12AU7 Genalex or Psvane for Cayin Hybrid Integrated H80A


In my search, I haven't found much that directly compares Genalex to Psvane 12AU7 recently. So far, I have had the Cayin OEM, Electro Harmonix, & Genalex, and my favorite is Genalex - quieter, smoother & more dynamic than the previous two.

I am now interested in trying Psvane purely out of curiosity & because it is within my budget for now. Not really interested in spending much more.

BTW, if you require system details, look for my Gallery at US Audio Mart site under member name ejc_xrx.

Thanks in advance for any input.
ericjcabrera
I would pick the VANE 12AU7 over the GL.
If you want a bit warmer sound, try a set of GE 5814 triple micas, they are a really nice tube.

best
I am not a tube expert, but I have actually listened to a PSVANE 12au7.  They are excellent tubes.  The PSVANE is not a warm sounding tube like some others.  It is definitely a very high resolution and detailed tube.  I think it's even better than the Electro-Harmonix.  The Electro-Harmonix is another high resolution and detailed tube, but it could be seen as somewhat sterile when compared to the PSVANE.   I have no idea how the sound compares to the Genalex.
johnss,
How does the ’VANE’ compare to GL? Don’t know if GE 5814 is compatible w/ my H80A. I do feel GL is warmer than EH in my system. EH is ’harder’ by comparison - more listener fatigue; GL much less fatigue.

auxinput,
I do prefer the warmth of the GL currently running; was put off by EH hardness once I replaced them w/ GL; didn’t know the difference until the swap. Was pleasantly surprised w/ 1st listen of GL. I am somewhat hesitant to go w/ Psvane since some say they are bright - but perhaps system dependent.

I already have incredible resolution/detail, and dynamics with very tight bass, yet still warm sounding to my ears. I may want to try something different, hence the Psvane under consideration.

Anyone actually carry these in stock near the Pacific Northwest? I am only finding them available to order online coming from HK/China.
How is the 12AU7 used in the Cayin, is it a phase splitter?
Just now discovered Viva Tubes with their 12au7 offerings. I think I may prefer to order from them since they are in mainland US. I would rather not have to wait for weeks on end for products from HK. However, Viva, although they do carry Psvane brand, they do not have the Psvane 12au7 even listed.

What others do you recommend considering in addition to Gold Lion & Psvane?
nitewulf,
Apologies, I'm not sure what a phase splitter is, but the H80A is a hybrid with a TUBE preamp section & SS power amp section. The 2 tubes 12au7 are input tubes for the preamp section.
-E

FWIW, I run Psvane Premium Grade 12AU7 in my Jadis dac, Lamm LL2.1 preamp and my Quicksilver M120s, have tried a lot of others and have settled on the Psvane every time. That slow boat from China has gotten much quicker than in the past and $80.00 for a pair ain't bad.
tooblue,
Thanks for the rec'; what others did you try before settling on Psvane?
-E
The Gold Lions by Genalex, some nos tubes, 3 sets, lent to me by friends, the stock tubes in all pieces and a set of tubes labeled VAC that came in a previous preamp of mine and proved to be as good as the Psvanes for different reasons so don't hesitate to research their origin from VAC. Good luck and please post what you settled on and how you like your final choice. Happy listening.
Please note, the emphasis here is on Psvane Premium Grade, their lesser rated tubes are just that lesser to different degrees.
Why waste your $$$ on these new production tubes? Even the best won't last as long (or perform well for as long) as a halfway decent pair of NOS tubes. Call Andy at Vintage Tube Services. Tell him the sound you prefer and he can hook you up with a very nice pair of NOS 12au7s that will measure and perform better than any of these Chinese relabels, and for </~$100. Spend a few dollars more now and you may never have to buy another pair. 
I use nos mullards in my h80. Sounds fantastic. I’ve also used nos rca clear tops for a slightly more detailed, higher resolution sound. I would buy vintage tubes from a reliable source like Brent Jesse. 
I have psvanne 12ax7 and 12au7 in my phono and pre, and their 6sn7 in my power.  they all share a similar lineage: detailed, crystal clear highs, tight bass, neutral, quiet, and reliable. I agree with auxinput, not a warm tube so system matching, as always, is important. But for my pre and power combo I much prefer vanes over the stock Shuguang, or any of the other tubes that I’ve tried - Electro Harmonix, NOS RCA’s, Sovteks, JJs, and Tungsols .

Have only used golden lion KT88’s in an earlier amp and did quite like them, more so than several alternatives I also tried. But I had reliability issues so moved on. That was a long time ago so they may well have solved the problem.

Like Helomech said look also at NOS tubes.


I have tried the Psvane 12AX7LS in a Audio Note tube AMP.  Amazing detail , hugh soundstage (larger them live b.t.w.). 

But the image was flat as a pancake. No depth it blows in your fase. For me that is very boring. Tried many of the new 12 serie tubes (lost money on the experiment) but at the end I ended up with NOS Philips. 


You dont need to spend the extra money on rare tubes. I did because of the expiriiment and fun and I like to do resaerch myself. 

This time the investment is more solid. NOS tube value can grow over time.  I have more hours of tube life than I have probably left myself. I also have to keep the Audio Note or stay with an 12AX an EL84 Amps to burn them all. Not that smart ;-)

As we all know every brand or with tubes. sometime even the same brand by year or production facility sound different. 

 I like midrange, depth , information and microdetails with real sounding  timbre. In General and for me in this Amp with EL84 NOS telefunken as drives the Philips line has in that aspect the best price / value match. 

I will not sum up all the tubes I have or have tried. I will never know them all and I am fine with that.  

I is just a lead and encouragement to look at NOS tubes. My experiment showes that the Philips line is sound and price wise value for money.



While I have limited experience in Tube rolling. I replaced Sovtek Tubes in one my Pre-Amps with Psvane 12AX7's & 12AU7's. Initially much more resolving but very bright. After 70 or so hours the brightness subsided. Very quiet, highly resolving Tubes, better dimensionality, soundstage, musicality etc. Very happy with the Psvane's so far. In no hurry to try others in the immediate future.
So for those who are recommending NOS, other than those already mentioned (Andy, Brent), who else are reliable & trustworthy? I do want to try NOS someday even though I feel my system is almost perfect in every aspect of sound quality I value. BTW, I highly value a deep & wide soundstage, intrinsic detail retrieval (instrument/vocal(s) placement & separation), and full accurate tight bass. But I also enjoy a warm & engaging sound that will not fatigue - I listen for hours on end.

I really haven’t done much tube rolling after this last set of GL, which when initially installed sounded absolutely glorious. They were not bright or hard or glassy; right out of the gate they were just sublime. I have had them in for at least a year or more now & their character has not changed. I probably have nearly 500 hours or more on them & Im still floored by them.

If Psvane’s are bright out of the gate, I may not even want to try them. Not to imply that after 50 to 100 hours or so I may not actually like them, but I am somewhat skeptical about burn in time. Only because in my limited experience or perhaps it is with my system, waiting hundreds of hours for the tubes to settle in has not really the case for me. And this has applied to the tubes in all three of my components that use tubes; Integrated, CD player & Phone Stage. They all, btw, have GL at the moment.
Andy, Brent, ... Jim McShane.
ericjcabrera ,

if you want a warmer sound then try out a set of the Shuguang Nature sound tubes.

They have a lot of that Mullard warm midrange, and not at all a typical chinese tube. Very easy to listen to all day long.

Both PSVANE and Shuguang reverse engineered the great tubes out of Europe. determine what metalurgy was used on the construction of the tube and tried to re create those highly sough after valves.

For 30 bucks a pop you can't go wrong if you like that Mullard sound,.



Hi Eric,

My current amp is a Cayin CS-100a and I have the 12au7 Psvane and I'm very happy with it. Other 12au7 tubes I have and tried are: Genalex, NOS Tungsol, NOS Sylvania but somehow I keep going back to the Psvanes. The NOS tungsol are very good if you like a warm sounding 12au7.

I completely agree with initforthemusic, it is a highly resolving tube. It can sound a tad bright depending on what other preamp tubes you're using, as always synergy is key. Initially I found it too bright and "shouty" even, which is why I experimented and tried other 12au7's. 

It took me a couple of months to find my winning preamp tube combination and the Psvane's are definitely a mainstay. In my experience it was all about achieving the right balance of detail and warmth and I got that with the Psvane. Hope this helps!


@ericjcabrera

If you can get past the initial brightness of the Psvanes, then once they settle in IME the Psvanes are a real winner. After the 70 hours they have that "Goldilocks" "Just Right" signature sound to them, at least in my Set up. I feel they do favour resolution over warmth, so may not be entirely what you after, but they are not a cold sounding tube, pretty neutral in that respect. Where it suits me in the Vincent SA-T8 Pre. is depending what Source I use, most of my sources are on the "warmish" side. I feel for the money the Psvanes would be extremely hard to beat in Dimensionality, quietness, micro/macro dynamics, black background and resolution. They reproduce instruments and voices beautifully throughout the whole audio spectrum.

I also rolled a Quad of Psvanes 12AX7's in my DOGE 8 Phono Stage. Made only a small improvement over the supplied no-name Chinese tubes, feel that the the Doge 8 has an average Phono stage. And this may be the secret. The better the Component the better the Psvane's perform? Possibly the massive leap in performance in the Vincent SA-T8 Pre. over the supplied Tubes, might be due to that it is an outstanding Pre. Certainly the best I've heard at anywhere near it's cost and a lot more, and might be allowing the Psvanes to really shine?

Soon I'm going to roll a quad of Psvane 12AX7's in my Unison Research CDE CD Player replacing the stock Electro Harmonix Tubes. Will be interesting. Unsure how much difference rolling Tubes in CD Players makes?


OP - contact Upscale Audio. Read the tube reviews (by users!) on their website before you call them. Bought many tubes over the years from them for my tube phono, pre and power amps. Have fun!
Wow, much food for thought here; thanks folks. Haven’t yet pulled the trigger on any 12au7 yet. Making phone calls on those NOS experts, but still open to differing opinions / observations.

Very curious how a true NOS tube will fair in my system, since I have never tried any NOS tube. Concerned mostly with noise that some report NOS tubes exhibit, but then again that concern may apply to just about any tube.

One thing for certain, I do not like bright overly detailed. My preference is warm, full bodied, and awesome bass; dare I say, 'Dark' . . . so maybe NOS Mullard will be my cup of tea?
Hi,

NOS Mullards have a stellar reputation, don’t think you could go wrong with it provided they’re in good condition. Based on what you described NOS Mullards and NOS Tungsol’s would fit the bill.

I change my preamp tubes from time to time between NOS and new prods and sometimes a combination of both just to experiment. Tube rolling can make one go crazy!




Very curious how a true NOS tube will fair in my system, since I have never tried any NOS tube. Concerned mostly with noise that some report NOS tubes exhibit, but then again that concern may apply to just about any tube.
NOS are less noisy than the typical new-production tube. They’re also far more reliable. I have a pair of RCA 12au7s that were manufactured in the 50s, and a pair that were manufactured during WWII. Both perform better than the pairs of new-production tubes they replaced. Unlike many technologies, tube manufacture has not improved over the last few decades, quite the contrary in fact. Some of the Chinese factories have improved their QC in recent years, but the reliability and build quality of their tubes still pales in comparison.

On second thought, please stick to new production tubes. Stay far, far away from NOS tubes, you should want nothing to do with them. They’re absolutely terrible!


OP If you have any questions on which are good tubes or which are the right tubes for your H80A, feel free to ask me. I am the importer for Cayin equipment.
BTW, for NOS, Upscale Audio is recommending Brimar over Mullard NOS. Anyone with Brimar experience?
OP,Like you I am brand new to tubes. So much new that I just ordered a pair of Genalex 12AU7 and I don't even have the tracking number from Music Direct :-)
milpai,

Are you tube rolling too? My experience with Genalex Gold Lions have been very positive; hope you have the same experience. I have not yet pulled the trigger on Psvane's; they may not be what I am after. I may just go for the Brimar's only because of what is being said about them compared to Mullard's.

ericjcabrera
Yes @ericjcabrera. I am fine with the Mullards that came with the preamp. But want to try the Genalex for a "new flavor". Since I decided to get tubes, I am thinking why not tube roll and experience the "fun" that people talk about.
another one to consider is the Raytheon black plates. They are open and extended without any brightness.

In most apps, the 5814 should be an ok sub for a 12AU7,
RCA black plate 5814s are also nice sounding tubes.
Not knocking the GLs at all. They are nice tubes, just a bit different sound than the others. Also don't forget the orig Mullard UK ECC82s and Bugle Boys out of Holland. Both are nice tubes.
@ericjcabrera,
I receive the Genalex Gold Lions and installed them in my preamp. Even though they are new, they sound more "lively" with a much better presence than the Mullards that came with my preamps. Not that the Mullards sounded hollow, but the Genalex sound more full bodied.One of my misconceptions with "tubes" were that they were "delicate and could be easily shattered". Man tubes are sturdy. I was a bit worried to "rock and shake" the tubes out of the sockets to remove them. Similarly to put them back, you have to do the same and keep pressing them "in" so that they "fit right".
Anyone that doubts runin time on tube ,cables ,or electronics ,
Have either a hearing problem, no experience or both !!