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Tube Rolling ANK DAC 2.1

Discussion in 'Audio Hardware' started by DyersEve726, Mar 7, 2020.

  1. DyersEve726

    DyersEve726 Schmo Diggy Thread Starter

    Location:
    Michigan, USA
    I'm looking to try some new tubes in my DAC. I've been running 6DJ8 Amperex Bugleboy, made in Holland for the last year or so. Love them, but I'm just curious and want to try something different. I also want to have at least one good NOS set as backup. Got the last set from Brent Jesse, matched pair for $110. Willing to spend up to around $300 for a pair this go round. There are so many to choose from, and with similar descriptions. It's hard to make sense of it all. Any suggestions?
     
    jmpsmash likes this.
  2. fully_articulated

    fully_articulated Forum Resident

    If it's something different to the Bugle Boys you're after, you'd do worse than consider the West German made Siemens E88CC. Similar in construction to the very expensive Telefunkens and more neutral compared to the Amperex, I find its more powerful and defined bass to be very pleasing. Brent Jessee sells 60's pairs for $230.

    Cheaper is the Tesla E88CC from Czechoslovakia. It also shares construction style with the aforementioned German tubes, but sounds a bit lusher in comparison. I've bought pairs from Tubemonger for reasonable prices.

    However, since building my own DAC 2.1, I've almost exclusively used the Voskhod 6N23P. If you have some spare dollars after purchasing something with more pedigree, it may be worth obtaining a cheap pair on Ebay to listen to.
     
    Bananajack and DyersEve726 like this.
  3. Subagent

    Subagent All I know is What I Read in the Liner Notes

    Location:
    Arlington, VA
    That's the one with the rocket logo, right? One came stock in my Soro, and I've yet to find anything that bests it.
     
  4. DyersEve726

    DyersEve726 Schmo Diggy Thread Starter

    Location:
    Michigan, USA
    I figured you'd chime in :) I do think that lush is a characteristic I like. That's part of what made me love the ANK in the beginning. I might look into the Tesla. Thanks!
     
  5. fully_articulated

    fully_articulated Forum Resident

    Yep, the Rocket Logo. I'm quite a fan of this little Russian, along with its comrades the 6N5P and 6N6P.

    I keep meaning to try the Reflektor version of the 6N23P, but keep getting side-tracked buying up stock of the Voskhod instead.
     
    Subagent likes this.
  6. DyersEve726

    DyersEve726 Schmo Diggy Thread Starter

    Location:
    Michigan, USA
    Well, I'm drunk and just sent payment to Brent Jessee for the Siemens West German 60's E88CC. I'm pretty sure this is how I ended up with the Bugle Boys as well. Alcohol and internet shopping. A tale as old as...the internet :laugh:
     
    Ilusndweller, CMT and emenel like this.
  7. fully_articulated

    fully_articulated Forum Resident

    Haha, I am also a fan of a liquid-enhanced impulse buying!
     
  8. DyersEve726

    DyersEve726 Schmo Diggy Thread Starter

    Location:
    Michigan, USA
    I am almost certain you're the one who convinced me to try the Bugle Boys. I trust your judgment, lol. I also paid off all my credit cards last year, and what's life without a little anxiety, right? Gotta build that tab back up to appropriate, sweaty palms once a month levels, pay it all off again, and restart the cycle. It's the way of life.
     
  9. Raylinds

    Raylinds Resident Lake Surfer

    I have Telefunkens in my 3.1 and the Siemens should be very similar- I think you will be very happy.
     
  10. Strat-Mangler

    Strat-Mangler Personal Survival Daily Record-Breaker

    Location:
    Toronto
    The Amperex 7308 are like the 6DJ8 except better with more depth and will last longer. Just throwing that out there if you want the same characteristics.
     
    Lowrider75 and DyersEve726 like this.
  11. JanJ

    JanJ Well-Known Member

    Location:
    Finland
    I used these for my ANK Dac 2.1 and then used later in AN UK Dac 2.1x Signature. Bought from Ukraine from a 'reputable' eBay seller and later got change to get them tested at local tube shop; all five pairs were out of specs, either on their way out or hugely mismatched triodes etc. the eBay sellers 'test numbers' were total BS... And the best pair (1975 'holy grail' version) cost over USD200.
    Nevertheless, these tubes can sound quite good, depending on your preferences. Lush they aint :)
     
  12. JanJ

    JanJ Well-Known Member

    Location:
    Finland
    The Philips E188CC (US equivalent is Amperex 7308) was the best I found. Big step up from regular Amperex/Philips 6DJ8. Builds up on the charatreristics and adds new ones: More timbre, more depth, more layered, more detail, little nuances showing etc. without going into analytical or cold and mechanical sounding. But the biggest improvement is the timbre; that wood sounds more like wood, that string more like a string etc.
     
    Lowrider75 and gov like this.
  13. DyersEve726

    DyersEve726 Schmo Diggy Thread Starter

    Location:
    Michigan, USA
    Interesting. That's one of the first things I noticed about this DAC...I was listening to The Wall the first day I had it finished and there was a part of a song where there's some guitar amp buzzing lightly in the background of a quiet part. Well, I had never noticed it before, and the realness with which the recorded buzz buzzed in my speakers caused me to panic and start troubleshooting the source of the buzz, lol.

    I'd be interested to hear that expanded further.
     
  14. DyersEve726

    DyersEve726 Schmo Diggy Thread Starter

    Location:
    Michigan, USA
    I'm also considering finally trying the upgrade to Jupiter caps on the output board. I remember being told several times that the AN Copper caps hold the 2.1 back. I was a little too fed up with the building process at that point and wasn't willing to touch the damn thing once it finally worked. Now, however, it's one of my most prized pieces of equipment, and I no longer feel angry about my frustrating build.

    I'll probably run these new tubes for a couple weeks/months with the AN caps and then spring for the Jupiter and see what the hoopla is all about.
     
  15. JanJ

    JanJ Well-Known Member

    Location:
    Finland
    But don't sell your AN caps before making sure the Jupiters are actually better in this application. Although ANK isn't AN UK, the ANK dac 2.1 was originally quite close to AN UK dacs in voicing and the AN copper caps play big part in that. Some cap rollers are amazed by some aspects of different caps and immediately come to forums to tell how much better they are than other caps, but it might be that the new cap overpowers treble and while impressive in the beginning, the balance and original voicing might be lost.

    ie. Previous owner of my AN UK Meishu Silver had replaced AN copper caps with Mundorf Silver/Gold oil caps, it sure was more open at the top than my previous non-modded Meishu, but the mid-range I loved in Meishu was almost gone, sounded thin and lightweight. I took Mundorfs out and soldered in AN copper caps and all was good again. Jupiters are likely more in the AN sound of caps than Mundorfs, but still keep them AN caps close after modding ;)
     
    DyersEve726 likes this.
  16. DyersEve726

    DyersEve726 Schmo Diggy Thread Starter

    Location:
    Michigan, USA
    Good call. I'm always super slow/lazy about reselling anyway. I've had a pair of nice 8" JBL studio monitors sitting in a spare room collecting dust since like 2014. Every few weekends, I swear I'm gonna take pics and list them, lol.

    @fully_articulated did you go with Jupiter caps? I think I remember you saying you upgraded some parts in your kit.
     
  17. indy mike

    indy mike Forum Pest

    7308s from Amperex/Philips Holland (skip Sylvania or Philips US branded 7308s from the late 70s through the 80s as Philips bought the Sylvania tube production plants sometime in the 70s)/Siemens from Munich are all great sounding tubes that have a 10,000 hour rating.
     
  18. Encore

    Encore Forum Resident

    Location:
    Denmark
    I'm not fond of those. Too dull in my opinion and rather weak in the bass was my experience. As an aside, I also found the Tesla ECC802S (or its equivalent, I forgot if it has some other designation) disappointing in my current DAC.

    By far the best ECC88-type tubes I had in my 2.1 clone was Siemens CCa but I know, I know--they are ridiculously expensive now. But they were noticeably more lush/organic/wellresolved than Tfk E88CC.
     
  19. DyersEve726

    DyersEve726 Schmo Diggy Thread Starter

    Location:
    Michigan, USA
    I should really pick up a pair of the CCAs before they're either impossible to find or selling for more than $1000 a set. If I didn't need two, I would have gone CCA without a second thought. I would really like to hear them, but a pair would cost more than 1/3 the cost of my DAC. That's hard to swallow.
     
  20. Encore

    Encore Forum Resident

    Location:
    Denmark
    Yes, and updating other parts of your DAC may give you a similar improvement.

    If on your next alcohol-influenced shopping spree you go for a pair of CCa's, beware that there are different versions of them. AFAIK the ones with grey shield are better and of course more expensive.
     
  21. JanJ

    JanJ Well-Known Member

    Location:
    Finland
    Actually you don't need two as the output tube stage of AN Dacs don't use them one tube per channel as you'd think, but both tubes has different function and as they are triodes, their halves handle the right/left channels.
    So the tube 'on the left' has function A, handling both channels and then the signal goes to the tube 'on the right' that has function B and also handles both channels by itself. So what you are looking for is tubes with closely matched halves, not a matched pair or tubes. So you can buy one Cca and see in which position it makes most impact.
    (somebody correct if I'm wrong, but ie. on my Dac 3.1x this was the case)
     
    fully_articulated and Encore like this.
  22. fully_articulated

    fully_articulated Forum Resident

    My first pair of 6N23P (and the ones I'm using in the DAC) were quite an expensive pair bought from a US seller, but I also have many pairs bought from Ukraine so your story is enlightening. Cross-fingers.

    When I build my tube preamp I spent quite a bit of time measuring the plate voltages of different pairs of 6DJ8/6922 in the circuit. These were all purchased from the usual recommended sellers, but the NOS tubes all had wider discrepancies than even an unmatched set of bog-standard Electro Harmonix. A couple of tubes, including an expensive Siemens, also had significant triode mismatches within the same tube. I guess you can never be sure.
     
  23. fully_articulated

    fully_articulated Forum Resident

    Well, I bought my own caps since they were missing from my kit :) but I probably would have done it anyway.

    I chose the Mundorf Silver/Gold/Oil in the end. They're small, and because of their symmetrical construction you don't have to worry about the 'outer foil' positioning like other caps. That was something I wouldn't have been able to work out at the time. The description of them in the Humble Homemade Hifi Cap Test as having a very deep soundstage sealed the deal.

    I can't verify claims of any caps sounding different or better than any others however. My preamp is set up for dual-output through different caps though. If I ever get bored I may chuck a second set in and see what's what.
     
  24. fully_articulated

    fully_articulated Forum Resident

    I also find the bass on the Tesla to be a bit unsatisfying.

    Hopefully @DyersEve726 will at least get some of the CCa sound from the Siemens he has purchased.
     
    Encore likes this.
  25. DyersEve726

    DyersEve726 Schmo Diggy Thread Starter

    Location:
    Michigan, USA
    I'm a little confused by this statement. You have a preamp that let's you switch between capacitors?

    Should hopefully be here tomorrow!
     

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