Shootout of Nos 6sn7 tubes

Discussion in 'Audio Hardware' started by thomaskong, May 12, 2020.

  1. thomaskong

    thomaskong Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Location:
    Washington State
    I had Line Magnetic 508 int amp for 2 years which use pair of 6sn7.

    But recently I got ****t Freya pre to tame the hot sound of Raal Sr1a headphone.

    Since Freya use quad 6sn7 tubes.

    I had got good collection of Nos 6sn7 tubes.


    I received Tungsol Black grass round plate ans Raytheon Vt231 tubes today.


    I had done shootout between TS BGRP, RCA vt231, KR vt231, Syl vt231, Raytheon vt 231 and Bad boy


    I played


    Eva Cassidy's 'Autumn Leaves"


    "Post card blues " by Cowboy Junkies


    For classical orchestra, "Trittico" directed by Fennel.


    "Still harry after all these years" will be for fusion jazz


    RCA5691, Psavne Acme 300B, Psavne Acme 805 are also being used in Line Magnetic 508 amplifier.

    Speaker is Lansche 4.1 with plasma tweeter.

    Digital source is Dave and HMS fed by ripped CD stored in ssd drive of Cocktail audio x30.


    1. TS BGRP gave most transparent almost see through sound. But it's tonal balance is slightly skewed to treble, so it could sound hot in bright system.


    It sound fast but the bass falls way short of the standard set by KR vt231 even behind Rca or Raytheon.


    Some people are of the opinion that this one is holy grail of 6sn7 tubes doing everything well .


    But it's bass is disappointing.


    2. RCA vt231 is kind of all around player. Compared with TS bgrp, its sound is slightly warmer with lush tone but with enough sparkle and air.


    It is also very transparent just short of TS.


    Its bass is also better than TS.


    I paid only 1/5 price of TS on RCA vt231.


    But RCA is as almost as good as TS.


    Thus TS bgrp is over priced due to hype and RCA is a good deal.


    if you can find Nos RCA vt 231 under 1505, grab it.


    I had bought 3 pairs of RCA vt 231 with average price of 130$.


    3. Kenrad vt231 has best bass among 6sn7 tubes.


    With KR in it, I got the impression that I do not need subwoofer to get deep bass.


    It also sound sweet. Thus its tonal balance is kind of neutral.


    It is pretty transparent just short of TS.


    4. Raytheon vt 231.


    I could grab one RT vt231 at 80$.


    But it was steal for the performance.


    Its sound is halfway between RCA and KR.


    it give better bass than TS and pretty good speed with transparency close to TS.



    I wish to emphasize again the TS bgrp is overpriced due to hype.


    I ordered one more RT vt231 at 70$ today.



    5. Sylvania vt 231


    Its sound is very similar to TS.


    It has spooky details and transparency very close to TS.


    But it's bass is too tight but not with enough force.


    I also have three pairs of Syl vt 231 at average price of 110$ for pair.


    This one work better in Freya pre in front of headphone amplifiers rather than 2 channel system.



    6. Bad boy ( Sylvania GT 3 holes made in 1952 or 1953)


    This one has good tonal balance (slightly bass heavy) which will work well with bright system.


    But it falls short of above vt231 tubes in tranparency with limited treble extension.


    Its bass is full but not at the same level as KR but close to RCA or RT.



    To conclude, this one is not at the same level as five vt231 tubes in detail and transparency.


    It is overpriced due to hype.


    But if your system is on the bright side, bad boy may work.


    I think it is foolish to pay more than 150$ on it.
     
  2. thomaskong

    thomaskong Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Location:
    Washington State
    I paid 575$ to get TS bgrp.

    I could get four pairs of each RCA, KR, RT, Syl vt 231 at total of 500$.

    It is much better to have four of kind with different flavors than over hyped TS bgrp.
     
    Last edited: May 12, 2020
  3. thomaskong

    thomaskong Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Location:
    Washington State
    Details Transparen Speed Tonality Treble Ex Treble Cl Micro dynMacro dyn S. DepthS. Width S. Depth S. width Net cost Total Sc
    TS bgrp 9.5 9.5 10 9 9.5 10 9 8 9.5 9 575 93
    RCA vt231 9 9 8.5 9.5 9.5 9 8.5 9 8.5 10 89 90.5
    KR vt231 9 9 9 10 8.5 8 9 10 9 9 83 90.5
    RT vt231 9 9 9 8.5 9 8.5 9 9 8.5 9 92 88.5
    Syl vt 10 10 9.5 8 10 10 9.5 7.5 9 9 100 92.5
    Bad boy 8 7.5 8.5 9 7.5 8.5 8.5 9 8.5 9 215 84

    Treble Ex means extension
    Treble Cl means clarity
    Net cost include shipping and tax that I paid.

    I have 6 more 6sn7 tubes including 1587 Melz metal bass.

    I will update my score.
     
  4. thomaskong

    thomaskong Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Location:
    Washington State
  5. luckyno13

    luckyno13 Forum Resident

    Location:
    London UK
    Nice thread.
    I've got a Saga+ in January and really love it.
    I've got 6 valves for it now:
    Tung Sol current reissue, good to get with the unit but easily surpassed by nos options.
    Sylvania JAN CHS VT231, tight lo end, slightly warm, adds a bit of 'air'.
    Langrex premium, got it cheap with something else, not good, glassy, harsh.

    But I've been better enjoying 6SL7 options, which are warmer due to added distortion in the buffer circuit:
    Sylvania JAN CHS VT229, tight lo end, warmer, creamy, rolled off top. Can be just the ticket on some bright/hard recordings but can sound muddled on already warm stuff.
    Tung Sol Black Glass 6SL7, my fave so far, tight but plentiful lo end, warm but not muddy, softens hi mids and highs just enough.
    Love this one so much I managed to snag another one before they sold out.

    I'm waiting for a converter to arrive for the 6922 family of valves which will take me down another rabbit hole!
     
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  6. thomaskong

    thomaskong Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Location:
    Washington State
    Thanks for your kind word.

    Regarding 6sl7, I had gone through Mullard ECC35 , Syl vt229, TS vt229 but RCA 5691 brown base is best with speed, utmost details.

    It can be bought at Ebay at 80$.
     
    luckyno13 likes this.
  7. mreeter

    mreeter Forum Resident

    Location:
    Midwest, USA
    Very good constructive comparison of some very good tubes. I've had a few different pairs of 6SN7's in my ModWright Preamp and the RCA VT-231 Smoked Glass are an excellent tube from top to bottom.
     
    thomaskong likes this.
  8. thomaskong

    thomaskong Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Location:
    Washington State
    There is no best one for everybody.

    It will depend on system and personal taste.

    Each person had better try those tubes in his system himself.

    I appreciate transparency of TS bgrp but it is too expensive to have one more pair as reserve.

    I have 3 pairs of Rca vt231, Syl vt231 and two pairs of KR, RT vt231 as reserve since it is getting difficult to find Nos tubes in good condition.
     
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  9. luckyno13

    luckyno13 Forum Resident

    Location:
    London UK
    That's just greedy!
     
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  10. mreeter

    mreeter Forum Resident

    Location:
    Midwest, USA
    Over here it's called Hoarding:agree:


    I kid of course:winkgrin:
     
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  11. luckyno13

    luckyno13 Forum Resident

    Location:
    London UK
    Off-topic but what the heck, there's not enough valve threads on here.

    Anybody got any tips on the 6922/6DJ8 etc family of tube delights?

    Or the 7N7 which is a more direct replacement with a converter? (then back to 6SN7 talk!)
     
  12. thomaskong

    thomaskong Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Location:
    Washington State
    I also have Schitt Freya which use quad 6sn7 in addition to LM 508 which use pair of 6sn7.

    Thus it is better to have nice Nos tubes as reserve.

    But it is not easy to get one more pair TS bfrp at price of 500$ or more.
     
  13. Larry I

    Larry I Forum Resident

    Location:
    Washington, D.C.
    Back when I had my Audio Note Kageki amplifiers in my system (now on long-term loan to a friend), I tried various 6sn7-type tubes in lieu of the 5692's that came with the amplifier. In my system, I liked the Tungsol Roundplates. There were other highly regarded types that did not work for me, such as the metal-based GE metal base 6sn7w. A sort of knockoff of the Tungsol Roundplate--a French Neotron tube-- was also quite good in my system.

    These days, I run tubes that offer few options for rolling. That is sort of the good news; the bad news is that all of the tube types I run are really expensive; I run 348, 349, 310 and 311 tubes in my linestage and amplifier. The 348 and 349, in particular, are really hard to find and afford (fortunately, they last a long time).
     
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  14. mreeter

    mreeter Forum Resident

    Location:
    Midwest, USA
    thomaskong likes this.
  15. thomaskong

    thomaskong Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Location:
    Washington State
    I also have Shuguang Black Treasure cv181 which sound warm and organic.

    It is a nice tube.

    But it falls short of vt231 in details and transparency.

    I never listened to WE6sn7 but it will be safer to buy one of four vt231 at around 100-150$ per pair.

    VT231 is a military spec which will last 10k hours.
     
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  16. thomaskong

    thomaskong Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Location:
    Washington State
    Although I like the sound out of TS roundplate, its price is going too much above 500$ for pair of small input tubes.
     
  17. Larry I

    Larry I Forum Resident

    Location:
    Washington, D.C.
    Then you would really hate the $1500 each price for old, used, but still testing strong 348 small signal tubes that my amp employs (need four of them).
     
  18. thomaskong

    thomaskong Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Location:
    Washington State
    348 Nos WE tube is listed at 1500$ at Ebay.

    I do not have gut to use such exotic tube.
     
  19. I can't get used to the prices of NOS 6sn7's these days. When I first started using tubes in the mid 90's 6SN7 pulls could be had for a dollar.
     
  20. thomaskong

    thomaskong Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Location:
    Washington State
    With limited supply, Nos tubes are getting expensive.

    Especially some hyped ones go to the top.

    I bought several pairs of Nos tubes that I like so that I may enjoy them until I dye.
     
    morinix likes this.
  21. thomaskong

    thomaskong Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Location:
    Washington State
    RCA has warm and lush sound while TS or Syl could sound analytical.

    Thus I fully understand you enjoy RCA gray bottle in your amp.
     
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  22. mreeter

    mreeter Forum Resident

    Location:
    Midwest, USA
    Yes, I like a little meat on the bones
     
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  23. thomaskong

    thomaskong Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Location:
    Washington State
    If you want to have fun, then you may also try Kenrad vt231.

    It has slightly deeper bass than RCA with somewhat laid back.
     
    Last edited: May 13, 2020
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  24. indy mike

    indy mike Forum Pest

    There’s a number of threads here concerning 6922/6DJ8/7308s - I’m partial to Amperex 7308s and 6922s in my buffer stage, Telefunken 6922s are extremely well regarded, Siemens, Phillips and Mullard from the 50s - 60s are all fine tubes.
     
    luckyno13 likes this.
  25. I had a Siemens CCa once. It was the best ‘j8 type I ever listened to. That was a rare tube, even back in the 90’s.
     
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