6H30 replacement

I have looked for a western replacement for the 6H30, but I believe the 6DJ8, 6922 or 7308 would get destroyed because if the high voltage.

this is for a hybrid amp, Pathos Heritage. When I bought the amp, I was told that the voltage was low enough for 6DJ8, 6922 or 7308 but now I am being told otherwise.

I just have no ears for the 6H30s and I want to get them out of my amp if at all possible.

thank you for your help.



You bought a 6H30 based amp, doubtful you can substitute as the high voltage WILL destroy the tubes.  Why not check with Pathos and see what they say?  I would start there.

The Tubestore shows E-H and Sovtek tubes. You might also try Audio Research they use that tube in a lot of their gear.

@stereo5 I checked with them.

Since I am stuck with 6H30s, I will have to look at different 6H30s than the Sovteks.


Give yourself a little time to adjust to the sound of the new amp. If you still don’t like it, sell it and get something you like. I don’t think different brands of 6h30s will make a big difference in the sound. conrad-johnson tried them once, they were called composite triode amps and preamps, and quickly changed back to their traditional tube types. If you have to take a small loss, that’s part of the learning process in audio.

questions like this should always be directed at the manufacturer... who would know exactly how the spec'd tube is being run, and thus what substitutes, if any, could be used

@astolfor … You are quite right in seeking a better quality 6h30 , I would encourage you to acquire some pre 1990 production Reflector Corp 6h30 DR 

they are relatively expensive compared to new production Sovtek and are becoming increasingly rare with a few unscrupulous individuals particularly on Ebay

listing Sovtek’s as NOS DR’s … Caveat emptor , however once obtained and inserted into your equipment you will realise how hard and sterile sounding the Sovteks are in comparison.

This guide should be of some assistance in discerning genuine Reflector DR’s



our good friend ficus lampizator has strong opinions on this. 6N6P - Not a western replacement, but a far easier to get and less costly (no spin) Russian one. 60‘s stock with the square getters are da bomb. I haven’t use them to replace 6H30’s personally and can not comment, but have used them in my own scratch builds and can vouch that they are great tubes judged on their own merits

@jjss49 I got 2 different answers. One that I could replace them with the 6DJ8, 6922 or 7308, and another answer that I could not.

I "know" enough to know that the 6H30s have a big tolerance for plate voltage, and that if the amp is fully energizing the plates the 6DJ8, 6922 or 7308 will last about a blink of an eye. 

I had a BAT, and really it but there was something that I could not identify that "bothered" me, and I talked to Victor(?) the owner and he said that he was not fully energizing the plates and although I would sacrifice lifespan, I could try a couple different tubes. I tried them and I loved the amp, until I replaced the amp with a couple of nhb-458.

I really like the Heritage, but I want to try to soften(?) a little the edges. The Telefunken ECC803S-diamond mark-gold-pins, I have about 24 of them that I inherited from my father 😁, did marvels to the Heritage.

Now it is clear to me from the discussions here, that I should stay with the 6H30s or maybe 6N6P. 

@tsushima1 do you have a reliable tube source? I would love to try  the Reflector Corp 6h30 DR.

thank you

Yes the DR, real ones are better. I have a set of high hour ARC stock tubes (4) you are welcome to try next time i am in Seattle. You might also try tge ARC tube dampers, imo essential on the 6H30 as ARC seem able to wrest magic out of tge combo IMO

Brent Jesse Recording supply is a trusted tub vendor w tracer matching.

best to you on the quest.


@tomic601 Hello Jim! I reached out to Brent, hopefully he has some. If not I will get them from Upscale.

How are things there?!


@astolfor Doing well Sir ! Sunny California is a tonic to the soul and warms the old bones. i am especially happy today as i host a local friend for a music listening session. I have found calling Brent to be most effective, vs. email.



Why would  Pathos Heritage use the 6H30 if it was inferior to these legacy tubes? Feel free to tube roll but maybe you are better off getting rid of this piece for one that is designed for legacy tube rolling which have a better selection of variants.


not sure which continent you are on

if in n america/usa, i second @tomic601 ’s recommendation re calling brent jessee... the other go-to’s are jim mcshane in illinois and andy baumann in michigan (vintage tube services) - they have been at this forever, exceptionally knowledgeable (and honest) and will tell you about 6h30 options...

if you haven't already, you might also read up on when how and why audio research went from 6dj8 input and driver tubes to pretty much exclusively 6n1p's and 6h30's for their highest tier gear... instructive...

a quick google search will yield you web and phone contacts ...

@jjss49 the tubes are for my Heritage in the USA home. I called Andy and he only deals with Western and USA tubes and will call Brent and Jim.

I am Basque/German and live in a neighborhood from Barcelona. 

@tomic601 I am jealous, last week I was in Sunnyvale (?) CA visiting my team and it was glorious! 

The Vintage Tube Services website has a great picture of how tubes matcha section on a symphony house! My dealer here in Barcelona has a similar one for the Berlin house and Vienna and it is so much fun to play with the different tubes. 

@nmolnar I have a lot of Western tube amps in my home in Spain; the Heritage, which I like a lot, especially for the cost, is in the USA and do not plan to change it. Just trying to bring it closer to what I like.

as is the norm for @jjss49  very sage advice ! i also use Andy for tubes and Mcshane is the architect behind the extensive modifications to my 1961 MC240… dude is a tube zen master.

As you now probably know Andy is none too fond of Russian tubes… ha. 

Best to all, a constructive thread for sure…


Have you tried other input/12ax7 tubes?

I’ve only used 12ax7’s in vintage line and phono stages, as far as HiFi goes, and for added warmth I usually ended up with Amperex or Mullard 12ax7 types over Telefunken.

I much preferred the earlier (17mm plate?) Mullards over the later short plate versions, but this was in vintage gear (might be different with modern gear).

However, Amperex was usually my first choice.

Read about 6h30 vs 6n6p and gather that substitution is a yes/no based upon the circuit bias.





Well astolfor, here’s a post about the DRs from the What’s Best Forum from 11 years ago:

6H30’s--Are the more expensive/megabuck versions worth the money? | What’s Best Audio and Video Forum. The Best High End Audio Forum on the planet! (whatsbestforum.com)

Russ, a couple of years back when I was using a Modwright tube pre, I replaced the stock 6H30 pair with DR’s from The Tube Store. In my preamp, the difference was quite subtle - not near the impact of replacing the rectifier with a NOS metal-base Mullard. Based on what I’ve read on various fora, mild to moderate seems to be the most common experience. Dunno about any $700 versions.

There were some DRs for sale on Audiogon recently for $1600 each. I don’t see them here anymore. I don’t think trying different 6h30 tube brands is going to get the sound you want. I still say sell the amp and get one you like the sound of.


sounds like you are on the right track and you will find the answers you seek

my thought on talking to andy baumann was not to have you source ruskie 6h30’s from him, but to seek his thoughts on suitable old stock usa and euro alternatives, which i think is what you are ultimately seeking, yes? 

for example would a 7dj8/pcc88 work in your case? in modern c-j linestages that run the 6dj8’s at 6.3v and at full gain, many classic 6dj8’s lose it too soon, and as a result, it has been discovered by we c-j users that the 7dj8 is a stronger version of the same tube, can stand greater plate voltage for a much longer period and maintain top performance, and so it has become the new standard in those units

as you can imagine, anyone who has that kind of knowledge on vintage tubes is not young, and so how folks like andy they respond and how helpful they are willing to be with advice and knowledge is affected by how they are approached and asked... :)  (btw - don't get him started on old stock g-e's... hahaha)

Please keep us informed on your journey and what you end up with, astolfor.  We can all learn from your experience.

I am far from a tube expert. But I have a CJ preamp which uses the 6H30P. I have been told that there are no replacements for that tube. So, indeed, if one is available, I'd love to know about it. I've also read that the DR's offer a subtle change but nothing drastic.I'd hate to pay $400 or more to find out I got $2 worth of improvement.

I think the difference depends on the vintage of the DR tube as well as the circuit in which it is used. My line stage, a Veloce, uses the 6h30. When I bought it new, I got NOS DR Reflectors and ran them for over 5 years-- I heard a noise in one channel and eventually traced it down-- it was not one of those tubes (thankfully, I kept them). Using the Electro-Harmonix version as a stop gap, the system sounded lifeless, sterile, no ambience or air.  I was told the Sovtek is more punchy sounding but still the same "quality" as the E-H compared to the DR. Found a replacement quad of the DRs- from '77 if memory serves. Never used. Back in business. 

I've seen comments by others using ARC equipment that using the recherché DR variant made little difference. 

Not an easy tube to find, particularly from most tube dealers we rely on; Andy did not want to even talk about that tube when I last spoke to him about it. 

It is a big negative in my estimation that the rolling options for this tube type seem to be so limited. I am no tube guru, so have no idea of a direct equivalent. Interested to learn what you find. 

Good hunting. 

If you must go western, the 5687 is far closer to the 6H30 than the 6DJ8 family of tubes and would be my personal preference. J8‘s will burn up in no time at anything like the bias h30‘s generally run at. Again I have used these in my builds, and in the right application they are a fine tube.

From the jacmusic site:

It is found in many amplifiers, such as: Audio Note M3, Manley Jumbo Shrimp,Ayon CD player, Audio Note DAC 5 Signature and Audio Note amp kits, M5 preamp, M9, KR Enterprise 32BSI integrated SET amp, Modwright 9.0 and Modwright Sony and Denon modded CD players, Modwright Sony NS999ES CD player, Opera Audio Consonance Cyber 800, Zanden, Manley amps, LUX 300B amp,Kondo M1000, Artemis Labs linestage, Emotive Audio Sira, Ray Samuels B52 and Raptor, Audio Tekne TFM-9412, Sonic Frontiers Power 2 Amps, Audio Experience BALANCED A2 preamp (YS-AUDIO, HONG KONG), Ongaku, Audio Note, New Audio Frontiers Legend II preamp, Loth X JI300,Audio Thrills, Mastersound, Sophia Electric KT88 Tube Amplifier, Icon Audio PS3 phono power supply, Almarro.

@dekay  I have the Telefunken ECC803S-diamond mark-gold-pins, which are magic, I just checked and I have over 40! not 20 as I thought. My father was a tube madman so the Heritage will get a pair of them in the input sockets.

The thing I want is to get the Sovtek replaced for something that sounds better and it appears to be that I can either get the DRs, for which I have yet to find a reputable dealer, of go with Upscale

the question would be are the Electro-Harmonix 6H30Pi Gold Pin superior to the sovtek? I know they are from the same factory

Pesky, while the specs look close, the 5687 is not pin compatible with tbe 6H30.


Post removed 

As an aside, AR seem to have voiced their latest amps to sound pretty decent with readily available examples of the 6H30. I don‘t think they would have made a commitment to this tube if their amps only sounded good when fettled with very costly unobtainium variants.

Pesky, while the specs look close, the 5687 is not pin compatible with tbe 6H30

I‘m pretty sure you can get adapters though. I know there were ones that let you use 6N6Ps in 5687 apps. If not, it‘s pretty easy to make yr own. I never let pinouts stand in the way of subbing - it‘s too limiting: if it works and I‘m happy I just re-wire the socket. Easy.

@pesky_wabbit  the adapter route would not work because the very tight space in the tube sockets. the tubes are 3/4 of the way down the chassis. The last thing I want is to start replacing sockets in the amp...😶

actually you don‘t replace sockets at all. You just re-wire them. Which is entirely reversible, if you employ a good tech who knows how to solder/desolder neatly and quickly.

love those finger slicers - tres chic

and so much more elegant than a cage..

Laminar flow, neural network, metaversical, nano technology, quantum tunneling, silver unobtainable virtue vanes…..

good tip on talking with Andy, duly noted and filed away for future reference and use…..


Understand that you have a plentiful supply of the Telefunken 803s's, but they are brighter sounding (less warm) than the 12ax7's I suggested.

As you are limited to only trying the DR 6h30 (or "perhaps" the 6n6p) you should be able to warm up the sound by using different input/12ax7 tubes.

If you are going to contact Brent Jessee ask him about warmer sounding 12ax7's.

This said, I've yet to hear a 6h30 based preamp that I cared for though I have not auditioned contemporary models.

Years ago I compared both ARC and BAT 6922 based preamplifiers to there "then" new 6h30 based preamplifiers and the latter for both companies were bright and bleached compared to their previous 6922 based versions.

The new BAT was a bit warmer than the ARC, but neither were "musically satisfying" to my taste.

Anyway, you have the option of trying numerous 12ax7's, which is not the case with the 6h30.

Also, the holy grail type (12ax7 in this case) may not be the best/desired sound for you, which Jessee (or any good tube dealer) should be able to help you with.

In my meager system my various/favorite 2a3/12au7/12at7 tubes vary from cheap as chips (even in the current market) to more than I paid for our latest used Honda Civic (Visseaux engraved base 2a3's would cost more).



I’ve gone down the 6H30 my replacement road. The Reflector is about the only vintage option - but the prices are astronomical and matched tubes are scarce. I don’t know your amp specifically, but anything with a 6H30 is not a great tube rollers amp. 

Victor Supertubed the thing up so much (after he cornered he market) it went stratospheric very quickly.


There is a genuine Reflector Corp pair described as NOS on Ebay … seller in France and not crazy money


I have some Millard Blackburn AX-7 60’s UK product I got from Brent, very sweet sound in my  system. Definitely farther back in hall vs Tele or Amperex…

My REF5se is anything but bleached :-) … well at least to my ears…

@tomic601 I like my seats in the middle center, maybe a touch forward than back, I like to feel the music and look at the musicians expressions. 

I will look at the 12AX7s, after this roll to my Telefunken 803s  and Electro-Harmonix 6H30Pi Gold Pin ARC from Upscale.


indeed jim...

one person’s bright and bleached is another person’s transparent and extended

one person’s luscious and romantic is another’s muddy and homogenized

one person’s lively and fast is another’s strident and zippy

this hobby is about defining and realizing one’s personal happiness with the music played, one’s own notion of ’just right’

Contact Andy at Vintage Tube Services. Also, Upscale Audio has Electo - Harmonix Gold Pin tubes and Softek. You can call there too.


I auditioned the ARC/BAT 6922 VS 6h30 preamps in 2002 I think (10 years before your model was manufactured).

This said, I preferred the older 12ax7 ARC based models to the (now old) 6922 based models.

Most of those present @ the audition were ARC owners and what I gathered was that also preferred the 6922 units to the then new 6h30 model.

I have not listened to ARC since then with the exception of an SP3a around 2010, or so.

Anyway, in my post I did not intend to diss your later model REF5se (which I have not heard, but most likely would not like;-).




Personally I think the 6h30 is a fantastic tube. In the ARC Reference 6, they sound neither exactly like traditional tubes nor solid-state, but actually sound more "right" than either (including excellent tubes like 6SN7 and 6922). Rogue Audio’s old top 6h30 preamps, Athena and Hera, have some similar sonic qualities to the Ref 6, just not as good overall. If I heard a 6h30 based component that didn’t sound excellent, my inclination would be that the stuff around the tubes is at fault. But perhaps I am just so positively biased towards this tube. I think it’s great!

I don’t have experience with the DR version, but have used sets of both the modern Sovtek and EH gold pins over the years - they’re extremely close in sound, and like Kevin of Upscale advises, "don’t stress over the difference". If you don’t like your gear with one version, you probably won’t like it with the other. If I have to order a replacement set tomorrow, it's literally 50/50 which I'll choose. 

When a relay switches and agitates a 6h30 it makes a "ping-tassshhhhhhhhh" sound like no other tube, that feels like audiophile home to me 😂

In the ARC Reference 6, they sound neither exactly like traditional tubes nor solid-state, but actually sound more "right" than either (including excellent tubes like 6SN7 and 6922).

As I said, I think AR have found a way of voicing their amps to sound fine without resorting to megabuck NOS variants of the 6H30. It would be marketing suicide if they produced amps which sounded like cr** unless the supplied tubes were replaced with vintage candy.

It might suit Victor’s business interests to do the opposite. Who knows ?

@pesky_wabbit said "It might suit Victor’s business interests to do the opposite. Who knows ?"

I think when Victor had the company, the DR variant was more readily obtainable. He had a pretty good stash too. (My most recent NOS quad of DR 6h30s were originally supplied by him to a former BAT owner). 

I was a long time ARC owner/user from the early '70s until around 1990. I liked the brand, the fact that they delivered modern tube sound and supported it. The newer stuff is different and in some ways better but it is not euphonic at all. In fact, it is the perfect example of how modern tube designs and good solid state have converged. 

The Veloce I use is an oddball and sadly, no longer marketed although Vytas, the designer,  has supported it. It really pronounces the difference among the types of 6h30. His prior version, which I heard in my system and did not feel compelled to buy, used a combination of 12ax7 and 12au7. I gather than Vytas found the 6h30 better -- though he certainly didn't offer it with DR tubes. If ARC sounds good with the Sovtek or EH, that's a bonus. Unfortunately I can hear a marked difference with the vintage DR in my system- more ambience, more body, more air. Perhaps that's a shortcoming of the design, depending as it does on a now rare tube. 

We are in a funny place as tube audiophiles, given that the old classic tubes are very hard to find as true never used NOS. I don't want to go on my usual rant about "pulls" but will tell you that having used many so-called NOS Tele 12ax7s in my Lamm ML2, the amps are far more stable in terms of bias using truly never used old 12ax7s (which I found after a wait and/or paying the tariff for true NOS). 

@mulveling you are talking about the key issue.

6h30 is a very strong horse,and very difficult to ride in the pre.

Once they are going to  ride, doesn't not say they can ride  good.

Very few companies have the ability to ride this strong horse  in the pre. However, 6h30 in the power amplifier as drive tube is very good as itself is so strong.


Thank God we all have different tastes, no offense taken @dekay . What a bore it would be if everyone owned ARC….

Best to all, happy Sunday