6L6WGC/5881 Tube choices for Amp

Dear Friends,
I have a small system in my office which punches out 40 Watts (sounds like 80 really) in pentode configuration.

I currently have the stock tubes on em - not bad, but i feel with the power tube change, things can go really sweet.

I have no knowledge on Tubes, Frankly on Ebay a quad matched pair
can range from 400-900.00 i do not know if its worth it to spend that
kind of money.

However,i am keen on changing the ECC83 to Brimar NOS.

Any help i can get is really appreciated!
I always liked green labeled Sylvania 6L6GC tubes when I had an amp that used the 6L6 type tubes.

For new tubes I say try the Sovtek.

For very helpful guidance seek out vendor Jim McShane who resides mainly at Audio Asylum and on the net as McShane Design. I have had excellent results with him and his voice is well respected on the Tube Asylum.
No financial incentive, just a happy customer etc.
BTW I don't know how much the Brimars cost but I can't blame you for your interest in them. I have finally stopped chasing small signal tubes (pre-amp tubes) because the prices for NOS and experimenting has gotten too expensive. The rich, full sound that the old Mullards have, is I understand, now found in the Gold Pin version of the Gold Lion re-issue 12AX7 equivalent (B759 I think.
Jedinite24 & Mechans,
First of all Merry Christmas! and Thank you for your responses.
Firstly, This is my Amp
Mean Little Amp! It put to shame a 300 Watt Integrated costing Twice as much and with 5 stars in Stereophile,Absolute Sound Etc!

Only Problem is manual biasing and no VU Meter, otherwise build and
sound is fantastic!

I do not mind using the Sylvania, but Doug's do not have matched sets?
My Maximum Budget for NOS Quad Matched Set is around 220.00 USD

Please do let me know if anyone that is credible and knowledgable has something in this range.

I mostly listen to a lot of native instruments like Sitars etc and a lot of
Jazz like Miles Davis,Dave Brubeck in the office, very little rock.

I know its unfair, to want to the midrange of the EL34 via the 6L6 - but i am unconsciously going for it - :)

Regarding the Brimar, i paid close to 180.00 for a matched pair, yes
i got carried away alright, but i wanted to see whats the fuss is about.
I did try a rca black pate 5751 in my older Rogue Cronus Magnum, i had
better resolution but there was loss in musicality, which i didn't really like.

I Bought the Brimar to try it out on the Shine, but later i might move it
to my main amplifier the Synthesis Metropolis 200 NYCi.

This is all the NOS tube experience i have, actually i do not mind
new tube as long as these are not bright or artificial.

I am going to google McShane Design now!

Looking to hear more from other people!
You may find that your choice of input and driver tubes will affect the sound more than that of the power tubes. When I had a SE amp using 6L6/5881 tubes I found that the new issue Tung-Sol 5881 tubes had a very nice sound. Worth checking out but results may vary according to appliction.
You may find that your choice of input and driver tubes will affect the sound more than that of the power tubes. When I had a SE amp using 6L6/5881 tubes I found that the new issue Tung-Sol 5881 tubes had a very nice sound. Worth checking out but results may vary according to application.
Yes..Tes Rbrowne, Thanks a lot i couldn't find a better or NOS 12BH7 thats worthwhile, i am going to replace the ECC83 with Brimars..so the reason to look for a nice quad 6L6.
Have you looked at upscaleaudio.com or tubesandmore.com or even echohifi.com. Quads of these shouldn't break your bank. But yes I would spend extra on NOS. Each brand does have a personality.
The Problem is i do not know which quads are good for the money i am willing to spend - for me the rolling stops threre - so i want to go for something solid - hope someone can help me..
My Manley 200 mono's use eight 6l6GC/5881 each. Since purchasing the amps several years ago I have used NOS GE's, NOS Tungsol 5881's (expensive!), Sovtek's, and Svetlana Winged C. To my ears, and IN THESE AMPS, the GE's are excellent overall if slightly dry sounding, the Tungsol's are a beautiful sounding tube but ultimately too romantic and dark sounding, the Sovtek's are OK but dry sounding and a little glary. The Svetlana's are fantastic for the money (about $65 ea), and while a little brighter than the GE's, they are very smooth and overall on a par with the much more expensive GE's. A no brainer IMO. I hope this helps and good luck.
Dear Frogman,
Thank you very much doe your response - Do you mean this one?
http://www.boiaudioworks.com/6L6GCSVMatchedQuad ?

Have you experienced with TAD Tubes?

and lastly, does the 6L6 "W" GLC - does the W mean anything in vast different that the ones without it will fit my amp??

Thank you so much for your response!
Thegoodarcher, I believe that the "W" is a military-spec designation re tighter tolerances, but same electrical characteristics and interchangeable. I am sure someone more knowledgable here can give a more detailed explanation. The Svetlana's in your link are not original Svetlana made in their St. Petersburg factory before the company was sold to US-owned Sovtek. As I am sure you are finding out there are many different opinions re the quality of tubes manufactured at different facilities even when by the same company. The general concensus is that the original St. Petersburg Svetlana's are the best. The one's in your link are not those; I referred to these:


More expensive than when I bought mine a couple of years ago, but Kevin at Upscale Audio is as good a person to deal with and as knowledgeable as anyone, so I would encourage you to contact him.

These are described as older production as well, but if you look closely they are not the same as the one's from Upscale. Again, contact Kevin.


You may find this interesting:


Lastly, and especially since you are interested in trying a different input tube, personally I would do that first. My experience IN MY AMP has been that it makes a bigger difference than the power tubes. My favorite is the W German Telefunken 12AX7. Good luck and have fun with this, you will hear many different opinions and it can get very confusing; but good tubes make a big difference and well worth the investment.
Thegoodarcher - Really can't help much on the power tubes. But for the ecc83 the only Brimar I have is the yellow 'T'. Nice but a tad dry compared to my Gec CV6091's (similar but pretty expensive). Have you tried or considered Telefunken ecc83 or ecc803? That's another I like a lot. I have to say like Mechans said the Gold Lion re-issue are nice. As far as vintage Mullard CV4024's they are a nice warm sounding tube (no experience with the re-issue from Russia). Which brings up my next statement. When I had Dyn C1 Signatures speakers the Mullards sounded wonderful. But when I upgraded to the Raidho D1's it wasn't wonderful sounding anymore. I went back to the tele's and Gec.

Time to chime in on this thread regarding your speaker consideration. I had to send my Octave V110 (110W)in for a minor repair when I had the Raidho D1's and got an Octave V70SE (70W) loaner. Not much difference in sound (I previously owned a V70SE). Then I upgraded to the D2's. Sounded good with the same tubes. When the V110 got back the D2's sound better with a bit more control. So the extra power (40W) made them sound a bit better. Although the V110 can use EL34 6550 KT88 KT90 KT120 and KT150 (yes I have them all except the KT150)(no power gain with the KT150 because the Octave was designed around the KT120) I find the tubes that sound best with the Raidho's will be the most linear and detailed sounding tubes. With the Dyn's warmer sounding tubes sounded the best. The Rca 5751 black plate was killer with the Dyn's but too warm (like the Mullards) with the D1's. If you go with Magico I can't really comment what tubes would sound best. But IMO the only way you're really going to know is by trying various tubes. But there lies the beauty with tubes. As long as you have the necessary power there is no real need to swap amps - just roll tubes in and out.
Dear Frogram,
Wonderful Pointers! and thank you so much!

Dear XTi16,
I am actually nearing for a decision to go with the D2s but just holding to
hear from one more manufacturer!

As far as the tubes go my Metropolis Amp has KT120 Output tubes which hopefully i can change to KT150 - but i do not know if theres fidelity increase or power increase, i need speak to the manufacturer.

But you are right - the preamp tubes have the greatest change as far
as playback quality is concerned, the note about Raidho works better with sometubes is a revelation.

It could have been confusing because i was earlier talking about the Synthesis Metropolis in the Raidho thread, and then Another Synthesis Here - these are not the same!

The One which will go with the Raidho or Magico is the
Metropolis 200 NYCi Integrated 240 Watts Monster.

The one for this post is the
Synthesis Shine Integrated (40 Watts Pentode Pull Pull) which
i use with Zingali Home Monitor Plus 2.10.

It Rivals some of the best setups at 3x its price!

For this mini amp i am going to take yours and frogma's advice and
source a telefunken!
Going from the KT120 to the KT150 will NOT give you any more power. You will only hear the sonic differences. Someone on another forum just upgraded from KT120's to the KT150's on an Arc Ref75 and just loves them. But he probably doesn't have 20 hrs on them yet. I want to wait to hear his impression after 100hrs or so. IMO the KT120 is a slightly dry sound with 'shouty' mids. I'm running Ei KT90's in high power mode and really like them the best so far.
I am running Tung-Sol 6L6G fat bottle tubes in my Quicksilver Mid Monos and they sound great. They look cool too. They seem well constructed and have held rock steady bias.
Thats nice to hear and i;ll keep t hat in mind - i am steering more towards
the Svetlana Winged 6LG at the moment - but it will interested in the tungsol as well...
Xti16 - very sad indeed, there wasn't a need for anyone to take that down,because they contained valuable insights into anyone who's sadly would possibly be in the same shoes regarding between two makers.

Thank you so much Xti16 for your support, i guess forums like this will strictly remain.

I found the Raidho superior, in every aspect.

Funny feeling, do you think Magico - :) had anything to do with it?
Funny feeling, do you think Magico - :) had anything to do with it?
No not at all. There are people so proud they own a product that they believe there is no better therefore everything else is junk. In this hobby I have never met anyone who hears the same as me and knows what I expect from sound reproduction. You should have seen the cr@p I got on a Dynaudio forum when I said I found a better speaker than the Dyn C1 signature being the D1. It was a LOT worse than what we saw here. I still post there too because for the money I still believe Dynaudio has the best price to performance ratio. But the Raidho sound just haunted me for months. One member who posted like MB1 finally came here to buy some Dyn C2 Platinum's and finally heard the D2's and was shocked how good the D2's sounded. But has 3 boys to put through college. He also bought a pair of Scansonic MB-1.5's for his office and started a new Raidho/Scansonic thread on that forum.
I found the Raidho superior, in every aspect.
I disagree. The Magico has better bass extension. Fine sounding speaker but the Magico sound just didn't draw me into the music like Raidho does. I do agree that for what the Raidho does do it's much better.
Xti16 - Indeed, i feel a music should be able to reproduce magic some aspect atleast for it to be declared "superior in every aspect" did not find that in magico the bass modules are better, but no insight to the music like
the D2.

Back to Tube Discussions - Guys the manufacturer says 6L6WGC by sovtek is probably the best, and moost durable - theres one german manufacturer who also makes 6L6WGC - but at this point i am confused which is superior, manufacturer says sovtek is better? that disqualifies other tubes?
Thegoodarcher Like I said I can't help with 6L6 tubes. My amp uses EL34-6550-KT88-KT90-KT120 and KT150.
That said I do own SED tubes (not Sovtek) and for the money they were a very good tube. Not great and IMO not the most durable either but a really good value.
manufacturer says sovtek is better
Could be that the amp was designed and spec'ed for Sovtek's. Which usually means they last longer too. The original Octaves were designed and spec'ed for the SED and the later versions were designed for other brands.
I'll bet that the stock tubes are Sovteks. The cynic in me would ask "why would a manufacturer admit that they are not using the very best tubes to begin with and that they will simply use a good solid tube that is cost effective and reliable?". Nothing wrong with that; and to be expected. Welcome to the world of tube rolling. Only you can decide what sounds best. Personally, and in my experience, the Sovtek is clearly sonically inferior to the Svetlana Winged. Good luck.
01-04-15: Frogman
I'll bet that the stock tubes are Sovteks. The cynic in me would ask "why would a manufacturer admit that they are not using the very best tubes to begin with and that they will simply use a good solid tube that is cost effective and reliable?". Nothing wrong with that; and to be expected. Welcome to the world of tube rolling. Only you can decide what sounds best.
I think the answer is simple
2-Does it sound bad? - No Then proceed to #1
3-Could it sound better? - Yes Then proceed to #2
That said manufacturers have to what look at what is available today and guess for tomorrow. That can be a real cr@p shoot.
I recently bought a Synthesis Shine and have been dying to get it up and running but my turntable is in the shop and the audio rack I ordered has not yet come in. It sounds like you love yours!
I bought mine off of Ebay so I don't have the original manual, is biasing done manually? I will probably have it looked at by a professional before I get it going since this is my first venture into tube amps and I have a lot to learn.
The only draw back is the biasing is done manually, best setting is 40mv.
It also works beautifully with the Brio Phonostage if you can find it on eBay
and has wonderful synergy.

To be absolutely honest without mentioning any names the Shine clearly defeated a 250 watt integrated amplifier from a leading manufacturer, this manufacturer for this particular model had got 6 awards from Absolute Sound,HifiChoice and other publication and the Shine is relatively unknown out of Europe.

I decided then that i need this baby!

The transformers are "wound" in house and everything is made by hand,
the real output of this amp i would say is equivalent to 80 - 40 tube wattage doesnt do this justice, its such a musical amplifier!

Regarding the Output tubes Synthesis says that the preferred the sovteks because they could withstand higher "plate voltage" and played uninterruptedly without any leak because the power and output transformer is very close to the tube, they recommend to keep the tube cage on as it can act as a "heat shrink" - whilst rolling sensitive tubes...
Dear Frogman,
They just told me that the Sovtek withstand higher plate voltage and sound nice and tubes have long life (probably because the the tube socket is very close to the transformers, other brand's tube crack, leakes?) The stock tubes were 6P3S think which is a 6L6WGC made by Reflector which i believe is NOS quality , the manufacturer said the Sovtek's are better, they thought at that time the reflector ones are better, their honest opinion.

For the Shine i was told a standard 6L6GC will only produce lesser power,
although i do not know what is the difference between a 6L6WG"C" and a 6L6WG"B" ????
Thegoodarcher, I would refer you to your own comment:

****I currently have the stock tubes on em - not bad, but i feel with the
power tube change, things can go really sweet.****

I assume that by "sweet" you mean the sound. I am all for
following the advise of the manufacturer, but I stand by my previous
comments re manufacturer recs, and would add that nothing that they may
have said says anything about which tube sounds better. I am sure that the
Sovteks sound nice in your amp which is why it was chosen; as well as
perhaps "withstand higher plate voltage" which, again, says
nothing about the sound. As I said previously, and in the opinion of many,
the Svetlana "Winged C" is a better sounding tube than the
Sovtek in many applications (and more expensive); it clearly was better in
mine. Maybe not in yours.

A couple of things that are confusing and possibly misleading re what the
manufacturer said: Sovteks are tubes manufactured by Reflector and
branded Sovtek; same tube. I have little doubt that all of the mentioned
tubes will work fine in your amp. Which one will sound better only you will
be able to decide by trying them. Remember the manufacturer may want
the last bit of ruggedness at the expense of the last bit of sound. IMO.
Good luck.

Dear Frogman,
Thank you so much how much do you think a Winged C Svetlana
quad will run me for? - and where can i get it? are the 6L6WGC or just 6L6GC?
I would imagine that you can probably do a little better price wise if you shop around, but as far getting tubes that are the real thing goes, as well as great advise from Kevin, this is what I would do:

You should read Jeff Day's (writes for Positive Feedback, also 6 Moons) blog at Wordpress, concerning 6L6s, Jeff did a tube shoot-out in his Leben 600; the 6L6 that won out was the NOS Reflector 6n3ce. They can still be gotten. Jim McShane was selling them for about $65.00 per quad. McShane is out of stock. I use these tubes in my Primaluna Dialogue One. Terrific tube. Inexpensive, but will last for years and sound great. Look around the Internet. I believe I saw them recently from reputable sellers. I do have spares, but not selling them currently. Good luck, hope this helps. Check out Cyroset tubes on Internet. Again, best.
P.S. Kevin Deal at Upscale can usually help with the SED Winged C, but they are more expensive. A couple of other good sources: Brent Jesse or Andy at Vintage Tube.
There a few "quads" of reflector made 6L6WGC on ebay, essentially like Frogman said - they might be the "same thing" like the standard Sovtek 6L6WGC because both are made by the same plant.

I am unsure if i can use the standard 6L6GC - i am so temped to try the Svet Winged C 6L6GC from Upscale but worried it won't withstand the plate voltage and might give me less output than the "W" version...as my manufacturer says...

Is 6P3S-E and and a 6L6GC the same thing?
For $89/quad I would try them.

Call/email Kevin Deal, he will give you solid answers. The plate voltage concern is an easy one, get the specs and see; personally, I think that in your cases you are worrying too much about that one issue.

The 6P3S-E and 6N3C-E are the same tube. They are military spec, ruggerized and specifically made to withstand higher plate current. Go to the Cryoset tube website, look them up, they have a comprehensive write-up on this tube plus the ones Cyroset sell are cyro-treated. Very inexpensive but a terrific tube. Buy them while you can still get them. Best
Dear Friends,
Thank you so much! and yes i will get in touch with kevin from upscale
and going to check out cryoset, thanks and will report back with my findings.
Dear Frogman,
Tubeman says those tubes will bot be able to take the plate voltage (:-
I am surprised, but if there is any doubt I wouldn't use them.