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Which valve would you choose?


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I’m in the process of tube rolling my new Weston Acoustics Time Machine pre and kt120 monoblocks. 
 

I’ve got a good deal on 5 1940’s RCA JAN CRC-5R4GY ST Shape Rectifier valves. 
Also have a matched pair of RCA 5691 Red Base for the pre on the way.

 

I was hoping to get a sextet of Sylvania 6sn7’s “bad boys” for the monoblocks, but the store I’m dealing with only has a single pair. 
 

I’ve been offered a closely matched Sylvania 6sn7gtb 1960’s chrome dome sextet or a closely matched 1950’s RCA 6sn7gtb sextet for the same price. 
 

Any Weston Acoustics owners have any experience with either of these valves?

 

 Thanks for your help.

 

Cheers,

Peter

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Not a western acoustic owner but have owned both rca/sylvania 6sn7gtb

 

IMO

Sylvania - silky smooth

RCA - raw with bite

 

 

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14 minutes ago, crankit said:

Not a western acoustic owner but have owned both rca/sylvania 6sn7gtb

 

IMO

Sylvania - silky smooth

RCA - raw with bite

 

 


Thanks for the info. 
When you say “raw with bite” for the rca’s is that a negative or something you value?

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1 hour ago, PMac76 said:

I’ve been offered a closely matched Sylvania 6sn7gtb 1960’s chrome dome sextet or a closely matched 1950’s RCA 6sn7gtb sextet for the same price. 
 

Any Weston Acoustics owners have any experience with either of these valves?

 

Not a WA owner, but I love the chrome domes in my amp.

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2 minutes ago, PMac76 said:


Thanks for the info. 
When you say “raw with bite” for the rca’s is that a negative or something you value?

Well I kept the RCA's and sold the Sylvania's first 

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12 hours ago, PMac76 said:

I’ve been offered a closely matched Sylvania 6sn7gtb 1960’s chrome dome sextet or a closely matched 1950’s RCA 6sn7gtb sextet for the same price. 

 

Any Weston Acoustics owners have any experience with either of these valves?

 

The choice between the 2 tube brands really depends on what musical tastes you're seeking from the power and pre amp combo. Personally, if I were restricted to these 2 choices my vote would go towards the Sylvania chrome domes. If you're flexible to consider other 6SN7 types my vote goes towards the 1940's Tung-Sol black glass round plate types.

 

I have 2 WE amps: the Tempest and the Tweaker Mk IV. I've rolled many octal tubes in these amps and have fallen in love with the Mullard Blackburn early 1950's 1185 coded ST shaped ECC32, Tung-Sol early 1960's solid grey plate 6550's and Mullard Blackburn very late 1950's f31 coded fatbase GZ34's.

 

There are also some really good AWV 6SN7GT bottles to also consider with black toasted welded plates and copper grid posts. There are a couple of pairs listed in the classifieds at the moment.

 

 

Edited by xlr8or
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One further thing to add is that I would seriously look at acquiring singles and pairs over time to get the sextet. You don't need to be restricted by selecting limited vintage preamp tube choices by considering six in one hit. The same applies to power tubes and rectifiers.

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9 hours ago, xlr8or said:

 

The choice between the 2 tube brands really depends on what musical tastes you're seeking from the power and pre amp combo. Personally, if I were restricted to these 2 choices my vote would go towards the Sylvania chrome domes. If you're flexible to consider other 6SN7 types my vote goes towards the 1940's Tung-Sol black glass round plate types.

 

I have 2 WE amps: the Tempest and the Tweaker Mk IV. I've rolled many octal tubes in these amps and have fallen in love with the Mullard Blackburn early 1950's 1185 coded ST shaped ECC32, Tung-Sol early 1960's solid grey plate 6550's and Mullard Blackburn very late 1950's f31 coded fatbase GZ34's.

 

There are also some really good AWV 6SN7GT bottles to also consider with black toasted welded plates and copper grid posts. There are a couple of pairs listed in the classifieds at the moment.

 

 


Thanks for your suggestions, I had a quick look and they do look interesting. They do appear to be quite a bit more expensive then the Sylvania chrome domes. 
Currently my preference is to spend the money on six cheaper nos valves rather then a more expensive pair.
 

 

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9 hours ago, xlr8or said:

One further thing to add is that I would seriously look at acquiring singles and pairs over time to get the sextet. You don't need to be restricted by selecting limited vintage preamp tube choices by considering six in one hit. The same applies to power tubes and rectifiers.


I was under the impression that matched valves are meant to be better. You don’t agree it’s worth it?

 

Also, with your suggestion, you mean it’s ok to mix and match valves, rather then have them all the same brand, type etc?

 

If the above is correct, that is something I hadn’t considered.

 

 Thanks 

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I have mixed and matched.  On caveat, let's say you ad 2 6SN7s in your amp.  It would be possible to design an amp that used both triodes in one 6SN7 for one channel and a separate 6SN7 for the other channel.  Most would use half of each 6SN7 for the left and the other half for the right channel.  You can see that in the first case, the channels would be different if you used two different brands, in the second, they would both be the same - consisting of two  half 6sn7s of each brand.

 

As for matching, of course with dual triodes, you would like each half to match the other.  Matching between 2 different valves is less important.

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4 hours ago, PMac76 said:

Currently my preference is to spend the money on six cheaper nos valves rather then a more expensive pair.

 

You may want to consider getting yourself some locally made AWV 6SN7's instead as a cheaper NOS option. Finding 6 tubes of the same type shouldn't be a problem. 👍

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11 hours ago, PMac76 said:


I was under the impression that matched valves are meant to be better. You don’t agree it’s worth it?

 

Also, with your suggestion, you mean it’s ok to mix and match valves, rather then have them all the same brand, type etc?

 

If the above is correct, that is something I hadn’t considered.

 

 Thanks 

 

Matched NOS valves attract a premium price. Mixing, pairing and matching single valves is fine.

 

As @aussievintage has shared, if you work out the role of each of the 6SN7's in the design topology of the amp you can quickly work out which ones need to be of the same type and which ones can be of a different type.

 

The definition of matched is two-fold. It can be inherent within a single dual triode valve itself between its 2 respective sections. Its also inherent between 2 or more independent bottles of the same dual triode valve type.

 

It may help if you could also share some photos of your lovely WA amps showing the 6SN7 positions. 😁

Edited by xlr8or
Amended my bad typos. 🙂
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14 hours ago, xlr8or said:

 

Mullard Blackburn early 1950's 1185 coded ST shaped ECC32

 

 

The above is my personal best choice. I haven't heard better. Quite expensive but certainly worth the money. Make sure your amp/preamp can run this.

 

I would start saving money to get the ECC32 and buy the below recommendation in the meantime.

 

24 minutes ago, xlr8or said:

 

You may want to consider getting yourself some locally made AWV 6SN7's instead as a cheaper NOS option. Finding 6 tubes of the same type shouldn't be a problem. 👍

 

 

Disclosure: I am not a WA owner.

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Thanks for all the helpful comments, I am taking them on board. 
 

Just FYI both the Sylvania and RCA 6sn7gtb are $50USD per NOS matched pair, so three closely matched pairs as has been described to me would cost me around $200AUD plus shipping. 
 

Originally I thought the matching would be an extra $150USD the way it was worded to me, but I’ve now had it confirmed just $150USD for the six NOS. To me that seems like a good deal compared to what I can buy NOS or even used locally. 
 

I will also post a pic of the monoblocks soon to show the position of the valves.

 

 Thanks again 

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3 hours ago, xlr8or said:

It may help if you could also share some photos of your lovely WE amps showing the 6SN7 positions.


Here is a couple of photos of one of the monoblocks 

 

1CE2BE21-3446-4DD4-B5FD-343A54EE0D05.jpeg

64EF3F16-2944-49AB-B8F4-76AACDEAC747.jpeg

Edited by PMac76
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Thanks for sharing these lovely looking photos of your WA monoblocks.

 

I have marked up which valves need to be the same type (2) and which can be a different type (1). Also, changing (1), the input valve, will have a greater influence on altering the tonal characteristics than changing (2), the driver tubes for the push-pull pair of KT120's used per channel.

 

20210115_200217.jpg

Edited by xlr8or
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41 minutes ago, xlr8or said:

Thanks for sharing these lovely looking photos of your WA amps. I have marked up which valves need to be the same (2) and which can be different (1). Also, changing (1) will have a greater influence on altering the tonal characteristics than changing (2).

 

20210115_200217.jpg


Thank you for the explanation. That will certainly help for the future.

 

Much appreciated.

 

And I’m very happy to show of my new amps. I’m sure I’ll be posting more picks in the Weston Acoustics owners thread once I have replaced some valves. 😀

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5 hours ago, PMac76 said:


Here is a couple of photos of one of the monoblocks 

 

1CE2BE21-3446-4DD4-B5FD-343A54EE0D05.jpeg

64EF3F16-2944-49AB-B8F4-76AACDEAC747.jpeg

Stunning!!

 

Something more for you to consider in the future: I haven't heard KT120 but in general I'd avoid Russian valves. My preference is always NOS over new production valves due to sound quality, longevity, and cost in the long run. So, if you could run KT88, try GEC KT88 old stock, you might like them more 😊

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54 minutes ago, fell off the boat said:

So, if you could run KT88, try GEC KT88 old stock, you might like them more 

 

There are also the GEC TT21's:

 

IMAG0546.jpg

 

IMAG0544.jpg

 

IMAG0498.jpg

 

IMAG0497.jpg

Edited by xlr8or
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16 hours ago, PMac76 said:


Here is a couple of photos of one of the monoblocks 

 

1CE2BE21-3446-4DD4-B5FD-343A54EE0D05.jpeg

64EF3F16-2944-49AB-B8F4-76AACDEAC747.jpeg

 

Edit; unfortunately I'm not a WA owner. These are a work of art 

Edited by crankit
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10 hours ago, fell off the boat said:

Something more for you to consider in the future: I haven't heard KT120 but in general I'd avoid Russian valves. My preference is always NOS over new production valves due to sound quality, longevity, and cost in the long run. So, if you could run KT88, try GEC KT88 old stock, you might like them more 😊

 

9 hours ago, xlr8or said:

There are also the GEC TT21's

 
Both look like interesting suggestions, although seem very expensive these days. 
I require a quad per Monoblock, that’s certainly going to ad up. 
 

I agree that GEC power valves produce a sweet sound. I had a quad of GEC KT66’s in my Weston Troubadour 350 amp and I definitely preferred them to the Gold Lions. 😀

Edited by PMac76
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35 minutes ago, PMac76 said:

 

 
Both look like interesting suggestions, although seem very expensive these days. 
I require a quad per Monoblock, that’s certainly going to ad up. 
 

I agree that GEC power valves produce a sweet sound. I had a quad of GEC KT66’s in my Weston Troubadour 350 amp and I definitely preferred them to the Gold Lions. 😀

 

So, who is the lucky 6sn7 out of the two? 

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51 minutes ago, crankit said:

 

So, who is the lucky 6sn7 out of the two? 


Well, the problem is they both sound like they might work.

 

So there’s only one way to find out, 

everyone’s a winner. 😂

 

As I mentioned originally I thought they where $300USD per set of six with close matching. Since they are $150 each, I bought both. The guy has a a lot of orders to get through, so it will take around a week for him to complete the order. 
 

Now, I just need to decide if I want to pay an additional $30USD for USPS priority shipping over the $40USD first class international. Everything seems to be taking 6 weeks or more to arrive from the US at the moment. 
 

 

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4 minutes ago, PMac76 said:

Well, the problem is they both sound like they might work.

 

That isn't a problem :) 

 

4 minutes ago, PMac76 said:

As I mentioned originally I thought they where $300USD per set of six with close matching. Since they are $150 each, I bought both. The guy has a a lot of orders to get through, so it will take around a week for him to complete the order. 

 

Prices sound good.  Maybe I should get some more chromies...  nah, got too many valves now :) 

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2 hours ago, aussievintage said:

Maybe I should get some more chromies...  nah, got too many valves now :) 

 

Send some of your stash down south. I'll take them. 🤭🤭🤭

 

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Well you asked for the best Peter and the people did not disappoint!

 

Mullard ECC32s - a beautiful tube - good luck finding a single.

 

GEC KT88s - a great tube - good luck again

 

GECTT21s - a better version of a KT88 - rarer than KT88s

 

Mullard fat base Blackburn GZ34s - I have only ever seen one!

 

Brimar 6SN7s with round plates - nice if you can find them

 

Tungsol nos 6SN7 - great tube

 

Be patient - save your US$30 on fast postage and just keep running them in.

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On 19/01/2021 at 5:31 PM, Red MacKay said:

Well you asked for the best Peter and the people did not disappoint!

 

Mullard ECC32s - a beautiful tube - good luck finding a single.

 

GEC KT88s - a great tube - good luck again

 

GECTT21s - a better version of a KT88 - rarer than KT88s

 

Mullard fat base Blackburn GZ34s - I have only ever seen one!

 

Brimar 6SN7s with round plates - nice if you can find them

 

Tungsol nos 6SN7 - great tube

 

Be patient - save your US$30 on fast postage and just keep running them in.


Thanks Red.

 

If you ever find any of the above or anything interesting in your treasure trove or your travels, you know who to talk to. 😀 


 

 

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