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6SN7 tube (Read 976 times)
piezoman
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6SN7 tube
09/26/20 at 00:28:04
 
For those who have the 6SN7 [with adapter of course] in place of the usual 6922, 7308, 6N1P, 6N5P, 6N23P, etc. as the input tube of choice, please explain what you like about this tube over the others.

Any recommendations on mfr.?

I have no experience with this tube, and a recent post has me intrigued.

Thanks, Brad


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GroovySauce
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Re: 6SN7 tube
Reply #1 - 09/26/20 at 14:54:44
 
I'm curious too. I've already got 2 ceramic 6SN7 -> 6922 adapters.
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Re: 6SN7 tube
Reply #2 - 09/26/20 at 17:16:14
 
David (armstdav) who has a lot of experirnce with this tube type wrote:

"My favorite NOS tubes are the Sylvania and RCA 6SN7GTB; both are relatively cheap and sound better than most of the new production tubes. I've tried the higher end Psvane/Full Music/Shuguang Treasure tubes (albeit all used) and don't find them appreciably better, plus the quality is spotty. My favorite new production is the Electroharmonix 6SN7; I could live with it if NOS dried up."

Myself I too am intrigued; I ordered a pair of RCA and one Sylvania coin-based and adaptors Thursday.
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CAJames
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Re: 6SN7 tube
Reply #3 - 09/26/20 at 17:57:49
 
I haven't used 6SN7's with Decware (or in place of 6DJ8 types at all) but my preamp/headphone amp uses them so I have been collecting them (and alternatives) for a while.

In general I will say that I prefer octal tubes (6SN7) to noval (miniature 9 pin like 6DJ8). The bigger pins and bigger plates and cathodes just work better, and that is a pretty common opinion. Noval tubes weren't invented because the were better, but because they were cheaper to build and use.

Like other "in" tubes there is a hierarchy with tubes at the top going for many hundreds of dollars. There are a ton of internet sites/threads about it Brent Jesse is a good place to start:

http://www.audiotubes.com/6sn7.htm


The "famous label" 6SN7s are way to rich for my Scottish Heritage to digest so I've been using equivalents with adapters. Currently I'm using 2 single triodes like 6J5 but I've also had good luck with 7N7s and 6F8Gs. When I (finally) get my UFOs I'm certainly going to try some 6SN7s and I'll report back.


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piezoman
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Re: 6SN7 tube
Reply #4 - 09/26/20 at 19:49:49
 
Thanks everyone! Here's another very useful reference tool for the 6SN7:

https://www.head-fi.org/threads/the-reference-6sn7-thread.117677/

I too just ordered a couple adapters, and these:
- Sylvania early 1952 "Bad Boy" VT-231.
- RCA late '50's silver label GT with bottom getter [pair].
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piezoman
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Re: 6SN7 tube
Reply #5 - 09/26/20 at 20:18:56
 
Now the question is:

Where will it sound better.....the preamp, the amp, or both?

Will find out soon!
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MrDerrick
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Re: 6SN7 tube
Reply #6 - 09/27/20 at 00:18:37
 
I am not positive, but I think that the 6SN7 draws twice the heater current of a 6922.
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Geno
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Re: 6SN7 tube
Reply #7 - 09/27/20 at 04:21:32
 
Are we sure that this is an acceptable tube replacement in a Zen? Has Steve verified that this is ok?
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armstdav
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Re: 6SN7 tube
Reply #8 - 09/27/20 at 05:04:09
 
Geno,

Can't speak to the Zen as I've never owned one, but the 6SN7s with adapter in my Torii operated with no drama at all, over close to a year of use.

David
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CAJames
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Re: 6SN7 tube
Reply #9 - 09/27/20 at 14:49:49
 
6SN7s are widely substituted for 6DJ8 types, and Decware amps are above average in flexibility of the input tubes they can use so I'd be shocked, shocked, if they didn't work fine. Going the other way, from 6SN7 -> 6DJ8 is iffy.

And, while we're on the subject, there is also the 6CG7, which is the noval version of the 6SN7 and has the same pinout as the 6DJ8 so you ought to be able to plug it in directly.
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Geno
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Re: 6SN7 tube
Reply #10 - 09/27/20 at 15:13:23
 
Ok. Thanks for the response guys. I really donít know whether to thank you or be upset with you, as this opens up a new can of worms Undecided

On another note, if you havenít tried the 5670 tube, you might want to try them too. Iíve had mine in for 3 or 4 months now, and havenít felt the need to change anything.
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morp
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Re: 6SN7 tube
Reply #11 - 09/27/20 at 20:18:35
 
Hi Geno, thanks for the tip! Does the 5670 require an adapter?
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Lon
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Re: 6SN7 tube
Reply #12 - 09/27/20 at 20:24:01
 
Yes it does require an adaptor. TubeDepot.com sells the tube and adaptor as an affordable combo. I have a lot of 5670s because I bought enough to do the entire signal path (except ZROCK2) and liked them at first but got bored with them after a spell. I think a lot of my tube "likes" are determined by my choice of interconnects. With the VooDoo Cable loom some I like differ from those I liked with previous interconnects.
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Re: 6SN7 tube
Reply #13 - 09/27/20 at 20:28:10
 
Thanks Lon! Appreciate the quick response. Looks like I'll need to add these to the list Smiley
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Re: 6SN7 tube
Reply #14 - 09/28/20 at 00:40:00
 
The GEís are the ones you want. They are inexpensive and Iíve been happy with them.  

https://tubedepot.com/products/5670w-2c51w?gclid=EAIaIQobChMIvorjn8CK7AIVxMDACh0...
U8QoREAQYASABEgJq8PD_BwE
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piezoman
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Re: 6SN7 tube
Reply #15 - 10/03/20 at 21:40:33
 
In addition to the two that I've ordered, I just ordered an early 50's Ken-Rad black glass VT-231.
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Lon
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Re: 6SN7 tube
Reply #16 - 10/03/20 at 21:45:35
 
I've started playing around with the 6SN7 tubes, in my main system I now have a short RCA that is pretty old in the CSP3 with mods, and somewhat newer, tightly matched taller RCA in the modded SE84UFO3s. In my other system I have a coin-based Sylvania tall in the Taboo Mk IV with mods and a shorter Sylvania in the CSP2+ with mods.

They've been cooking in two days, beginning to settle in, and sounding nice. A mellower sound, with a bit more of a laid back sound stage and I'm enjoying it. It's neither better nor worse than the all Amperex 7308 and Sylvania 7308 they replaced, at least so far--just different. Softer and yet still dynamic. Will be interesting to see how they season in this coming week.
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piezoman
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Re: 6SN7 tube
Reply #17 - 10/03/20 at 21:49:21
 
Interesting and exciting, thanks Lon
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Re: 6SN7 tube
Reply #18 - 10/04/20 at 02:11:49
 
You all need some 1952 Sylvania Bad Boy 6SN7's.
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Lon
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Re: 6SN7 tube
Reply #19 - 10/04/20 at 02:21:58
 
You know, I just think that tubes sound differently with different sources, speakers, rooms, cabling and more. . . even if they are used in the same component. I've chased tubes around for years and find that ones I like others loathe and vice versa. I am uncertain of dates but I do have a few Sylvanias in use right now. I'm really digging more RCAs that I have, working better for me in my system.

Today I got in a pair of GE tall to try out as well. Later in the coming week. . . .

These are neat tube types in the Decware amps. I can see that their construction should limit microphony and their size give them a unique character. I think I'd sum it up by saying "a new perspective" more than anything else. A new fun area to explore! They are working really well with Type 80 Globe rectifiers . . . a nice synergy.
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CAJames
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Re: 6SN7 tube
Reply #20 - 10/04/20 at 05:20:49
 
You guys are killing me with your fancy 6SN7s . My headphone/preamp was built for them but you have collected a much nicer lineup in a week then I have in a year. But regardless, Iím glad to hear they sound good in Decware. I look forever to trying some of my 6SN7 alternatives like the 6F8G and 7N7 after Iíve worked through my 6DJ8 types.
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piezoman
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Re: 6SN7 tube
Reply #21 - 10/04/20 at 13:25:51
 
Lon, those tall GE's......are they the  GTB coin base version?
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Lon
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Re: 6SN7 tube
Reply #22 - 10/04/20 at 13:32:02
 
No, regular black base.
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piezoman
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Re: 6SN7 tube
Reply #23 - 10/04/20 at 13:34:29
 
That's good.
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piezoman
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Re: 6SN7 tube
Reply #24 - 10/04/20 at 13:49:24
 
River, I did order a Sylvania 1952 bad boy. Early 1952, not the later 1952 which, according to what I've learned, is supposed to suck gorilla balls.
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Lon
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Re: 6SN7 tube
Reply #25 - 10/04/20 at 21:56:33
 
piezoman wrote on 10/04/20 at 13:25:51:
Lon, those tall GE's......are they the †GTB coin base version?

Actually I am wrong, these GEs are short with standard bakelite bases.
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Lon
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Re: 6SN7 tube
Reply #26 - 10/06/20 at 15:11:46
 
I have to thank David for peaking my interest in the 6SN7 tube and setting me on a fun discovery.

I have at present five adaptors and seven 6SN7 tubes. I have tried three RCA (one short, two tall) as the input tubes for my CSP3 with the mods and my SE84UFO3 Monoblocks with the mods (the other tubes in the CSP3 were Amperex Holland 7308.) Wow, this was an interesting sound--rich smoothness with a deep stage and a dynamic "bounce." I had two Sylvanias (one tall coin-based, one short) in the other system, one each in the input position of the CSP2+ with mods and the Taboo Mk IV with mods. This was starting to season in and went from slightly bright to a tiny bit boring smooth . . . (I think the big room was taking up some of the bass dynamics, or maybe the Sylvanias are not the winners in the stable).

So a few days in I began to feel that the 7308s in the main system in the 7308 were perhaps imparting a thin veil of warmth that were holding things back and I put in a pair of short chrome-dome GEs in the CSP3 as driver tubes. That took me into a clearer presentation with a great dynamic contrast and perhaps just a tiny bit of bass dip compared to the complement with the 7308s. (I put 6N5P in place of the 6SN7 in the other system so it's now all 6N5P and boy does that sound good!) so I have ordered another pair of short RCA to replace the GE, it seems the RCA, especially the short one, are the stars of the seven I've bought so far. If the RCA gives me just the bit more bass I suspect they will I'm going to sit tight for a while. . . .Great sound now and on the horizin I bet!

This is quite an adventure. I also really like the all 7308 complements, the difference being the 7308 seem to take you right to the bell or box of each instrument, and the 6SN7 seems to bring you in front of the instrument and there's a bit more of a spacious sense to the musical playback. These may be the tubes I keep from now on. In time I may find out how six of them would work in the ZTPRE. . . .

Is this a hobby or an obsessive compulsive disorder? I'm too close to the subject to tell. . . . Wink Just don't ask my wife, she has a biased position. . . .
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Lon
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Re: 6SN7 tube
Reply #27 - 10/06/20 at 16:21:26
 
Gosh. . . I've already made a change, put the 7308s back in as driver tubes for the CSP3 with the mods. This is the best combo: 6SN7 as the input tube in this component and the input tube of the Monoblocks with mods. The 7308 drivers add a sense of precision that I have been missing as well as that extra little bump of bass. I'll revisit the 6SN7 in place of the 7308 when I get the RCAs in. The GEs may not be the best choice in this position.
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piezoman
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Re: 6SN7 tube
Reply #28 - 10/06/20 at 18:38:13
 
Quite fascinating, Lon! Its a whole new discovery.....thanks to David, I say that as well.

At this point I have received/ordered the following:
RCA VT-231 smoked glass, two 1943 & two 1945.
Ken-Rad VT-231 black glass, 1951.
Sylvania early 1952 bad boy.
RCA early 1950's (two).
Sylvania 1953.
Sylvania W, early 1950's.

All ready, the fun soon begins. Any I don't like goes right back up for sale.
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Re: 6SN7 tube
Reply #29 - 10/07/20 at 02:20:39
 
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piezoman
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Re: 6SN7 tube
Reply #30 - 10/07/20 at 02:43:04
 
ouch!
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Re: 6SN7 tube
Reply #31 - 10/07/20 at 04:27:29
 
I'm just glad I've been able to contribute something new and fun to the universe of Decware users. Even though my current ownership of Decware equipment is down to a pair of DNAs (listening to them now in the living room system!) I enjoy hanging out here because of the love and respect and support the users here show for each other. When I had my SE34i.2+ and my Torii Mk IV and CSP3 everyone here was so helpful, even when I proposed crazy ideas like using 6SN7s with adapters as input tubes. † Smiley

Community wisdom is the best!
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Re: 6SN7 tube
Reply #32 - 10/08/20 at 15:32:11
 
Well, I'm back to an all 6SN7 pathway again. I swapped the input tube on the ZROCK2 with the Sylvania that Steve sent with my third ZROCK2, and I now have the short RCA in the CSP3 with mods in the input position and the short GE in the other two spots. Nice! I really like both the short and tall RCA so I have some more on the way: a pair of short, and a trio of tall coin-based. An all RCA pathway may be the ticket for me. . . we'll see next week.
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Re: 6SN7 tube
Reply #33 - 10/14/20 at 14:30:28
 
Further explorations:

I got in two additional short RCA and three coin-based RCA.

The coin-based in the CSP3 with mods paired with the tall RCA I've had in the Monoblocks with mods since I began with this tube type is very interesting. Sound-stage champs, and dynamic and very clear and crisp. Just a bit too unforgiving for my main system. I put two of them as input tubes in my other system with the CSP2+ with the mods and my Taboo Mk IV with the mods which, because of a larger room, bring me better bass results with these tubes than in the main system, and am really enjoying their sound there.

So I currently have five old RCAs in place in my main system, the two new short ones as driver tubes and the original short one as input in my preamp, and the two tall ones in my amps and the sound is gloriousĖrich, but quick, dense yet dynamic. I think theyíll stay!

That leaves me with two short GE and one short Sylvania and a coin-based Sylvania sitting on the sidelines. . . . I know in time I'll play around with adding them to the mix. I'm going to order two more converter bases so I can also play around with the driver tube positions on the CSP2+ with mods. Currently I'm using 6N5P from Steve there--these 6N5P have a similar nature to the 6SN7 to my ears. I'm using them in the ZTPRE as well, I really like the balance of sound from these tubes.
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Re: 6SN7 tube
Reply #34 - 10/14/20 at 14:49:53
 
Nice update Lon!

Today I should be receiving a pair converter bases so I can finally experiment.

Have you considered Ken-Rad, National Union, Raytheon, Tung-Sol? The earlier the better in most cases, VT-231 mil type during the early amid 1940's.
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Re: 6SN7 tube
Reply #35 - 10/14/20 at 14:57:44
 
I don't trust the "conventional wisdom" from online forums. I find that tubes just sound one way in your system and a different way in another's system and room so I go with brands that I have experience with and enjoy. AND I just won't spend more than ten to twenty on a tube without really good reason, especially when first trying out a type. No three hundred dollar metal based things for me, especially as I have to buy pairs for my amps. So I carefully chose a few to try, and doubled-down on those that I liked and have gotten where I am now, and think I can hang here for a good amount of time.

For me after a few decades of tube listening and rolling getting "the very best" is a fool's quest. It's all about so much--the room, the power, the isolation, the tube complements themselves, your playback tastes and musical tastes and so much more. And wallet. I've developed a way to seek synergy and a methodology to experiment and evaluate and have stuck with that. Rectifier choice is an important factor and I've recently really fallen for the Type 80 Globes, and the 6SN7 seem to have a really good affinity with this rectifier. In the 6SN7 tube type so far I have found RCAs of several types are a good value and deliver great sound in my system.
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Re: 6SN7 tube
Reply #36 - 10/14/20 at 15:08:59
 
I hear you on that. Everything is system and room dependent. Which is why I try everything I possibly can, especially the unknown, then keep what I like and put the rest back up for sale. I consider it the cost of education and worth it on an exponential scale. I can't be educated until I know.......otherwise I'm always left to wonder and I dislike wondering.

Metal based tubes......an interesting story: I followed a fellow members journey on the GZ34 Philips Miniwatt......so I bought two of them, extremely rare 1955 welded plates. I didn't like it in my Taboo....very liquid as advertised but too much in the treble at times. So I sold them at an extraordinary profit. I bought them knowing they are pretty rare and the prices keep increasing......took those odds with no fear.
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Re: 6SN7 tube
Reply #37 - 10/14/20 at 15:22:18
 
Cool. Earlier in my journey I had a similar pattern. This century I am not a fan of buying and re-selling so I have a different approach, and more experience to draw from. The end goal is satisfaction with the system and a side goal is to get to a point where I am not restless and always shifting about for this or that. I've a harder time with the side goal, but buying and re-selling I know is not, for me, a help but a hindrance for that goal.

That said I'll probably be selling some tubes because I have so many now that they are a distraction and a hindrance. And a few other things. I'd keep a lot more but my wife's misunderstanding and prompting to downsize is also a hindrance! I sure do enjoy the sound I have now, and have to thank Dave for this trip into 6SN7 land.
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Re: 6SN7 tube
Reply #38 - 10/14/20 at 16:17:01
 
Well said, Lon.

I'm really only 2-3 years into the world of tubes, so I'm still a novice, with the goal of gaining experience, just like you have accumulated. Once many of tjhe tubes are gone [this is an ongoing event, most are.....and coming soon to a close], I'll double up on the ones desired.

Its an expensive venture, even when they are sold because many of them [especially rectifiers] were re-sold at varying losses.....thus the cost of required education.

But coming thru on the tunnel and seeing the light!
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Re: 6SN7 tube
Reply #39 - 10/14/20 at 17:10:38
 
Please keep the opinions and evaluations on these coming. Iím waiting on a lengthy study before I give these a try.
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Re: 6SN7 tube
Reply #40 - 10/15/20 at 03:49:25
 
My journey has been similar to Lon's. I used to buy and sell stereo components (and Apple laptops for a while) with my eye on making a profit, but that's no longer a motivation. I just like to try new stuff, and if I can break even it's a bonus.

I love his observation that "a side goal is to get to a point where I am not restless and always shifting about for this or that." I'm also not doing very well achieving that goal.

Wink
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Re: 6SN7 tube
Reply #41 - 10/20/20 at 20:36:27
 
So far I've tried the following:

VT-231 Ken-Rad late 1940's
VT-231 RCA early 1940's
VT-231 Sylvania late 1940's
6NS7GT RCA mid 1940's
6NS7GT Sylvania early 1950's so-called Bad Boy
6NS7W Sylvania mid 1940's

I have these but have yet to try:
6SN7GT National Union
6SN7GT Tung-Sol
VT-231 Raytheon

I've settled for the following in rectification after much trial: a Type 80 balloon in CSP3-25th Edition, a Mullard GZ34 1959 Fat Base in Taboo MK 4-25th mods......and Steve's or other Russian driver tubes......this backdrop complement is solid for now in everyday listening.

Keeping all output tubes purchased, 10-15 years worth, of Svetlana SV83's [with large logo], 6N1P-V-NEVZ Novosibirsk plant 1950's, and a few pairs of Steve's 6P15P's......plus 1 set of TAD EL84's for shits and giggles.

I've sold off/selling off all but the following rectifiers which I am keeping, a lifetime worth:
1 Sophia Electric Aqua 274B - nice
2 Mazda 5Y3G, late 1950's - sweet
3 Mullard GZ34 Fat Base (all 1959) - these are special
2 Telefunken GZ34 early 1960's - these are special
5 RCA 5U4G, all WWII era - bold and delicious
8 Balloon type 80 (National Union, Cunningham, RCA, Air Line, Majestic) - just right

I did NOT like ANY GZ32 in my system.....way too polite, dull, missing detail. They are all sold.

I've significantly leaned down on input tubes, selling most of them.....keeping these:
1 Lorenz PCC88
1 Siemens E188CC early 1960's
1 Siemens E288CC mid 1960's
8 Tesla PCC88 plant 37 early 1980's
6 7308 Amperex
2 7308 Sylvania
1 Amperex 7316, 1958 long plates

Now as for the 6NS7, so far:
- REALLY disliked the Ken-Rad, so its sold.....bass was well rendered, but mids and highs really suffered in my setup, seemed quite veiled. Terrible.

- RCA VT-231 & the later non military version: just the right level of warmth in the mids! This is VERY pleasant, with all the detail intact....and level across all frequencies. My #2 favorite so far.

- Sylvania 6NS7W: all of the above in the RCA, plus even better rendering of bass with good detail. My #1 favorite so far.

- Sylvania VT-231 and later non military versions: very clear mids and highs, bass slightly less than RCA. Pretty damned nice. My #3 favorite, just a click below the RCA. The bad boy ain't badder than the rest......I thought earlier it was a 1952, but was wrong...its a 1951.

I've used the 6NS7 as an input only so far.

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Re: 6SN7 tube
Reply #42 - 10/21/20 at 22:43:15
 
Nice, thanks for the report.

At the moment I have RCA short as input in the preamp and the Monoblocks, and a pair of Tung-Sol short in the driver positions of the preamp. In my second system I have short RCA as input in the preamp and the Taboo, and short GE in the drive positions of the preamp. Sound in both systems is very good.

To get the right lower frequencies I have moved from Type 80 globes in the Monoblocks to my trusty Amperex 5R4WGB. I still have the Type 80 globe, and RCA, in the preamp, and it gives me 85% or so of the holographic magic three globes did, and also a great bass response. I also have moved to putting my best three pairs of 'seventies 6N6P in the ZTPRE in place of the 6N5P--enjoying the even blacker background and timbral detail.
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Re: 6SN7 tube
Reply #43 - 10/22/20 at 03:45:27
 
Lon, very cool......that 5R4WGB rectifier - I have no knowledge of them. Looks to be a very inexpensive tube. What's the story on this? Looks like the Amperex is harder to come by vs. others like Raytheon, etc.
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Re: 6SN7 tube
Reply #44 - 10/22/20 at 10:22:56
 
I've tried Chatham, Cetron, Raytheon and Amperex. I like Amperez the most, have a NOS back up pair as well.

Nice, solid bass, which my system always needs in the room it's in. Other frequencies are very good too. Works very well with 0B3 regulation for the power tubes and a variety of input tubes. Trade off is just a shade less dynamic and holographic than the Type 80 Globe.
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Re: 6SN7 tube
Reply #45 - 10/22/20 at 14:32:59
 
Very interesting, thanks Lon
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Re: 6SN7 tube
Reply #46 - 10/22/20 at 18:53:50
 
Okay, I can't seem to stop fooling about with these tubes, but I think I've reached a stopping point.

I kept chasing the right frequency balance and put in a pair of OD3W (well I tried four different pair, settled on the Sylvania), and that really gave me back the bit of dynamics I lost replacing the Type 80 Globes. Still. . . I remembered better sound, and suspected in the main system the driver tubes were the culprit holding me back. As a "control" I put a pair of Amperex 7308 into the driver positions and something relaxed inside my listening being. I think that's the key. . . the 6SN7 type is very good for input tubes, in my larger room with the Taboo Mk IV they work very sell in the CSP2+ with the mods, but in my main system, closer listening, I think I'll be keeping 7208 for a while.

If you have a big room you can listen in be grateful. Household politics won't allow me to have my best system in the best room, and no election will help. I make do pretty darned well, but still, I would love a better room. But I don't see it in the future, at least not the near future. If I inherit the money I expect I may one day, that's a possibility. But I don't want that to happen anytime soon!
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Re: 6SN7 tube
Reply #47 - Yesterday at 15:11:02
 
Okay my last flip flop and then I'm sticking with this complement for a spell, or at least until I get another pair of converter bases in.

I'm back to an all RCA 6SN7 set up again, all short bottles. With the Sylvania OD3W and judicious use of the treble cut circuit I am getting all the benefits of the 6SN7 spacious smoothness and the slam and detail that was a bit too edgy before.

Really nice sound. . . liquidity and dynamics and depth.
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