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Partial tear down of Willsenton R8


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19 hours ago, 2Dculture said:

I'm pretty there already. Just seeing what else Thomas will recommend. I noticed he showed the Shuguang 6SL7 in the video. i wonder if its a sign of things to come. 

 

 

i suspect he is just sharing the tubes he received from chinahifi , hopefully he makes a video on his R8 tube rolling experience.

18 hours ago, 08Boss302 said:

He was bang on about the difference in TR vs UL.  The change is drastic. With the KT88 its pushes everything forward and singer right in your face almost.

I am still running the Willsenton tubes KT88.  Some suggest in tube amps to roll the power tubes first for most change but this amp seems to lean toward the pre tubes being swapped out first.

 

from a technical standpoint ,the power output is very much different between TR and UL so i suspect we are just hearing softer versus louder volume??  I wonder if there is any difference if we match wattage and SPL output between TR and UL , someone with an oscilloscope could probably do this experiment. 

 

i tried both EL34 and KT88 on the R8 , i do concur with Thomas , the R8 seems to have very strong bass(i compared this with muzishare x7), so running the KT88 seems abit boomy in my room. EL34 on the other hand sounded more natural and pleasing.

 

 

 

 

 

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I am not an expert on tube amp like many on this forum however writing this blog to help those who are thinking of buying Willsenton R8 or those who owns it and want to know bit more about it. I am no

It came!!     ??????   Ordered November 22nd.  Arrived January 26th, by ocean.  (I was too cheap to pay the airfreight)    Off we go!  

An unexpected development here. Last night, I removed my MELZ 6SL7 tubes and replaced them with the Tung Sol 6C8G. I do not think I will go back to the MELZ.    I can hear the thuds of Stere

22 hours ago, Atmaj said:

I have done plenty of tube rolling including new and NOS and I think I am done with it ?

 

It was a bit disappointing that Thomas did not use the snaps I sent him. He liked this post and said that he may use in his video.

maybe you could share the snaps here :) 

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16 minutes ago, demoiree said:

Ah , haha I thought you have some with your NOS tubes installed etc ?

I only have 6SL7 as NOS, 6SN7 are new Tung Sol and power tubes are new 6CA7 EH so picture is not worth enough ?

I tried NOS Tung Sol 6SU7 WGT and found out to be much brighter then Sylvania 6SL7 so sold those off. Sylvania 6SL7 are very well balanced, sweet sounding  tubes.

 

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47 minutes ago, demoiree said:

 

i suspect he is just sharing the tubes he received from chinahifi , hopefully he makes a video on his R8 tube rolling experience.

 

from a technical standpoint ,the power output is very much different between TR and UL so i suspect we are just hearing softer versus louder volume??  I wonder if there is any difference if we match wattage and SPL output between TR and UL , someone with an oscilloscope could probably do this experiment. 

 

i tried both EL34 and KT88 on the R8 , i do concur with Thomas , the R8 seems to have very strong bass(i compared this with muzishare x7), so running the KT88 seems abit boomy in my room. EL34 on the other hand sounded more natural and pleasing.

 

Thomas did say he will make a video on the R8 tube rolling. Hopefully he'll bring his friends along. One of them bought a lot of tubes to roll. Was reading through some of the comments and Thomas tested the shuguang from Chinahifi.. I think he said something about clarity and sparkle. I forgot. But having done so myself switching from the stock 6SL7 to the shuguang, i felt it was more sensitive, more natural mid range and really good for vocals. 

 

With the KT88 and the shuguang, the bass was a bit boomy and a bit wide and muddy. Switch to EL34, the stage shrank a bit and everything came into focus on the centre. Something moving from a live pub to a small recital. 

 

I then switched the shuguang to tungsol, the tungsol was clean and bright but dropped a bit in the chesty area.. the stage height was cut by about 25%. Switch to back to KT88, everything went back up with different characteristics. 

 

This amp is fun. I think part of it is that the amp is very transparent and sensitive to changes. Thomas mentioned a hiss in his 6SL7. My stock 6SL7 has a hiss as well, the shuguang has a hum (which I returned for a set with no hum), the tungsols are silent. Maybe this, sensitivity is also what makes the TR and UL so distinct. To me the difference between TR and UL is not only the volume. the singer is behind the speakers in TR and in front of the speakers in UL. TR has a quieter/ blacker background. Maybe I misunderstood you when you say its just volume, but if I crank up the volume in TR, the singer's mouth is bigger and higher but does not 'walk' from the back from the speakers to the front. But maybe its my set up. 

 

On that note, going back to what @muon* said, maybe the changing the caps for the R8 will see a difference. Bad analogy but cheap cars you feel lots of stuff coz its bare bones and a minor tweak, you'll feel it. An expensive car is well insulated so your modifications need to be more impactful for you to feel a difference. Keen to hear his experience but I'm not technically savvy and not the one who will try this. 

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17 hours ago, muon* said:

On paper maybe not, but in the real world they can have a profound improvement, but you need to know what to change to, changing from an ordinary cap to a slightly less ordinary cap is going to be more subtle or sideways move.

 

I embrace the technical side but keep an open ear ;) at the same time.

 

I don't have this amp, but do have a EL34 PP AB triode strapped amp, original coupling caps were like Benic or similar, then I bypassed them with Mundorf silver and oil, big audible change and a nice one, then I replaced that combo with Duelund Alexandra Copper Foil and Oil caps, better again if you prefer a more natural sound over all like I do.

 

They also have to be able to fit and some of the better caps are larger, definitely so with copper foil types, you also need to, or at least it is advisable to install them taking into consideration the outer foil end, this is in fact a technical aspect as orientated the correct way will allow better shielding of RFI.

 

Anyway, cap rolling is something I do even though I also adhere to technical aspects for the larger part in this hobby.

 

Each to their own paths though.

 

Edit: oops, typo

You encourages me to go for it ?

 

I somewhat agree with you. It makes difference in some amp and not in others and also depends upon the existing caps. The main problem is that those caps like Mundorf silver oil are pretty expensive to try. Not as easy as NOS tubes to sell again if no difference found so it is a risk of about $350. 

 

I can take a risk of trying with Mundorf EVO oil caps as they are cheaper but again comes back to same dilemma that even if there is a difference, it will not be noticeable as existing caps are not bad (not oil caps though but good quality film caps).

 

Regarding RFI, you will notice is it if you have it so no point in changing caps if you don't have interference but yes, if you are replacing, follow the orientation which does not harm at all. 

Edited by Atmaj
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For me the difference between TR/UL:

 

TR: Softer highs/upper mids. Center image is pushed back. Quieter in relation to volume level. Sounds better than UL when pushed, though it also depends on the recording.

 

UL: Brighter, more upper mids, and more forward. Louder in relation to volume. For me, UL sounds better at lower volumes (less than 70db). I use UL almost as I would a loudness button, but again, it depends on the recording.

 

The soundstage widths are equal. TR is not as tall.

 

I use both equally 50/50. It's nice to have the option. For example, Roger Waters' Amused to Death album sounds especially nice in TR because his vocals are very forward on that recording with my speakers. It's nice to tame the vocals and push them back a bit. Same with the vocals on Norah Jones' Come Away With Me album. TR tames the hot vocal mix. But if the vocals are already lean in the recording, TR doesn't sound as good and the vocals will seem too distant.

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37 minutes ago, echorec said:

For me the difference between TR/UL:

 

TR: Softer highs/upper mids. Center image is pushed back. Quieter in relation to volume level. Sounds better than UL when pushed, though it also depends on the recording.

 

UL: Brighter, more upper mids, and more forward. Louder in relation to volume. For me, UL sounds better at lower volumes (less than 70db). I use UL almost as I would a loudness button, but again, it depends on the recording.

 

The soundstage widths are equal. TR is not as tall.

 

I use both equally 50/50. It's nice to have the option. For example, Roger Waters' Amused to Death album sounds especially nice in TR because his vocals are very forward on that recording with my speakers. It's nice to tame the vocals and push them back a bit. Same with the vocals on Norah Jones' Come Away With Me album. TR tames the hot vocal mix. But if the vocals are already lean in the recording, TR doesn't sound as good and the vocals will seem too distant.

 

Yeah, my observation with TR/UL mode is exactly same as yours. UL is too forward and gain in upper mid bit too much. I prefer TR mode all the time as it is more natural sounding and softer too.

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Guys, what value are those 4x coupling caps?

 

An how much room is there between those stock ones and the bottom cover?

 

Edit: never mind, doesn't look like there would be enough room for the caps I was thinking of.

Was thinking of the Miflex Copper Foil and Oil caps, very good cap and cheap for what they are, but assuming the coupling caps are 0.22uf these caps measure 50mm in length and 30mm in diameter, might fit but can't tell from the pictures.

Edited by muon*
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@muon* Are these the coupling caps? If so, they are 0.22uf 630 VDC. They measure 24 mm long x 15 mm tall (off the PCB), and are 11 mm wide. This is my old faulty bias PCB, so I don't know how close to the bottom cover they are, but there is definitely some room because the brown capacitors are 5mm taller than these silver caps off the PCB. That means replacements could be at least 20 mm tall if mounted flush with that PCB.

 

 

R8-caps.jpg

Edited by echorec
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I think they are the ones (must be), as the only other film caps are those two at the front and they are dumping to ground from the input valves.

 

And looking at the wires coming from those ones on the bias boards they appear to connect to pin 5 (G1) of each KT88.

Edited by muon*
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If they fit with 50mm length and 30mm diameter, the Miflex KPCU-01 (0.22uF 600Vdc, Copper Foil Paper/Polypropylene in Oil) are between $25 and $30aud each, depending on where you buy. They are $16.58USD at parts connxion in Canada.

 

Note that the lead outs are twisted pairs of 0.8mm, relevant to connecting to a through hole PCB.

https://www.partsconnexion.com/media/pdfs/MIFLEX-85251.pdf

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15 hours ago, Graywulf said:

 

Hi Boss,

 not into speed/thrash type, but classic rock (inc Motorhead) rock/pop. prog, through to classical.

Allowing for the fact different ears, speakers, amps and brands of equipment/tubes produces a different sound, my thought would be this.

  Get some decent NoS tubes, doesn't have to be the 'holy grail' gear, but what would be 'average production'  back then, will still outperform 90%+ of modern tubes. (6SN7 & 6SL7). These will make the biggest difference to the sound. 6SN7's can tend to be microphonic, so you may need to look at isolation of the amp (pads/rubber) under the feet. KT77's will basically give you a KT88 type sound, 6CA7 could be a possible option in the EL34 type end of the tube family. I am running the Sovtek 6550WE at present, they are not a bad tube overall. Best advice for outputs is google search 'best sounding KT88' and you'll get a lot of info from forums, and sellers like the tubestore often have purchaser reviews. That'll give you an idea of the possible sonic signature you can expect.

 Some dislike Chinese tubes, some dislike the 'new sensor corp' tubes because they are now trading on the 'name' of some of the best tubes made, but they are NOTHING like the original. So maybe the standard EH tubes? Some I know in other forums are impressed with the Psvane KT88-2, others like  the Shuguang treasures, many say the 'new' Gold Lion (new sensor corp) are the best. At the end of the day, it's always a bit of a lottery as to what tube YOU prefer.

 

 

Thanks @Graywulf

It is certainly something I aim to do and will do a bit or research prior.  Its like you mentioned, there are different ears, speakers, rooms etc and I think I can do a bit of reading and absorb information online and in this thread to grab some tubes that will lean toward the type of sound I like and expand on what the factory fitted tubes provide.

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1 hour ago, muon* said:

If they fit with 50mm length and 30mm diameter, the Miflex KPCU-01 (0.22uF 600Vdc, Copper Foil Paper/Polypropylene in Oil) are between $25 and $30aud each, depending on where you buy. They are $16.58USD at parts connxion in Canada.

 

Note that the lead outs are twisted pairs of 0.8mm, relevant to connecting to a through hole PCB.

https://www.partsconnexion.com/media/pdfs/MIFLEX-85251.pdf

Those are the coupling caps, total 4 for each tube. There is also one 0.33uf grid leak (bypass) cap in phase splitter.

 

Space is not the problem as if it does not fit on the pcb, can be installed on chassis and wired up to pcb.

 

With that amount,  I am happy to give it a try ?. Mudorf EVO oil are cheap but only 450V and Supreme oil are about $70 each on Soundlabs.

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Just keep the cap away from sources of EMI/RFI, like some wiring.

 

Keep leads as short as possible and the twisted pair of 0.8mm lead out likely won't fit through the PCB holes that the leads on the stock caps pass through, but can be inventive and snip about 8mm off one of the twisted pairs at the ends and just past the longer one through if it can and bend on the underside hard against the eyelet and solder, solder the lead where it was sniped above also.

 

The outer foil ends of these caps are marked, install with the outer foil end to the previous section (lowest impedance side).

Edited by muon*
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Those Miflex caps score high in Tony Gee's cap test, even though he tests in XO's the sound signatures for the caps don't change because of it.

http://www.humblehomemadehifi.com/Cap.html

 

Miflex KPCU-01 600VDC - 5% tolerance

Technical specifications (according to manufacturer): "The KPCU-01 capacitors are made on the basis of paper and polypropylene dielectric films in a specially designed configuration. The capacitor section is impregnated with the use of a unique vacuum-based technology. The capacitor electrodes consist of solid copper foil. These capacitors feature housings formed from insulating resin paper tubes, terminals made of twisted copper wire 2x 0,8mm and self-extinguishing potting compound of flammability class V0. High quality and durability of the capacitors is assured by the use of carefully selected materials, production technology, as well as testing and measuring methods. These capacitors are designed for use in audio equipment. The design of the capacitors and used technology during the production minimize the parasitic impedance components: inductance and resistance, resulting in improved quality of sound in a given audio system. The capacitors are subjected to a series of specific tests and measurements, including a unique test using pulses of increased current amplitude and frequency of 22kHz. The KPCU-01 capacitors can be used in DC and AC circuits within the temperature range of their dimatic category. The DC voltage value or AC voltage amplitude should not exceed the specified rated voltage."

 

Sound: The Miflex KPCU-01 brings texture to music in a nice organic manner. At times the presentation can be quite tangible. For example on Garry Willis' album Retro it sounds like he has just re-strung his five-string bass. The harmonic overtones of the instrument become more evident making the bass-lines easier to follow. This is not done by artificial emphasis on the top end, it is more "just right". Long term listening sessions are very pleasent which shows that there is nothing artificial about the sound at all - on the contrary. The sound sort of grows on you after a while. Comparing the KPCU-01 to other foil capacitors I found it to be more forward sounding than the both the Duelund CAST Cu and the CAST Cu-Sn and the Jupiter Copper Foil Paper & Wax. In direct comparison the KPCU-01 is a little less transparant in the top end but still rich in tone, smooth and coherent. Although with the Jupiter Copper Foil Paper & Wax music did seem to sound more "complete". A-B switching between the Miflex KPCU-01 and the Duelund RS-Cu revealed that the RS-Cu is more ruler flat neutral of the two but the KPCU-01 did very convincing harmonic overtones. On the other hand, comparing it to the Jantzen Audio Alumen Z-Cap you get a richer tone with more flow and air with the Miflex. Another example: the Mundorf Supreme Classic Silver Gold Oil sounds in direct A-B comparison to have less body and a less natural tonal palette than the Miflex. A very nice capacitor, the KPCU-01.

Verdict: 13+

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6 minutes ago, muon* said:

Just keep the cap away from sources of EMI/RFI, like some wiring.

 

Keep leads as short as possible and the twisted pair of 0.8mm lead out likely won't fit through the PCB holes that the leads on the stock caps pass through, but can be inventive and snip about 8mm to 1mm off one of the twisted pairs at the ends and just past the longer one through if it can and bend on the underside hard against the eyelet and solder, solder the lead where it was sniped above also.

 

The outer foil ends of these caps are marked, install with the outer foil end to the previous section (lowest impedance side).

 

I think caps will fit on the pcb itself. Only thing is one lead will have to be taken down from below cap to pcb and caps needs to be glued to pcb. Thanks for suggesting these good and reasonably priced caps.

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2 minutes ago, Atmaj said:

 

I think caps will fit on the pcb itself. Only thing is one lead will have to be taken down from below cap to pcb and caps needs to be glued to pcb. Thanks for suggesting these good and reasonably priced caps.

The caps do have some weight to them compared to the average poly cap.

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3 minutes ago, Atmaj said:

@muon* Do you reckon to replace only coupling caps or Grid leak one shall also be replaced with your experience?

I'd just do the coupling caps myself.

 

@Atmaj I'd like to see the schematic of this amp if there is an accurate one floating about?

Edited by muon*
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10 minutes ago, Atmaj said:

I trust Queenslanders 

Really?

 

Well I have some prime land on Russell Island you might like :lol:

 

Jokes aside, these should give a nice lift in sound to the R8 :thumb: though may change tube preferences a bit, as we know It's like cooking, and we need the right mix :)

Edited by muon*
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Whether or not anyone proscribes to burn in/run in with caps, I's suggest not giving caps like these Miflex ones a final verdict until they have plenty of hour up on them, will sound better from the get go but will improve over the initial first 100 hours of use.

 

Edit: they will open up more and bass will improve with initial use.

Edited by muon*
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@Atmaj Can you tell me what vintage and type of Sylvania 6SL7 you were using? Your comment regarding the TS 6SU7WGT being brighter, by comparison, has me intrigued. I think I might add a pair of Sylvanias to the arsenal...

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11 hours ago, muon* said:

Whether or not anyone proscribes to burn in/run in with caps, I's suggest not giving caps like these Miflex ones a final verdict until they have plenty of hour up on them, will sound better from the get go but will improve over the initial first 100 hours of use.

 

Edit: they will open up more and bass will improve with initial use.

Yup, breaking in applies to caps as well. Specifically PIO would take bit longer.

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1 hour ago, echorec said:

@Atmaj Can you tell me what vintage and type of Sylvania 6SL7 you were using? Your comment regarding the TS 6SU7WGT being brighter, by comparison, has me intrigued. I think I might add a pair of Sylvanias to the arsenal...

I am using Sylvania 6SL7 GT side gator which has clear top and gray side glass. Prior to this, I tried PHILIPS ECG 5691 JAN as well. This tube was also good but it was missing dynamics, everything was compressed. Sylvania has a great balance, cleanliness and slightly rolled off but sparkle at the top end.

 

TS 6SU7WGT is also a great tube but it has more focused mids (bit higher mids) than Sylvania hence I did not like. Again, everything depends upon what other tubes you have in your amp, what speakers you have and most importantly your own preference.

 

If you are a mid loving person, you will like TS 6SU7WGT over Sylvania and TS EL34 as well as power tubes.

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Following the cap replacement with interest.  I have the Willsenton R-35i.  The amp, with different tubes, is amazing, but I would consider replacing caps if the difference is significant.  I did this on the crossover of some speakers I built from kit and the difference was easily noticeable.

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Hi 

saw a review on you tube and seems like it’s getting good reviews 

just wondering how I would fit this in to my system 

Can it be used as a pre amp or would I be better using it as an integrated and would it run my acoustic research AR90 

cheers for any advice 

 

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27 minutes ago, Sean Perth said:

Hi 

saw a review on you tube and seems like it’s getting good reviews 

just wondering how I would fit this in to my system 

Can it be used as a pre amp or would I be better using it as an integrated and would it run my acoustic research AR90 

cheers for any advice 

 

Looking at the AR90 specs

 

Output sound pressure level 87dB/W/m

Impedance 4ohms (a minimum of 3.2ohms)

 

As an integrated I would think not ideal, maybe sufficient in UL mode but not enough power in triode is my guess, but that's going by specs and of course I have no experience with the AR90's.

 

No, can't be used as a pre, if looking at that path I'd look at a valve pre amplifier. It can be used as a power amp connecting another pre amplifier to It's "Pre In's" on the rear, but not the other way around.

Edited by muon*
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Well, again, I couldn't resist - I ordered a matched pair of the famed NOS RCA Red Base 5691 to hear how they perform in the R8. I figure it will be nice to have a pair of these in the collection for future amps anyways as they seem to be getting a little more scarce/expensive with each passing year. Should have them in about a week and will report some first impressions.

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10 hours ago, Sean Perth said:

Hi 

saw a review on you tube and seems like it’s getting good reviews 

just wondering how I would fit this in to my system 

Can it be used as a pre amp or would I be better using it as an integrated and would it run my acoustic research AR90 

cheers for any advice 

 

if you looking for a tube pre , have a look at musical paradise MP701, very versatile and sounds great out of the box.

 

https://www.musicalparadise.ca/store/index.php?route=product/product&product_id=103

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On 11/11/2020 at 5:48 PM, echorec said:

I received the replacement part from Yong yesterday! Instead of sending a potentiometer, he sent me the entire populated bias circuit board with leads attached, so I was quite pleased. I took the amp into my local HiFi shop yesterday and was able to pick it up this morning. Everything sounds good, so hopefully the problem doesn't come up again. I kept the old bias PCB in case I need any of those parts later. The labor cost to replace the bias circuit and bench test was $125 USD, so my R8's cost definitely went up. Still better than having to ship this beast to someone elsewhere and deal with that whole headache. A word of advice: if you have any issues with your amp, be patient with Yong. I think he is absolutely slammed with emails each day. He will get back to you and he will help you make things right, but sometimes he isn't as responsive as many of us are used to. I read somewhere else that he has apparently hired some people to help him, so that is good news if true.

 

A couple of interesting comments from the service guy (This is one of the best guys in our State. He's been building and servicing tube amps for a very long time and works with a lot of high level and boutique HiFi equipment). His first comment was how he thought the design and layout was really good on this amp. He told me the solder job was "a bit sloppy" as he had to touch up several spots inside the amp that could have potentially turned into future problems. His final comment was that he thought the amp sounded "very beautiful and musical".

ecohrec, 

I'm really glad things workout for you. I just purchased a unit and your story gave me some concerns. I know is a electrical/mechanical device and problems will come up, is just that dealing with the supplier so far away. But, lots of good comments and info on this website. 

 

Peace,

Tony

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Been following this thread with interest. 

 

I have the Willsenton R-35i  and had been considering one of their 300B models.  The cost of 300B tubes has slowed me down however and I am now thinking about getting an R8 to play with.  Yong said in an e-mail yesterday that he can have a unit shipped 7 business days after I order it.  That sounded too good to me so I asked him for confirmation.  If he confirms, I will probably order a unit with the Willsenton KT88 tubes.  I'll then try some tube rolling with the 6SL7s and two of the 6SN7s.

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On 19/11/2020 at 8:33 AM, Atmaj said:

I am using Sylvania 6SL7 GT side gator which has clear top and gray side glass. Prior to this, I tried PHILIPS ECG 5691 JAN as well. This tube was also good but it was missing dynamics, everything was compressed. Sylvania has a great balance, cleanliness and slightly rolled off but sparkle at the top end.

 

TS 6SU7WGT is also a great tube but it has more focused mids (bit higher mids) than Sylvania hence I did not like. Again, everything depends upon what other tubes you have in your amp, what speakers you have and most importantly your own preference.

 

If you are a mid loving person, you will like TS 6SU7WGT over Sylvania and TS EL34 as well as power tubes.

 

On 20/11/2020 at 6:16 AM, echorec said:

Well, again, I couldn't resist - I ordered a matched pair of the famed NOS RCA Red Base 5691 to hear how they perform in the R8. I figure it will be nice to have a pair of these in the collection for future amps anyways as they seem to be getting a little more scarce/expensive with each passing year. Should have them in about a week and will report some first impressions.

 

You guys should also consider giving the ECC35 a try. The very late 1940's or early 1950's  black or brown base 1347 coded or later mid to late 1950's brown base RU1, RU2, RU3 or RU4 coded straight bottle types made in the Blackburn UK factory sound really awesome. The Tung-Sol black coated glass brown base 1950's 6SU7GTY tube is also very good but in second place compared to the ECC35 above.

Edited by xlr8or
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3 hours ago, chinook9 said:

Been following this thread with interest. 

 

I have the Willsenton R-35i  and had been considering one of their 300B models.  The cost of 300B tubes has slowed me down however and I am now thinking about getting an R8 to play with.  Yong said in an e-mail yesterday that he can have a unit shipped 7 business days after I order it.  That sounded too good to me so I asked him for confirmation.  If he confirms, I will probably order a unit with the Willsenton KT88 tubes.  I'll then try some tube rolling with the 6SL7s and two of the 6SN7s.

 

That's great! I'm toying with the idea of adding that Willsenton 300b to the arsenal as it would be fun to compare it to the R8. Hard to beat that price for a decent SET. Btw, did you see the weight of that thing?? It's weighs as much as two R8s!

 

42 minutes ago, xlr8or said:

 

 

You guys should also consider giving the ECC35 a try. The very late 1940's or early 1950's  black or brown base 1347 coded or later mid to late 1950's brown base RU1, RU2, RU3 or RU4 coded straight bottle types made in the Blackburn UK factory sound really awesome. The Tung-Sol black coated glass brown base 1950's 6SU7GTY tube is also very good but in second place compared to the ECC35 above.

 

Thanks for the reco! A pair of ECC35's is one the short list. Either Mullards or Phillips Holland, though they are getting really pricey. Currently using TS black glass 6SU7GTY, which are my favorite so far. But I still feel like I want to relax those highs a tad more, hence the RCA Red Base for the next round.

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5 minutes ago, echorec said:

 

That's great! I'm toying with the idea of adding that Willsenton 300b to the arsenal as it would be fun to compare it to the R8. Hard to beat that price for a decent SET. Btw, did you see the weight of that thing?? It's weighs as much as two R8s!

 

 

I would have to go with the R-300B model due to the weight.  Its 32Kg and I'm too old for heavy amps.  I have Tekton Electrons which are 92db efficient but at 4 ohms the 8 watts of the 300b might not do it so I'm thinking about the R8.  Everyone reports great success with the R8 and I think  I could  enjoy tube rolling the R8 and trying the KT88 and maybe 6550 tubes.  I have new production Mullard EL34s in R-35i.  It sounds great

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