Willsenton R8 and R800i (805) or (845) news and views

Discussion in 'Audio Hardware' started by RachaelW, Sep 13, 2021.

  1. tlowe

    tlowe Life Explorer

    Location:
    Singapore
    I guess you have the MELZ 6H9C, SYL 6SN7GT (T-plate), SYL 6SN7GTA (angled T-plate, high base) or 6SN7GTB (angled T-plate, low base) and SYL 6SL7WGT. Wait til you start to try other popular tubes like RCA 6SN7GT/VT231, Raytheon 6SN7GT/VT231, Ken Rad 6SN7GT/VT231, National Union 6SN7GT, SYL 6SN7W, CBS 6SN7GT, CBS 5692, Mullard ECC33, etc...then you will end up like me with over 100 tubes and a big hole in your wallet...:biglaugh:

    P.S. Check my profile on tube collection.
     
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  2. Musicphil

    Musicphil Well-Known Member

    Location:
    West mids uk
    I have had to stop buying tubes, 2 storage units now with multiple quads if EL34 (Tung sol Svetlana s and c'winged,JJ too KT88 Svetlana c wings
    Yep Meltz pre amp tubes, and RCA and Raytheon.
    It became very addictive.....:agree:
     
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  3. jonwoody

    jonwoody Tragically Unhip

    Location:
    Washington DC
    Given the affordable nature of these amps I wonder if anyone has spent more on the tubes than the amp itself? Looking at you @RachaelW ;)
     
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  4. RachaelW

    RachaelW Well-Known Member Thread Starter

    Location:
    Melbourne
    The MELZ 6SL7 equivalent I have is the metal base mil spec variant. As for the Sylvania 6SN7, they are both GTA versoins, so what you call the T-plate and the angled T-plate and both are high base. I do have many other 6SL7 and 6SN7 tubes. The Ratheon, GE (the squat version, but not sure of the year), Tung Sol, Gold Lion and quite a few others. I also have heaps of 12AX7 and 12AT7 tubes (both NOS and re-issue), as well as more than just a few KT88 and EL34 - again both NOS and re-issue.

    My question to you is which 6SL7/6SN7 is the best as far as your tastes go? My favourite, currently, is the MELZ mil spec metal base 6H9C already mentioned, and the Sylvania T-plate 6SN7GTA with the Sylvania angle-plate 6SN7GTA (both high base) coming in as my second favourite. Having said this, as far as re-issues go, I do like the Sophia Electric blue glass coke bottle 6SN7 and the PSVane clear glass coke bottle UK-6SN7. Both of these, providing you run them in for at least 100 hours, are surprisingly good. The PSVane just mentioned is not PSVane's top model 6SN7 either. Their top model is the CV181 T-series II which while very good, is not as good as the cheaper UK-6SN7 IMHO.
     
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  5. RachaelW

    RachaelW Well-Known Member Thread Starter

    Location:
    Melbourne
    In Australian dollars, the R8 cost around $AU1,800 and the R800i cost around $AU3,500. Both include shipping, so that totals $AU5,000, but I've spent (after going through my bank statement yesterday which took quite a while), around $AU12,500 on tubes. It's a fun, addictive and very expensive hobby, but you know what? I wouldn't have it any other way. Solid state is just so boring - the sound is just the sound and there's nothing you can do to change it, but tubes, wow, just change a few tubes and end up with a completely different amplifier. :faint:
     
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  6. tlowe

    tlowe Life Explorer

    Location:
    Singapore
    The money I have spent on tubes so far can get me another 4 brand new LM-508IA at least. The price for LM-508IA in Asia is not that expensive compared to Europe or NA, I bought mine directly from China for around SGD3,100 shipped. Just to give you an idea how crazy I am...I have already bought 1o pairs of various 6CG7 and ECC804 even before the first pair has arrived...:biglaugh:
    2 pairs of NEC 6CG7
    2 pairs of Matsushita 6CG7
    1 pairs of RCA 6CG7
    1 pair of Raytheon 6CG7
    2 pairs of Hytron 6CG7
    2 pairs of Brimar ECC804
     
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  7. tlowe

    tlowe Life Explorer

    Location:
    Singapore
    Havent tried MELZ 6H9C on 6SL7 but have tried 4 pairs of MELZ 6H8C/1578 (1956, 1975, 1976, 1985), dont like them at all based on personal preference or setup. I found them to be too sibilant for me, ended up giving them away. Except for the ACME 805 and KR Audio 300B, all of my tubes are vintage tubes, didnt try any new production except the stock (EH6SN7GT) that came with the amp. IMO, I always prefer or go back to Mullard ECC35 as I also have RCA 5691, Brimar CV1985/6SL7GT, SYL 6SL7WGT, TS 6SU7GTY, etc...
    One thing I really like Mullard ECC35 a lot is that they are very transparent with great clarity, very balanced and pleasant or easy to listen to. They match with all of the 6SN7GT I have very easily, IMO.
     
    Last edited: Sep 15, 2021
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  8. rockin_since_58

    rockin_since_58 Forum Resident

    Location:
    Simi Valley, CA
    Ho do you like the Brimar CV1985's?
     
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  9. tlowe

    tlowe Life Explorer

    Location:
    Singapore
    They are good too, very close behind ECC35 and cheaper too but I found that they have a common problem. I believe it is due to the construction design, I found them to be more sensitive to vibration, thus noise. So far, I have bought 3 CV1985 (brown base) and 2 6SL7GT (black base); these are unused or very lightly used with no emission mark. 2 CV1985 have gone microphonic within 100 hrs, I wouldnt buy them anymore.
     
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  10. rockin_since_58

    rockin_since_58 Forum Resident

    Location:
    Simi Valley, CA
    Thanks, I have a pair on order from Upscale audio so hopefully they won't be a problem. Also awaiting some Melz 6H9C from Russia. I am currently running new production Tung Sol Gold Pin 6SL7's and they sound good.
     
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  11. tlowe

    tlowe Life Explorer

    Location:
    Singapore
    When they arrived, try this. This is how I test vibration noise on tubes. Let them warm up for 5-10 minutes, then turn the volume to maximum. Tap the tube with a wooden stick or pencil lightly. I always find that Brimar CV1985 or 6SL7GT will react more to the tap as you can hear the vibration from the speakers easily compared to other tubes.
    I found that ppl who like TS, will also like MELZ; they have very close sound character. Aggressive, bright, heavy and great extension bass, just not my taste. I dont really like the pair of TS 6SU7GTY I have.
     
    Last edited: Sep 15, 2021
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  12. rockin_since_58

    rockin_since_58 Forum Resident

    Location:
    Simi Valley, CA
    Thank you for the tip on checking the Brimar's.
     
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  13. RachaelW

    RachaelW Well-Known Member Thread Starter

    Location:
    Melbourne
    I've not tried any of these, except for the Raytheon, so I'd better start buying and listening to more tubes. :)
     
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  14. RachaelW

    RachaelW Well-Known Member Thread Starter

    Location:
    Melbourne
    The MELZ 6H9C are not really designed for the more modern circuits of today, so possibly this is why you didn't like it. Depending on the circuit, they can also easily fail too.

    What I would say is give the MELZ 6H8C a try. If you like clarity, sweet and extended top end with nice air on top, but NOT sibilant, a nice midrange and a balanced bass with good texture and tone, then you will probably find these 6SL7 equivalents to your liking. Having said this, my speakers have a very balanced and extended top end, so if you have speakers which are tilted up in the top end, they may have a little too much output in the top end. My experience is that they are not sibilant as I also own a pair of horn loaded book shelf speakers as well, and the MELZ performed beautifully with these speakers too.
     
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  15. RachaelW

    RachaelW Well-Known Member Thread Starter

    Location:
    Melbourne
    In my SET amp (the R800i), I am using the Mullard M8162 on the input and the Sylvania 6SN7 T-plate (circa late 1950's/early 1960's) and these work perfectly together. Further, given that the sound signature of the Mullard M8162 and MELZ 6H8C have a very similar sound signature, I think you might be surprised at the resulting sound. The other tube well worth trying is the Sylvania 6SL7WGT mil spec (JAN) from 1976, or thereabouts. This tube is just as good as the MELZ, but gives a slightly different "flavour" which may be more to your liking.
     
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  16. Jim Hodgson

    Jim Hodgson Galvanically Isolated in Greenpoint

    Location:
    Brooklyn, NY
    Hey @RachaelW … could you elaborate on this one for us, por favor?


    First time posting in this intro thread of yours … but that doesn’t mean I haven’t savored every word :righton:
     
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  17. tlowe

    tlowe Life Explorer

    Location:
    Singapore
    Please note that these are 6CG7/6FQ7 tubes, you will need the adapter which I have mentioned.
    Yes, I have the SYL 6SL7WGT but still find the ECC35 sounds very much better.
     
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  18. RachaelW

    RachaelW Well-Known Member Thread Starter

    Location:
    Melbourne
    I was meaning the Ratheon 6SN7. I also have a feeling that I incorrectly mentioned MELZ 6H8C (6SN7) when I actually meant MELZ 6H9C (6SL7), meaning that it's the MELZ 6H9C which is one of my favourite 6SL7 tubes. As far as I know, the MELZ 6H8C, while sounding very good with the right circuitry, doesn't in modern circuits. I believe that it is because they are GT tubes and not GTA/GTB tubes. I think the main voltage is lower for GT tubes and usually they will either not sound very good, and/or fail very quickly due to the higher voltage used in modern circuits. Feel free to correct me. Apologies for any confusion...
     
    Last edited: Sep 16, 2021
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  19. tlowe

    tlowe Life Explorer

    Location:
    Singapore
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  20. Couchman

    Couchman Member

    Location:
    New Zealand
    Hi,

    Great post and thread! I'm also looking at the R8 and the R800i as a first tube amp and wondered if you could share your experience between the two? Is the R800i worth the extra money, what are the main differences? I have Monitor Audio Gold 200 speakers which are a 4 ohm speaker rated at 88db, and I'm finding it hard to work out with the tube watts how to know what will drive my speakers, any thoughts?

    Thanks
     
  21. RockAddict

    RockAddict Forum Resident

    Location:
    UK
    Just chipping in on driving speakers... I have Dynaudio Special Fortys rated at 86dB. At low to moderate volumes, the R8 drives them without any difficulty. On the one occasion I stretched the volume to loud (neighbour limitations!), I didn't notice any obvious issue. With my setup (Node 2i > Pontus II > Quad Artera Pre > R8), audio presentation is just a touch "soft" at the bottom end but that could be due to the other components & speakers tending towards warmth in any case. Barring a lottery win and the option of, say, a Luxman, the R8 is very much staying put. I have no experience of the R800i.

    Good luck!
     
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  22. tlowe

    tlowe Life Explorer

    Location:
    Singapore
    I dont have a R800i but a Line Magnetic LM508IA, also rated at 48W per channel. Have been running with a pair of 4 ohm SF Minima Amator II, rated at 87dB, with no problem.
     
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  23. Couchman

    Couchman Member

    Location:
    New Zealand
    R8 sounds amazing for the price, good to know re the speakers - thanks!
     
  24. Couchman

    Couchman Member

    Location:
    New Zealand
    Those sound very similar in spec to my speakers, thanks!
     
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  25. avanti1960

    avanti1960 Forum Resident

    Location:
    Chicago metro, USA
    It is a rabbit hole for sure but with that kind of money maybe a better amp could have been an option?
     
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