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In Reply to: RE: NOS 12AT7 at "first 2 position (Cascode?)" in MP3? posted by MP on February 12, 2017 at 07:16:10
In your exposition, you say that you've removed the four 12AT7s that apparently constitute the phono stage. (I don't own an MP3, so this is a guess. I do own an MP1.) I am rather surprised that this did not cause a problem with the filament supply and maybe also the high voltage supply, because both supplies were designed to carry the load, both for filament current and plate current, presented by those four tubes you removed plus the two tubes you are running. On the other hand, it may be perfectly OK to do what you've done. I presume that either you asked Atma-sphere about doing this or that the owners manual addresses any issues related to doing it.
Anyway, you then ask whether all six 12AT7s have the same "amplification requirement". Actually, that term is rather meaningless. I can only think you mean to ask whether they all are set up to the same plate voltage and plate current parameters. The answer is almost certainly no. The linestage tubes (the front two, I presume) are probably identical to each other as to plate parameters, because they are respectively the left and right channels in the same circuit. Ralph can tell you what's up with the phono stage tubes.
Oddly enough, back when my own MP1 used 12AT7s, I experimented with NOS tubes. The GE 6201 gold pins were very good but just as good or even better were some select Chinese tubes; I am not sure you can get them any more. The Chinese tubes also had the problem of short life span, but they did sound the best. Mullard CV4024 were liked by many, but I found them to be too bright in the phono section of my MP1.
Lew, thanks for your input. I removed the 4 phono tubes based on Ralph's post in 2006.
From Ralph: "The line section tubes last a very long time- if you run the preamp 24/7 they will go over a year with ease.
The phono tubes do not last as long- as they fade they become noisy. 24/7 operation will kill them in about 5 months. But if you are not using the phono, I would remove the rear 4 12AT7s (you need some of them in place, even though you are not using them). If you do decide to use the phono the good news is that the 12AT7 is inexpensive."
The reason I ask is to see if NOS tubes could sound better and last reasonably long. I have used different 12AU7 (amperex, RCA, Philips-Dutch), 5814A and 7316 tubes in line stage. These tubes do make quite different sound characters and last very long.
Check me out on the wiring of the pins, but if your 12AU7s are running on 12V filaments, you can sub a 12FQ7, which sound better than any of the common 12AU7 swaps, but that's ONLY if your preamp provides a 12V filament supply. (12AU7s can be wired to run on either 12V or 6V; I don't know what Ralph does in the MP3.) If you have a 6V filament supply, then check the pinouts to see whether a 6FQ7 would work. (You can look this up on-line.) I really don't know for sure, but I suspect the answer is no. Among common 12AU7s, I found that real Amperex Bugleboys, that I had owned since around 1975, so I knew they were the real deal, sounded the best. And 7316s are nice too.
I find Ralph's quote to be a bit confusing: "I would remove the rear 4 12AT7s (you need some of them in place, even though you are not using them)." Did Ralph clarify this ambiguous statement by confirming that you can remove the four phono tubes? In your case, you might not know there was any problem, because you are probably not measuring voltages. But both plate and filament voltages might rise if you pull those tubes. Or, if the voltages are regulated, then some parts of the PS might overheat. (More voltage has to be dissipated in the regulator, which means heat goes up.) This could hypothetically shorten the lifespan of some components or the tubes, but nothing would "blow up" so you might not know about it until tubes wear out prematurely, etc.
My understanding of "I would remove the rear 4 12AT7s (you need some of them in place, even though you are not using them)." is " remove the rear four 12AT7, AND (leave the first 2 12AT7 and rear number 7 CCS 12AT7 in place, probably due to Phono/linestgae unit configuration).
I checked line stage MP3 specs online, there are only two 12AU7 and two 6SN7.
Re-read this quote: "you need some of them in place, even though you are not using them". there seems no need to use any NOS tube!
We've eliminated that tube in the updated version of the MP-3.
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