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FYI only. Comparison of Tungsram E80CC, Amperex E80CC, and Amperex 7316PQ

Having such great results with the Tungsram E80CC, I've been looking for other E80CC's to try in my Cary CD 301 (uses 4 12AU7's). Thanks to fellow inmate GEO for kindly letting me know the sources, but unfortunately, the price ranges for Amperex or Philips E80CC's were outrageous, ranging from $60 to $45 per one tube! On the positive side, most tube dealers carried either the Amperex or Philips, and I understand the Philips are really re-labeled Amperex made in same factory and same tubes. Well, I've got some Amperex E80CC PQ's, and over the weekend I did some serious comparisons among mainly the Tungsram E80CC, Amperex E80CC PQ, and Amperex 7316PQ. I do have in my home the JJ 12AU7, Radiotechnique 6199, and a bunch of others not as worthy, but for logistical purposes, I only seriously compared the above three.

My conclusion is that the E80CC family does sound (to me) better than 12AU7 family. I will compare both E80CC's to Amperex 7316PQ, which is IMO the best all-around 12AU7.

1)Tungsram E80CC vs. Amperex 7316 PQ--Tungsram sounds much more precise, open, and clear, with more resolution top-to-bottom. Somehow, Tungsram manages to do this without losing richness or palpability. Tungsram E80CC is truly a super tube. Amperex in comparison sounds vague, less focused, less resolving, losing detail, with not as super-tight bass. The sound difference from other 12AU7 is a night-and-day type of difference. I can still heartily recommend Tungsram E80CC for anybody using 12AU7 (provided that your setup is compatible with E80CC (2 watt dissipation). Unfortunately, I can't find any more since Uncle Ned's supply dried up. If you are listening, is it possible to stock some more, Uncle Ned?

2)Amperex E80CC vs. Amperex 7316 PQ--Well, this was interesting. The sound difference was not as night-and-day different than with Tungsram E80CC. The difference here is more of QUANTITY than quality in sound. The Amperex family of tubes seem to possess a certain family sound that I hear in both of these tubes and other tubes I've owned in past, such as Amperex 7306 PQ. The Amperex E80CC PQ is the fullest, richest sounding tube I've ever owned, much more so than even the rich-sounding Amperex 7316 PQ. The difference being that the 7316 PQ sounds a little more "silvery" detailed in upper mid/low treble, and some may find this better suits their system. However, the 7316 PQ still sounds vague overall compared to Amperex E80CC. The Amperex E80CC knows what kind of sound it wants to convey and does it gloriously without any apologies and not taking any prisoners. It's all about glorious, full, rich, "tube" sound with extreme body and harmonics in the midrange/low midrange/upper/mid bass. It simply sounds like it's moving a lot more air in these regions than 7316 PQ. I don't believe the 7316 PQ has any more detail in treble region, but because the rest of the spectrum is so much fuller and because the upper mid/low treble doesn't have that "silvery" effect, the E80CC CAN, in the wrong, already-dull system, sound lower-resolution.

3)Tungsram E80CC vs. Amperex E80CC--Well, this is really the question I wanted to settle for my own system. I am torn. The Tungsram's forte is all about clarity, resolution, focus without sacrifing richness and body. The Amperex's forte is glorious tube richness and fullness in midrange to midbass spectrum, sacrificing some upper frequency focus, definition, and resolution. Bass is fuller and harmonic but not as super tight as Tungsram. With four Tungsram E80CC in my CDP, one is less likely to know that my system is tube-based, giving you that awsomely detailed, focused, yet rich sound one gets when the best tube and best solid state converges. With the four amperex E80CC PQ in my CDP, one will not mistake the sound as solid-state based. It's tube sound at its most glorious and luscious level. I wish I hadn't tried the Amperex E80CC because before these came, I did NOT think my system was wanting of any more richness in midrange-midbass region at all. Well, it really didn't. But the Amperex E80CC just gives you so much in this region and once heard, hard to forget about. The problem is that when I listen to the Amperex E80CC only, I find myself missing the state-of-the-art extension, clarity, and resolution of my Tungsrams. When I listen to Tungsrams, I miss the midrange-midbass tour-de-force purpose of the Amperex E80CC (I would not have known there was anything to miss if I hadn't bought the Amperex!).
I ended up using the Amperex E80CC for the voltage gain stage and Tungsram E80CC for output buffer stage on my CDP. This set-up still does not have quite the degree of all-Tungsram magic resolution, but does retain most of the Amperex's magic. I suspect I will change back and forth depending on my mood of the week.
For those of you who still want to try some E80CC, do try the Tungsrams if you can fidn them (and let me know where!) but more likely you will be able to find the Amperex E80CC, in which case, do try them, but just beware that if your system is a bit dull and tubey to begin with these might not work out for you, though some tweaks like cable/power cord changes may be adequate to let you enjoy the Amperex E80CC magic show.

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Topic - FYI only. Comparison of Tungsram E80CC, Amperex E80CC, and Amperex 7316PQ - Jon L 11:34:39 05/08/00 (5)

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