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New Sophia Electric Aqua 274B tube (Read 27949 times)
jslateiv
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Re: New Sophia Electric Aqua 274B tube
Reply #50 - 09/30/19 at 19:36:58
 
So it goes,..  I guess it just goes to show that it can be hit or miss with these, thus my endorsement of the 'warranty', knowing that other have had issues too.   That's great that your are holding up so well Lon.  I know they see extended use like mine do!  Just wish they had a bit tighter control on the reliability.

 Geno,  I have been very impressed with the 5c3s I picked up from a Russian seller.  A fellow I've actually bought a number of other (6p15-ev / 6n1p / 6n5p, etc..) tubes from.   For the price and favorable comparison to other US brand NOS 5u4g's,  I'm  going to go ahead pick up another 5 or 6  just have in the drawer!
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Geno
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Re: New Sophia Electric Aqua 274B tube
Reply #51 - 09/30/19 at 20:51:42
 
All of the Russian tubes you mentioned are 'Forever tubes' in my Zen.  The combo is good to the point that I don't feel any urge to roll any of them anymore. I do go back and forth between the 6N1P and 6N5P, although the 5 has been in for the last 2 months.
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JOMAN
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Re: New Sophia Electric Aqua 274B tube
Reply #52 - 09/30/19 at 21:26:19
 
If bass is what you want try the Mullard GZ34/5AR4 Fat Base, Smooth Plate, F31 Code.  This one is as close as you’re going to get to the Metal Base for a lot less than the Metal base, the mids and highs are among the best.  It’s not as “cool” and doesn’t have the decay of the Metal Base but no other rectifier I’ve tried comes close.  

Probably can pick up a NOS for $50.00 more than the Sophia and IMO it’s money better spent than on the warrantee for the Aqua, based on my experience.
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jslateiv
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Re: New Sophia Electric Aqua 274B tube
Reply #53 - 10/01/19 at 01:47:56
 
I don't find myself rolling much anymore either.  I'm currently using a E288cc and everything is just right,  but funny thing with this amp,  I generally find that whatever I put in to try sounds just right (albeit maybe a little different).

Joman,  I've read your previous comments on the 5ar4's over the last few months and have been watching them on ebay.  A metal base just went for ~$250.   I have found some fat/smooth plates but non specifically called out for F31 though I have been watching.  Def. not as many smooth plates out there as the notched versions.  I'll keep my eyes open specifically for a F31 though .  Thanks!
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JOMAN
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Re: New Sophia Electric Aqua 274B tube
Reply #54 - 10/01/19 at 02:58:01
 
The F31, F32 refers to the date of manufacture.  The F31 production is from 1958 - 1962.  Many of these were branded for companies that made amps ie. IECO, but clearly and unmistakably Mullard/Blackburn.  They are supposed to be very long lasting. The F31’s were the immediate successors to the Metal Base.  I picked up A 1958 IECO branded GZ34 and that’s what started the whole process.  

I sure hope the Metal Base that I have last a very, very long time.  Reportedly they can last upwards of 40 years or longer, we’ll see.  If they last 20 they’ll be a steal and I’ll probably be partially deaf at that point.

The F32 were made between 1963 - 1975, usually with 4 notches on the plate edges and I believe, later ones with eight notches.  Stick to the F31 if  at all possible.  Not sure if I would go for the later ones.


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JOMAN
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Re: New Sophia Electric Aqua 274B tube
Reply #55 - 10/01/19 at 10:52:01
 
One other thing....
The F31 or F32 is etched in the glass bottle close to the base along with the Blackburn Factory Code
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JOMAN
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Re: New Sophia Electric Aqua 274B tube
Reply #56 - 10/01/19 at 11:14:26
 
I just had a quick look on E Bay and it appears that eventually even the F31 Fat Base production went to 4 notched plates.  I suspect that the Smooth Plate version of the F31 was 1958- 1959 production years, possibly 1960 also.

So it is a rare tube now days, unfortunately.  However given their reputed longevity, may be well worth looking for.


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Lon
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Re: New Sophia Electric Aqua 274B tube
Reply #57 - 10/01/19 at 14:36:07
 
jslateiv wrote on 10/01/19 at 01:47:56:
I don't find myself rolling much anymore either.  I'm currently using a E288cc and everything is just right,  but funny thing with this amp,  I generally find that whatever I put in to try sounds just right (albeit maybe a little different).

I agree with this Johnny. As I've had no issues with my Aquas I've used these and Steve's carefully matched and tested output tubes as my "anchors" and find that I can roll voltage regulation tubes and input tubes around them and get great sound from a number of combinations, in effect having a number of different excellent amplifiers. At the moment I'm using a pair of Arcturus 0B3 that have just the right tonal qualities to allow me to use an all Amperex signal chain otherwise: 7308s in the ZTPRE, and 6085 in the ROCK2 and Monoblocks. The 6085 work fabulously in my Mononblocks whether they should or not. They allow me to pump a little more gain into the amps and I am getting a full, rich, textured sound.

I haven't been that impressed with Mullard rectifiers I've used in my amps so am not tempted to explore these expensive options. I'm sure I could roll a number of tube combinations and find better fits than I have before, but I'm just inclined to stay with what I have and am familiar with rolling around.

Regarding the E288CC I have three Valvos with gold pins that are fascinating tubes. I have used them to great effect in my CSP3-25 preamp. I love tall input tubes, they seem to have a complementary magic to tall rectifiers.
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jslateiv
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Re: New Sophia Electric Aqua 274B tube
Reply #58 - 10/01/19 at 15:27:09
 
That's interesting on the 6085 in your Mono's,  I'll have to try that out.   I have not found it to be overly favorable in the ZR2.  Seems to want to clip/distort to quickly for me in that position.  I figure it's the very low operating point at which the ZR2 drives the tube from.   The 25th should be operating it at a much closer to 'wanted' point though with higher plate voltage and bias then the ZR2.  

Joman,  do you have any experience with the Matsushita (Japanese Mullard) GZ34 smooth plate?   Supposedly same tooling and material.  Def. alot cheaper then English made.
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JOMAN
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Re: New Sophia Electric Aqua 274B tube
Reply #59 - 10/01/19 at 16:24:25
 
No I do not have any experience with the Matsushita GZ34.  If you try one of these make sure it’s not a re branded soviet rectifier, look at the plate structure.  Evidently that’s what some of the Japanese GZ34’s are/were, so why pay more for a rebranded tube.

I did try two versions of Philips Holland Made GZ34’s smooth plate ‘skinnier base’.  Often you get that these are very close to the metal base or as good as the Fat Base Mullard/Blackburn and I wanted to find out for myself what that meant in reality.

One was a Philips BB the other a Valvo.  The BB has F31 X9D etchings with “Made in Holland” on it.  The Valvo etchings are hard to make out but I can make out X9G which would indicate that it is a Philips made tube.  Didn’t pay a lot, about $80.00 ea.  In no way are these similar to the Mullard Fat Base and not even remotely close to the Metal Base.  This is the part that is hard to accept... that there is a significant difference between these.  If you start with the cheaper “close to” versions you will not want to even consider spending the big bucks for the other two.  I sure wouldn’t.

I started with the Mullard 1958 Fat Base and was very surprised and impressed.  Because of that I then went to the Metal Base.  I just had to find out what “close to” actually meant in reality.  An expensive education, but boy, there’s no way I could have possibly guessed that there would be that kind of difference and what that difference would be as it doesn’t fall into the typical “expected” difference/result.

I agree with Lon.  The other GZ34’s were not that impressive and at $80.00... OK, but not my preference.  So, IMO, it’s the Mullard Fat Base Smooth Plate 1958 - 1959 or if one has the stomach and cash for the cost the Metal Base 1955-1957.  I for one did not think that I would ever think that spending $350 - $450 on a tube would be worth it.  I do now understand why some spend double that for those, I just don’t have that kind of money to spend on a tube.  Rather spend that on the Anniversary upgrades.
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Re: New Sophia Electric Aqua 274B tube
Reply #60 - 10/01/19 at 17:13:23
 
jslateiv wrote on 10/01/19 at 15:27:09:
That's interesting on the 6085 in your Mono's,  I'll have to try that out.   I have not found it to be overly favorable in the ZR2.  Seems to want to clip/distort to quickly for me in that position.  I figure it's the very low operating point at which the ZR2 drives the tube from.   The 25th should be operating it at a much closer to 'wanted' point though with higher plate voltage and bias then the ZR2.  

Interesting. I'm getting excellent sound with the 6085 in the ZROCK2, though admittedly best when used with the same tube in the amps, and with careful adjustment of gain with the DSD, ZTPRE, ZBIT and amps. I'm getting a very black background with large instrumental images and especially good dynamic playback, both micro and macro. It has unseated the 5814A from the ZROCK2, which was not easy to do!

What wonderful components these are.
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Chester
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Re: New Sophia Electric Aqua 274B tube
Reply #61 - 09/14/20 at 20:45:31
 
Hey there,

This thread has not seen much action in awhile, but I just came across some information that I am curious about.  Quick back story:

Soon after getting my Torii Jr. I put in a Valve Art 274B from Decware and liked the sound but it only lasted about a month before it started arcing and blew.  From this forum, I heard about the Sophia Electric Aqua 274B and ordered one.

Wow!  I loved the sound and was really excited.  The Aqua lasted for about 2 months before arcing and then I was able to coax it along for another month before it blew the internal fuses.

I actually sent the Torii back to Steve to check out.  Of course, it was fine.

Meanwhile, I called Sophia Electric to get a replacement for the 274B and they mentioned the max current load.  Being new to all of this, I had no idea what they meant (and still don't).  As far as I can tell, the Torii Jr. has a 280 mA demand (stated in the manual), Sue (from Sophia Electric) stated the max current for the 274B is either 90 mA (for the mesh plate) or 160 mA (for the rigid).  Further searching found that many 274B rectifiers have a max current well below what the Torii Jr. wants.

So, I am curious about the following:  Many members here have used the Sophia Electric in their amps (including the Torii Jr.) and even Steve has mentioned that it is a suitable replacement for the 5U4.  Have I just had bad luck with the 274B tubes I have tried or are they being pushed beyond the limit in other amps but still working?  I would love to get that sound back in my amp, but (as some of you know) it is an expensive proposition if left up to luck.  Could I get a closer sound by changing the input tubes?

Thanks for any input or thoughts.  Happy listening.

- Chester

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Lon
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Re: New Sophia Electric Aqua 274B tube
Reply #62 - 09/14/20 at 21:33:13
 
I don't know what to say about usage of this tube. I have been using these tubes in my CSP3, CSP2, Taboo Mk IV and SE84UFO3 Monoblocks for over two years now, continuously in use in one component or another. Mostly in the amps. No issues!

I honestly think it's hard to get the same sound with other tubes. . . it is a singular sound. . . . I wonder what their 5U4 tubes sound like and what they say about thier "limits."
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piezoman
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Re: New Sophia Electric Aqua 274B tube
Reply #63 - 09/14/20 at 21:50:50
 
I remember another forum member, JOMAN, had trouble with this tube. I think he had two blow in his amp (I think a SEAUFO2, or a SEAUFO25). I believe it was chalked up to faulty quality of Aqua tubes that were in his possession.

I purchased one if these, but I haven't even listened yet.....enjoying the Mullard GZ34 fat base (1959) too much.
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Chester
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Re: New Sophia Electric Aqua 274B tube
Reply #64 - 09/15/20 at 06:34:20
 
Thank you for your replies.

I had wondered if the other amps didn’t have the same issue because they had different mA draws than the Torii Jr.

At this time, they are sold out of their 5U4s.  I had bought one of them and that failed as well. There are definitely some quality issues.

The sound is still good with a different rectifier - it’s just tough when you find that singular sound you really like and you might not get it back easily.

Ah, the journey...

Thanks, again, and happy listening.
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Re: New Sophia Electric Aqua 274B tube
Reply #65 - 09/15/20 at 21:23:37
 
I have a few different rectifier tubes now, don't we all!

The two Art Valve 274B's that came with the amps, one Tube Store preferred series. Both of these sound the same to me. Plus a couple of Russian Winged -C-'s.

I also followed Steve's advise and bought a cheap GE NOS 5AR4. Less than $30 to my door! Then on Ebay I bought a 5Y3GT for $6.99 plus shipping. Keep in mind this is Canadian dollars!

They both sound better then any of the 274B's.





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JOMAN
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Re: New Sophia Electric Aqua 274B tube
Reply #66 - 09/17/20 at 15:20:56
 
Piezoman is correct.  I had two Sophia 274B Aqua fail.  One within a year and one on start up, no hours on it.  It’s not the amp.  I chalked it up to inconsistent production quality.  That experience has completely put me off of Chinese tubes.  So now I’m squarely in the NOS tube camp, not promoting NOS tubes just stating my choice based on my experience.

Yes I liked the sound of the Sophia Aqua 274B a lot.  But it does not come close to my current rectifier in the UFO25 and the CSP3.  And that’s based on my tastes and set up.  These are nose bleed. stupid expensive now and for me there’s no going back.  I hope they last for the rest of my listening life and I think they will.

I realize the GZ34 Metal base is not going to be in everyone’s budget or taste.  I have had good success with other NOS tubes and if you can find ones that suit your taste and budget that would be my recommendation.
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Lon
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Re: New Sophia Electric Aqua 274B tube
Reply #67 - 09/17/20 at 15:50:25
 
It's too bad, these failures. I'm still enjoying my Aquas without a hitch, now in my audio/visual Taboo Mk IV-25th/CSP2+25th system. Just great sound. I'll never spend that kind of money on GZ34 tubes. . . that tube type just isn't as sympatico in my systems as others. I have a pair of Mullards (not metal base) I keep trying to like with little success.

Right now in my main system I'm using Cunningham Type 80 Globe rectifiers in all three positions. I wanted a change and got one, but boy I had to work at it. I went from Steve's 6N5P and a special pair of 6N6P to all Amperex 7308 (luckily owned for about four years) in all signal positions except the Monoblocks and ZROCK2 which have the Amperex 6085. Now according to Steve the 6085 are not supposed to work. They do though. They have an amazing open sound, a transparent midrange and natural treble. They are a tad bass light in this setup. I can mediate that almost completely with just the right voltage regulators for the output tubes (right now the perfect one is the one pair of Arcturus 0B3 that I have). Its just a tad lean. I'm going to roll Type 80 Globes in the CSP3-25 to see if I can get just a touch of warmth. An Arcturus I had died unfortunately as it may have been just right. I have a Philco on the way to me. Despite that hint of leanness I'm getting phenomenal sound right now--clear, focused, dynamic.
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JOMAN
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Re: New Sophia Electric Aqua 274B tube
Reply #68 - 09/17/20 at 17:45:02
 
Of the GZ34’s that I’ve tried the one thing that really surprised me is that they’re very different one from the other.  The metal base has a very unique sound that no other GZ34 has.  The Mullard fat base, no notches on the plates, F1 also is very different from other GZ34’s.  These are the only two that I liked.  In no other tube have I found this great a difference within the same type and until I tried a few I did not believe that this was possible.

As far as the cost goes, at one time I felt the same.  After experiencing the GZ34 Metal base I got to thinking about how much we spend on associated components; cables, connectors, fuses etc.  So if I’m willing to spend thousands on accessories why are tubes any different?  I looked at how much I have spent in my over all rectifier purchases and came to the conclusion that if I had spent the money on the Metal Base to start with I would have saved money, time and got far more enjoyment out of the rolling.

My Aquas cost somewhere between $300.00 - $400.00 for the pair, plus the fuses that they took out in the process.  I paid that for one Metal Base.  I’ve spent hundreds on other rectifiers.  The GZ32’s were $125.00 ea.  Others were between $30.00 and 60.00 ea.  (Anyone want some??).

In my professional life we used to weigh the cost of purchase against the cost of use.  Many times the costlier item to purchase lasted longer and had other cost reducing benefits, so that in reality it was cheaper over all.  There’s an expression that has some merit, “I’m too poor to buy twice”.

Not disagreeing with you or anyone if their decision is to limit the amount they will spend on any tube or accessory.  I just found that there is good reason to look at tubes as we would all the other accessories that we buy because they can have a very profound effect.  

The conclusion that I came to was that the GZ34 Metal Base released the full potential of my UFO25 and CSP3.  Can a person have exceptional performance with other options?  Of course they can.
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Re: New Sophia Electric Aqua 274B tube
Reply #69 - 09/17/20 at 18:12:27
 
No argument from me, I just have had to face the reality that I am a. on a fixed retirement income b. always going to keep buying music as that is why I like audio and that cost dominates my discretionary income and c. I am a restless tube nut and I keep swapping out complements. If I thought that this were an "end all" for me I would think differently. My big money tube buying days were around for a bit but in reality they aren't around for me any longer.

What also gives me pause is that Mullards in general don't seem to meld with my system. I have inputs, voltage regulators and rectifiers made in Britain labeled Mullard and they would be among the first I'd let go--their "house sound" doesn't seem to gell. Herleen Holland and Russian and American are more compatible with my sound preferences. I do have a ceiling point on tubes. Reviews of the Aquas made me go over it and I have them with no issues, and really find them heavy caliber in my arsenal--and I don't need to seek out a holy grail tube right now.

And at the conclusion to my last post I realized I should have an RCA Type 80 Globe, found it, popped it in the CSP3-25th, and it IS providing a bit of what I am lacking with the present complements--I'm enjoying the new bit of bass and spatial data it imparts. I'm learning that an identical rectifier in all three of the components is not necessarily the best configuration--usually a different brand or different type in the preamp than the Monoblocks gives an extra something.
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Re: New Sophia Electric Aqua 274B tube
Reply #70 - 09/18/20 at 16:06:21
 
I found the same in my system until I put the Metal Base in, usually I would have different rectifiers in the amp and preamp.  Even with the Mullard Fat Base in the amp I used a different rectifier in the preamp.  I think in the pre I had a FAT Bottle French made GZ32 which I actually liked more than the Mullard GZ32.  This was a rare rectifier made in France for the German Navy.
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Re: New Sophia Electric Aqua 274B tube
Reply #71 - 09/18/20 at 17:31:02
 
I'm glad you have the pair to end all pairs; I'd be bored or suffer through lesser sound--I change tubes for a number of reasons but often with source material--different LP vintages, unofficial recordings and not so great recordings, fantastic hires discs, etc. I have realized no one complement will be appropriate for all.

Today I realize that for the last few months I have been using the Monoblocks with the treble cut circuit bypassed. With it on and some treble and ZROCK2 adjustment that little bit of balance correction I've been seeking is there. Ah!
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Re: New Sophia Electric Aqua 274B tube
Reply #72 - 09/07/21 at 20:45:31
 
I just today received an Aqua 274B to use in a Lampi Atlantic TRP dac, though it can be used in my Supratek preamp as well. The dac has Aqua EL-34s, which are as advertised. First sense is a very good recti, on the warm side  (vs., e.g., the mid 1950s RCA 5U4G top getter). To be seen if it is soothing and rounded with fewer details than other tubes, as someone found (for me, a bit fewer details is ok if the tone works for my tastes and staging is otherwise good).

The reason I write tho is about price vs. warranty. The $40 difference for one year, 23.5%, is relatively large and makes me wonder if it’s meant to help protect Sophia against variable production quality.
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piezoman
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Re: New Sophia Electric Aqua 274B tube
Reply #73 - 09/08/21 at 18:19:03
 
Quote:
The reason I write tho is about price vs. warranty. The $40 difference for one year, 23.5%, is relatively large and makes me wonder if it’s meant to help protect Sophia against variable production quality.


No doubt about it. They are Chinese tubes, after all is said and done, and Chi-com mfd. tubes along eith most eveything else are notoriously lousy when ot comes to quality assurance.

Aside from even that, I would do everything practical to avoid purchasing audio anything, or anything else, from communist China. The CCP laughs hard and long as we fund their stated goal of singular worldwide total dominance by purchasing so much from them, our military and commercial secrets stolen on a daily basis unimpeded, and they laugh hard and long at what they got away with regarding their Wuhan bio attack.

Brad
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Re: New Sophia Electric Aqua 274B tube
Reply #74 - 09/08/21 at 18:38:14
 
I've used 3 Aquas for three years without an issue--my favorite rectifier for my amps.
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Re: New Sophia Electric Aqua 274B tube
Reply #75 - 09/08/21 at 21:00:59
 
I have had a great experience with a Sophia Electric Aqua 274b rectifier as in my CSP3+ preamp. Bought a back up just in case, but the original has been going strong for over 3 years. Long live this Chinese tube!

HK
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Re: New Sophia Electric Aqua 274B tube
Reply #76 - 09/08/21 at 23:44:02
 
From piezo: "...Chi-com mfd. tubes along eith most eveything else are notoriously lousy when ot comes to quality assurance.

Aside from even that, I would do everything practical to avoid purchasing audio anything, or anything else, from communist China. The CCP laughs hard and long as we fund their stated goal of singular worldwide total dominance by purchasing so much from them, our military and commercial secrets stolen on a daily basis unimpeded, and they laugh hard and long at what they got away with regarding their Wuhan bio attack."


Seems like everyone hears/reads these and other narratives about China, and if interested, can do research and draw personal conclusions.

I also think for most on this Forum, supporting each other toward great audio is a refuge from cultured divisiveness and all its effects. For the most part, this seems to be a rare place where people with different beliefs and political leanings can come together and truly try to help one another find a better audio experience...something we all love.

So why bring divisive ideology into this refuge??? Functionally, as designed, seems to me anger loaded ideology makes coming together for solutions nearly impossible, while becoming an incredible energy drain, energy that could be used for improving the world. To me, the vast efforts required to dig through politicized warfare as we seek solutions is an unbelievably inefficient use of our limited life energy, and whatever time is left in our lives. I can only imagine what we could accomplish for bettering life on earth if ideological warfare were replaced with less biased logic and reality seeking.


But relative to this thread, in part questioning "Chinese" quality..... Seems to me that many "American made" things (or wherever) are good, and many not necessarily worth buying. At the same time, doesn't competition from other world entities encourage Americans to find ways to get better?

Like most of us on this forum, I am careful about anything I buy, doing research as needed. And, maybe lucky, but most everything made in China I have is good.... My DAC was extra nice new, and is world class after modding it.... My modified USB convertor is amazing. The few cables I have, cable ends and other audio connectors I use from China have all been really good. My balanced power supply is a great design and very well made. I had to change some caps and the fuse to increase transparency, but basically, it was impressively good to start. A DAC I am finally considering as possibly better than the one I am using is designed and built by Chinese guy who has amazing tech savy, and obviously listens while designing. Similarly lots of newer small tech folks in China are enhancing our lives with something special, think of Lii Audio. And relative to the bigger Chinese companies, my current favorite power tubes in my Torii, Shuguang-made tubestore preferred 6L6GCs are really good tubes...To me they are the overall best sounding of the many, many new power tubes I have tried, as well as several highly respected NOS power tubes.

So, lots of bad happening by reports in China, but also good, and personally, I suspect supporting the good anywhere is helping the world.

I can't speak much to the longevity of the Sophia 274Bs as I don't think I have used them for more than a week at a time. But the ones I bought lightly used have been reliable so far for many shortish periods when I do use them.

I am all for "voting with our dollars." And personally, I like supporting innovators who are creative, making good things, and treating workers well. Politics aside, seems supporting good work and people anywhere in our world can make it a little better.... not to mention enhancing my audio journey!
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Re: New Sophia Electric Aqua 274B tube
Reply #77 - 09/09/21 at 01:01:44
 
will, I appreciate your comments. I’m thinking though that piezoman’s rant, about which I have nothing in common, is better left alone. If he doesn’t want to buy Chinese and blame them for whatever world problem, that’s his business and there’s nothing we write that will change that. I’d hate to see the thread diverted and the administrator have get involved.

So far I’ve heard both smooth and rough and constrained and open since the 274B’s addition, as to be expected in the first 15 hours. Developers often say 100 hours for burn in, but I’ve never come across anything that beat 250 beats, and that figure is pretty much reserved to SR fuses and tubes.
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Re: New Sophia Electric Aqua 274B tube
Reply #78 - 09/09/21 at 09:38:31
 
Hey highstream,

I get your thoughts, and also tend to hope that little bursts of polarizing politics will settle if ignored. But since I have read similar here recently, I hoped experiential alternatives might help broaden the picture, while touching on how divisive talk can effect the health of the forum. Also, in my experience, a fair bit off forum, piezo tends to be quite receptive to interesting ideas.

Seems most of us comment in the context of the thread on this forum, but it is not uncommon for posts to broaden some with related discussion that can support better audio.... like the side tracks here into other rectifiers, or perhaps my recent post, a lot of it "off-topic" but responding to recent replies while trying to support forum health.

I think this points to part of the charm of this forum....unlike many administrators, Steve tends to being mostly hands off on thread and post guidance, presumably letting the tradition of helpful information and mostly friendly support guide the way. And I feel like part of that is all of us collectively encouraging each other (hopefully mostly by example) to be supportive of audio beauty and to avoid things that draw us away from that.

I had to look at my profile to see how long I have been active here, and was surprised to see it was late 2009 when I started posting. And since then, though I could easily have missed some, I can only recall one thread where Steve intervened in a notable way as administrator. And that thread had deteriorated quickly and deeply into rough political and personal discord, quickly turning audio friends into enemies, and probably causing real damage for some of us in terms of forum participation. So after a bit, when it did not seem to be losing steam or sorting itself out, Steve pulled it.

I guess the main thing for me, is trying help each other streamline our audio quest, supporting a deeper audio experience with less challenges and cost. So I was hoping to broaden the picture, while pointing to how special this forum is in its friendly and giving way, and how fragile that can become if we let over-simplified and polarizing cultural traps that plague our world leak into our forum.



On the Sophia 274B, from many posts on the forum, I don't think there is any question that their reliability with at least some Decware power supplies can be touch and go. I recall as I started looking at used ones, I went to the Sophia site and was relieved to see the rigid plate 274B was designed differently than traditional 274s, so it could work with 47uF power supply caps. I don't recall logging mA ratings, but the following from Chester's Reply #61 might describe the issue.

"Meanwhile, I called Sophia Electric to get a replacement for the 274B and they mentioned the max current load.  Being new to all of this, I had no idea what they meant (and still don't).  As far as I can tell, the Torii Jr. has a 280 mA demand (stated in the manual), Sue (from Sophia Electric) stated the max current for the 274B is either 90 mA (for the mesh plate) or 160 mA (for the rigid).  Further searching found that many 274B rectifiers have a max current well below what the Torii Jr. wants."

I don't know enough about Decware specs to verify, but this post to me implies the possibility of the current specs perhaps being the culprit that causes them to be touch and go in our amps.... and maybe some are better than others at getting pushed beyond spec???

I feel fortunate that the ones I have are standing up to my Torii and CSP3 so far, but I can't seem to keep them in. I like them every time at first, but in my system, it usually does not take long before a slightly off-natural character shows up for me.... like they are intellectually correct, having most of what we might expect from a nice tube, but perhaps not quite flawless in how they blend those traits, so messing with engagement for me. I have been lucky, having come into a lot of nice rectifiers, and my system is particularly resolving, but still, with this tube so popular, I was surprised how many tubes I like better, and at much less cost. The most costly of some of my favorite tubes in recent years, RGN1064s (4 volt and need adapters), is a pair of mesh plate globes from the 30s, and the pair cost less than one new Aqua 274B without warranty. These tubes are also perhaps borderline electronically for most Decware amps, but several have been holding up here for years of serious play.

Lately, testing a bunch of 5U4GBs and a few 5U4G-STs for another forum member, I am reminded how good some of those can be, rekindling an old love for a late forties Raytheon fat bottle GB with two top/side horseshoe getters, and an unusual stepped base like a short version of a 5R4WGB "potato masher" base. It sounds really beautiful in my current system, nothing overstated, and nothing missing, great space and fine detail, and having a slight euphonic feel that I usually tire of, but with these really enjoy.

I do keep trying the Sophias as my system morphs, and hopefully, one day they might create beautiful synergy with my setup as they have with others.
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Re: New Sophia Electric Aqua 274B tube
Reply #79 - 09/10/21 at 03:23:45
 
The reason I write tho is about price vs. warranty. The $40 difference for one year, 23.5%, is relatively large and makes me wonder if it’s meant to help protect Sophia against variable production quality.

I think that the question raised is a good one and I like to share some thoughts specifically as they pertain to this question.

Short answer is: I don't know but I sure hope that is the case! To that I'll add that no matter where any item is made, no matter who makes an item and no matter what the item is, electronics, furniture, cars etc there will be failures.  A business has to try to anticipate the rate of failure and for the purpose of maintaining good customer satisfaction, cover those costs in the initial price of the item.

A mfg company will establish processes that will try to meet a set standard of quality and performance and that standard is not necessarily "the best or nothing".  It's a standard that is designed to meet the expectations of a target market.  Which means that they've should have done some market research to know what their target market expects.

Based on my experience with Sophia I would suggest that they would be better off not giving the option and simply charging the higher price so as to avoid these types of questions and simply give the best service that their target market expects.

I have to admit that, IMO, I am not in the target market of the Sophia.  Subsequently I purchased a rectifier tube that was for more expensive not to get better "sound", but to get better longevity and as a bonus I did get better sound.

There's nothing wrong with me not being included in the Sophia target market.  When I purchase something I expect to pay large for a very hi level of followup service and support.  I recently purchased a car for my wife and gladly paid in advance for four years of service and extended warrantees that cover everything and I mean EVERYTHING (including wheels, tires and windshields)!  

For the final question:  Am I in the Decware target market taking into consideration the above comments???  After a couple of service matters and the willing answers that I get to my PIA questions, IMO, most emphatically, YES!  The bonus... I didn't have to pay large to get the exceptional Decware service.
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Re: New Sophia Electric Aqua 274B tube
Reply #80 - 09/10/21 at 03:39:35
 
In one sense, I think it would better if Sophia cut out the 1 month vs 1 year stuff. A company should just stand behind what it sells for a reasonable amount of time. At the same time, they are a business and presumably to stay afloat are trying to capture a broader share of customers. I'm guessing the 274B variability, for example, is not great enough to ditch the 1-month offer -- not enough to develop a poor rep -- but enough to charge a lot more for a year. With most electronics, if something makes it through a month it's good to go. That's not so much the case with modern tubes.
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Re: New Sophia Electric Aqua 274B tube
Reply #81 - 09/10/21 at 04:35:06
 
I would agree.  That's why I felt that I needed to go the NOS tube route.  having said that, you do not necessarily have to "pay large."  As Will pointed out there are options for less than what I paid that will give a very "reasonable" service life.  

IF you were to decide to try the NOS route, have a look at the UFO25 Manual under Rectifiers.  It points to three things to consider when buying NOS Rectifiers, this is specific to the UFO25 but I think that it's good to take certain precautions.

Unfortunately, eventually NOS tubes will be hard to get and as that happens prices will increase... supply and demand will determine price.  IF the rectifiers that I got last as long as they reportedly do or can, they will be the last rectifiers that I will buy.  IF that turns out to be the case then the annual cost will be less than $20.00 per year, if they only last 5 years, which I'm confident that they will, the cost will be $60.00 per year.
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Re: New Sophia Electric Aqua 274B tube
Reply #82 - 09/10/21 at 08:57:37
 
The Sophia came after trying many older rectis, some NOS and some used.
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