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Doing a little tube rolling in the gain positions of my Manley Chinook. I've tried the "warmish" Amperex tubes from the late 60s and very linear telefunkens from that same era. Just wondering if there was something in the middle that retains the beautiful round dimensional characteristics of both these tubes but tonally is "in between" the Amperex and the Telefunken sounds. "not too warm, not too cool, but JUST RIGHT." Suggestions?
Thanks for all the suggestions folks. After listening to the telefunkens for weeks, I've now gone back to the Amperex, which are actually BEL branded tubes made in India in Amperex factories. I'm enjoying those again immensely now. Its a little confusing! I think the Amperex is better in the midrange than the telefunkens for me even if the Amperex lack "air" at the top end. I listen to classical music almost exclusively if that makes any difference.
You can try it and see if it suits your taste. I compared it to...
I suggest Matsushita 7DJ8 tubes.
"Tube rolling can make you neurotic."
(Quoting advice from a salesman from Cary Audio.)
The 1970's Amperex A Frames will give you the tone you are looking for. But you may lose some of the round dimensional aspects. Otherwise it is an extremely quiet, durable, and smooth tube. Dare I say neutral?
Mullards are my preamp tube preference. Categorized as warmest yet of all the tubes mentioned, but midrange and dimensional chacteristics are extremely good, and fit well in my set up
But I don't use Mullards, preferring large O ring Bugle Boys in my power amp.
Really shows the balancing act of tube selection. Pretty much have to try them to know for sure.
Good luck with your search.
"I know just enough to get into trouble. But not enough to get out of it."
Purely a guess considering I only used them in a DAC, but I found NOS Tungsram 6922's to have a touch of warmth. Certainly not as clinical as a few 6922's I've found, yet less warm than a Amperex BB 6DJ8. FWIW, TubeMonger was my go to for the Tungsram's. No affiliation.
ARC branded examples from the 70s show up from time to time. Not sure that it is the perfect middle ground, but it is sufficiently exotic and rare.
I never found one. I eventually gravitated to the Tele's. Was hooked on that Amperex midrange and image for a long time, but the accuracy and overall tonal balance of the Tele sound eventually won me over.
If you find that tube you're looking for, let us know.
Siemens 6922 might work well for you. It's not as sweet as Amperex and not as clinical as Tele. Very natural sounding tube. Another option is Reflector 6n23p-EV
Nope. Had my fling with Siemens too. Better highs and better lows, but what's in the middle is substandard compared to either the Amperex or the Tele.
Actually, I consider the Tele the middle ground between the Amperex and the Siemens. All three are great tubes, but the Tele does more thing right than the other two.
Found this post by Audiofool, check it out.
Thanks for posting that. Between that list and Joe's Tube Lore, that covers a BUNCH of the known universe of 6DJ8 types.
Do wonder about the comments about the 6N23P. I heard my first one back in early 2001 (Voskhod). Had an initial love affair with them, and bought a couple of dozen pairs all made in the 1970's and 80's, from a fella in Lithuania for like $4 a piece delivered. They worked nicely in the Counterpoint preamp I had at the time. I eventually lost interest in them and ultimately found them a little hard/strident sounding. And I never did find the Reflectors worth listening to. Just a few days ago, I got an email from the manufacturer of my current preamp. In that email the director of sales said the following:
"We recently got a line on some NOS Sovetek 6922 tubes made in the 1990s. Tube aficionados will tell you that these are better than current production and they are correct! They are quieter, more transparent and are more open with a lively engaging character. We believe that these are the best neutral sounding 6922/6DJ8/E88CC tubes ever made!"
Now after reading what Audiofool said, I'm wondering if maybe I was wrong about the Reflector 6N23/6922?
Maybe, just maybe, I'll slip some back into my pre and see. Although I am pretty damned happy with the way the Tele 6922's and the JJ gold 6922's sound in it now.
I think vintage makes a ton of difference on the 6N23P tubes. The ones I really liked are all 1970s or earlier production. I've got a couple sets of 80s and 90s versions that are much more pedestrian but still as good as most budget 6DJ8s. Try the 1974 silver shield, getter on the wire, Reflector and I think you'll agree - all years may not be spectacular, but some of them are.
Wiljen (the Audiofool)
Author of Audiofool Reviews
The first 6N23 that I heard and I enjoyed enough to buy two dozen more pair, was a pair of 1974 Voskhods.
Maybe I will revisit them. I'm sure there's a box of 6N23's around here someplace.
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