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I have read so many hifi magazines! raving on Amperex Bugle Boy 6DJ8 1960s as one of the greatest of all time! I own them and am not impressed at all. My 6922 Siemens 1960s, 7308 Phillips SQ, 7308 Amperex US White Label 1960s, all win hands down. Bugle Boy performance is not even close? What's going on? or Should I say what's wrong?
So I'm not the only one that didn't care for the BB6DJ8s That good as I give them away with an pre amp I sold.
I found the late 60s Amperex A frame type to be much more to my liking Particularly in the MiniMax CDP.
Just My .02s
I'm not sure that there is a single best tube. People hear differently, and they have different aesthetic preferences. Are peaches, pears, or apples best tasting? I know friends who swoon over Senns and friends who hate them. Both groups seem equally knowledgeable and aurally sophisticated. It sounds like you simply don't like them and, if so, buying another pair won't likely change your impression.
Tubes could sound very different even though they appear the same. 6DJ8 gets much higher selecting rejection than 6922 which was born to be a premium version tube. That's also for the reason why generally people hear better sound from 7308.
I really hate to say it, but I have reservations about the
white print 60's vintage Amperex's even being the same tube.
I know they were purportedly just better matched section to section
and quieter than 6922 or 6DJ8's.
However, the rest of the family has a strong sonic resemblance
be it 6922's, Bugle Boys, Pinched Waists, D-getters or small/large
ring getters, later orange print or world logo's, etc.
The 7308's sound far different. The soundstage is
way deeper,with a farther less immediate in-your-face presentation.
It has not been subtle in my various testing.
I know it's heretical to suggest, but the USA 7308's do sound more different IMHO than any of the other Amperex's, be they Holland or US production. Whether or not Hollands sound better than USA production, seems to also depend on the specific system and component they're used in.
I would agree that the early Amperex/Philips tubes be it 6DJ8 or 6922 with small, large round getter, or D-getter sound quite similiar(never tried the pinched waste). These all have the same basic plate structure, closed. I find the USA made 7308 of this vintage to be similiar in sound to these early Holland produced 6DJ8/6922.
Where I hear a difference is with the later Holland production using the open plate structure. I have white, orange and world globe print of 6DJ8/6922(no 7308) production circa late 60's early 70's. I don't care for these tubes compared to early production. They are brighter, thinner and lacking dimensionality compared to the earlier production.
Thank you Edison, I felt much better now. Does anybody have any recommendation where i should get my Bugle Boy 6DJ8? Tubeworld.com? There are so many varieties and It's very hard to decide which one to get without first listening to them. Even then, there are so many different kind of 7308 Amperexes in tubeworld.com and it's very hard for me to decide which one to get first. I don't even know whether the sound signature would be similar or not between 7308 Amperexes type.
...it all depends on system synergy and of course one's personal tastes.
In my gear, ARC, the Amperex Bugle Boy 6DJ8 is by a fair margin much better than any other tube I have tried. I have tried all the ones you mention and many, many more. Probably around 50 in this family.
If anything the Bugle Boy is underrated. All the other European 6922, 7308 variants are oh so sexy, and certainly command huge, inflated prices.
Do you think these might be good?
Tektronix generally screened their tubes well. If they are new they probably sound good indeed. Only cavaet would be noise. For their intended application noise was not an issue. For audio it can be.
I have seen Amperex BB tubes (without the Tektronics sticker) pulled from Tektronics gear in the past.
With 6DJ8 type tubes, if they are not “NOS NIB No Shit” they may well sound like shit.
There are a TON of “pulls” out there being sold as NOS and in some of these industrial applications they just ran the shit out of them.
I’ve got about a dozen marked as Hewlett Packard made in USA packed in cardboard tube and with “B” etched codes indicating they were made by Mullard in the UK.
All of the 6dj8s that I have pulled out of old scopes are used up.
These are new, never out of the box and test new on my 533a. I bought them from a antique store with a batch of NOS NIB JAN tubes for .50 each. I got a pair of NIB NOS RCA 5691s in that same batch. And a pair of GE five star 5751s.
I agree with Bambi and the other posters here; it all depends on context. In the context of my system, the Bugle Boys are by far and away the most airy, full, and articulate tubes I have used (a variety of Amperex 6922s, Mullard 6DJ8, Telefunken (have forgotten the labelling offhand, but they are West German), along with the modern Sovtek, Ei etc. equivalents. No comparison. With the Bugle Boys in, it sounds musicians in my room, simple as that. If only they were still in production (which of course brings us to the effect of aging on tubes, metallurgy etc). Hey, if you hear a difference and you like it, go with it!
Perhaps there are many different qualities of bugle boys? Or mine perhaps is fake? I only feel that it's flat, no air, and not articulate at all. There must be something wrong, I think. I have tried them in different systems. I will try to post the pictures for your guys to see.
Based on your description I would say the particular valves you have are past their prime. A worn tube will sound exactly as you describe.
Any tube is only as good as you think it is. Not only does taste vary considerably, the individual use changes perspective. A lot of people who rave about the RCA "cleartop" 12AU7 and this can be a very good, energetic 12AU7 I use the 12AU7 only in vintage McIntosh and a Scott tuner and I can imagine it would be too bright in faster, modern gear. In my use, it wakes up the sleepy McIntosh pleasantly, for others it may seem too much. And conversely, I tend to be very enthusiastic about a certain 50's Sylvania 12AT7WA, but this amazingly lush and deep tube would never work for me in the same McIntosh gear as it transforms the sound into syrup- it's only good in my microphone preamp when I want that lush, "vintage", tubey sound That one is almost like a "special effects" tube! Most of the time I use a pair of Valvo, Hamburg 6201's which are a whole other story of articulate, balanced, and dynamic sound.
The other aspect of this is that the designer/refiners of tube gear, due to the limited choices of current production tubes inevitably have to design and refine so that their stuff sounds as good as possible with tubes they can buy in quantity and the owner can buy in 10 years when it's time to replace them. The Audio Research SP16 was voiced around the current production EH 12AX7A and our friend Victor Khomenko talks about focussing on the qualities of the 6H30- for which there are few alternate choices- in his use of them in B.A.T. designs. An SP16 or B.A.T. preamp is carefully arranged to sound great with the currently available tubes and the possibility that NOS will push them further in a preferred direction is icing on the cake.
The 6DJ8 family is the group I find the most problematic. It seems that frame grid tubes must be difficult to make well for use in audio, and I went through a period when I never wanted to see another one, even though I still feel the Audio Research SP10 is one of the best phono preamps ever made- and that uses 12. The SP10 drives the tubes hard enough that only 7308's and Sovtek or EH6922 will survive a long time. However, the Philips 7308 with it's higher current handling and attention to noise and microphonics seems to have a slight penalty and to me is less dynamic a tube than the Bugle Boy 6DJ8.
So, yes if the Bugle Boy is not your taste, in your gear, in your house, at this time and you believe others are praising it too highly without qualification, then ,yes, for you it's over-rated and really no one can dispute that fact. Still, I've found with NOS tubes that keeping an open mind to the significant differences when the same tube is used elsewhere- like the RCA cleartop 12AU7 example, allows NOS tubes to be thought of like an artist's colour pallette- that bizarre purple that would be terrible next to the green one in a portrait- is sublime next to the cerulean blue in the landscape.
Perhaps "tube rolling"- a term that for some reason I never liked, should be called "aural painting" or "audio colouring". It's an art- and a highly personal one at that.
What a superb response! I'm a rank novice at this but there is a subtlety and concentration required in tube, er, colouring that makes it akin to painting. I've tried 3 or 4 brands/types of 12AU7 variants in my preamp and they are all different, and nearly all (fortunately) enjoyable. I love the idea of having several-preamps-in-one simply in virtue of the tubes I plug in -- though I gotta say, having just inserted a pair of 1960 Holland Bugle Boys into the preamp and being gobsmacked by their combo of warmth, texturing and detail; yeah. in my system, they ARE all that!
I have used the RCA 12au7 in my Foreplay II and it was way too bright, in that application. I have heard the same tubes (6189 Sylvania) in my Foreplay II with a Dynaco and disliked them. I took the same tubes I had listened to over to a friend's house and we used them in his Foreplay II and Dynaco which had different speakers and slightly different modifications and I really liked them in his system. They were actually very smooth and very nice. So much is dependent on your system that differences in similar systems can yield very different results.
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