Aesthetix Calypso owners - need your help

I just bought a Calypso used. Pretty excited about it, but I need some guidance:
1. anyone knows the difference between low and high gain aside from low high volume? I got it with the setting at low, and tube noise is pretty low but sounds reserved so far. Changed it to high setting the next day, and now its sounding much more alive. But alas, I can hear tube rush from my seat. is this a common problem?

2. Anyone knows if the HT by pass bypasses the tubes? I am combining with my processor for movies but don't want to waste tube hours

3. I've been reading alot of threads about calypso, and tube roll was mentioned alot. I'm pretty much out of budget but willing to invest 100-200 bucks on NOS tubes if it brings alot of improvement. anything good at this price? the ones that I got are Sovtek for 6922 and Teslov for 12AX7. I also got another set of tubes which I haven't tried yet

lastly, anyone know Aesthetix service phone number?

look forward to your comments.. thanks!
Try 805-529-9901
I'd buy the 12AX7's first Mullard CV-4004 as the output has more affect on the sound, under $200
That being said the Sovtets are thin sounding (bad) and with the Mullards the sound might be depressing! Between the two these are the worst.
You need to replace both pairs!!
When you do H/T put the Russian tubes back in! This is there web site I,m sure Glenn would e-mail you his phone number, he is a pleasure to talk to.You do not bypass the tubes in bypass mode however these tubes are long lasting 5000 to 10000 hours. I'm using Amperex 6922 bugleboys in the and they sound great give up a little on the bass side but the band is right there in my living room, I tried 6922 mullards they were nice but I preferd the Amperex.In the 12ax7 slot I,m using sylvania 5171 gold brand (these are a little noisy) but they blow the stock tubes out the door.Be sure to switch out of bypass mode before you power off I had a little problem with a popping sound if I turn it off or on in bypass with the amp on. Found it (805)529-9901 talk to Glenn

The Calypso is a great preamp but unless you get the right tubes it can be noisy. I spent a lot of money tube rolling on my Janus--essentially the same, but with phono---before I finally went to Andy at Vintage Tube Services who sent me a couple of Telefunken 12AX7s --around $100 each, if I recall--that solved all my noise problems (the 6922s seem less critical, so given your budget constraint you could start with the 12AX7s). I would strongly advise talking to him--he has retubed many Calypsos--if you want to do it once and do it right. I still use it at low setting and it sounds very alive to me, but maybe I should try the high setting again...

You can find the service phone number for Aesthetix at the Musical Surroundings website, but it is difficult to get hold of a live person (when you do, however, they are great). I find the best way to get in touch with Aesthetix is thru


Thanks everyone for the info. What do you guys use for the load setting - low or high?

Also where do you buy your tubes? I'll call Andy at Vintage tubes services in the meantime.

Samhar, I saw 4004 sold in Upscale audio. Is this the same ones you are talking about? They sell it for $80 for the platinum grade.

I left mine on high and waiting for some telefukens from Andy. Last pair or 4004 I seen on agon were $150,
Those are the tubes but you are looking at the"Bought the Gear here" price, if you didn't they're $100 each, gold might be good for preamp output circuit.
I think the "prime" year is '81, but '85 beats nothing!!! The best 6922 I found "in my system" with the CV-4004 was the Amperex Holland 7308 very detailed with a fuller mid than the US 7308.
Regarding whether to choose the high or low setting on the circuit this will depend on your system. If your volume display on the calypso is low (less than 30 or 40)to get the playback dB levels in your room you would be best to try switching to the lower gain setting. This will also reduce tube noise as you noticed.

Go slow on tuning the preamp with your system. As mentioned above the 12ax7 tube has the most effect of the sound and by rolling this tube you can really tailor the sound to fit your mood. Two experienced dealers for this unit are Andy at Vintage Tubes for old stock selections and Jim McShane for the wide selection of current tube offerings. Both can help you get the Calypso to sing.
Thanks alot for the info. I've been doing some reading on tube roles for this pre-amp. The only info that is consistent is that 10M gold pin is the way to go - but the price!!! also, I have no idea where to find them.

Anyway, Any other info you have I would greatly appreciate it.

Mhz - the volume control is generally between mid 30s to high 40 depending on source CD. not a slam dunk info to decide what setting to use, but I will keep on listening both ways for some time before deciding. Quick question for you: do you know Jim McShane contact #? thanks! Dion
nevermind - I found it on Google.

The best tubes for your Calypso will depend on your system and your ears. So its a very personal choice. The experienced tube dealers mentioned will work with you to achieve the sound you prefer from the Calypso.

I have several pairs of tubes for the Calypso which I selected to allow me to tune the system given my mood on any given day. Some sets provide a bright, sunny day presentation others more of a vibrant cappaccino. Perhaps you want to add some dark chocolate? This ability to tailor the sound is just one of the major pluses of a responsive tube preamp like the Calypso. I suspect you will really enjoy owning this fabulous preamp and hope I've helped.
I posted what I think your first move should be on your system page.