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In Reply to: RE: Bambi B: Siemens 12at7 2mica vs. 3 mica versions, quandry posted by email@example.com on April 30, 2009 at 05:34:46
PHOTO: Three kinds of Siemens E81CC: L>R : Two mica, Two mica/double getter support, and triple mica
I have tried the Siemens two mica ECC81, two mica 12AT7WA, Siemens E81CC/6201 2 mica and the Siemens triple mica E81CC- which may also be labeled 12AT7WA (6201) and of all, the triple mica E81CC is among my three favourite 12AT7's of the many kinds I have:
12AT7  2, 2, 1, 1, 1, 1 > TOTAL: 89
Siemens & Halske E81CC- 3 mica- DE- NOS
Siemens & H- ECC81- NOS
Valvo 6201–White label- Hamburg- gold pin -NOS
Mullard M8162- UK- NOS
Sylvania GB 6201-steel pins- NOS 124/120,120/118
Sylvania GB 6201 gold pins- US- NOS
Amperex Bugle Boy-France- NOS
GE 6201 5 star- 3-mica- NOS
RCA -HP- NOS
RCA 6201 2-mica black plate- NOS
Sylvania JAN 12AT7WA 3-mica 1958 -NOS
Sylvania 12AT7WA-Gold Print- 3 mica -USED
Westinghouse- black plate-NOS
Telefunken ECC81- USED
Philips JAN- NEW
ARC -RFT- USED
GE 6201- 3 mica, sq gtr- NOS
Telefunken ECC81- NOS
Siemens&H-12AT7WA-3 mica-1-dbl gtr sup-DE- USED
Siemens-12AT7WA- 3 mica- single gtr sup- DE- USED
Sylvania JHS 12AT7WA 3-mica, bl pl, sq gtr -NOS
Raytheon JHC 12AT7WA- blk plt 3-mica- NOS [*5
Raytheon JRO 12AT7WA halo gr plt 2 mc-NOS [*5
Siemens ECC81 by RFT- military label- USED
Telefunken ECC81 by Siemens & H- Munich- USED
Valvo ECC81- Mullard Blackburn UK- USED
TungSol 6201 2-mica, grey plate-halo- NOS
Valvo 6201 Hamburg gold pin- dimp- DE- NOS [20
Siemens E81CC/6201 2 mica- stl pn- DE- NOS [13
Valvo 6201, Blue- 2 mica g pin- halo-DE ‘64- NOS [27
Siemens & Halske E81CC- 2 mica- DE- NOS [15
Telefunken ECC801S- NOS
Telefunken ECC81- NOS
It's the energy and effortless, detailed, punchy, transparency of the Siemens triple mica E81CC that I like so much. Excellent in modern gear, and can help wake up sleepy, dark, or warm vintage too. The Siemens is one of the two 12AT7's that I bought enough NOS to use in all 8 positions where I use 12AT7 (the other is the romantically wonderful Sylvania triple mica, square getter 12AT7WA). My other top 12AT7 choice is the Valvo, Hamburg 6201, which is wonderful in every way- not as "enthusiastic" as the Siemens.
Actually, the ordinary Siemens ECC81 and the two mica E81CC/12AT7WA/6201 are very good, but, for me, the triple mica E81CC is among the very best of the type I've heard.
So, how's the SP8 going for you so far?
Its doing well. I've placed an order or two for some of the tubes on the list you forwarded to me and they should arrive sometime next week.
It sounds wonderful now, but I think rolling some better tubes into it will help get me closer to where I want to be with the sound of the system. I've got to get some better IC's from pre to amps than the old ones I have. It is a far distance to the amps, around 22 feet, by the time one takes into account routing/slop space. Not sure what to do yet, probably make them myself out of Belden and Eichmann.
I feel like a babe in the tube forest, when it comes to all the ones you have tried. I have yet to meet or speak to anyone who can come close to your knowledge. You are amazing and I appreciate your help and advice greatly. I'll keep you posted on the results and once again, thanks so very much.
I have spent a lot of time with 12AT7's, only keep in mind I have not tried various 12AT7s in the SP8- it has it's original Siemens ECC81 in good working order. So I'm clear on this aspect of tube choice, my choice of the Siemens triple mica E81CC is based on it's sound and performance in other gear- mainly the microphone preamp where I done the most tube fussing.
In my view, the 12AT7 may or may not make a substantial difference in the sound of your SP8 system. For example, if budget is a concern, you might try a GE five star 6201- a $15 tube NOS for the SP8's 12AT7.
However, I use the Siemens E81CC and a Siemens triple mica E82CC (12AU7) in other non-sonically critical uses such as the MPX section of a McIntosh MR67 tuner. There's a Siemens triple mica E81CC in the power supply of the ARC SP10, because it is quiet, typically has well-matched sections, and is a 10,000 hour rated tube.
My view is to use premium rated tubes where ever I can:
E83CC, ECC803S for 12AX7
E81CC, 12AT7WA, and 6201 for 12AT7
7316, E82CC, 6189, and 5814A for 12AU7
7643 and E80CF for 6BL8
7543 and 6136 for 6AU6A
Economically, the difference in cost over the years they last- especially in preamps and tuners is not worth fussing over. Of course, some tubes became ridiculously expensive, like ECC803S, E88CC/6922 and E188CC/7308, but, with careful shopping and consideration of their use, it seems possible to have a very standard of tube for the job at reasonable cost.
You mention needing interconnects and though I don't know what components your system has in it, I've had wonderful luck with Audioquest King Cobra and AQ Diamondback IC's the last 4 years in my office system:
Cambridge Audio 640C CDP, McIntosh MR67 tuner > ARC LS3 > D130 > Infinity 360's.
They take some 40-50 hours to break in and an hour to warm up, but especially the King Cobra is terrific and I have 5 1M pairs. I would think that appropriate quality 22' interconnects will tend to "add up". The longest interconnects I use are from my computer sound card to the office system and these are 4.5M (14'?) Audioquest G-Snakes which I bought off Ebay new for I think $25 with shipping. However, the quality in AQ wires I'd suggest would be Diamondback or above.
I'm a big fan of Kimber 4TC and 8TC speaker cables and in the future would like to save up and try a good Kimber IC between the Oracle III/SME 5 turntable to the ARC SP10. I've heard Kimber IC's in audio boutiqueries and show systems and if I'm discerning the cable sound correctly there's an attractive refinement in Kimber wires of all kinds.
You mention Belden DIY ICis, look for Jon Risch "recipes" using Belden LAN wires. And, I think Blue Jeans Cable amy still sell the stuff to make IC's:
It's always been counter-intuitive to me- as the signal from preamp to power has so much lower current than between power amp and speakers, but I've heard many times that long interconnects are preferred to long speakers cables.
Very glad to hear your SP8 is attracting you enough to want to pursue it's improvement. It is one of the really good ones in my view.
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