The Create Audio 5AR4/GZ34 is "supposed" to be quite good. I've heard/read mixed reviews. I haven't tried one yet, but might.
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There has been a flurry of posting recently about the Create Synergy 5AR4. I'm using the tube in my ModWright Sony, and prefer it to my 1969 vintage Blackburn Mullard. In my opinion, it is a real find, since the old Mullards are getting to be hard to find and kind of expensive. It is not a sweet, tubey tube, so if that is what you are looking for you will be disappointed. The create is the only tube I have found that offers the dynamics of the Mullards. The create tubes are offered for sale on audiogon. Check username fork.
Mlsstl, you got me. I'm not an ee. I would have expected this from an output tube, not an ee. I had my ModWright for some time before I started rolling rectifier tubes, because I was skeptical. I tried a couple different new production tubes, got ripped off on a vintage Mullard, then finally got a good Blackburn Mullard. A short time thereafter, my back ordered Create tube arrived. All I can say is a number of people have found this tube to their liking, but not everyone.
I also swapped my vintage Mullard (RCA) for the Create Audio tube in my Modwright player. Right out of the box to my ears it sounded as good as the Mullard and with some run in it will only get better. The 5AR4 tubes last a long time so once you find one you like you are set. With the Create tube you don't have to worry about dealing with all the vintage tube stuff as Brownsfan indicated and it won't cost an arm and a leg.
I have the Modwright tube Oppo 83 and it uses a 5AR4 in the power supply unit. I'm using a vintage Mullard and really enjoy the sound. I haven't done much tube rolling. All the recent posting about Create's rectifier tube sure has got me curious about how it would sound. I like the idea of getting out of vintage tubes due to raising prices and increasingly harder to find.
For the 6SN7 tubes in my Oppo I had some amazing sounding NOS Sylvania's and then tried some new stock Sophia Electric and never looked back. They were way more open, dynamic and lively than the nos I had.
Erndog I am also using the Sophia as my 6SN7 tube and also haven't looked back for my Modwright / Sony.
Jburidan I will be keeping my RCA (Mullard) as a back up to my Create tube. As a reference point I use Vintage Tube Service for any NOS stuff. I have no economic interest in them but am a satisfied customer.
I have been rolling rectifier tubes in my Allnic H 3000 phono power supply- the standard chinese tube didn't sound bad, but the unit wasn't really broken in much; an old Tung-Sol sounded very good; I still have to try the RCA NOS and am currently running a Mullard Fat Base first series, which sound terrific. I haven't tried any tubes that are currently manufactured, apart from the Chinese tube mentioned above.
I could be wrong, but the Create Audio 5AR4 looks like a relabeled Shuguang.
Whart, "I haven't tried any tubes that are currently manufactured, apart from the Chinese tube mentioned above."
If it's the standard Shuguang 5AR4, the Mullard provides a good step up in sonics. The JJ also will, and in most of the applications I've tried, sounds almost as good as the Mullard. Unfortunately, the Shuguang has proven much more rugged in comparison to. The JJ tend to arc over at conditions the Mullard and Shuguang do not.
Trelja- according to the importer of the Allnic, the factory supplied tube was a Shuguang 5Z3PJ. I can't say i listened to it critically, because the unit was burning in at the time. I have a whole pile of vintage rectifier tubes including a couple more of the factory supplied Shuguang. The fat base Mullard first series, which was pricey, sounds lovely, particularly now that I have several hundred hours on the unit, and the step up transformers have broken in. Interestingly, this piece doesn't require any tube rolling on the audio circuitry, only in the power supply. And, I've been playing with various types of physical isolation for the power supply- I did a blind test with my wife as the beta-tester, and she heard noticeable differences in various cones, footers and isolators on the PS. It all makes a difference.
Well I pulled the trigger on the Create 5AR4 tube for my Modwright Oppo 83 and it replaced a vintage Mullard. Since getting the Create, I have no desire to put the Mullard back in. Music sounds cleaner with more detail and a little less warmth compared to the Mullard.
It's all about system synergy, so this tube will not be a good match for some systems.
I'm hardly an expert on this, but in debates over the merits of various
rectifier tubes for my phono stage power supply, one well informed industry
person brought up the topic of voltage drop or sag. I know anecdotally
about this from the musical instrument amplifier world- guitarists often want
a tube that that ultimately compresses when pushed, to give it a distinct
(albeit distorted) sound. One of the differences, for example, between a re-
creation Marshall guitar amp that has solid state rectification and one that
still uses a tube. For hi-fi, you don't want that. :)
In any event, some of the differences in sound may be attributable to such
characteristics. Differences in circuit design as it applies to this are beyond
my pay grade. There are various sources for rectifier tube data sheets free
on the Net. You should consult the manufacturer of your equipment too if
there are questions.
From what I have been able to determine the NOS Mullard I am using (first
series fat base) has different voltage characteristics than other vintage
Also, don't assume that because the tubes of different designations can be
swapped, that they are appropriate for your particular device. Again,
beyond my competence, but a little due diligence on various tube
charactistics may be advisable, as well as consulting with your
If someone else here has more knowledge on the last subject, they are
welcome to chime in.
BTW, I decided to purchase the Create/Synergy 5AR4 after corresponding with Srajan Ebean from 6 Moons who has used them in the Modwright LS100 and found them to sound less romantic and more neutral, detailed and dynamic than the Mullards. Since my system leans slightly to the warm side I figured I'd give it a try. I'll see whether his experience bears out in my system.
Please keep us posted. The reason you stated above,
"found them to sound less romantic and more neutral, detailed and dynamic than the Mullards".
is why I haven't tried one yet. I really like the warmer more romantic sound of the Mullard. I'm a little afraid of losing that with the Create. Anxious to hear your take on it.
Mofimadness, The create tubes are reasonably priced compared to what I paid for my vintage Mullard. It is not an expensive experiment to try one out. Even if you don't like it as well as the Mullard, its probably worth having as a very good back up to have for when the Mullard gets weak.
I held on to my vintage Mullard because its not unlikely that at some point down the road, I'll find it has better synergy with my system than the Create, though I prefer the Create in my current set up. Also, the time draws near when the vintage mullards will be impossible to find, so I feel pretty good about having a good strong mullard sitting on the shelf.
The Create has its virtues. Very dynamic and a very low noise floor. Jet black background. Detailed, but not bright. It does not have that lushious, romantic, tubey sound, but surprisingly, I don't really miss that so much as you might expect. I encourage you to run the experiment and see for yourself.
Thanks for the comments. I guess the only way to know for sure is to try it. You're right, the Create tube isn't that much money compared to others.
I bought a lifetime supply of the Mullard 5AR4 tubes when I first got my preamp, (actually before I even got the unit), so I am set for awhile with them.
I'll wait to hear what Mark has to say about the Create, then maybe try one.
Sorry this has taken so long but summer vacation and then a pretty thorough testing process has left me with these conclusions:
I did a direct comparison of the following 5AR4's: My vintage Mullard (Blackburn), Create/Synergy and the stock Sovtek that came with my LS100. I swapped each tube in and listened to the same set of recordings (four titles of different genres)over a two day period.
First, are differences between the three tubes are apparent but they are slight. I found a more significant change (to the positive) swapping the stock 6SN7's with the Sophia Electrics. Not sure if this is a function of the degree to which the rectifier tube can impact the sound or simply that the sonic difference between these rectifier tubes is less significant.
Having said that, I did feel that the Mullard and the Create tube outperformed the Sovtek in my system--the latter sounding a bit lifeless by comparison. In my system, the differences between the Mullard and the Create are quite interesting. The Mullard has a vintage warmth and glow but is less resolving. The Create does a better job differentiating between musical lines and instruments in the mix. It is a very clear, clean tube but does not have any edge or glare. My system leans a tad toward the warm side and the LS100 has a distinct touch of tube sound. In my setup I prefer the Create tube. It brings a measure of realism, insight and detail to the music that the Mullard cannot touch. Whether the Create would sound superior in a system that leans toward the cool and analytical is an open question. It may, under those circumstances, deprive the music of some body and warmth that is needed to sound real. For my system it is a no-brainer so the Create it is. If anyone wants my Mullard just shoot me an email and we can work out a price.
Mofi--I'll be interested in your take. I could see how people could come to different conclusions with these two tubes depending upon their listening preferences and system makeup. You really can't go wrong with either. What's nice is that the Create now offers a different flavor for a higher performing tube in the rectifier spot.
Dodgealum, Your findings in comparing the Blackburn Mullard and Create synergy 5AR4 in your LS 100 parallel exactly my take on the two tubes in the ModWright Sony 5400. I agree that they are both superb tubes, with certain systems or tastes tipping the balance on which to use. As for me, I prefer the Create.
For Create to offer this tube at a time when the Mullards are in very short supply is a real boon.
Did some more listening last night with the Create 5AR4 and Sophia Electric 6SN7's in the lineup. Really spectacular combo in my system. I am getting a very lucid, detailed and musically involving sound. The Create provides exceptional inner detail that is slightly obscured by the Mullard yet I detect no signs of grit, hardness or spotlighting of frequencies that often arrives with elevated detail. The sound is very coherent--exceptionally so--and this even handedness really draws you into the music. I would say there is as much air and space as the Mullard but the Create lacks the warmish glow around voices and instruments that immediately gives away the presence of tubes in the system. I would urge anyone using the LS100 to try both rectifier tubes and a range of 6SN7's in your system. Tube rolling the LS100 has been very edifying and allows a refined level of system matching that other preamps simply do not provide.
Hi Sstalwar, I don't think you will find many with both as I just checked the prices online. The Create seems to around $50 while the Shunguang is around $25 delivered.
I just ordered the Create as that isn't enough of a difference to take the chance that the Shunguang is the same after reading all the good reports on the Create.
If you want to send me a Shunguang, it would be my pleasure to compare them for you in my LS100. :)
Just received the Create and Treasure CV181-Z tubes and put them in.
Has anyone tried the new production Genalex GZ34 rectifier? New Sensor is now making 5AR4 rectifiers under labels of Tung-Sol, Mullard and Genalex. They have very similar internal structure. Supposedly, the Genalex version is subject to far more stringent quality control, and it's supposed to be very good.
Bayreuth, Thanks for pointing these out. I have heard nothing about them, but I just bought one to give it a try. Got one for under 40 shipped, which is less than half the current price of the create synergy tubes.
I really love the synergy tube, but its an inexpensive experiment. I'd love a tube with the dynamics and low noise of the synergy with the classic tube sound of the old mallards. That is asking a lot, but ---- one can always hope.
By the way, love your user name!
Bayreuth, Wig, and all-- Just a real quick tube rolling session, 1st the Create, then my old 1969 vintage Mullard Blackburn, then the new production Genalex Gold Lion.
The Create and Mullard performed true to form-- The Create had superior dynamics, blacker background and more air, The Mullard sweetened up female vocals nicely but other wise the edge went to the Create. Then, I rotated in the new Gold Lion Genalex. This is a very nice tube! I think it one upped the Create on dynamics, matched on lack of any noise, maybe a draw on air. But it had the sweetness of the Mullard on female vocals, and seems to be better than the other tubes with the piano accompaniment. FYI, the recording is Schubert Lieder.
This is a pretty good showing right out of the box with no burn in or warmup. This tube will stay in for the weekend, and I will do reverse rolling Sunday night. I've got a strong feeling this tube will stay in. Nice find Bayreuth! By the way, I'll give Das Reingold a spin this weekend as the final test.
At under $40 shipped, this tube is a no-brainer.
I'm pretty sure he got them on E-Bay. Here is the link:
Wig, I only had it burning for about 3 hrs last night. As I said, it was a great tube straight out of the box. I will give it another 6 hrs tonight and do more serious listening Sunday evening. This thing is stupid good for $40, and better than either the Create or the Mullard Blackburn.
So glad to see that people are figuring out how to reverse engineer the old classic tubes, and in this case, improve on them.