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  Shuguang Treasure tubes....
I'm not sure if this is in the right place but this is about the tubes in my amp so here goes....Has anyone else given these Shuguan Treasure tubes a try?

I recently bought a used tube amp(VAC Phi 110) and the tubes that came with it were shot so I started poking around for some new tubes. I was looking for some Shuguang tubes, which are what I believe VAC supplies as standard/stock, and ran across Shuguangs limited production Treasure tubes. I poked around and did some reading, found a review or two and decided to give the only distributer for N. America(Grant Fidelity) a call. I spoke to a very kind and helpful lady who was patient with me(quite the task I might add!), was very nice and helpful and was darn knowledgeable on the tubes. Before I knew it my wallet had leapt out of my back pocket and I had splurged and ordered a matched quad of the Treasure Tubes, KT-88s. Within a couple of hours I had a tracking number and about a week later a box labeled "FRAGILE: GLASS!" was waiting for me when I got home from work.(A quick side note; during the short wait for the Treasure tubes to arrive I was using a borrowed quad of stock VAC KT-88 tubes and they were wonderful, great sounding tubes that I could live with forever....or that is until I found the Treasure tubes anyway.)

When the Treasure tubes showed up I ripped into the box and was shocked to see that each pair comes in a really nice presentation box with each tube very well protected in a foam insert, very classy. I removed the tubes, admired their beauty(they really are sweet looking tubes!) and popped them in the VAC and let them warm up for about 15-20 minutes. I then set bias on them and hit the play button expecting the usual tube break in time-wrong!...right out of the box these tubes sound fantastic! Seriously, I am shocked how at just good they sound fresh out of the box. Smooth clean highs, strong deep bass and all the other audiophile words we so endear. If they're this good right out of the box I can't wait until I get 100 hours or so on them. I'm no reviewer but I can say that these tubes offered a noticable improvement in my system and are worth every penny of their asking price, no doubt about it! So far they are chugging along and sounding beautiful and hold a rock solid bias, ZERO fluctuation.

Please understand that I have no affiliation with Grant Fidelity but when I run across a company that treats their customers so well and offers a product that performs at this level I feel I should share my experience with others, I'm one VERY hapy audionut!

Yes I actually do have a question and here it is; They(Grant Fidelity/Shuguang) also offer a 6SN7 substitute called the "CV-181", this is supposed to be a direct replacement for standard 6SN7's and I'm very interested in those as well. Has anyone else had the opportunity to give these tubes a try? Thanks for your replies.

Johngp  (Reviews | Threads | Answers | This Thread)

  Responses (51-108 of 108)
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09-09-09: Jcspinks
The Treasures are still stunning. My fellow audiophile friend was over Monday for a four-hour listening session and was blown away. He thought that the soundstage and musicality was like never before, ranking the sound among the best he had ever heard (we go to many audiophile demonstrations and shows here in SoCal). Of course it is not just the tubes, but they made a substantial positive difference. I couldn't be more proud and pleased.
Jcspinks  (Answers | This Thread)

09-20-09: Maxmad
How would Treasures KT88 compare to Black Plated Tung Sols 6550?

Maxmad  (Threads | Answers | This Thread)

11-19-09: Cousinbillyl
Just recieved two pairs of CV181-Z 'A' Tubes from Grant Fidelity. They came in nice boxes, way over packed, and quick. I then tested them on my own Amplitrex 1000 tube tester, and, folks, these are the most closely matched tubes I have ever bought. My listening room is in the process of being completed, so I have no listening results for you, but I am excited. When completed, I will listen to my TS Round Plate 6SN7's first, then install the treasures. Hope to get back to you within a month. Cousin Billy.
Cousinbillyl  (Threads | Answers | This Thread)

12-03-09   Cousin, please do keep us posted, very interested in these b ...   Johngp

12-07-09   I bought a quad of kt88 from singapore for the price of usd2 ...   Promitheusaudio

12-07-09: Sibelius
I just got a pair of Treasure 2A3's that I put in over the weekend. They may not have broken in yet but I find them a little more aggressive than the NOS RCA's I have been using. Better extention on the top and bottom and more of a forward presentation. Good complement to the more laid back RCA's.
Sibelius  (System | Threads | Answers | This Thread)

01-15-10: Sherod
I finally had a good month in my work and made enough extra income to finally buy a matched quad of the Shuguang KT88-Z Treasure Series. Only two hours in my VAC amps so I will jump back onto this thread after sufficient break-in and/or if I experience an epiphany. So far, I can hear some potential but similar break-in to previous Shuguang Kt88-98 and KT88SC models. Stay tuned...
Sherod  (Threads | Answers | This Thread)

04-04-10   You guys need to update us on the tubes you are burning in. ...   Glory

04-05-10: Honest1
OK, I've been meaning to get to this, thnaks for the prod. NOTICE: I used the old blue glass tubes, without the black coating inside. These were early production / prototypes, which are no longer available, but are supposed ot be very similar to the final (presumably better) black coated treasures. Using these in a pair of AtmaSphere MA1s, I found the Treasure CV181Zs to be on par with any of the old tubes I have used. I would not say better or worse, and I ended up using a combination of tubes to get the best sound. The Treasures have a nice even response, a lot of resolution, and an airiness. When I loaded up my MA1s w/ 4pair of theTreasures, though, it was too bright. It did take a while for me to figure it out, but adding in some Sylvnia WGT and RCA smoked glass resulted in a nicer sound.
The other thing that might surprise you about these tubes is their size. They use the same size bottle usually found on KT88s, and are quite impressive looking when you pull them out of the box. Make sure they will fit before you buy them. I stocked up on the blue glass ones, because I think beeing able to see the anode plates and the filament glow is an important part of owning tube gear, and I like the look of the blue glass. The opaque black tubes look cool in their own way, but I like to see inside.

Honest1  (Threads | Answers | This Thread)

04-06-10: Glory

Thanks for your feedback. The TS RP to me is the best 6sn7. Have you done an A/B with them and the Treasure?

Glory  (System | Threads | Answers | This Thread)

04-07-10   No, i have not tried any ts rps. i've been intimidated by t ...   Honest1

04-24-10: Jtimothya
The Shuguang Treasure CV181Z is relatively new on the market and while the literature and reports say the quality is there, they are rather pricey. Newer Russian and Chinese 6SN7s can have a shorter lifespan than tubes from the 50's and 60's. Does anyone have information on real or projected lifespan for the ST CV181Z? TIA
Jtimothya  (Threads | Answers | This Thread)

04-25-10: Grantfidelity
The Treasure tubes lifespan:
- large power tubes - 3,000-5,000 hours under normal use
- preamp tubes - 5,000-8,000 hours under normal use

If the tubes were tested properly when sold, a good quality pair should last to its full lifespan.

Grant Fidelity is the first international distributor selling Shuguang Treasure tubes since Jan 2009. Out of the hundreds we have sold, the good quality ones (A grade) never have any one fail to now except occasional shipping related damage, which is replaced right away. No A grade tube fail yet during consumer's use. We have only sold B grade for 6 months - hard to tell how long B grade is going to last but price is largely discounted for anticipated shorter life due to inferior test results.

Sample tube test results are available at dedicated Treasure tube website:

Grantfidelity  (Answers | This Thread)

04-25-10   Thank you for the follow-up!   Jtimothya

06-03-10   Bought the cv181z a brand and one tube was making a wind sto ...   Glory

06-09-10: Thehub
I purchased 8 KT88's and 4 CV181Z's, all Shuguang Black Treasure grade A tubes, from Grant Fidelity about two weeks ago for my Cary 120S amp. The CV181Z's replaced the EH 6SN7 driver and input tubes. The KT88's replaced EH output tubes. I drive the 120S with a Cary SLP 03 with stock EH tubes (am awaiting TJ Full Music 12AU7's to replace the EH stock tubes). The speakers are Harbeth Compact 7 ES3's. The sound from the stock EH tubes was very nice, no complaints but as one who is always looking for a little more, I ran across a few reviews of the Treasure series tubes and decided to give them a try. I contacted Rachel at Grant Fidelity (wonderfull people to deal with) and had the above mentioned tubes about a week later. My initial impressions were "Wow, they sound pretty darn good right out of the box". They have about 95 hours on them now and continue to improve. I am at a loss for words trying to explain how much of an improvement they have made. The little Cary sounds like one of there SET amps but with a very powerfull bottom end. The music seems to flow out of a solid black background with a naturalness that has to be heard to be believed. I am learning to live wih goose-bumps all over again. I am usually a fairly skeptical person but I believe I have stumbled upon something very special. If anything changes (good or bad) I will post further thoughts. Dave
Thehub  (Answers | This Thread)

10-02-10   The cv181-z is not disappointing me in the least now that it ...   Glory

10-02-10   I have had the kt88s in my ayon spirit for a couple of month ...   Leatherneck1812

10-02-10: 213cobra
I'm listening to a matched quad of Shuguang Treasure KT66 in Quad II Jubilee monoblocks. Right out of the box they are bold, beautiful, dimensioned, toneful and quiet. The improvement ramp on burn-in is quite steep: they were a little creamy for the first 40 minutes but by the end of the second hour they asserted their jump factor in high-definition transients. The Jubilee amps have only sounded this good with NOS Genelex KT66 in the past. Recommended.


213cobra  (System | Reviews | Threads | Answers | This Thread)

10-25-10: Coltrane1
I'm using a Grant Fidelity 3400 300B integrated with Shuguang Black Treasure 300B's in a secondary system driving a pair of Cain & Cain Abby's. Why is this not my primary system? Well, I'd need more gusto to drive CLS iiz's, but make no mistake if you're driving speakers that are 96dB effecient that combo would serve a normal person extremely well. GREAT TUBES those black magic Shuguangs are!
Coltrane1  (Threads | Answers | This Thread)

01-22-11   Will the cv181zs fit in an atma-sphere mp3 preamp with the c ...   Pubul57

01-22-11: Hifiman5
I am reclining in my listening room thoroughly enjoying The Rite of Spring due in no small measure to the Psvane 12AU7 Reference Vacuum tubes. I just recently purchased these new production tubes manufactured under tight tolerances in the Shuguang tube facility in China. The Psvanes replaced gold pin EH 12AU7s. The EHs were good sounding tubes in my heavily modified cj tube line stage. The Psvane's bring a whole new "sophistication" to all aspects of sound. Most notable is a complete lack of "glassiness" in the upper midrange and treble, a smoothness to the musical texture without any loss in detail. The soundstage is open and natural. Bass is powerful and tight. These tubes are very quiet, a characteristic missing in my trials with NOS Mullards. Yes, they were warm and "musical" but the several pairs I used were always noisy...losing their vacuum?
Hifiman5  (System | Threads | Answers | This Thread)

01-23-11   Ok _ what the heck is a psvane and wheere do we get them? a ...   Honest1

01-23-11: Honest1
Has anyone tried the Ming Da onion-shaped 6sn7? I've not seen much information about them, but they are supposed to use materials normally used in 300B tubes, and look really cool. But they are a bit pricey, I think they are $80 each, I think they are made in the Shuguang factory.
Honest1  (Threads | Answers | This Thread)

01-23-11: Pubul57
What the heck is a PSVane and wheere do we get them?

Shuguangs's reference line of small signal tubes. Grant Fidelity carries them too.

Pubul57  (System | Threads | Answers | This Thread)

01-23-11   The height of my cv181 is 3.70" from the deck of my ma1 ...   Honest1

01-23-11   Thank you, i:, getting the ruler....   Pubul57

02-12-11: Honest1
OK, I guess I'm a tube addict. I bought a pair of the Ming Da 6SN7 onion-shaped tubes. I have been using them in my AtmaSphere MA1s for a couple weeks now, and I think they may be outstanding. They replaced a pair of blue glass (early prototypes before the final black glass version) Treasure tubes. They are used in a mix of Sylvania/Phillips WGTAs, RCA black glass, and TungSol 50's era tubes. I want to revisit plugging in some of the other types, but I am getting the most natural detailed yet non-aggressive sound I've ever gotten.
Honest1  (Threads | Answers | This Thread)

05-24-11   Second the comments about grantfidelity folks (especially ra ...   Podeschi

05-31-11: Bigredplane
I've been looking for someone who trid both the Old (NOS)Mullard ECC32(CV181) to the new CV181-Z. Couldn't find anyone. So I'm going to do it myself. I have some NOS ECC32 in a Cary SLI-80. I just got some Shuguang CV181-Z's grade A there best, in the mail today. I have them playing right now. I'm going to give them about ten hours before I listen. That the hard part. If anyone interested I can update with my opinion.

Bigredplane  (Threads | Answers | This Thread)

05-31-11   Bigredplane, from my experience and many others, bt cv181-z ...   Knghifi

06-01-11   If i get a pair of cv181-z, while breaking them in on my pre ...   Rockadanny

06-01-11   If runs in class a, you just need to power on and don't need ...   Knghifi

06-01-11: Jriggy
I have the same question regarding the BT KT-88's... I have an Ayon Triton II(with shuguang BT's) arriving in a couple weeks and am curious if these will take the standard 300 hour break in as well. I'm asumming they would have the same basic metals and components and will take the same as the CV181's to settle in...but getting confirmation would help my break in plans.
Jriggy  (Threads | Answers | This Thread)

06-01-11   Jriggy, i have the ayon spirit 2 and yesterday received the ...   Facten

06-01-11: Bigredplane
Well it's been 24hrs on my Shuguang CV181-Z's grade A's I'm comparing them to my NOS Mullard ECC32 CV181. My frist thoughts are the Shuguang CV181-Z's have a wider soundstage by about 2 feet. I'm not noticing any deeper soundstage yet. This my be because they are better matched. Nobody has 1000's of the Mullard ECC32 to pick from. They are a littler clearer sounding but could sand to open up yet, but it's early only 24hrs in the books. The bass my be a little tighter on the Shuguang CV181-Z's. The top end on the CV181-Z is a little edgey or bright. Cymbals don't sound brassy yet like they do on the Mullards they sound tinny. I hope this goes away with time. The hole tube top to bottom just sounds tight. They are showing good potential, but the Mullards are the better sounding tube at this piont. But it my take up to 300hrs to get the Shuguang CV181-Z's broken-in. My Mullards have about 150hrs on them. My test amp is a Cary SLI-80 Here something else I noticed the power supply on the amp is running cooler with the Shuguang even though the C181-Z are rated to draw only 50ma less then the Mullards just something think about.


Bigredplane  (Threads | Answers | This Thread)

06-06-11: Honest1
What is BT? Is it a new variant of hte Treasure, or the same black glass treasure as usual?
Honest1  (Threads | Answers | This Thread)

06-06-11: Bigredplane
Well after 100 plus hours on the New CV181-z. I think they went to soft for me. They sound a little dark to my ears compared NOS Mullards ECC32 The new CV181-Z are good but to me not as good as the NOS Mullards but this is just in my system. It needed a little brighting up. In a set-up that doesn't need that the new Shuguang Treasure CV181Z my be the better tube. The soundstage turned out to the same, side to side and front to back. Both big compared to any other 6SN7 I've tried.
Bigredplane  (Threads | Answers | This Thread)

06-06-11   I have read that those tubes need 300+ hours to break-in, i' ...   Wig

06-07-11   I agree with wig, this tube will get better with further bre ...   Charles1dad

06-07-11: Facten
Honest 1 - BT was my abbreviation for the black treasure tubes
as you described

Facten  (System | Threads | Answers | This Thread)

06-07-11   I just retubed my stingray ii with eight psvane el84s. i lik ...   Wrm57

06-08-11   Well i can keep them running but i have my doubts. i have be ...   Bigredplane

06-08-11   "well after 100 plus hours on the new cv181-z. i think ...   Phaelon

06-08-11: Jtimothya
Well after 100 plus hours on the New CV181-z. I think they went to soft for me. They sound a little dark to my ears compared NOS Mullards ECC32 The new CV181-Z are good but to me not as good as the NOS Mullards but this is just in my system.

My experience too ... yes they are good tubes, I'd put them sonically on par with a Sylvania GTB, which, at their retail or discounted eBay price, stretches the value equation. I really was hoping for a modern 6SN7 compatible tube that could give me what I hear from a late-fourties early-fifties era Ken-Rad, Sylvania, RCA, or Raytheon VT-231 or GT. Those have magic, the Shuguang CV181-Z not so much. Still I'm glad to see a tube manufacturer pay attention to sonics and I hope Shuguang or New Sensor or someone else redoubles effort for the 6SN7 grail.

Jtimothya  (Threads | Answers | This Thread)

06-09-11   I've heard a few people mention that the bt cv181's swing wi ...   Jriggy

06-10-11   Well i be gone for the weekend. so i won't report again unti ...   Bigredplane

06-11-11: Audiofeil
>>01-23-11: Pubul57
What the heck is a PSVane and where do we get them?
Shuguangs's reference line of small signal tubes. Grant Fidelity carries them too<<

I just picked up a pair of 12AX7 from an alternate supplier; will fire them up next week and give a listen.

Audiofeil  (Threads | Answers | This Thread)

06-11-11   Look forward to hearing you thoughts on them. still using th ...   Pubul57

06-11-11   I tried the 12ax7 in my mac c2300 when i had it. i thought t ...   Wrm57

07-10-11: Bigredplane
Well better late then never. But the Shuguang CV181-Z's grade A's just can't keep up with Mullards ECC32 gray plates. I ran the Shuguang CV181-Z's grade A's for 400+ hrs they never got any better with time. The CV181-z has less detail. The sound stage is almost as good but yet not there. If your system is on the bright side then give them a try, but if not I wouldn't go there. The test was done with a Cary Audio SLI-80 with EAT 6922 and some of the new Gold Loin KT88's

PS: I also trid some of the EAT KT88's. IMO way over rated. I sold them and keeping my Gold Loins. But I do Like the EAT 6922 they are the best I have ever heard. Like I said this is IMO. I have been using tube amps and preamps for 25 yrs now and rolling tubes.

Bigredplane  (Threads | Answers | This Thread)

05-03-14   I too own a vac phi and replaced kevin's stock 6sn7's with t ...   Dr_john

05-05-14: Hifimaniac
I responded to a more recent question abou the KT-88s from Psvane which are the direct competitor to the Treasure series. Both are manufactured in the Shaguang factory and look to be almost virtually the same. I too purchased a quad set of the Psvanes from Grant Audio; they talk such a good game at how they match and choose the best of the best. I have a friend who owns one of the very best tube testers ever built (name not on my tongue) but I wanted to check the quality of the Grant Audio matched quad. First off, they were not even closed to being matched! Secondly and more disheartening, two of the four didn't even test as new! They were weak. So, so much for Grant Fidelity's big claims of picking the best; my quads didn't even come close and sadly were not even matched as promised. I won't do business with them again after that. I guess all these companies assuring matched quads are not truly doing so.
Hifimaniac  (System | Reviews | Threads | Answers | This Thread)

08-12-14   Factories only match ia, never consider mutual conductance ( ...   Soshs

11-10-15: Tzh21y
I bought a quad of kt 88z treasure tubes from grant fidelity. I am not impressed so far. They sound like old tubes. I put back kt 88s that came with the mc 275. How long do they take to break in? I will be honest,I have about 10 hours on them.
Tzh21y  (System | Reviews | Threads | Answers | This Thread)

11-10-15   Wow, all of a sudden they sound great. what a difference a ...   Tzh21y

11-10-15   My 6sn7's are noisy. but once i get the music flowing, i do ...   Abucktwoeighty

11-10-15   I just turned them on again and they seem muddy sounding aga ...   Tzh21y

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