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In Reply to: RE: The actual act of tube rolling posted by justdavid on February 01, 2017 at 20:29:13
I seems like your friend is trying to do a A/B comparison.
I say, if the difference is so small that it takes a A/B comparison to hear it then what's the point.
If you know your system well, and you said you do, then any real difference will be obvious to you.
So....I say cold.
Have Fun and Enjoy the Music
"Still Working the Problem"
Edits: 02/01/17Follow Ups:
I'm not saying double blind or any of that stuff, but be a bit scientific:
- Respect the nul hypothesis. It's always possible there's no real audible difference. Don't try and make one if it isn't there.
- Use a realistic scale for differences. Most will be quite tiny.
- Distinguish if a difference is repeatedly audible, e.g. different days. If so make changes
- Test with other listeners, get other feedback
- Use pieces of music where you can most easily tell differences. Acoustic music is particularly useful, as is voice and complex ensembles where you try and hear inner or low level parts which can be either audible or not
- Be honest about what you listen for and your priorities. In my case I'm a musician and I want instrumental timbre, vocal quality, and detail in complex passages. But others want soundstage, bass "slam" etc....
I go with AndyE, for being extremely familiar with the music that you are using to discern any differences. Of course only one parameter can be changed which is the tube. Since wall voltage has a great effect on the performance on all your equipment the comparisons is ideally made during the same time of day. Ok, i am getting very picky but if you are making a serious comparison you need to keep all the variables the same except the tube. To that end i did most of my tube rolling at past 11.30 PM when most everyone is asleep and the AC is down to 117 and ambient noise is also at very low levels.
But, if you just want to go with a general overall impression by dropping in some different tubes that is ok, but not a methodical way to approach tube rolling.
For me it was very highly circuit dependent. I have a 40 wpc PP EL34 amp my first modern tube amp. It uses 12AX7 as input tubes and 6SN7s as drivers. I could easily hear real and significant differences in the the rolled 6SN7s. More recently I use a 6SN7 pre amp the AE-3 by Cary and many of those 6sn7s were microphonic. (I am OK with that, I don't play drums on them while in use). The input tubes also demonstrated differences e.g. between used long plate Mullards and new Sino brand.
I then got an ARC SP6B pre and no matter which 12AX7s or 5751s I tried it always sounded essentially the same there was nothing I could do to change that. I even tried different 9 pin dual triodes like 12AT7s all that seem to do was pass a lot of current into my woofers scary!
Now I use a headphone amp a lot an from an out of business firm. It uses a 6SN7 input tube which is great because I have so many and the versatile 6AS7G, 6080, 5998, and so on as the power tube. It does demonstrate some differences but they are more subtle with regard to the 6SN7. The output tube differences however are obvious but not necessarily in terms of the beauty of sound, it's more about fundamentals.
I still love the hobby anyway and when people tell me to sell my tubes I say I like my tubes why sell them, I would just buy them again.
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