by the shape & diameter of the glass pretty easily. One warning though Sovteks often (always?) have a number molded into the bottom of the tube between the pins like a Siemens, so know all the checks and donít depend on just one to verify the tubes origins.
Fifth, if itís a Siemens or Amperex 6922 or 7308 it will always have gold pins. So will some cheap counterfeits, so gold is no guarantee. But if they arenít gold its not a Siemens or Amperex, so pass on it.

http://www.audiotubes.com/6dj8.htm

A Note About Amperex 6922 and Bugle Boy Tubes:

Because the trade names of "Amperex" and "Bugle Boy" have been sold to a USA electronics firm, there is much confusion in the tube world about Bugle Boy tubes. I will try to clear up the confusion as briefly as possible. This company bought the rights to the name Amperex, the name Bugle Boy, and the rights to the cartoon tube logo. This new owner is NOT Dutch Philips or North American Philips, who originally owned Amperex and made the 1950s to 1970s vintage tubes that audiophiles want. When I mention "Amperex Holland" or "Amperex USA", I refer to the original Dutch and North Amperican Philips owned companies (now defunct) that made the vintage tubes, now in demand by audiophiles, up until the late 1970s. There are 6922 tubes being sold today under the name Amperex Bugle Boy, and they even come in a green and yellow box like the original Amperex tubes. THESE ARE NOT AMPEREX TUBES AT ALL, AND THEY ARE NOT NOS. They are either relabeled new Chinese or late production JAN Sylvania tubes. These fakes contain several errors:
1. Genuine NOS Amperex Holland or Amperex USA NEVER used the words "Bugle Boy" on their tubes or boxes.
2. Genuine NOS Amperex tubes NEVER had the cartoon Bugle Boy printed on the tube box.
3. Philips/Amperex Holland or North American Philips/Amperex USA NEVER made a 6922 (E88CC) tube with the Bugle Boy cartoon on the box. They also NEVER made a 7308 or E188CC with the Bugle Boy on the box OR glass. In this family of tubes, only the 6DJ8 had the cartoon tube on the glass, but again, never on the box.
4. Again, there IS NO SUCH THING as a genuine NOS Amperex "Bugle Boy" 6922 or 7308 tube. This bears repeating!
5. We stock the real NOS 1960s and 1970s Amperex (Holland and USA made) 6922 and 7308 tubes. They either used the white label or the orange (or later green) globe logo label, with either the PQ (premium quality) logo, or were military USN/CEP or JAN labeled. We also stock the real NOS Holland 6DJ8 Bugle Boy tubes from the 1960s. Amperex did not make these in the USA. These DO have the cartoon boy on the label, but NEVER had the words "Bugle Boy" printed on the box or the tube glass.
6. Nearly all of the NOS 1960s and 1970s real Amperex tubes have the factory date codes on the side of the glass. The fakes do not.
7. Some knowledgeable sources have reported seeing recently some Amperex HOLLAND made 6922 gold pin tubes with the Bugle Boy cartoon on the glass. They were only Holland made and only 6922 type. It appears there were so few made in the early 1960s that it is unlikely any will turn up anywhere outside of The Netherlands or neighboring countries in Europe. Determining if they are real by the date code and other construction factors requires some skill. Since they are so scarce, it is advisable to treat any "Bugle Boy" 6922 tube as a fake.
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« Last Edit: 07/12/15 at 19:42:22 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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Syd
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Re: Homegrown Zen Dually!
Reply #7 - 07/13/15 at 22:56:55
 
Nice Core, wish my system could tidy itself up like that. It might if I dropped my platform to ground level mmm. The more `space` between speakers the more the soundstage is free. I cant back that up but have always thought it. Must sound sweet.
Aw Core, 2 TT`s and you might forgo vinyl. TBH 50% of my `old` collection had signs of wear, thankfully maybe a track or two with repeated ticks and the rest of the album good. Now after 3 years I hardly play an album with issues. It took time and a spin clean machine.
Bugleboys. I have 4 of the 6dj8`s probably bought nos 3 yrs ago and not for the prices they are asking today. They`ve really gone up in price. Marks advice is good and `strong` examples are currently on e-bay at a fair price. Funny thing is I swapped them out for 6n1p-E Russian tubes a few months ago and prefer them, though thats objective/subjective?. I just use 1 BB in the CSP now.
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« Last Edit: 07/13/15 at 23:06:47 by Syd »  

Decware: Rachaels x 2 bridged, C. SP2+, ZP3, ZMC1, DSC i/c`s, DHC-1 pw/cbl`s Michell Orbe + SME V + M.Benz LP s , Nakamichi LX5, Lowther acoustas DX2`s, WE 16g sp/cbl`s, Isotek mains sub
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Core32
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Re: Homegrown Zen Dually!
Reply #8 - 07/13/15 at 23:30:13
 
Mark,
Thanks for the detailed reply. Those two threads are what gave me pause in the first place.
Seems finding a seller with ~zero bad reviews and a return policy is paramount. At least then you can visually check based on the hints given in the threads.
It's usually hard to tell in the pictures shown if all the checks are a positive.

Syd,
Funny you mention it, I received a Spin Clean for Christmas last year.
Unfortunately it has not been out of the box so far. Spent too much time building these two amps to give it a try. † Cheesy
Maybe now I can take a few of my middle grade albums and see if I think a good cleaning makes enough of an improvement to spend the time.
Thanks guys for all the good feedback.
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« Last Edit: 07/13/15 at 23:30:59 by Core32 »  
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mark58
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Re: Homegrown Zen Dually!
Reply #9 - 07/14/15 at 00:23:23
 
Core, don't worry about zero bad reviews, if they've been around long enough they'll have a couple.  Read them and see why the buyer wasn't satisfied.  Also, if the sellers have sold hundreds or thousands of tubes with few negatives, they are likely legit.  Next, regardless of the sellers "return Policy", if they are frequent sellers, they will deal with you and likely allow a return or refund to avoid negative feedback, if their is a problem.

Next, regarding pics...it's very easy to see the seams on top of Amperex tubes...look for at least one.  The good sellers know to give a view of the top.  Also if they've sold hundreds/thousands of tubes...they are not going to risk their business by slipping in a fake. Most tubes have print that is less than perfect...especially for the older white labels.  Be extra vigilant of perfect print.

I too have a spin clean that I bought over a year ago that remains unopened...LOL.  I have LPs that badly need to be cleaned but I just can't bring myself to use spare time to clean them properly.  Mark.
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"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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Syd
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Re: Homegrown Zen Dually!
Reply #10 - 07/14/15 at 20:55:47
 
I have had the spin clean in the listening room and gone to work on a dozen albums while playing sounds. Now I`m on top of them I have a routine where I can do a couple records in the morning if needed. Liquid in-scrub `em, liquid out- pure water in, scrub- vacuum hose without attacment and micro cloth over the end, suck all the water off.
, done.
My spin clean came with alcohol based cleaner. Once I used it I bought L`art du Sol I think it`s called, non alcohol.
I also started fancy ordering proper distilled water, but using the vacuum cleaner I use plain battery top up.
You wont lose the ticks/scratches but surface noise can be dramatically reduced. A nice freshen up and good for the sonics.
I`m sure airborne particles dop onto records while they are playing and the odd pop and tick and be removed.
lol I even put coloured sticky dots on all records cleaned.
I`ve stopped doing that now.
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« Last Edit: 07/14/15 at 20:59:07 by Syd »  

Decware: Rachaels x 2 bridged, C. SP2+, ZP3, ZMC1, DSC i/c`s, DHC-1 pw/cbl`s Michell Orbe + SME V + M.Benz LP s , Nakamichi LX5, Lowther acoustas DX2`s, WE 16g sp/cbl`s, Isotek mains sub
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Core32
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Re: Homegrown Zen Dually!
Reply #11 - 07/14/15 at 22:36:27
 
Since these two amps, when used in bridge mode, are using separate input attenuators, I would like to match the output levels (SPL) in some way.
I imagine there might be a discernible difference in the two since the tube sets, though matched a bit, are different.
In the mean time I have just turned the attenuators to minimum attenuation (max volume) and turned the DAC output down around -20dB.
And so theoretically the output difference in the two amps is attributable to only tube differences, interconnects and my workmanship. †;)
Just to get a basic reading I have a decent app on my phone to measure SPL.
But I would like some easily attainable reference source material if anyone has an idea.
Or if you have a different/better method that isn't too expensive give me some tips.
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Dave1210
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Re: Homegrown Zen Dually!
Reply #12 - 07/19/15 at 23:04:52
 
Mark...do you have a link or a good buyer for the 50's RCA rectifiers?  I would like to update my CKC with those!  -David  
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Core32
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Re: Homegrown Zen Dually!
Reply #13 - 07/23/15 at 20:55:30
 
Update.
I purchased these on Ebay:
Quote:
Pair Blackburn Mullard/Amperex A-Frame 6DJ8 ECC88 tubes (Tested @ 92/88, 91/90)

They arrived today and I immediately rolled them into the amps.
Instantly I had to back off on my normal DAC output level by 2dB as the volume was well above what I usually hear with the JJs.
I'll need to let them burn in for a while as I have no idea of the actual hours they have on them.
After that I will see if the volume level is still up there and how I think they are sonically.
Of course initial impression is that they look nice....   Grin
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ECC88.jpg
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mark58
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Re: Homegrown Zen Dually!
Reply #14 - 07/25/15 at 01:39:42
 
Core32, let us know how those tubes are.  I didn't realize that mullard made A frame tubes but I read a bit and indeed they did,  those you bought appear, according to the date codes from the listing, to be Blackburn made in 1966.  Should be nice.  Mark.
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"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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Core32
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Re: Homegrown Zen Dually!
Reply #15 - 07/26/15 at 15:39:55
 
mark,
They were definitely advertised as Blackburn. This pair was in the middle of the range of prices he has for several pair.
If I continue to enjoy these I may spring for the top price pair.
Higher measurements and cleaner graphics.
I continue to be surprised how much louder this pair plays vs. the JJs.
I thought I had it normalized back to my normal listening level Friday night until the wife flashed the lights at me to get my attention and said "Are you deaf?" lol
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mark58
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Re: Homegrown Zen Dually!
Reply #16 - 07/26/15 at 16:17:20
 
Core, I may have to try some Mullard A frames...do you know if they come in the 6922s? †I want to try the "Mullard" flavor although I'd be very surprised if they can best my white label Amperex 6922s.

I picked up †4 pair of Amperex 6922s...one pair is labeled RCA and is Holland made. †I can't remember if any of the white labeled ones are from Holland but the pair I put into my Zen Monoblocks are PQ white labeled from 1964 made in NY, USA. †Previously I ran a white label pair of 7308s but these seem do well with both my Omega and Zu Audio speakers....very nice. †Mark.

PS...I guess I should also mention that the USA made White label Amperex 7308 has been in my Torii MK IV all but the first week after I got it. They are nice tubes and I think their popularity here may have driven prices up...should have kept my mouth shut about them...hehe
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« Last Edit: 07/26/15 at 16:59:55 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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Core32
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Re: Homegrown Zen Dually!
Reply #17 - 07/26/15 at 16:30:33
 
mark,
6299 or 6922?
If the latter, from what I have read Siemens makes an A Frame 6922 but I do not think there are any Mullard labeled 6922 A frames.
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mark58
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Re: Homegrown Zen Dually!
Reply #18 - 07/26/15 at 16:58:58
 
Yes Core, you are right. †I not infrequently get the tube numbers mixed up...dyslexia? †I'll do some more research. The A frames came later but I've learned that's not always a bad thing...so did the 7308's. †The A frame from what I can tell, made the tubes less prone to noise much as Triple Micas and extra support rods do. †Thanks, †Mark.

PS...I went back and corrected my error on the earlier post...
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« Last Edit: 07/26/15 at 17:00:53 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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Core32
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Re: Homegrown Zen Dually!
Reply #19 - 09/11/15 at 22:01:45
 
I love the Blackburn Mullard/Amperex A-Frame 6DJ8/ECC88 tubes that I've been using.
To continue on with the recommendations I've seen I decided to try a matched pair of Amperex Orange Globe ECC88, 1969 model in the Dually set up.
They are used so I imagine they have some burn-in already.
First impression is that they are very smooth like the Blackburns but not quite as high a gain. (small drop in volume)
I think this is going to be difficult to pick a favorite, but that's most likely a good thing!
I have my eye on some 1966 Bugle Boys next.
Either way, both easily out perform the JJs.
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« Last Edit: 09/12/15 at 01:41:24 by Core32 »  

orange_globe.jpg
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Core32
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Re: Homegrown Zen Dually!
Reply #20 - 09/14/15 at 20:31:32
 
1966 Bugle Boys on the way...

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