Amps for tube-a-holics?

I'm aware that any tube amp's tubes can be rolled, although some makers like Shindo and Joule discourage the practice. I was never brave enough to do anything but replace the tubes in my Joule and Berning (although I did upgrade the tubes with a set of Mullards).

I've recently borrowed the wonderful Leben CS-660P and there's a list of output tubes you can try with this amp that I find would be rather fun to dink with. While I'm still contemplating the purchase of this amp, I've always had an urge to go the 300B SET route with much more sensitive speakers than I currently own. I was thinking of a Yamamoto A-09S. I'd assume there's probably a huge difference of opinion among those who prefer a beam tetrode/pentode over a triode. Without causing too much of a stir, for the tube-a-holics, what is your preference and why? Availability, cost, tube life, etc? Granted probably the major factor is the power requirement of your speakers.

Also the Leben's selector switches make it very easy to try another tube. Are there other recommended amps that make it this easy to tube roll?

You have to find what YOU like best. Some prefer 300B amps. Some like flea powered SET's, like 2A3's. Some like the versatility of a push-pull setup. You can roll tubes with almost any tube amp. But sometimes, rolling gets pricey. Willing to spend a few hundred dollars for a new pair of 300B's to roll? I have an EL34 based amp that isn't close to the sonic quality of the 845 based amp I currently use. But there's a great disparity between the build quality of the EL34 amp (fair) and the 845 amp (excellent). Is it the tubes? or the transformers? Or the internals? Don't know. Just know which one I like better. If you want to go SET, you may want to look at an 845 based amp, they produce substantially more power than does a 300B based amp, perhaps enough to eliminate the need to buy new speakers. But if you do that, forget about rolling- there aren't enough makers of 845 tubes out there to make a difference. Bottom line- you need to experiment and find what sound you like best. My opinion doesn't really matter to your ears, you know?
Thanks for the reply AFC! Looking at your system I see that you've just recently switched from circuits to tubes, and you have quite a collection of components too.

I've been totally dedicated to OTL amps since one of the ribbons on my Maggies shredded at the turn of this Century. I bought Merlins and shelfed my old Mark Levinson ML 3 (which I still own this behemoth largely because I can't lift it). I own a Berning, that I will probably never sell, and I had the Joule VZN-80 which my wife hated because it ran so hot! I've also owned and quickly sold two EL34 integrated amps.

I guess what I was trying to infer in my "I must be bored today" post was: owning an amp that's fun to play with. The Joule and Berning are not particularly fun to dink with.

While I don't really agree with your assessment of the build quality of the pentode amps, I've never got the "wow factor" from them that I've gotten listening to the OTL Joule Grand Marquis or the Wavelength Cardinal 300B. Of course both these amps are on the upper end of my amp budget, and the Joule is an overkill for my smallish dysfunctional listening room (not to mention the dispersion of heat). Also nothing seems to sound as wonderful once it's home as it did at the show or dealer. I have countless stories of disappointment.

There's so much to choose from you just wish you had the dollars and the understanding wife that would allow you to compare the variety of tubes with (let's say) the Wavac MD-300B, DeHavilland Stereo 845 and the Leben CS-660P and the speakers you're lusting after while listening in your very own home environment.

Sometimes I get upset about all that money I've recently lost in my 401K that I could have pissed away on more important things like collecting audio equipment!

Exactly. Wife factor is huge.

Didn't mean to disparage the build quality of some pentode based amps. Some are superb. Look at some of the Ayons. Beasts. But mine is a Golden Tube Audio, and they had serious quality control issues. Still like it, but there's a hum from the speakers- it's not the tubes, it's the internals. Can't compare the build quality of the GTA with the Mastersound- the latter has a massive transformer, and is dead quiet even with the volume turned all the way up. Mastersound makes some great stuff.

I roll tubes with my preamps and the GTA. Could do it with the Mastersound, which I've done with the driver and pre tubes. But the 845's, there's not much to choose from.