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Why the rush to roll new tubes? (Read 1418 times)
back2vinyl
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Why the rush to roll new tubes?
01/02/18 at 00:26:23
 
Im currently on the ZP3 build list. Having never been completely satisfied with the sound of vinyl I am hoping the ZP3 may change my attitude. From everything I have read here it takes up to 200 hours for the ZP3 to really open up and show its true colors. With that said why ole why do I see where guys are changing out tubes from the get go without giving much burn in time. It also seems individuals are spending their listening time doing A/B/C comparisons on different tubes instead of enjoying their music.
I myself will most likely not roll tubes until tubes no longer function, one, I don't have the funds to try out every combo tubes in existence, two, just don't have the time. When I play my music I want to enjoy the music, I want to hear David Gilmour's melodic leads on his latest album. I don't want to play that one song over and over while trying to determine which tubes bring out the mid range!
I would like to think if Steve believed other combinations of tubes sounded better he would of include those instead of what is shipped with the ZP3. Perhaps I will change my mind once the Zp3 arrives, but I am hoping it knocks my socks off and will need nothing but power!

Doug
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Lon
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Re: Why the rush to roll new tubes?
Reply #1 - 01/02/18 at 00:50:08
 
Welcome Doug!

I think those you see "rushing" to roll tubes are experienced Decware and/or tube component owners who know the benefits of great NOS tubes and probably have a stash they've accumulated over the years. I think many wait til the break-in period is over and those who may not are experienced enough to know what that period entails and how the tubes react and compensate and of course listen further or again when the amp is seasoned.

Steve doesn't necessarily supply the very best possible tubes for the preamp mainly because he is trying to supply tubes that CAN be supplied, that is current production tubes that he designs around. I'm sure he would love to include his very favorite tube sets but the cost would be higher and replacements not guaranteed. He provides a good baseline to work from and to stay within if desired. No sense supplying a tube that is costly and rare and having the owner encounter serious difficulty replacing that tube when the time comes and prohibit some from buying due to initial cost. The beauty of tube components is the tailoring of the component to the system and tube-rolling is one big way to accomplish this. Some persons seek an ultimate sound and a system-wide synergy, others want to just spin LPs and not explore different sonic textures and aspects. We can all come together in the quality of the sound the ZP3 delivers, stock or exotic tubes. These preamps show you what your system is capable of and can show you what's on those records. You've a lot to look forward to! May the wait not be long!

I think you'll find the ZP3 will change your idea of the quality of LP playback. After not having a turntable spinning often in my system for more than a decade I went back to vinyl playback with a Hafler and then a PS Audio phono preamp and thought I was getting good sound. The ZP3 opened up my eyes and ears wider, I didn't think vinyl could sound that good in my system. I hope your expectations are also lifted up.
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Archie
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Re: Why the rush to roll new tubes?
Reply #2 - 01/02/18 at 01:14:08
 
Doug, I'm a bit more in your camp.  I've had some bad tubes but generally I like what I hear without getting exotic.  However, I'm grateful for those who don't think like I do since I've gotten some great tube ideas from them.

Are you the back2vinyl on the Steve Hoffman Forum?  I'm AArchie over there.
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back2vinyl
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Re: Why the rush to roll new tubes?
Reply #3 - 01/02/18 at 03:49:46
 
I have used the name somewhere but honestly don't remember  where. Its been a while since I posted on any audio forums. The Zp3 will be my first tube gear purchase other than a Parks Audio phono pre which is a third the price of the Decware  gear so I am not certain where it stands as  real tube gear.
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Jeff of Arabica
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Re: Why the rush to roll new tubes?
Reply #4 - 01/02/18 at 05:57:56
 
I think Lon explained quite beautifully, why one would want to roll tubes, or not.  The bottom line is, any Decware amp, with stock tube compliments, is the voiced amplifier.  You never have to touch another tube make/model, and you will have an OUTSTANDING amplifier with the most excellent sound.  

If you so choose, for whatever reason (i.e. curiosity, money-to-burn, idle hands, a finicky sound issue, etc.), to modify the sound signature of your amplifier, then you have the option to do so.  Tube rolling is a part of the hobby many folks enjoy, and I don't believe it means they are not sitting back and enjoying the music.  But some have ten's of thousands of dollars in their system and when you go that far into it, why not roll a few different tubes in and out to see if you can get that last 3% of improvement?

Do keep in mind that even though Steve voices these amplifiers, it does not mean that the buyer and Steve's sound preferences align.  Also, Steve is voicing it with a source component and speaker set that may not coincide with the buyer's ancillary equipment.  These other components matter.  So, if it isn't quite sounding "just right" for you, rolling tubes can mean the difference between "settling" and dialing in YOUR perfect sound.  It's a tool in the toolbox that you can use, or not.  That is the beauty of it.  

Welcome to the family and I hope you enjoy your Decware gear as much as all of us!  Happy New Year.
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back2vinyl
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Re: Why the rush to roll new tubes?
Reply #5 - 01/02/18 at 16:11:50
 
I get the rolling aspect to a certain extent. Its the changing out the tubes before you have a chance to hear what the stock tubes even sound like I question. Each his own though. Peace.
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JOMAN
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Re: Why the rush to roll new tubes?
Reply #6 - 01/02/18 at 16:42:16
 
Lon and Jeff pretty much covered the bases on the question.  However, it is a very good question so I thought I would add a couple of thoughts on the matter...

In my case the priority is music and, of course, sound is closely linked.  I know I connect when find that in some way my body is ‘responding’ to the music or is affected by the music.  

Over the years I have found that manufacturers have a tendency to produce products that have a largely predictable “house” sound and connection to music, albeit with some exceptions.  I don’t look for the exceptions.

To a large degree the same holds true for tubes.  When I decided to buy the ZROCK2 I noted that it came with an RCA tube and although RCA made some very nice products, RCA produced tubes with an ‘RCA house’ sound that was not my preference.  So I acquired a tube from a manufacturer that ‘typicaly’ produced the ‘house sound’ that was to my liking before I recieved my ZROCK.  So far my expectations have been verified in this case.

I also like to try to understand and appreciate the preferences of others as I find that when I do it broadens my perspective and so is of benefit to me.  In order to do that I have to be willing to try some of the products that others prefer.  To that end I will be trying a 6085 in my ZROCK eventually, if only to understand first hand what others are liking.

So, sometimes I take my time and sometimes I rush depending on what I already know or am confident about in certain circumstances.




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Archie
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Re: Why the rush to roll new tubes?
Reply #7 - 01/02/18 at 17:37:36
 
Doug,

The other back2vinyl guy is from the UK so I'm guessing that's not you.

I came to Decware 4+ years ago for the ZP3 and that ended up turning into the ZMC1--ZP3--CSP3--ZMA--HR1 with a ZROCK2 currently on order.  Caution is advised!   Smiley
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back2vinyl
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Re: Why the rush to roll new tubes?
Reply #8 - 01/02/18 at 23:22:06
 
I don't have the funds to get that deep…Regarding "House sound". How does one know what the house sound is of different tube manufactures?
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Lon
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Re: Why the rush to roll new tubes?
Reply #9 - 01/03/18 at 00:22:11
 
The best way is personal experience. (There are also some sellers who write descriptions that can be accurate). There are some on this thread that have been using tubes in stereo and instrument amps for two, three decades, perhaps more. Trying out tubes in different amps over the years you get a sense of what to expect when you add a tube to a circuit, though each circuit can be surprisingly different. I'm pretty sure those who are "rushing" to roll tubes are those who have quite a bit of experience both with different types and brands of tubes and Decware equipment. They know pretty much what to expect and want to hear the variations.
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JOMAN
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Re: Why the rush to roll new tubes?
Reply #10 - 01/03/18 at 14:58:31
 
Indeed... personal experience.  What I can state with certainty is that it has cost me one heck of a lot less to roll tubes than to roll components, I’ve done a lot of both.

That doesn’t mean that you have to because Decware components are made on the basis of some very credible experience and can be very satisfying out of the box and especially when they burn in.  Should funds become available it’ll be a lot cheaper and more rewarding to roll tubes than to roll components if you choose to - based on my experience.  And there's a lot of good experience on this forum to serve as a starting point.
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Syd
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Re: Why the rush to roll new tubes?
Reply #11 - 01/04/18 at 11:35:33
 
Hi back2vinyl. One of the pleasures of tubes over SS is that you can roll tubes and the permutations are endless ( different makes, years, structures ) .  How does this rolling business help with neutrality ?  I don't know but the tube set you'll receive with the ZP3 will have a 'sound'. This, as a baseline, will be your new 'neutral'. A very seductive easy flowing musical experience. Neither cold nor overly warm, as Steve told me, I heard my TT, cart and tone arm cable. I guess that would be the house sound from Decware, just in from the TT and out from the ZP3 unhindered . It's hard to put my finger on it, not having the acumen to describe in review speak but I know what I like. Nothing's tipped up. Very much down to vinyl and recordings. Y'know with my Lowthers, the repro of percussion and sparkle is a pure joy. And it has to pass through the ZP3.  They don't pump bass but present a bass that draws you in. Oh yes the ZP3 will pass on depth, width, placement. Archie has gone in a lot deeper than me and I've gone all out. Or all in.  :)
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Syd
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Re: Why the rush to roll new tubes?
Reply #12 - 01/06/18 at 13:28:18
 
I was tracing a small buzz through eliminatating valves yesterday and came across the stock 12ax7's which came with the ZP3. I'd already traced the buzz to a small tube and replaced it but popped the Chinese 12ax7's into the ZP3 and they are still there. Great music coming from the system.
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back2vinyl
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Re: Why the rush to roll new tubes?
Reply #13 - 01/07/18 at 18:49:03
 
So what was causing the buzz?
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