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EQUIPMENT FORUMS >> SE84UFO25 >> Tubes for 25th
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Message started by Palomino on 12/27/18 at 18:32:15

Title: Tubes for 25th
Post by Palomino on 12/27/18 at 18:32:15

What's everyone using?

Most interested in rectifier/input tubes.

Interested in impressions on the Psvane 4U4G that comes in the tube compliment.

Title: Re: Tubes for 25th
Post by Lon on 12/27/18 at 18:38:20

I've the Monoblocks, tube use would be similar, so I'l weigh in, though the voltage regulation tubes are different. As for common tubes I'm using the Sophia Electric Aqua 274B rectifier, the power tubes Steve supplies, and Amperex 7308. I've fiddled for months but this is what I've come back. (So far for regulation tubes I'm using OD3W and the stock OC2).

In these components every tube tells a story that is interesting to hear.

Do you have one on order Tom?

Title: Re: Tubes for 25th
Post by Palomino on 12/27/18 at 18:59:12

Yes.  I came back from the fest and ordered one.  I heard things in the amp that I havenít heard in other Decware amps.

Itís a stretch for me (especially this year) so I am parting with some equipment.  I sold my trapeziums (mistake) and will also sell one of my Rachaelís and a couple of power plants (premiere and 300).  All of these are not getting any use so I am trying to let go.

Title: Re: Tubes for 25th
Post by Showme on 12/27/18 at 20:17:23

It was not a mistake to sell the Traps to me. I love them and plan I visiting them army cabin this weekend.  Thanks.

Title: Re: Tubes for 25th
Post by Lon on 12/27/18 at 20:22:25

You're going to love the 25th Anniversary. And I hear you about selling excess. I sold a Torii Mk II and a CSP2+ this month. I need to sell another CSP2+ and a Torii Mk III, and probably my Traps as well. . .hard to part with these things but what the heck, they do no good sitting around.

Best of luck, and welcome to the wait, I'm waiting too.

Title: Re: Tubes for 25th
Post by Palomino on 12/27/18 at 21:23:21

Glad you are enjoying them.  At least they are getting some use.  I used them for a desktop setup and in my cottage for a month or two but other than that they didnít see much action. I talked with Bob about making a horn base for them to make them like a floorstander but never got around to it.

I still ha e the first amp and speakers I bought I high school.  Turntable and tuner I bought in college. Reel to reel. Cassettte player, etc. Parting with stuff is hard for me.

Title: Re: Tubes for 25th
Post by JOMAN on 12/28/18 at 03:25:35

Second the Sophia Electric Aqua 274B and thatís a given for me now.  The power tubes are stock and the input tube Iím using is a Telefunken PCC189.  The VR Tubes are a pair of CEI OA3 and a Sylvania OD3W.  The VR tubes made more of a difference than I though they would.  

As I rolled I also rolled the input tube in my CSP3.  You can really fine tune to your liking, hard to go wrong with the UFO25. I think youíll be surprised.

Title: Re: Tubes for 25th
Post by Palomino on 12/28/18 at 13:08:52

At the fest the combo I listened two was a type 80 rectifier with the standard power tubes and a 6N5P input tube (I think).  For the input VR tube I liked the middle tube in the set that Steve sells.  A  VR105, I think.

I have all these except the type 80 rectifier.

On hand I have some cryoíd 274B and some RCA 5U4G.  I use both in my Rachaelís and Torii.  I keep coming back to the 274B in the Rachael for punch and definition.



Title: Re: Tubes for 25th
Post by Lon on 12/28/18 at 13:40:17

I've used several types of Type 80 tubes in the 25th Anniversary amps (and Decware preamps and Torii and Taboo amps). They're very nice but ultimately I feel they are a bit too "romantic" and make the sound a bit claustrophobic.

If you like the Valve Art 274B I think you would LOVE the Sophia Electric Aqua 274B. Interestingly it too is a 4 pin tube but does not need an adaptor in our amps. It has all the qualities of the Valve Art cryo'd but is more . . . refined is perhaps the best word, controlled is perhaps a fitting word. The treble is freer of grain, the midrange is exceedingly open and the bass is deep and tight. They're expensive. . . but I bet they last for years and in these Anniversary amps they're worth the cost for what they bring. The Anniversary amps show you so much that I keep futzing with them, and I've rolled five tube types in them and different brands of most all the tube types and keep coming back to these Aquas. They give the best to the input and voltage tube choices in my experience, a stable clear platform for the rest of the complement.

And after a few decades of preferring the Svetlana SV83s to the military type, I've come to the conclusion that Steve's tested and matched red-tipped tubes are the best option so I'm just sticking with those and will order more pairs from him (though I have about 25 pairs of other types on hand!)

Title: Re: Tubes for 25th
Post by JOMAN on 12/28/18 at 16:18:30

Concur with Lon in all cases.  I too have tried a variety of Type 80ís... Majestic Globe, Cunningham Globe, RCA Globe and a variety of ST types and for the same reason as Lon pointed out I have settled on the Aqua 274B.

The input VR tube that is supplied is an OD3/150.  I canít say what was in the UFO25 that you auditioned but the OC3/105 is also supplied.  I now have the Sylvania OD3W/150 in the VR input position after having a Sylvania OC3/105 and an Raytheon OC3W/105 in that slot.

It was Lon that put me onto the CEI OA3 GT and these ended up being my preference.  I believe that these are Raytheon VR tubes.  I picked a spare set of CEI and just now some Raytheons, more than what I need but not much choice in the matter and at the price of $6.00 per wasnít going to sweat it.  After all one never knows when one may pick up a second UFO25 ;).




Title: Re: Tubes for 25th
Post by Acetone on 12/29/18 at 16:32:38

Palamino,  I'm using either Mullard or telefunken PCC189 inputs. Mullard GZ32 or Philips 5R4GYS (from upscale audio). They are all great tubes. Everything I put in the 25th sounds good with subtle differences (all NOS).
But, I've settled on the Mullard PCC189 and GZ32 for the last 3 weeks and am getting consistently amazing sound day in and day out. Might just go back to the TF for final comparison!

Title: Re: Tubes for 25th
Post by Palomino on 12/29/18 at 18:10:46

Great suggestions guys. Thanks.

A little over a month to go.

Title: Re: Tubes for 25th
Post by Lon on 12/29/18 at 18:48:15

I hope. Seems to me that the waiting is going to be longer this time. . . .

Title: Re: Tubes for 25th
Post by Palomino on 01/02/19 at 17:15:30

Making progress...

I got a very nice gift card from an employee so I ordered an Aqua. †I should have it this week and can test it in my Rachael.




Title: Re: Tubes for 25th
Post by Lon on 01/02/19 at 18:51:04

Very nice! I'm sure you'll report your findings. I think you'll love it.

Title: Re: Tubes for 25th
Post by Palomino on 01/03/19 at 15:40:49

Very impressed with this rectifier.  

Not many hours yet but its very refined and open.  

Had it not been for the gift card I probably would not have spent this much on a rectifier, but after hearing it I think its a good investment.  

Very interested in hearing this on the 25th.  

Title: Re: Tubes for 25th
Post by Lon on 01/05/19 at 18:56:51

Great news! I imagined you would find it great in the Rachael and I bet it will really bring out the best in the 25th. I know they really sing in my Monoblocks.

Title: Re: Tubes for 25th
Post by HockessinKid on 01/05/19 at 19:20:12

Absolutely love the Sophia Aqua 274b rectifier in my CSP3-25 preamp. It displaced my go to NOS 1958 Mullard GZ32 which was no slouch. I hope it has a long life😊.

HK


Title: Re: Tubes for 25th
Post by Palomino on 01/09/19 at 01:20:04

One of the attributes I appreciate most about this rectifier is the pop the low bass has. Like the kick drum.  It helps to drive a lot of songs forward and increases the engagement.  

Some of the best bass and kick drum separation I have heard.  

I am now experimenting with input tubes.   Iíll have to start over with the 25th but some of what I like may translate.

Title: Re: Tubes for 25th
Post by Lon on 01/09/19 at 01:35:25

Yes. I've gotten a "warmer" version of that "pop" with the 5V4G "bottle-shaped" rectifiers before I came across the Aqua, but the Aqua is without a warm signature and so seems to kick a bit more. There's a full-spectrum midrange clarity to the Aqua that allow this sort of precise dynamic detail to come through.

With my 25th Anniversary Monoblocks using an OD3W instead of an OA3 really helps this sort of clear impact. Having an Amperex 7308 as the input tube gives just a hint of richness that keeps the whole complement from being just a tad lean in my system.

Title: Re: Tubes for 25th
Post by Palomino on 01/09/19 at 01:44:42

Iím starting out with an OA3 because I liked that sound at Decfest but those tubes are easy enough to find.

I agree with you on the midrange clarity.  It can almost be a little intense for lack of better words.  Not to be confused with midrange glare.  It has me wondering about input tube pairing.  Now that the rectifier has a little more time on it Iíll start experimenting.

Title: Re: Tubes for 25th
Post by JOMAN on 01/10/19 at 12:20:15

I would agree with Lonís take on the OD3W and for the cost of these I think that you would find them to be an interesting experience if nothing else.

In the rear position of my UFO25 I am using OA3ís.  In the front position I have found that rolling these VR tubes along with the input tube can allow one to fine tune to pretty much exactly what one wants.

I have tried OC3ís, and ended up using a Sylvania JAN Navy OC3 for a time rolling different input tubes of the PCC88 variants.  Then tried a Raytheon OC3W and for me they were a little too meaty.  Next I tried a Sylvania OD3W and these along with a TF PCC189 were tight a little too tight but man the tonality across the spectrum and the detail from bass to highís was staggering.  I was able to moderate the ďtightnessĒ of that combination by rolling the input tube in my CSP3.

My personal preference, and this is strictly personal preference, seems to cause me to flirt with having a result that can be a little too tight and/or a little too ďleanĒ.  With the UFO25 and CSP3 Iíve been able to get it just right.

Unfortunately, my system is down right now until I get my ZR2 back with both the A-mods.  Canít stand to be with out it.

Title: Re: Tubes for 25th
Post by Palomino on 01/18/19 at 18:07:37

Are the OD3W tubes the ones mostly covered by bakelite?

https://www.ebay.com/itm/Radio-Tubes-0D3W-0D3-VR150-30-Marshall-JAN-CCSB-NOS/350867735330?epid=166884673&hash=item51b158c322:g:yoAAAOxyNW9SJSBI:rk:13:pf:0

Also, the Aqua has improved with time.  Mellowed but still has good punch.  I also went to a kinder, gentler input tube with it which helped.

Title: Re: Tubes for 25th
Post by Lon on 01/18/19 at 19:06:33

Yes Tom, that's the tube type. Pretty heavy duty!

Title: Re: Tubes for 25th
Post by Palomino on 01/18/19 at 19:47:21

Thanks  Tube rolling fun.  I am due to go on the bench next week (I hope).

Title: Re: Tubes for 25th
Post by Lon on 01/18/19 at 19:53:11

I hope so, looks possible. My first order is only 25 "New" away. . . LOL.

Title: Re: Tubes for 25th
Post by Palomino on 01/18/19 at 20:44:43

I just got the notice that its On Bench.  I don't know what the lag is but maybe 1-2 weeks.

Title: Re: Tubes for 25th
Post by Lon on 01/18/19 at 20:47:25

Good news!

Title: Re: Tubes for 25th
Post by Palomino on 01/25/19 at 17:58:13

I picked up an  OD3W for $16 to give it a try.

My amp quickly moved to testing but has been there for the week.  Could be three weeks which will be a killer.  I am killing time working on my speakers and fiddling with the room.

I am headed that way the weekend of the 8th.  Not sure if a weekend pickup is possible.  Eric also volunteered to pick it up on his way back from Peoria.  I am always paranoid about UPS.

Title: Re: Tubes for 25th
Post by JOMAN on 01/26/19 at 23:57:46

Hey Palomino,

If you think that waiting for the UFO-25 is killer wait till you have it and then for some reason your without it.  I sent my ZR-2 in for both the A-mods and have not turned the system on since.  The ZR-2 is back on Monday.  Anyway, during the wait I came to the realization that the UFO-25 has totally wrecked me.  As over the top as this may sound itís the UFO-25 or nothing for me, I think that youíll understand after experiencing it.

Title: Re: Tubes for 25th
Post by JOMAN on 01/27/19 at 00:01:04

Actually I may have been a little over the top when I said a UFO-25 or nothing.  A pair of UFO-25ís would be an acceptable alternative... I think.

Title: Re: Tubes for 25th
Post by jslateiv on 01/27/19 at 01:19:24

All this talk,....   Mine is the one currently in 'Final Review' Since Thursday..  The wait, especially now, being so close is truly agonizing..   I heard Lon's 25th Mono's with my speakers ~3 months ago (thanks Lon!).  I vaguely remember the sound at this point except that it was good enough to keep my order placed and continue to leave my Atma-Sphere's up for sale.  The Atma's sound I still remember vividly having owned them for a year.  The sand amp I'm using in the interim has left me uninspired to listen much as of late,..  If I could only be so lucky to get the amp in hand by Friday!  It's gonna be a long week waiting to see if she'll arrive!  

Title: Re: Tubes for 25th
Post by Palomino on 01/27/19 at 09:17:12

I can relate.  This is my second Decware new amp (and 4th overall) and it can be a bit maddening.

Based on my memory from Decfest and hearing the 25th at CDApS, I have tried to keep busy by looking for tubes and prepping my speakers and room.  The Zen is different from my other amps and it forces you to re-evaluate everything. Iím trying for good synergy right off the bat but itís hard not having the amp.

My speakers still arenít done but I should have them finished in the  :-Xnext week or so. I have also played with speaker wires, DACs and ICs.

Also, my Rachel is sounding the best it ever has so thatís helping with the wait.  I have done a series of upgrades including some that are ď25thĒ in nature.   The addition of the rectifier was a significant leap forward.  I am to the point now if wondering how much better will the 25th be.

Anyway, all this has kept me occupied during the tedious wait.

Title: Re: Tubes for 25th
Post by Palomino on 02/06/19 at 18:21:11

Well, I am fully tubed and waiting.  It will ship with a set of Steve's selected power tubes I decided to buy.  This gives me two sets of power tubes, 3 rectifiers, a half dozen input tubes, two sets of output regulation tubes, and two different input tube regulator tubes.   Plenty to roll of a while.

With the exception of the power tubes, all these tubes can be use in my other Decware amps (Rachael, Torii MKIII).  So if I don't like them in the 25th, I can roll in another amp.

The amp looked like it was stuck waiting on a wood base, but now has moved to packing/shipping.  I should have it within a week.

Now I am thinking about break-in strategy.  I am open to suggestions from the existing users.

Title: Re: Tubes for 25th
Post by Lon on 02/06/19 at 18:48:29

That's awesome Tom, you're well prepared.

The output tubes from Steve will need about 50 hours to "bloom" and the amp itself will really start to "sing" after 300 hours or so. My suggestion, what I did with mine, was to follow fairly closely Steve's recommendation of "Five hours on, five hours off, five times" as a starting point and then just play the heck out of it all you can, leaving it running as much as you can.

My Monoblocks went through some serious phases and the "seasoned" sound is very different than the initial sound (less thick and congested sounding) even though the initial sound was exciting. You're in for some really fun sessions.

Title: Re: Tubes for 25th
Post by Palomino on 02/06/19 at 19:48:12

Thanks Lon.

I am considering setting it up initially in a second system where I can be a little more disciplined about the initial break-in.

I feel that the Aqua has really just come into its own, and I have some seasoned input tubes.  Everything else is new.

I also grabbed a hi-fi tuning fuse.  I know people's opinions of these vary, but I have felt I got a lift in my SS amp and again in my 2nd Rachael so I thought I would try one more time.  Parts Connection has had these on clearance for some time now and they just happened to have one the right size for $16.

Title: Re: Tubes for 25th
Post by Lon on 02/06/19 at 20:18:02

Good idea, another system that you can curate well for break-in.

I'm a fan of fuses. I've used Furutech and Audio Magic to good effect in Decware products.

Title: Re: Tubes for 25th
Post by Palomino on 02/06/19 at 20:41:44

I should just play my usual music, right?  Or are there amp seasoning "classics" out there?

Title: Re: Tubes for 25th
Post by Archie on 02/06/19 at 20:58:20

Doesn't Steve recommend playing a single pure tone?   ;)

Title: Re: Tubes for 25th
Post by Lon on 02/06/19 at 21:01:50


Palomino wrote on 02/06/19 at 20:41:44:
I should just play my usual music, right? †Or are there amp seasoning "classics" out there?

Personally I always just play music when breaking in, daily listening, demoing etc. Don't make playlists etc.

Well, when I'm really critically listening I use recordings I made myself as I know them so well, and the recorded room, and the players. And I often use well-recorded piano trios because I have played piano, bass and drums, or piano, guitar and bass.

Title: Re: Tubes for 25th
Post by Palomino on 02/06/19 at 21:12:02

Sounds good.  Just got the word from Sarah it ships tomorrow.  I should have it on Friday.  What a long strange trip it's been.

I meant to keep a journal because I did do a lot of things in anticipation of getting this amp.  As I stated in an earlier post, the zen line of amps are different to me and I have tried to adjust speakers, ICs, speaker wires, etc. anticipating what it will sound like with 25th.  

I wasn't completely shooting in the dark though as I heard Eric's pre25th and Aaron's 25th in my room at various times.

I just had too much going on at work so I never recorded it all.  It will be interesting to see how right (or wrong) I was.

Title: Re: Tubes for 25th
Post by Lon on 02/06/19 at 21:32:09

You chronicled a good lot of it here, so you may be able to put together a rough outline of the journal from these pages of posts. . . .

Come on Friday! Happy it's coming soon. It's been a long wait. It will be worth it.

Title: Re: Tubes for 25th
Post by Steve Deckert on 02/07/19 at 04:59:47


I'm looking forward to hearing your impressions... I put about 45 hours on it before deciding it was a keeper.

-Steve

Title: Re: Tubes for 25th
Post by Palomino on 02/07/19 at 12:43:27

Nice!   I appreciate the care and attention.

Title: Re: Tubes for 25th
Post by bokat57 on 03/02/19 at 06:23:38

Hi
A few days ago I received the Sophia Electric Aqua 274b and have been listening to it since. When I first fired it up in my SE84UFO25 I noticed a vivid improvement right away. I agree and understand the SQ observations from some of the posters on this thread.

The 25th Anniversary is an amazing amp I have been listening to it for about a month now and it is really starting to open up. The Aqua 274b adds a little extra refinement

I think I will keep the Aqua 274b as my default rectifier tube. It is expensive but what it brings is worth the $$$

I would like to thank Lon for his help in this matter !

Thanks
Bob

Title: Re: Tubes for 25th
Post by Lon on 03/02/19 at 10:36:50

Really glad you are enjoying this tube Bob.

Title: Re: Tubes for 25th
Post by HockessinKid on 03/02/19 at 12:22:57

👍👍👍

HK

Title: Re: Tubes for 25th
Post by Palomino on 03/02/19 at 13:37:57

Glad you like it. †A good tube for sure.

I have been trying a few input tubes. †Mostly Russian. †Also the input regulator tube. †I only have two at this point but there is a large difference between the two and I continue to come back to the OD3W.

I am finding that I like most input tubes with the OD3W but really only one with the OC3. †A more forgiving Mullard. †

I dare say that maybe the regulator tube is more important in the equation. †I would be interested in others thoughts on this.

Title: Re: Tubes for 25th
Post by Lon on 03/02/19 at 13:50:46

I'm using the 25th Anniversary version of the SE84UFO3 Monoblocks, and they use different regulator tubes for the positions, but I agree that the regulator tubes are extremely influential with these amps, though all tubes are. Once I've anchored the amp with rectifier and regulator tubes that I really enjoy the sonic nature of I find that input tubes are the final determinant of the ultimate sound I like. I've tried a number of different types and brands from Russian 6N1P, 6N5P and 6N6P, to ECC189, E288CC, 6922, 6Dj8, PCC189 and keep coming back to the 7308, Amperex Holland in particular. But I wager each room and treatment and source and speaker etc. will determine which tube stays in.

Title: Re: Tubes for 25th
Post by jslateiv on 03/02/19 at 16:26:05

I think the reg. tube has the ability to dial the input tube into it's sweet spot (for any given situ.).   Since it is literally adjusting the plate voltage of the Input tube  that tube will bias/operate slightly differently.  Being able to adjust the voltage between a ~90V range in ~30V increments (+ the bias switch)  really lets us dial in the inputs sweetspot,  imo.    
  I have found that for almost every input I have tried,  I have preferred the OD3 and Low Bias setting.    The one Oddball tube that is not following suit is an E288CC I'm running right now and it definitely sounds best with an OA3 and hi Bias!   I also have to say,  I've had that tube in now for ~10 days and have no desire to roll it.     Also,  the Aqua 274B is DEFINATELY where its at as far as Rect's go!

Title: Re: Tubes for 25th
Post by Ace-Tone on 07/22/19 at 22:14:39

Regarding the Pair of OA3 tubes by the transformer...anyone try other VR's in those slots?
I tried a pair of Raytheon OD3W...sound very good, and the meters register approx 5 points lower.  Now reading 23-24.

Title: Re: Tubes for 25th
Post by jslateiv on 07/23/19 at 01:24:59

I've tried the OD3W's, OC3's and a few variety of OA3's.  I ended up happy with the OA3's.  Been a while since I rolled though so probably need to revisit  now that everything has an additional ~600 hrs since the last switch up.   Lovin an E288CC on high bias with an OC3 though with the OA3's in the back!   Rect. is the SE Aqua 284.

Title: Re: Tubes for 25th
Post by Vooraphile on 12/12/19 at 12:42:25

Anyone roll the SE84UFO25 power tube with EL84..? Is this safe or possible.?

Title: Re: Tubes for 25th
Post by Palomino on 12/12/19 at 12:53:00

The forum member who tried this and had issues was Badwolf.  You might PM him.

Title: Re: Tubes for 25th
Post by Vooraphile on 12/13/19 at 15:15:20

Alright.. Thank you.

Title: Re: Tubes for 25th
Post by Lon on 12/13/19 at 15:55:31

The product page does list the EL84 as one of the two output tube types.

https://www.decware.com/newsite/SE84UFO25.html

and the manual:

https://www.decware.com/newsite/SE84UFO25manual.pdf

The manual does note that the Hazen Grid Mod is not activated with the EL84, but that is not completely prohibitive. . . .

I've used the EL84 with Zen amps before (Rev. A, C, Select) and with my Taboo Mk III and Mk IV, and with my current 25th Anniversary SE84UFO3 Monoblocks but though I've really enjoyed them in the earlier amps the stock tubes from Steve clearly sound best to me in the Monoblocks.

Title: Re: Tubes for 25th
Post by JOMAN on 12/13/19 at 21:57:15

Same experience as Lonsí on the power tubes.  I have some TAD EL84STR that I used in my UFO2 for a time and tried them in my UFO25.  The stock power tubes are in for keeps.

Title: Re: Tubes for 25th
Post by Palomino on 12/13/19 at 22:17:53

Iíll ask Badwolf what tubes he was using and what Steve said.  Heís pretty experienced so I canít imagine him trying something that wasnít listed in the manual.

Title: Re: Tubes for 25th
Post by Ace-Tone on 07/09/20 at 19:36:35

Just a FYI:
Had a channel balance issue last night. turned up the right channel to fix it to no avail. Then I realized the right side OA3 was not lit. Right channel milliamperers reading was 40. Left was 32. Plugged in a NOS RCA and all is well now...no warning at all on the bad tube..one day fine next day DOA.

Title: Re: Tubes for 25th
Post by Rivieraranch on 07/10/20 at 23:46:04

Yes voltage regulator tubes die, too. You wonder whether the gas was seeping out or something else. There isn't any cathode to burn out. They could in theory last forever. But some go "poof."

Title: Re: Tubes for 25th
Post by Palomino on 08/20/20 at 23:04:31

BTW, BadWolf recommended that I try a new VR tube. †I did and was very impressed with the results. †More open sound for sure. †I really didn't think a VR tube would have that much impact.

RCA versus what I was using - Sylvania. †Has the slots in the top getter.

Cheap sound improvement.

https://www.ebay.com/itm/NEW-IN-BOX-RCA-0A3-75-VOLT-VOLTAGE-REGULATOR-TUBE-VALVE-OA3/232785587220?ssPageName=STRK%3AMEBIDX%3AIT&_trksid=p2060353.m1438.l2649

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