Message started by Gopher on 09/20/11 at 03:41:54

Title: JJ 6CA7s
Post by Gopher on 09/20/11 at 03:41:54

I figured it may be appropriate to start a new thread rather than posting in the Black Treasure thread.  

So far they're showing a lot of potential, but haven't surpassed the BTs yet.

The OA3s were very interesting with them, really cleaned up the presentation, but made things slightly lean by comparison compared to my VR75 (purple glowing regs) which is the opposite of what I expected.  

It will be one to re-visit with additional burn in time.  

Title: Re: JJ 6CA7s
Post by Pale Rider on 09/20/11 at 05:44:42

Gopher, you sound like ou and I are in a similar place on these. I will probably end up with four matched quads as backup inventory (remember that I am stocking the shelves for my kids ;)).

Title: Re: JJ 6CA7s
Post by will on 09/20/11 at 05:50:54

Gopher, Are your purple glowing regulators VR-75? If so I think they are they are OA3s. And are they ST coke bottle shaped?

I have noticed that the straight VRs like the OA3 I got from you, are much more open/cleaner than STs, the STs being much softer, rounder and darker...perhaps you could say warmer. I have a pair of straight OC3s that are very clean as well, whereas all my ST shaped tubes are warm.

Title: Re: JJ 6CA7s
Post by Rivieraranch on 09/20/11 at 12:59:47

First, I would be very leery of any JJ octal tube. I had a pair of 6V6 die prematurely on me.

Second, the 0A3 that I have seen glow orange, not purple. From the picture on the DECWARE site, the 0B3 glows violet; the 0C3 glows lavender and the 0D3 glows purple.  

Title: Re: JJ 6CA7s
Post by datman on 09/20/11 at 18:06:46

Now that my JJ's are pretty much broken in, I have some observatiions compared to the Treasures.

Initially, I couldn't put my finger on what I liked so much about the JJ's. After significant listening, I think I have figured it out.

The Treasures are an excellent tube. Linear, clean and polite. This is exactly what I DIDN'T like about them. I want my tube amp to SOUND like a tube amp with the voluptuousness that only tubes can produce.

I found the Treasures to be somewhat sterile in overall presentation. Where the JJ's have a fully developed bottom end, the Treasures go as deep but without the energy. The JJ's are at least as extended on the top as the Treasures, but they seem to produce the "glow" in the highs the Treasures lack. It is in the mids that I hear the greatest difference. The Treasures are smooth and detailed throughout the mids. Where I find them lacking is not putting "flesh" on the images. The JJ's just sound more real to me. I find the JJ's give me more of what I expect from a tube amp, that reach out and touch palpability.

I do not have enough experience with JJ tubes to comment about their long term reliability. Since these are part of a series of new tubes for them (introduced in 2010), I will say there have been no indications of any reliability problems so far. I will be optimistic and say I do not expect to have any problems.

Time will tell.

Title: Re: JJ 6CA7s
Post by Lon on 09/20/11 at 18:53:58

Interesting, and thanks for your impressions. will here had a failure of a tube. My quad shipped to me today so I'll have some to try this weekend or early next week. Good listening ahead by all accounts.

Title: Re: JJ 6CA7s
Post by will on 09/20/11 at 19:10:54

Datman, Excellent explanation of your sense of the tube! Thanks.

Title: Re: JJ 6CA7s
Post by Gopher on 09/21/11 at 02:44:51

my purple glowing tube is labeled JAN 38250 and looks like this:  

I do not think they are 0a3s.  

Title: Re: JJ 6CA7s
Post by C.E. on 09/21/11 at 02:51:40

I believe that to be an 0D3.

Title: Re: JJ 6CA7s
Post by will on 09/21/11 at 04:56:30

Nice looking tube.

My OA3s are VR75 and glow orange.

OB3- VR90 and glow blue

OC3s VR105, glow more lavandar

OD3s VR150, glow lavandar

Title: Re: JJ 6CA7s
Post by Lon on 09/21/11 at 22:24:38

My JJs arrived. Nice looking tubes. I just have a very little bit of time on them, but very powerful sounding tubes. My Winged Cs may have been a bit more tired than I thought. Anyway, I'm playing some very early jazz ('twenties stuff by the California Ramblers, Charleston Chasers, and Miff Mole and Red Nichols groups) as I tend to be less focused on sonics when these are playing and so I can get some time on the tubes today.

Title: Re: JJ 6CA7s
Post by Gopher on 09/22/11 at 01:55:58

I'm way too impatient for these things.  They were sounding dead, lacking drive and excitment today--and, after the wife agreed things weren't sounding good, I plucked them again in favor of the BTs.  Really glad about the auto-biasing!  

Title: Re: JJ 6CA7s
Post by Lon on 09/22/11 at 02:38:45

Mine are sounding pretty good with the DVR tonight. But it's really only about five hours into their life.

Title: Re: JJ 6CA7s
Post by will on 09/22/11 at 03:32:26

I have about 80 hours on mine, most with the National 7DJ8s, and maybe 1/3 of that was the Esoteric break in CD.  

Lately I had been listening to the very linear, open and extended cryo'd Ruby fat bottle EL34s (Shuguang), and with them I was liking some relatively warm Mullard 6922 pulls from Partsconnexion.

With the Mullards, when I just stuck in the JJs, the open and textural warmth the Rubys allowed them to reveal turned to a thickish, veiled quality. Some macro detail remained, but micro detail got pretty much squashed and the low mids down became a thuddy.

I stuck in some new Ei/Philips 7DJ8s, changed from straight OA3s to straight OC3s, chilled down the gain on the Zstage a little, and beauty filled the room. Wetter, texture, body and warmth without veils, extension and what I think of as the really cool thing about this tube....that big tube sound...something about the dynamic tightness of the hits, be they cymbals, drums or a string bass, and then the easy transition from body to natural ambient information. It sounds really good!

So I think I will have no problem completing the break in on these tubes now. Trouble so far in my evaluation of the tube, they are very finicky as to who they play well with. But I think they are extremely promising.

Gopher, I think you should get good sound from them with your National 7DJ8s, it just may take longer than you or I like to get there. I wonder too. Does the breakin CD work on tubes at low volumes like it would on high volumes?

Title: Re: JJ 6CA7s
Post by Gopher on 09/22/11 at 03:56:06

Well my first impression with these tubes in there with my National 7DJ8s, RCA 5u4gs (1954) and the picture power regs was very positive, so I suspect it the quad will eventually make its way back there--I just hate to break in during my critical listening time.  I have a 15 month old son who monopolizes my living room when awake and a wife to compete with when he isn't so for the hour or so I get to listen critically, I don't like 'hearing potential'  I just want to be transported.

I'm not sure how the Isotek works in regards to tubes and the volume of the music playing, but I generally use pretty low volume as my listening room shares a wall with the master bedroom...  I figure its ATLEAST as effective as actual music.

Right now I've got a few variables changed from my normal listening arrangement.   I'm using my Shuguang Black Treasure 6CA7s with the National 7DJ8s, RCA 5u4gs, and straight bottle OA3s, and this is being fed by a Dodd buffer with a 6H30-DR tube from the 1980s.

Title: Re: JJ 6CA7s
Post by will on 09/22/11 at 06:10:47

I think you are on it with the Isotek/Esoteric CD as is...better quiet all night than without and probably considerably better than music since it is designed specifically for fast burnin, covering a huge range of sounds and attacks to flex the system. When I come home after several hours of it playing, the sound seems more improved than several hours of music by quite a bit. Subjective I know, but my impression. I just assume that using it (or music) at various volumes would work the tubes and all else differently, and ultimately better with variety of power and push. But you do what you can.

Looks like the tube companies or vendors could come up with a good, efficient  burnin system and charge a premium for ready to go tubes for us freaks with very revealing systems.


Title: Re: JJ 6CA7s
Post by Pale Rider on 09/22/11 at 15:56:21

Gopher wrote:

Really glad about the auto-biasing!  

That is so true. It makes tube rolling in Decware equipment even easier.

Title: Re: JJ 6CA7s
Post by will on 09/22/11 at 17:54:35

An excellent point indeed. These are the only tube amps I have had since I was a kid, so I take the ease of rolling for granted. Especially with new tubes or a new piece of gear, I will roll every day at times, and sometimes several times in a day in looking for that just right synergy/signature. So easy!

Title: Re: JJ 6CA7s
Post by Lon on 09/22/11 at 23:01:40

Well, I have about 17 hours of use on these and I like them. Robust and have that classic chunkiness. Glad I ordered them. Sweeter in the treble by a hair than the Winged Cs. I also like them better than the Tungsol reissues.

Title: Re: JJ 6CA7s
Post by C.E. on 09/28/11 at 22:58:51

My JJ's just arrived...

I quickly popped them in and I agree that they are very good indeed. Nice and "tubey".

Any consensus on time for break-in? They sound really tight (not open at all) on the top end, but everything else is wonderful.

Title: Re: JJ 6CA7s
Post by Lon on 09/28/11 at 23:39:11

I'd say 70 or more. I have about 90 to 100 on mine. They're good. Different than the Winged Cs, seem to have less an open midrange, and perhaps a less warm bass. Top end is very nice. I seem to hear a bit less dynamic range.

Definitely great tubes for the price so far, and none of them have "misbehaved."

I assume that these take advantage of the "Hazen Grid Mod."

Title: Re: JJ 6CA7s
Post by C.E. on 09/28/11 at 23:53:10

Thanks Lon.

Hoping Steve will maybe step in here and answer that one.

My take is that that besides some minor differences in operating parameters, the big difference lies in that there's some beam forming plates that take the place of that 3rd grid on the El-34.

In my (tiny brain's) opinion, the mod should help in close to the same fashion.  


Title: Re: JJ 6CA7s
Post by will on 09/29/11 at 02:16:22

I have 150 or so on mine and they seem to be becoming pretty clarified with all the little oddities sorted out, with even presentation and articulation across the spectrum. And a fairly impressive dynamic range, so I am guessing yours may not quite be there yet Lon. I sort of lost track on mine at roughly 130, so they were getting pretty even by then, but I think they subtly improving now and guess they will continue for a while. They are big heavy construction.

Also, I can't imagine that Steve would sell the Torii with them if the Hazen Grid Mod was not functional with them.


Title: Re: JJ 6CA7s
Post by Lon on 09/29/11 at 02:32:50

Well, mine seemed to stop changing yesterday after running them about 15 hours a day since they arrived. But hey i'll be happy if they get more dynamic, but I still have my doubts.

I agree, I don't think Steve would send out tubes with this amp that didn't take advantage fo the mod.

Title: Re: JJ 6CA7s
Post by Lon on 10/04/11 at 17:58:13

Well, these really haven't changed in about five days of use so I'd say they're broken in. I still feel that they're a smidgeon less dynamic, maybe a bit less "fast" than the Winged Cs, but also present just a smidgeon more of of a classic tube sound which I'm taking these days as a plus. Like these tubes, and the price is really right. I've had no problem at all with any one of my quad.

Title: Re: JJ 6CA7s
Post by Lon on 10/05/11 at 16:20:11

I put the Winged Cs back in for comparison. I think the Winged Cs will stay in for a while. Ironically the Cs make the Torii sound less like a tube amp, but fantastic. The bass is better. The midrange is so open it's as if you can see way deeply into the music, less so with the JJs. And "faster" and a touch more dynamic than the JJs. Both are great choices, and I can see why given that Cs are harder to find these days Steve has gone with the JJs stock.

I'll use these Cs til they're gone and then go back to the JJs.

Title: Re: JJ 6CA7s
Post by Lon on 10/05/11 at 16:31:11

Whoops. One of the Cs just started going bad. The JJs are back in!

Title: Re: JJ 6CA7s
Post by will on 10/05/11 at 20:32:47

Winged Cs have gone up but here are some.

Don't know why the Antique Electronic Supply (tubes and more) link is not associated with the page i got it from with the Winged Cs, but they have it for about 145/quad.

Title: Re: JJ 6CA7s
Post by Lon on 10/05/11 at 20:40:28

Yeah, I know where to find Winged Cs. I just think that it may now be harder for Steve to get them in the volume he needs and or the best price for stock.

I'm watching my pennies through Xmas so I'll order some next year. I miss the sound. The JJs are very cool, just different.

Title: Re: JJ 6CA7s
Post by Lon on 10/08/11 at 16:36:27

After making that comparison I haven't been completely happy with the JJs. Thanks to a sale of power cords to Greg and Greg (thanks guys, cords are packaged and about to go in the mail) I ordered a "burned in for stability" set from Antique Electronic Supply.

Title: Re: JJ 6CA7s
Post by Gopher on 10/09/11 at 05:36:44

Interesting.  I guess I'm not the only one with reservations about the JJs.  I just plugged 'em back in my amp right now after removing them for a couple of weeks.

They have a pleasant sound, but its not nearly as 'bold' as the the black treasures.  I did prefer them to the Winged C's I had, but maybe my Winged Cs weren't fully broken in.

Title: Re: JJ 6CA7s
Post by will on 10/09/11 at 08:16:44

Though at times I have enjoyed the winged Cs, I have never completely warmed up to them. I think they are nice tubes, but in my system, though they have a great open midrange quality, they have a leanness in the mids-mids that seems off balance with the warmness from the very low mids down. To me, there is a bit of unevenness that I just can't get used to with most tube sets I like.

But what we put any tube with is such a huge part of the story, and since I like more open and dynamic input tubes, they tend to bring out this unevenness, where some warmish input tubes balance nicely with the Winged C. Then there is how the rectifiers and VR balance...too many variables to blame or praise one tube easily.

I have found the JJ 6AC7 a bit dark and flat with warmer inputs, but with a couple different 7DJ8s, the RCA OA3-ST, and 40s RCA 5U4G-STs (more open than the 50/60s), they are sounding extremely good in this system....warm and textural, good body without a sense of excess density, smooth, dynamic and open.

For me, I think they are just particular as to what they work really well with. At the moment, with this set, my system has never sounded better. It is odd though. I have been playing around with different tubes to work with the JJs for a couple weeks, and this set did not quite occur to me while just thinking about the individual tube characters, so I came by it by the back door so to speak. That magical synergy is there though and it is really beautiful. I have no Treasures to compare.

Title: Re: JJ 6CA7s
Post by Lon on 10/09/11 at 14:05:18

Well, there are so many variables, and room and personal taste and the very way we individually perceive music are important factors. And what we are shooting for (I mean I have one audiophile friend whose goal is to have dozens of great great sounding recordings that shine whereas I seek a balance that favors thousands of varied recordings). I did try a few different tube rollings but still never quite got past that sort of "congestion" that the JJs brought, made the Torii sound like a sixties tube amp, not the sound I'm used to or going for. And I'm sold on the 6N1P input, none of the other input types quite do it for me, and the Cs may have a certain compatibility with that tube type, that the JJs don't (for my purposes at least).

I'd say of the three tube types I've used in the Mk III as output the Cs are my favorite, then the JJs, then a quad of Tungsol croy'd. Having rescued my previous quad and now that I have a new quad of Cs on the way I have great sound for more than a year ahead.

Next time I experiment I'm going to try Mullard reissues; I've used two in my Integrated and they were awesome in that application.

Title: Re: JJ 6CA7s
Post by will on 10/09/11 at 15:26:18

I did try a few different tube rollings but still never quite got past that sort of "congestion" that the Cs brought, made the Torii sound like a sixties tube amp, not the sound I'm used to or going for.

Lon, Are you referring the JJ's here? I would not have thought of "congestion" as a term to describe the Cs, though I could see it as a descriptor for the JJ 6AC7 with certain tube sets. And I agree about room...when I refer to system, I consider the room part of it since room is so much of our sound.

From my experiments with various tubes and tube types, I suspect Datman likes the tube so much because he had a synergistic combo that sings, as did I finally. I believe he uses National 7DJ8s with his, and maybe RCA 5U4G-STs, but I can't recall exactly, and then there is everything else in the system. Part of what finally brought mine out was a little cable/AC component "rolling" for me. I found them compelling in general, but being a bit dense and dark they did not easily fit my ultimate tastes until I put them with 7DJ8s which opened them up, makng them more spacious, and increasing the sense of dynamics. Then I found much more potential with the tube, but did not get there until I got that just right combo. I am actually using some Zaerix labeled 7DJ8s. So I think it is sort of a quirky tube, at least in terms of getting the ultimate sound I like. I mean, for my tastes, with the 60's sort of tubular sound of the JJs, I would never have thought to use my OA3-STs, them being warmer VRs....but they somehow contributed to the friendly spaciousness this particular tube set brought. Got me.....

This makes me wonder....since Steve changed over to them in the Torii, it would be interesting to try the bright/articulate Ruby 5U4Gs and see what those do with the JJs. I wonder if they might not act somewhat like the 7DJ8s, making the JJs more spacious???

Title: Re: JJ 6CA7s
Post by Lon on 10/09/11 at 15:29:53

Sorry yes, just a typo, I truly meant JJs.

Yegads I hate the sound of those Rubys in any tube set I've ever tried, they're permanently banished from my Torii! :)  I did try different OA3, OB3, and OC3 tubes with the JJs. . . the Cs are just better for my purposes. With the JJs I have a good back up pair that will be suitable between sets of Cs, that's how I look at it now.

I haven't tried the 7DJ8s but I've tried so many input tubes over the year and always come back to the 6N1P. I'd use the 6N2P if I could but they just aren't right for this amp. The 6N1P is I think essential to my goal of getting a tube set that works over the scope of my collection. Already I've been doing too much tube-rolling lately and getting that nervous feeling that I get from that which is anathema to relaxing and listening for me, so I'm happy with what I'm now using: 6N1P, remarkable straight shoulder RCA 5U4G (this one set trounces even others that seem identical), RCA straight shoulder OA3, the Raytheon VR75s it shipped with and the Winged Cs. It seems to work for my intents, and I should just stick with it and quit fidgeting.

I think speakers are a big determinant too. I know I'd settle on a tube change if I brought the HR-1s out again. Part of why I'm not planning to for some time. This tube-rolling gets to me after a while. Interferes with my image of myself as a music lover first. :)

Title: Re: JJ 6CA7s
Post by will on 10/09/11 at 18:19:16

Yes, I tried the Ruby 5U4G with my current set and after warm up, took it back out fairly rapidly. Seemed kind of empty by comparison with the 40s RCA least with this set.

Glad you have the tube combo that just keeps on keeping on! I envy you with your straight RCA OA3s (I can't find any!) and those particular straight 5U4Gs. And the 6N1Ps I have tried are quite variable too....which to get???? What a labyrinth it can become....


Title: Re: JJ 6CA7s
Post by datman on 10/09/11 at 21:36:56

I can understand all the conjecture about these tubes. Perhaps I was lucky having the National 7DJ8's in place BEFORE I installed the JJ's, but the JJ's DO sound better than the Treasures to me.

What I have discovered is the need to adjust the bias and the output impedance. These have definately changed with the JJ's. These changes did make things sound even better.

I am using NOS Svetlana black plate 5U4G rectifiers.

Will, I have ordered the series of 0*3 tubes which should be here Monday. Tube rolling will commence then.

Title: Re: JJ 6CA7s
Post by will on 10/09/11 at 22:30:44

Datman, Thanks for the Svetlana Black plate clarification. Have you compared them to anything else? I heard some folks say they like them, but never heard just what makes their sound good.

I look forward to your O*3 exploration. I like having choices there and wish I could find more availability on the straight bottle tubes.

I noticed likewise with the JJs, that the impedance switch in particular can bring out some cool depth and clarification, but I always seem to end back at  4 ohm and neutral bias. I will have to be more diligent in leaving it set at 8 ohms for a while and adjust knobs around it. Thanks for the tip.

Title: Re: JJ 6CA7s
Post by datman on 10/09/11 at 23:15:41

I actually bought the Svetlana 5U4's when I first got my Torii. One of the supplied 5U4's literally came apart on me (oh, the joy of Chinese tubes). I went out and found the best 5U4 I could and the Svetlana's were it.

My amp is configured as 8/16 ohms. Unfortunately, i don't know which switch position is which. When I started I had the switch TOWARD the transformers. Now it is AWAY from the transformers. This will probably change once I start playing with 0*3 tubes.

Title: Re: JJ 6CA7s
Post by kana813 on 10/10/11 at 04:21:29

When I had my TORII, I was also confused about the switch positions since it's not covered in the manual.

On your amp with the impendance switches toward the front of the amp,
it should be 8 ohms.

Title: Re: JJ 6CA7s
Post by Lon on 10/19/11 at 06:40:10

That's my understanding as well, I believe in the "manual" Steve states that the lowest ohm setting is in the front.

I've tried out the JJs in my SE34 Monoblock amps in my bedroom system. A very good fit with 6N1P input tubes. Nice and warm with moments of surprising 3D. Really happy with that system. All my amps sound good in there, but the Monoblocks have a magic something going on. I always had problems getting just the right bass out of them, but the highs and mids are gorgeous. The JJs help me get the bass closer.

Title: Re: JJ 6CA7s
Post by Lon on 11/02/11 at 16:11:25

And now the JJs are in my Torii Mk II amp in the second system and sounding really good. I had my gal pal helping me out evaluating the sound of the different amps in my second system. This time she told me she likes the sound of the Torii Mk II best, and this morning we both heard a fine example of why, listening to a Julio Iglesias cd there was a moment of holographic beauty that we both noticed. The Monoblocks have a certain sweetness and smoothness that I love in that system, but man, there's nothing like the accuracy and control of a Torii to really bring out imaging and positioning of instruments, even when the speakers are far from optimally placed.

So the JJs so impressed me again in that system that I took them out and put them in the Torii Mk III in the main system. And still, I prefer the Winged Cs immediately. There's just an openness to the Cs that makes the JJs sound as if they're compressing the imaging and instrument positioning. And at the same time there's a real vitality that is sparkling the music forward, which is not my favorite posiiton. And this holds up through the different tube complements at hand. So. . . darn. I'm stuck with using the expensive Winged Cs!  ;)

Title: Re: JJ 6CA7s
Post by stone_of_tone on 11/02/11 at 18:02:47

My Torii will come with the JJ6CA7's. I plan to have on hand the Winged C's. Compared to the Shuguang Treasures, they are a bargain. I will resist putting the C's in my new Amp until it is sufficiently burned in and I improve the Rectifiers from Ruby's and get a handle on the signature of the Amp. My journey begins soon and I have all these great posts from you guys to learn from and listen.

Who knows? Maybe I'll love the JJ's? However, your experience with the Winged C's 34 Lon, sounds like my cup of tea. I love true Svetlana quality.  

Different tube, but the original SV83 tubes Steve created his Pentodes run in Triode Amps are still my favorite output tubes. I don't like any EL84's compared to the SV83 Svetlana's. I am glad I have a nice stash of them.  

The original Svetlana Tubes (SV83 & EL34 Winged C's) made in St. Petersburg (I refuse to have ever said Lenengrad during the time of the USSR) are tubes to be cherished from the 80's production and early 90's. Then Reflector muddied the water's.     Stone

Title: Re: JJ 6CA7s
Post by Lon on 11/02/11 at 18:19:12

I'm with you Stone. Those were great runs of tubes, and they've been an integral part of the Decware experience for me.

Hey the JJs may be just the thing for you and your room(s). I'm convinced that the room and the interaction of the speaker is one of the hugest parts of the equation. I find tubes that I don't really love in a machine sound so lovely in the same machine in another room, with the same or different speakers. Wild, and makes all recommendations and reviews very problematic.

The JJs have really impressed me with their quiet and steady operation and in one amp they have given me three dimensional moments. So here's hoping you love them. They're a real bargain.

How much longer do you think Stone, a week til shipment?

Title: Re: JJ 6CA7s
Post by stone_of_tone on 11/03/11 at 04:24:00

I am excited about the JJ's. I am hoping no more than a couple more weeks on the Amp? Steve did get quite a few Torii III orders alone, the last couple of weeks in August. Busy shop.

Title: Re: JJ 6CA7s
Post by kana813 on 01/01/12 at 01:49:17

So, what's everyone's final take on the JJs against the rest of the EL34/6CA7 types you've tried?

Hauoli Makahiki Hou!

Title: Re: JJ 6CA7s
Post by Pale Rider on 01/02/12 at 00:26:39

Final take? The JJ 6CA7s are a bargain. I have two quads as backups for that time in the future when tubes cannot be gotten [heaven forbid], and because they are a bargain at today's NOS prices. But I still prefer the Treasures. Never ran the JJ EL34s that came with the Torii, but the 6CA7 is quite good, even considering I did not break the set in I tried for more than about 25 hours before listening.

And likewise, Happy New Year everyone!

Title: Re: JJ 6CA7s
Post by kana813 on 01/02/12 at 05:13:45


Mahalo for the feedback, but since you haven't broken in the JJs,
you don't know if they can out performed the Treasures.

Have a great year.

PS- Installed the MK II upgrade in my PWD, more expense than changing tubes, but a nice improvement in resolution.

Title: Re: JJ 6CA7s
Post by Lon on 01/02/12 at 05:32:07

I've been using the JJs for a few weeks now, and I like them more or am used to them more. They're definitely a bargain. In comparison to the Winged Cs I've mainly used, my take is that they both are a shade on either side of a "neutral" mid-point, the JJs being a bit warmer and the Cs with a bit more sharpness.

Title: Re: JJ 6CA7s
Post by datman on 01/02/12 at 19:28:12

I am finding the JJ's continue to sound better and better. I have several hundred hours on mine and they contine to improve.

Long live juicy sound!

Title: Re: JJ 6CA7s
Post by will on 01/03/12 at 00:03:26

All the system/room individuality disclaimers.....

I agree with Datman, mine seem to be improving too with maybe 170 on them. Subtle, but happening and I could see how this could continue a while.

Also with Lon, for me these tubes take a bit of getting used to (and a good warmup!).

For context, I like a sound that is balanced, low bass to high-highs, with no part of the range particularly sticking out, and with a natural feeling midrange that has a bit of warmth, and a nice texture and spacial bloom, facilitating the sense of real players in the room. I like bass that is deep and tight enough to feel/sound like real bass instruments, and enough detail  (and range of detail) to bring out all the character and nuance of instruments and ambience, but without hardness.

....the quest for me seems to be to get enough detail (micro and macro) to bring out inner subtly, textures, and air but cradled in a natural and balanced body and depth. I need a saturated sound stage with realistic ambience that places the players in space, and passes through the walls of my room. And with just enough warmth to smooth detail without masking it, to convey natural body, and to bring all the players out both individually and together in a comfortable and convincing way. I wonder where that places me in tastes?

The JJ 6AC7.

I have a lot of tubes of all the Torii types, so I am coming from a perspective of variability of tube characteristics, not the stock set, and other than power, Old Stock. And in this context, this JJ is interesting. It can sound quite bad or quite good depending on what it is put with.

Relative to the other EL34 types I have (Cryod Ruby, cryod Tungsol, Winged -C, East German RTF/Siemens/Brimar, Groove Tube #7) I would place the JJs on the darker/heavier side, and slightly restrained. And though they are a warmish tube, I hesitate to use the term warmth without qualification. These tubes can be slightly warm to very warm with the right counterparts, but can also be dark, dense and congested with the wrong tubes. Warmth to me has a low/mid midrange bump (compared to transparent), but without masking texture, harmonics, and all the other inner detail important to a natural sound....that soft and warm euphonic thing tubes can bring…smoothing detail without taking it away.

The JJs have a solid build that you can hear. With my last tube set, using the very open cryo'd Ruby EL34, warmish inputs and rectifiers, and transparent VRs, the JJs sounded horrible…. like they feel….heavy, dark, restricting….held back. They did show good signs under these constraints though……balance from top to bottom, solidity across the range, deep, tight bass, and a nice "tubey" sound….articulate and atmospheric.

And once balanced with a synergistic blend, using the right relatively open tubes, the JJs to me sound very, very good. I don't know the current Torii stock tubes, but I am guessing that the VRs and Rectifiers are relatively transparent, setting the stage for these 6AC7s to perform well.

Personally, I just don't like them until I find synergy, but once found, they can sound exceptionally good…..balanced and natural….smooth but spacious, deep and articulate bass, smooth highs, excellent definition throughout, and with a warm "tubey" atmospheric quality that is magical and entrancing.

Finally, just like all the tubes, to get that transporting thing going, for me, they just need the right company!

Title: Re: JJ 6CA7s
Post by Morganc on 01/03/12 at 13:35:13

Hi Will,
  Thanks for the info:   What is your favorite combo both with the JJ's and without them?    

Title: Re: JJ 6CA7s
Post by will on 01/05/12 at 01:58:01

Hey Morgan,

Being a bit tube crazy, and having enough good sounding ones, I can get most of them to sound good by complimenting well. I always have a sound I like, and I like shaking it up a bit, keeping the musical experience exciting and my creative exploration alive. It is progressive for me and I don't keep track except by my recollection of the character of a tube. So whichever set I am listening to is my favorite.

But as I re-look at the JJ 6AC7 your question sent me on an exploration.

For a warmish power tube, one approach could be to use some nice, open inputs with whatever else I have in there. I ended up the other way. I first found a input tube I wanted to enhance, and then set up a foundation I liked for it. I had liked the National 7DJ8 (after it burned in) the last time I was messing around with the JJs, and I ended up with it. I tended toward it too because Datman, the starter of this JJ interest, loved it with the JJs and I had been just a little hesitant about it finding the National a wee bit brusk and overstated. I wanted to look for what he heard. Other inputs I liked are some Mullard 6DJ8 and 6922 pulls, and one other 7DJ8, a Zaerix labeled Argentinian Philips tube, were all sounding good, but the National had something I wanted to work with...It has such an open, textural sound, with solid balance top to bottom, but is also relatively rich and smooth for a very open tube, so I decided to try to exploit its amazing inner detail while trying to keep the highs rich and smooth.

BTW when rolling, I cut off the amp and use a cotton rag to gently pull hot tubes, setting them down gently in the warm gear cabinet to cool. The hard part for me, is waiting for them to warm up a bit.

I find Rectifiers and VRs have a huge effect, and starting with a defined input with the JJ 6AC7 corroborated that big time. I tried two angles on this for my JJ set. One with a very transparent rectifier balanced with a warmer VR, and the other way...a warmer 5U4GB and a more transparent VR. I think I could have gone either way, but I am really liking the qualities of two 5U4s and they are fresh and open.

Thanks to Lon turning us on to 5U4GBs, they are really interesting to me too...more textural, often deeper and often with amazing inner detail compared to the 5U4G-STs I have. My current favorites are transparent ones that enhance the space, nuance and ambience of instruments while also having great textural detail, dynamics, and free flow. The sound stage ramifications of these can be really beautiful.

One is an extra tall bottle RCA, early 50s black plate with internals like STs (with the exposed glass surrounding the wires on bottom and rectangular top mica) and a top/side rectangular getter. It is a classic tube....with a very solid  character....deep/tight bass, open mids with amazing ambient information, clear/open highs and that indescribable "tubey" thing that brings out a solid, atmospheric, ambient structure. In general this tube in my setup needs something else with warmth to support its amazing, but very clear sound.

The other favorite has no label, sold as tall bottle RCA black plates, 1961-2, but they look just like some I have labeled Sylvania. They have a single, off center, top hallow getter. These are very revealing, but a little warmer, more textured and  a bit softer in the low end than the RCAs, so more flexible. I ended up with these in this set preferring its softer qualities with the National/JJs.

For me, the OA3 of choice these days when I want transparency is a Sylvania ST shape from 1981. I got these at tubeworld. Generally, the older STs tend to be warm, but these are transparent in a similar way to some straight OA3s but have a touch of ST rounding character. But with these open Rectifiers, and because the punch and power of OA3s sometimes gets overwhelming to me, I chose a slightly more low key and warmer OB3. Since i wanted rich texture I ended up with some great sounding Tungsol OB3-STs, calming the overall presentation a bit and adding some sweet warmth.

The set I ended up with is National 7DJ8 (mine are "premium"), JJ 6AC7, 60-61 Sylvania tall bottle black plate 5U4GB with off center top hallow getter, early (50s??) Tungsol OB3-ST, RCA OC2.

In my system/room I would call this a revealing, open tube set, with a very refined presentation of all the many shades of detail, and with a depth and richness that sweetens without clouding anything. Interesting... I wonder what will be next.

Interestingly, with this foundation, I was able to roll in a bunch of different 6DJ8s and 6922s with great results. That is new to me.

BTW, I tested this set with the Ruby-STs that shipped with my Torii and they were tonally relatively comparable with these 5U4GBs, but less refined, less micro detail, and therefore less nuance, texture, and ambience. Interestingly, my 40s and 50s RCA 5U4G-STs sounded thin with this tube set. The influence of tubes on each other and synergy in the Torii, to me, sometimes comes in unexpected ways.

Edit: Forgot the room, my gear, my tastes thing. Also, I forgot to add that I use Pure Music in a tricked out Mac, and found I liked their dithering algorithm bringing out natural sounding, smooth articulation, body, depth, and dynamics (maybe because there is a bit more black and less smearing) while enhancing the sound stage. Since it increased body and bass, I had to do some pretty deep low cuts that became necessary with several dithered plugins, so I have a very good basis for EQ refinement with little, narrow cuts scattered around the low end, and a major low shelf at about 17 Hz to balance the amazing thing Pure's dithering does with my system. Having several dithered plugins working makes Pure sound like a more neutral Audirvana if you know that one.

The reason I add this is that I think I recall 5U4GBs tending to being bassy, and I have control of the bass with my room treatments and EQ.

Title: Re: JJ 6CA7s
Post by Lon on 01/05/12 at 03:31:20

Very interesting will. You sure enjoy rolling and do it systematically!

The "super cryo'd" 6N1P I purchased a few months ago just won't come out of the Torii. It really exhibits just the right balance of detail and tonality for my purposes and it works well with either the JJs or the Winged C. I've the JJs in for a few weeks now, they do take a long time to break in and they do sort of weasel their way under your skin. I may still prefer the Cs but the JJs are cheaper and quite easy to listen to. I'm using straight sided RCA 5U4GBs, straight sided RCA OA3s, and I'm back to using the Raytheon OC2s. Whenever I try any other tubes in the O_3 family, and I have five different pairs, I end up putting these RCA OA3s in, they just work for all my tube combinations.

The Torii is such a great platform stock, and in time you can really fine tune the amp to your taste (or more accurately, to discover what you like!)

Title: Re: JJ 6CA7s
Post by will on 01/05/12 at 07:10:08

Yes this ended up being a systematic tube exploration, but only after wandering around for a while in my usual.....change this one or that until it syncs. But it wasn't totally working for these tubes once I got the hyper ear going and quested for the set that had the balance, warmth and all the subtle detail complexity I was after, and that would play well with various recording qualities. For my tastes, the JJs are a tricky tube to work with, but worth it, so I went systematic. How deep to go is sort of limitless is seems, or equally valid, we can get great, satisfying sound staying with, or close to stock.

I couldn't agree more....the Torii is a great platform.....however we use it. With the transparent and powerful foundation, and the complexities of the many tube sets, knobs, cables, and all the other pieces that contribute to great music, I really enjoy it as a beautiful and ever-evolving creative playground!

Title: Re: JJ 6CA7s
Post by kana813 on 01/11/12 at 03:41:31

Mahalo for the additional feedback on the JJ 6CA7s.

Ordered a quad from Doug's Tube, hope to have them for the weekend.

Title: Re: JJ 6CA7s
Post by Morganc on 01/25/12 at 08:37:11

I am really enjoying these JJ tubes.  So far my only comparison is the Black Treasure but I am favoring the JJ's despite my really stiff prejudice that the BT would be better.  They have more air in the highs with added detail, and intimacy without any edginess or brightness at all.  And the bass is excellent in my system.

Title: Re: JJ 6CA7s
Post by Morganc on 01/25/12 at 08:41:01

Lon:  where did you get the super cryo'd 6N1P's?  Still enjoying them?  

Title: Re: JJ 6CA7s
Post by Lon on 01/25/12 at 12:24:49

I got them from and I really enjoy them. They took a month to open up, that's my only caveat on these. They weren't impressive at first but after weeks the bass started to come in and in a month they were the best I'd ever had in the Mk III. Yes, I've had zero inclination to try another tube in those sockets after these broke in.

Title: Re: JJ 6CA7s
Post by will on 01/25/12 at 22:35:26

Lon, For reference, could tell us the specific input tubes you have tried before arriving at the double cryo'd 6N1P?

Title: Re: JJ 6CA7s
Post by Lon on 01/25/12 at 23:48:59

No, I probably can't remember them all but I've tried:

Sylvania 6DJ8, Sylvania 6922
Seimens 6922
National 6922, National 6DJ8
RCA 6DJ8, RCA 6BQ7A (cryo'd)
Ruby 6922
JJ 6922
Philips 6922, Philips 6DJ8
IC 6922
EICO 6DJ8 (Mullard? Maybe)
Telefunken 6922
Svetlana 6N1P
Various other 6N1P from Russian factories (cryo'd and non-cryo'd)
6N2P from Russian factories
Electro Harmonix 6922 (cryo'd and non-cryo'd)

And other tubes that I couldn't specifically name at this time. I've done enough experimenting to realize that the 6N1P is the tube type to concentrate on.

Title: Re: JJ 6CA7s
Post by will on 01/26/12 at 00:35:38

Thanks Lon. Wow, that is a pretty good test base of some pretty nice tubes to have used in your MKIII! And still the 6N1P rises up to the top! Sounds like an excellent foundation for your choice.

My system/room and taste, but n my case, I play with even more input tubes than your list, all NOS, with many of each 6922, 6DJ8, 7DJ8 and 6N23P (from pretty much the gamut of the better makers), and the 6N1P that came with my Torii is among my least favorite.

I do have a lot of choices in the other Torii tubes too though, and enjoy mixing and matching to bring out the best of given tube to suit me.

But this is interesting. I wonder if my 6N1Ps are just a weak pair, or if the cryo is that important in this case, or if it is all system/taste. I found these 6N1P nice in many ways, but less refined on overall balance and tonal values compared to most others I have that do all the good things the 6N1P does, but to me better. Better inner resolution, better texture, better balance, better bass definition, more refined timbre...........

I guess I need to try a pair of the super cryos! Just what i need, more tubes!!!! ;)

Title: Re: JJ 6CA7s
Post by Lon on 01/26/12 at 03:06:17

I've tried 6N23P as well.

If you've only tried that one pair that came with your amp I'd say try at least another pair. I've found some wildly different 6N1Ps from ebay and online vendors. I'm using a triad of the regular cryo'd 6N1Ps from in my CSP2 and they're nice, different than the super-cryo'd ones.

The 6N1P helps me accomplish a goal I have of making as many of my recordings as possible come alive. Not just the "great sounding ones." I've come to the conclusion that this is the tube type fundamental to that end, it has the right characteristics for the broad range and scope of recordings in play. It's just a personal choice. I find it interesting that I discovered that it holds true for three machines for me: CSP2, Mk II and Mk III. If you're happy with those you're happy with no reason really to try, but if you've only heard that one pair of 6N1P tubes, well that's just one pair! ;)

Title: Re: JJ 6CA7s
Post by Morganc on 01/26/12 at 06:41:28

Thanks Lon.   That is exactly my goal also!   I tuned my prior system to the point where the best recordings where chill bump inducing, but most did not sound good.   Now I just want as many types of music and as many types and qualities of recording to sound great.   I'll sacrifice amazing for the few for great for the majority!
I just ordered a pair from Cryoset....can't wait to break them in.


Title: Re: JJ 6CA7s
Post by will on 01/26/12 at 20:21:07

Interesting. I have shed a lot of recordings as I transitioned from LP, and later to computer, but still have some pretty bad recordings.

And my goal is also to have most recordings sound great, BUT ALSO to have the good recordings be "chill bump inducing." My system/room/tastes, but I don't feel like one has to necessarily sacrifice the other. Or am I misinterpreting.

More specifically, my objective is for the decent recordings to captivate me to a point of engrossment by a sense of realness in the beauty of the music. Along with this is the wonder at the magnificence of the presentation by my system/room........ a deep, wide, layered, saturated and spacious sound stage...amazing character of the instruments and voices solidified by the many shades of detail that create true timbre, textures, air,  body, and solid deep bass......... and these values carry me back to the wonder of the music.

I do have a lot of tubes to fine-tune with, and enjoy playing with this. And my good sounding room and system are diligently tuned to one another. But I get that  engrossing and awesome realness that convincingly places the player in the room, while still being able to enjoy listening to old Stanley Brothers, earlier Irish Traditional, Niel Young Harvest or Let it Be. But also, better quality, but pretty dense recordings like Patricia Barber Modern Cool or EST Seven Days of Falling with excellent sound stage, engaging spaciousness, and definition. Or recordings that can hurt if too bright like Archie Shepp True Ballads, or Sonny Rollins Sax Colossus... the horns in the face, but beautiful and strikingly real.

I do have to try the super Cryo 6N1Ps because Lon's  experience and suggestions tend to pan out well for me. And since I am already a lost in the tube wilderness whackjob, I should have a good example of the tube type anyway! I can imagine pretty easily how the cryo process could make a good 6N1P a nicely resolving tube.

I look forward to hearing your thoughts Morgan!

Title: Re: JJ 6CA7s
Post by will on 01/28/12 at 16:46:01

Just a heads up. I just heard from Ron at that he now has cryo'd JJ6CA7s!

Title: Re: JJ 6CA7s
Post by Lon on 09/04/12 at 16:31:36

Well, after about eleven months of use, I replaced my set with a new set. The vividness of the sound is back!

That's about par for the course for me, about a year's worth of use on power tubes. I run my amps about 12 to 18 hours a day, so really that's a lot of use, about 4380 to 6570 hours; I keep my Torii turned all the way up for the most part (controlled by either my PWD Mk II or my CSP2 or now CSP2+).

Title: Re: JJ 6CA7s
Post by Lon on 02/28/13 at 14:08:18

As will spoke positively of them, I am running a quad of cryo'd JJ 6CA7 now (from Very satisfying sound, there's a distinct difference from my non-cryo'd pair. There's an "ease" to the sound and the flow of sound, and a nice relaxed "feel" to the sound.

Title: Re: JJ 6CA7s
Post by Lon on 03/05/13 at 18:09:34

More time on the cryo'd 6CA7 JJs has been good, these are very nice!

Also. . . on my Torii Mk II I put over a hundred miles on a pair of RCA 5YGGT that I got from ebay a bit ago and put them in the Torii Mk III yesterday in place of the Valve Audio 274B. Well, a drop in perceived power output but man the warmth is back, and the imaging and sound stage have resumed what I perceive as "normal" (at least using my reference recordings, which are of music bandmates and I made in my then garage apartment which I made on my four track Fostex). I don't why I never tried this tube type before in the Torii. Now I have that tube type in my two CSP2+, ZP3 and Torii Mk III. A very nice chain of sound!

Title: Re: JJ 6CA7s
Post by will on 03/05/13 at 18:34:16

Sounds good Lon. I wonder if the reason you had not tried 5Y4GTs in the Torii was that the Decware write-ups tend to associate lower power with lower bass...

I have some very nice and warm 5Y4GTs that have a sweet and seductive sound, and like you experienced, with less notable power, but with a nice balance, and a particularly sweet textured sound. Finally for me though (at least so far) this is overruled by the lower power thing which also softens fast and deep dynamics some...something I really count on.

But as I think about how you have described your sound balance priorities, to play as well as possible across all recording qualities, the 5Y4 can definitely make some sense! As I imagine it, after the very solid focus of the Valve Art 274s, I can almost hear your sigh of relief with a nice 5Y4 in place.

Let us know how your impressions develop.


Title: Re: JJ 6CA7s
Post by Lon on 03/05/13 at 18:42:26

You're probably right about these matching my priorities of favoring as much music and as many sources as possible.

I get considerably less bass from the Valve Art 274Bs. . . . I think the reason I never tried these was my love for the many RCA 5U4G type that I have.

I'm not finding a noticeable diminution of dynamics between the two tube types. Maybe the CSP2+ is responsible? Anyway, that sigh was released and I continue to be pretty happy. The diminished power output is not an issue at the moment thanks to the CSP2+ gain, and I lost the digital video out on my previous DVR and got a new one from the cable company that is a different model. Sound isn't quite (yet?) as good but the output is "hotter" and as the DVR was the lowest output of all my sources, that helps.

Title: Re: JJ 6CA7s
Post by Pale Rider on 03/05/13 at 20:04:28

I need to turn the subs off and listen to the 274Bs a little more precisely. As I posted in another thread, I found the Philips rectifiers I recently obtained from Upscale to be better than the Shuguang Preferred 274B, but not necessarily twice as good [2x price differential]. Put another way, the 274Bs were a decent bargain. Looking forward to the cryio'ed Valve Art currently en route. Sure like the look of the tubes. They look like they ought to produce bass, fat babies that they are.

I am not sure that overall, I have found anything to make me want to give up my NOS RCA stock. I have a bunch of these from 1940s-60s, and I have yet to have anything really beat them. Maybe a couple of old Mullards, but consistently, nothing.

Would be nice to have a current production source on the rectifiers that seemed up to the task. Had high hopes for the Winged C black plate, but in the end, it was only okay.

Title: Re: JJ 6CA7s
Post by will on 03/05/13 at 20:41:22

I was disappointed in the 55 winged Cs I have. And I really have liked RCA (and other) 5U4GBs and STs. From initial impressions, those Upscale Phillips 5R4GYs are quite impressive in their warmth, texture, and tight and clear but also laid back presentation, but somehow, they lack some luster for me and seem a little restrained. They do have excellent mid bass clarity.

So far I have liked the cryo'd Valve Arts just fine, but I have been adjusting toward synergy with them. Need to plug in some old favs and see how they add up. When I first put the 274s in, I liked their open, "tubey" and unrestrained character, which I still appreciate, but I can see how they might be too forward for some systems and tastes. I do not get a notable diminution in bass with them here. A little maybe...but not a big enough deal to even take notice.

Title: Re: JJ 6CA7s
Post by Lon on 03/06/13 at 03:34:24

I shouldn't have said "considerably less bass" above, meant to say "noticeably less bass," to be most accurate I hear it as less lower mid and a bit more upper bass. I don't have bass knobs or any adjustment there, so not sure how that would compensate, etc.

Enjoying the sound, especially with vinyl. A great, present naturalness at work in this complement.

Title: Re: JJ 6CA7s
Post by will on 03/06/13 at 05:45:25

I did some rolling today with some old fav 5U4GB and STs. Definitely more deep bass presence, especially with GBs, and less mid/upper-mid lucidity..... I had changed to the Valve Art from the Phillips 5R4GYs and they have a bit more bass, but not as much as the 5U4s. Having gotten used to the 274s, and adjusting/rolling to their presentation, I am enjoying them overall.

The bass knobs, are weird. You will know what I mean once you get them...that is if you ever get them. They do more than just tighten or loosen the bass...they actually effect the whole shebang, but the effect is more obvious with the bass. And they don't in fact seem to increase or decrease it, but instead change its character. This can give the impression of more or less, but I think it is not.

Opening it up, the warmth and atmosphere increases along with the bass becoming fuller and less articulate. It is an odd and sometimes confounding adjustment because it is hard to really "get" the whole of it, and in my system/room, I am not altogether sure it is that great until it is tuned just right. Sometimes I think wide open or turned all the way down are best seemingly with less confusing effect finally, but I always end up somewhere in the first third to two thirds. Pretty cool when you find that sweet balance spot....I use it a lot and in concert with the treble...I think I would really miss the very fine-tuned possibilities if it stopped working.

On the other hand the simplification may be a blessing!

I will see when the Taboo makes its way here.

Title: Re: JJ 6CA7s
Post by Lon on 03/06/13 at 23:05:41

Maybe I'll get to experience the bass knob function one day. I'm divided, mainly I just hate to part with the amp long enough to have mods done. It's my daily vehicle for transcendence. :)

I love the RCA 5U4G type and learned how to work with it quite well. The Valve Art 274B offered a different window, but I never could quite get past the tonal balance AND the biggest obstacle to relaxing into their sound for me was the image and sound stage presentation:  just too big and bold, not accurate enough for me. That just really bugs me. The 5Y3GT gives me what seems appropriate, and the tonal balance is very near where I want a tube set to be, enough bass and a sweet enough treble. Other tube types may bring a bit more bass, but at the expense in my system at least of a harder treble. These two RCA 5Y3GT seem to be just the ticket at least for now. It's shocking how small and short they are in comparison to the Valve Art 274Bs!

Now if I could just remind myself not to mess with anything else and just relax and listen. Oh wait a minute. . .that won't happen, I have a PowerBase for my PWT and PWD Mk II on the way to me, should arrive tomorrow.

Title: Re: JJ 6CA7s
Post by will on 03/07/13 at 00:51:38

If you ever run across some early Heinz and Kaufman 5Y3WGTAs, I think you would likely love them...They make my 50s RCA 5Y3s sound coolish.

Title: Re: JJ 6CA7s
Post by orangecrush on 03/07/13 at 03:07:30

I did not know 5Y3WGTA (6106) can be used in the Torii. Will, I am sure those (1950's w/tan bases) Heintz and Kaufman 5Y3WGTA's are a rebranded Bendix 6106.  I am going to try set, they are seriously over built. What else can you say about how they sound?

Title: Re: JJ 6CA7s
Post by Lon on 03/07/13 at 03:37:08

will wrote on 03/07/13 at 00:51:38:
If you ever run across some early Heinz and Kaufman 5Y3WGTAs, I think you would likely love them...They make my 50s RCA 5Y3s sound coolish.

Interesting. Thanks.

Title: Re: JJ 6CA7s
Post by will on 03/07/13 at 05:35:46

I did not know 5Y3WGTA (6106) can be used in the Torii. Will, I am sure those (1950's w/tan bases) Heintz and Kaufman 5Y3WGTA's are a rebranded Bendix 6106.  I am going to try set, they are seriously over built. What else can you say about how they sound?

Those are the ones alright. The Bendix are higher for name brand.

I will have to give them a listen again, but what I recall is a very special characterful tube with great texture, warmth, detail, balance and range. Sophisticated might be a good term for know every now and then a tube just does it all well...that is whatever they are supposed to do based on their type and electronics.

I alway love the 5Y3GTs when I put them in, then within a few days I fall back on the 5U4s in the Torii, so I can't say I have given them a full, long term listen.

I will give them a listen tomorrow and let you know if I am recalling them correctly and with anything else I notice, but I'd say now, if you like 5Y3s, this is a great tube.

I got them here:

along with a bunch of other tubes a few years ago.

Title: Re: JJ 6CA7s
Post by Lon on 03/07/13 at 12:14:31

Thanks will. I inquired about buying a pair (but if you're not using yours and wish to sell, let me know). Sounds worth trying.

There is something about the 5Y3 that is just so right in my system I haven't even been tempted to pop a 5U4 back in!

Title: Re: JJ 6CA7s
Post by Pale Rider on 03/07/13 at 16:02:20

Hmmm, may have to try those out. Interesting.

Title: Re: JJ 6CA7s
Post by will on 03/07/13 at 21:17:53

Interesting. First, these things are built heavy!!! and you really need to get them warmed up before evaluating, including playing music through them in this case....

Starting with Siemens 7DJ8s (CBS label) Raytheon (Westinghouse) OB3, RCA OC2, cryo'd JJ 6CA7s, and cryo'd Valve Art 274B and leaving the bass and treble the same...the Bendix (Heintz and Kaufman) 5Y3WGTA were less powerful (turned up the amp a bit) and shifted the frequency balance/emphasis upward...Less bass, and a midrange shift toward the upper mids. Also, they flesh out the recording more, manifesting amazing spacial information and impressive speed! These are definitely high quality and well made tubes.

But with this tube set, I think I prefer the Valve Arts as they bring out the big part of the mid-midrange and have a softer upper midrange, and they are more laid back...better balance for me.

As usual, there is that synergy thing (or lack thereof), and there are traits of the Bendix worth exploring. Also, these Siemens inputs are on the bright side of transparent/neutral relative to most tubes I have, but also very good tubes technically, with good extension, speed, and balance, and very revealing, so the combination may be the problem.

So I stuck in some warmish inputs...some Mullard 6DJ8s with large hallow getters. Now, the balance shifted downward again. Warmer, bigger bass, still really fast, still very revealing and ridiculous spacial information, but smoother, softened by the Mullard warmth. Are they too revealing....this evaluation may take longer than I expected. This tube is very interesting.

So for now, I will put in the RCA 5Y3s.

Wow! Another notch down on the mid emphasis, back to a similar range as the Valve Arts. The big mid-mids are back on top with a nice balance of upper and lower mids...that seductive "tubey" sound. And the bass aspect of the balance is UP!!!...up to a really nice sense of balance overall.

What's up here? It has been some time since I explored these tubes last, and my system/room (as well as my perception of sound) have gone through a bunch of small, but progressive refinements....Hmmm.....

One thought is that these RCA 5Y3GTs and the 6CA7s have a really good thing together with good, warmish inputs in front. The spacial information is still vast, but smoother and more organic, not too revealing. The upper mids are smoother....The speed is still there, but less notable...again, more organic....this is a really good sound....very nicely balanced, and yes, dynamic!!! On first impressions I would call the micro dynamics extremely good, while perhaps the dynamic range and macro dynamics are a little compressed compared to a lot of 5U4s, and especially the Valve Arts. Interestingly, the way these rectifiers bring down the tonal balance, the upper-upper mids and highs seem softer, but not particularly rolled off...they sound really good. And the bass feels and sounds really good. At the same time, all the necessary articulation and detail is there to flesh out the sound stage and all the sweet little things like air on reeds, attacks, and ambient information...and all with a really friendly, big midrange.

The bass does not go as deep as with 5U4s, but still deep enough in this system, especially with the low-mid bass and mid bass emphasis these tubes bring to the set...the bass feels organic and tight, but not too tight. And there is a sweetness to this tube set that brings out the emotional wonder of amazing musical exploration at home. They feel a wee bit restrained in a way that is currently inexplicable to me, perhaps the slight sense of a narrower dynamic range compared to the Valve Arts, but not in a big or offensive way in the least. I think the Valve Arts are exceptional in dynamic range though.

OK guys...I'm tired. Thanks Lon for helping me stumble into this exploration. I think I will leave these tubes in for a while and check it out more once I have the flavor of the set more subconsciously intact.

Until then....

Title: Re: JJ 6CA7s
Post by Lon on 03/07/13 at 21:36:03

Hmmm. . . if these move the frequency balance upward and the Valve Art are more laid back in that tube set. . . they're not going to stay in long in my system. . . .

Thanks for the impressions!

Title: Re: JJ 6CA7s
Post by will on 03/07/13 at 21:47:48

Agreed. This is the opposite of my initial impressions of the H&K versus the RCAs...but that was a while ago, with different tubes, perhaps a different source, and definitely before we had 6CA7s. Anyway, where you are with the RCAs makes sense to me from my wanderings this morning.

Title: Re: JJ 6CA7s
Post by will on 03/08/13 at 14:48:49

Doing a bunch of passive listening through the evening, I couldn't shake the feeling of compression from the RCA 5Y3GTs. They just felt restrained, like they were holding something pretty notable back.

Also, the sweetness I was hearing with my test recordings was intermittent...recording dependent. Seems this tube set has certain areas it excels in and others...not as good. I started hearing a veiled hardness in the mids on some stuff.

So I stuck back in the Valve Art 274Bs and I might not use the old blanket adage, but probably a flannel sheet. It was like it opened up the world for restrictions in any way...the music flows easily and freely. The dynamic range is back, the openness top to bottom....I like it way better.

I guess in this system, and for my tastes, the 5Y3GTs I have are not for me.

Title: Re: JJ 6CA7s
Post by JD on 03/08/13 at 15:10:55

Will try getting your hands on nos rca 5R4GY rectifiers...they are my favorite.


Title: Re: JJ 6CA7s
Post by Lon on 03/08/13 at 15:36:43

will wrote on 03/08/13 at 14:48:49:
Doing a bunch of passive listening through the evening, I couldn't shake the feeling of compression from the RCA 5Y3GTs. They just felt restrained, like they were holding something pretty notable back.

Also, the sweetness I was hearing with my test recordings was intermittent...recording dependent. Seems this tube set has certain areas it excels in and others...not as good. I started hearing a veiled hardness in the mids on some stuff.

So I stuck back in the Valve Art 274Bs and I might not use the old blanket adage, but probably a flannel sheet. It was like it opened up the world for restrictions in any way...the music flows easily and freely. The dynamic range is back, the openness top to bottom....I like it way better.

I guess in this system, and for my tastes, the 5Y3GTs I have are not for me.

Interesting, as in my system the opposite is true: the Valve Arts are holding back the foundation of the music in comparison to the RCA 5Y3, and I don't hear a mid-range hardness from either tube type so far. I could live with the Valve Arts happily if it didn't "blow up" the image and stage for me, that's my biggest beef for me, not accurate according the reference material I use in comparison to the RCA 5U4 or 5Y3 types, Valve Art is just too big and bold. Our systems have different power treatment, cabling, and sources so I'm not surprised there are differences. I just added a PS Audio PowerBase in place of the Mapleshade 4" maple platform under my PWT and PWD Mk II and that has been another level boost. Vibration isolation is enhanced, and although the electrical components are breaking in there's an improvement further in dynamics and depth showing up. (I and other components plugged into the PowerBase over night, and just evaluated its vibration isolation effects last night, and this morning I plugged the PWD and PWT into it. Much more listening and breaking in to go through, but a positive new addition.) I'll try the Valve Arts in again over the weekend, we'll see, but if I go back to 5U4 types i will likely be RCA. . . .

Anyway, moving the maple platform to under the Rega RP3 turntable was an ear-opener. WOW!

Title: Re: JJ 6CA7s
Post by will on 03/08/13 at 17:02:07


Thanks for the tip...I have some GE and some Phillips 5R4GY, and I really do like them...They have an interesting blend of clarity, warmth and articulation. Right now though, my exploration of the cryo'd Valve Arts is consuming and keeping my attention. As Lon suggests, they can be demanding, but for the live players in the room sound I am after, they are really good. Literally, no sense of restriction of musical flow and a big open sound top to bottom that is somehow not harsh, but remains very spacious. It holds nothing back...all the textures, ambient cues, etc, it is all there uniformly across recordings.


Big changes again in your system. I look forward to your impressions as you get the new parts integrated.

I agree, the differences in our gear/setups could make a mark. But on the other hand, revealing is revealing, and how we accomplish it could work from a lot of angles. I do have a world class source, great cabling and cable synergy, serious power and vibration isolation, as well as a fair bit of room work/compensation...

So yes, different, but if anything, my system is hyper transparent and  revealing. So finally, within a revealing system/room, I always think a tube to tube comparison is the best we can do considering that each of our system/rooms are invariably different...the room generally being the biggest "component." Interestingly, in this room, and within my live/open sound objective, my soundstage player locations do not change significantly unless I really damp down the sound...losing detail and therefore spacial/ambient information. The Valve Arts are big sounding, and more forward feeling, but the player locations don't change in any notable way with them for me.

I'm wondering if our tactics for getting good sound across recordings have diverged enough that a segue from your sound (or mine) one way or another could feel very different depending on the starting point....You seem to be working from the best average sound across all recording types by softening/ warming things while trying to maintain the best detail, texture, dynamics etc from within that.....and perhaps I am trying likewise, but by livening/opening things up as much as possible while maintaining enough softness and warmth for it not to get hard. If I have this roughly correct, it occurs to me that this could yield pretty different feeling sound.

Also, you refer to your old studio recordings as a baseline reference for liveness, soundstage etc, and I rely on the makers of my gear to have worked the reference/accuracy angle and follow that using only what I hear in my system/room as a baseline. Then I creatively and progressively refine toward my sense of an engrossing, live, players-in-the-room sound.  So my "reference" changes as I change and my system changes.

This feels to me sort of like playing music, but I am "playing" my system/room...the starting point being where I am right now. From this, the system and my perceptions have evolved, and for me, I have a better sound (for me) than I have heard in almost any studio or live room I have been in.

I could never quite buy the idea of accuracy, since every studio and room is different, and every engineer is different, with different preferences and objectives toward their idea of "real" sounding. So really, I don't think a solid baseline for accuracy exists or is possible.

On the other hand, my shifts are progressive, and I could be off track....I could be out on a limb, but it sure doesn't feel that way. I get grabbed by the music all the time!

One thing occurs to me though that is quite different in our systems....and it might help help explain the differences with our sense of our system sound in general. I remembered that you are running the Torii wide open on the volume/power, so I tried that using Pure Music as a pre to ride the volume from flat in Pure, turning up the Torii, and riding down the Pure to about -20dB to get a similar volume as the Torii at about 8:30 and Pure at OdB.

Not the same as how you accomplish this, but a similar approach, and man does my setup (with these tubes) sound pushy and hard with the Torii at full power and the dithered "pre" down enough for normal listening.

Hard to say...just brainstorming....but I am glad we are both reaching our objectives, though from pretty different angles.

Title: Re: JJ 6CA7s
Post by Lon on 03/08/13 at 17:19:53

I don't exclusively use my own recordings as a reference, nor were they done in a studio but a garage apartment, but I do use them as an indicator of relative instrumental imaging and placement, as I lived in the room and spent hundreds of hours with these players and their instruments there, they do allow me a baseline for accurately portraying what's on a tape. The Valve Arts exaggerate image size and crowd placement in my machine, both the cryo'd and non-cryo'd pair, when compared with the RCA 5U4G and 5Y3 types. I'm certainly not hung up on accuracy, but the presentation with the Valve Arts just hits me as unnatural every time, and that doesn't help me settle into the music. I do have a sense from my own recordings, form recordings that I've lived with for years, and from listening in the real world that there's a certain perspective or balance that is right for a recording, and the Valve Arts just seem to upset that apple-cart subtly and I really don't prefer that.

And I ride the gain a lot varying it, there was a time I was running the Torii wide open and riding the gain between the adjusted output of the PWD and the CSP2+. Lately I tend to run the PWD wide open, the CSP2+ pretty high, and the Torii at about 1/2 for Redbook. Having three gain sources to adjust is trippy.

I wouldn't say that I lack transparency. My room is very alive and I have to tone down treble energy and it seems to suck up bass energy, that's what I'm most trying to balance over a slew of recordings. I don't want to list pecking orders but I think my sources are first-rate as well. I think the most likely sonic difference in our systems may be the CSP2+ in my system. I think it's probably different than the ZStage in its presentation, and it sure makes an impact on my sources, any of them run straight into the Torii has a very different character than run through the CSP2+. I didn't always prefer the CSP2+ in the chain but cabling has moved me towards preferring it most often. Another deciding difference may be the power regeneration I have. It does impart a certain "nature" to the sound. It sure is better than dirty gritty power. But another "cleansing" system might impart a different nature.

At the heart I think we either or both hear things a bit differently or have a different perspective, different preference on sound. Which is cool. I'm really enjoying the 5Y3 at the moment, in all the Decware components. And as I really don't like to change tube sets very often, they'll probably stay put.

Title: Re: JJ 6CA7s
Post by will on 03/08/13 at 23:58:51

Yeah this is an interesting exploration. Thanks for your latest theories and thoughts on sound development and objectives. How the power is dealt with is bound to impart character, even if it is transparent by eliminating the noise, so this is a good point. Once the system gets to this level of revelation, these little things can sound pretty big.  I still think the Pre-facter, or lack thereof is a real player here. I get a really pretty different sound from just a few Db shift with the software pre in Pure Music. I actually have never liked the Zstage with the Tranquility, partly because the output of the tubes I was preferring, and have a good variety of (12AT7), combined with the Tranquillity output of 2.25 or so, I got distortion, so I just never fully explored.

But I do play with the software "pre" gain in Pure Music a fair bit to adjust weight and intensity, but only by a Db or two either way off flat. This has proven to be a very useful tool.

I am having the Zstage modded now for two inputs and hopefully to handle the high output of the Tranquility. It has been back at Decware for a couple weeks today, so hopefully it is on the way back to me by now. I really need the Zstage, gain and tube-wise with my Oppo, but now I will be able to explore the Tranquility through it too. I have no doubt that the CSP has a different presentation and certainly more flexibility, but I look forward to the experiments with the Zstage/tranquility. See if it helps or hurts.

The Tranquility is a very refined and worked out sound from months of double blind testing and modding, and it may be that running another circuit between hurts it...This was my first impression when I have tried it briefly before. ON the other hand, I would not doubt if I find a good tube and balance that makes me like the Zstage in the chain with more easy exploration.

And though I can ride gain with the software pre now to great effect, there was something I really liked about gain riding with the Zstage and ZDAC, how the gain and the tube effected that was quite good, especially with the flexibility of different tubes.

I can imagine that having three source gain controls must be very trippy, and probably a bit confounding at times!

The beat goes on!

Title: Re: JJ 6CA7s
Post by Lon on 03/11/13 at 15:55:17

will, just to finish up our conversation about 5Y3 tubes. . . .

I had so many changes going on I shouldn't have been auditioning tubes but as you know sometimes it's hard not to. The PS Audio PowerBase has been going through changes that have made evaluating difficult, but seems to be coming around now and settling in (electrically). I did some further listening with the 5Y3 and though we're not listening to the same brands, I begin to see what you mean about constraint. I'd been listening to box sets of solo piano and small acoustic instrument ensembles and the 5Y3 really excelled and conveying the intimacy and nuances. But with larger scale recordings. . .the dynamic envelope is smaller, and some imaging doesn't quite bloom as it can. So last night I put in my favorite RCA 5U4GB tubes and not only is the dynamic contrast and the bloom slightly boosted, but the heft to the lower frequencies is back. I wish the Valve Art 274B had anywhere near the heft these RCAs have, I'd keep them in, but I'm consigning those to back up status, and will probably add the 5Y3 in now and then for smaller scale recordings, they really do have a magic that I like, reminding me of the sound of the Dynaco/AR stereo I grew up with in some ways, especially as I always had to play my music rather quietly on that system and there is a lot of character at low volumes with these tubes.

Anyway, my experimenting is over with rectification for a spell, and I'm relaxing back into my favorite rectifiers playing music. The PowerBase is proving very interesting. If I hadn't addressed vibration control before, the PowerBase would have amazed me with its handling of that aspect of the audio spectrum, and I think the further electrical isolation is proving to be a benefit, though I'm not convinced all of what it can do is now being done, some more break in seems in order. I already spent my last audio dollars for the time being on ordering another PowerBase to put under my Power Plant Premier. Then . . . it will be time to pack up the system and take it to Ohio.

Title: Re: JJ 6CA7s
Post by will on 03/11/13 at 17:11:01

Yes too many changing factors happening at once can be hard. It amazes me how different rectifiers effect the sound, but I don't suppose it should since it is the beginning of the tube power to the other tubes.

And those 5U4GBs being so "of their own" in terms of character, particularly bass depth. The ones I have (at least the tall bottles) also tend to have a different mid presence...some sort of sweet openness that is not hard, and works particularly well with texture, at least relative to the solidity of most STs.

I think this is one of things that has so far kept my attention with the Valve Art 274. They sort of bridge the solidity of 5U4G-STs and the openness of the tall bottle GBs. They are not easy though, and for me require more messing around with other tubes to reach a synergy that is not too open, forward, or hardish in the mids.

Wow. Packing up just your audio stuff for Ohio is going to be a process! It should be very interesting to have different rooms and see how that effects your systems!

Title: Re: JJ 6CA7s
Post by Lon on 03/11/13 at 17:26:10

I really like one pair of tall bottle RCA 5U4 that I have but one became inoperable in the Toriis (works in the CSP2+s but I don't prefer that tube type there). It does have a similar midrange to the Valve Arts, but a much better lower end. I don't like the lower end on the Valve Arts at all, and without bass knobs I can't make certain adjustments, and they just don't deliver with the tube sets I have. I'm not going to attempt to build around them. In time I may try to get a pair of tall bottle RCA as I have; got these from tgarden.

I'm quite curious to see what my next listening room will be like. It's going to be smaller, and will open out to a dining room on one side (but not forming a big rectangle, the dining room is off to the front, so it's like an elbow altogether) and a stairway leading upstairs. I think the upstairs bedroom system will likely sound much better than here, the bedroom is bigger and I can manage to really set it up for listening. Looking forward to that, and my gal will be happy when she comes to visit.

Title: Re: JJ 6CA7s
Post by Lon on 03/16/13 at 15:50:12

God help me, I keep wanting to love these Valve Art 274B. I had popped them back in the second system when i put my favorite RCA 5U4G back in the Torii Mk III, and listening in the second system yesterday I heard what seemed to be a change in the sound so I put them back in the Torii Mk III to test. Well, there are also two PowerBases that are breaking in in that system and the sound is improving in that aspect a bit. With the Valve Arts back in I finally have more low end than I did before, and still have that midrange vividness and ambiance these tubes bring to the plate. So I'm leaving them in. These are the cryo'd version, and possibly still breaking in or finally broken in, and the JJ6CA7 tubes in the Mk III are also the cryo'd version, received from at the same time. will has noted that the JJs take a long time to break in in cryo'd version, and that is probably true in my case as well. At least everything is slowly getting better rather than the opposite!

orange crush has sent me a pair of 5U4s that should be very interesting, I'll leave the Valve Arts in til they arrive. (THANKS!)

I'm surprisingly impressed with the PowerBase units. I have not been a fan of Sorbothane in the past, and these incorporate it within the massive feet and the inner suspension. Steve Herbelin is opposed to Sorbothane unilaterally it seems from talking with him about it, but Paul McGowan has told me that Sorbothane is very effective when used appropriately and things are constructed around its limitations. Appears he's done that well as even though the PWD and PWT and the PPP were well equipped with Herbie's Audio Lab products, introducing the PowerBases in place of the maple platforms and the Grungebuster dots yielded subtle improvement, to a degree which surprised me. And the electrical isolation (though not fully broken in yet it seems) also yields benefits in "black background" and micro-dynamics. Glad I got them, they dress the components up very nicely as well.

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