Audio Aero CDP tube replacement: 6021 v/s 6n16b
During my recent trip to France, I met with an electronic engineer who previously worked for Audio Aero factory (France) and told me of a substantial improvement in musicality and overall sound quality of the Audio Aero CD players if the stock 6021W tubes (cryo or not) are replaced by the russian 6N16B tubes (selling for about $1,50 ea. on Ebay from Russia).
I did some research and came across several DIYers from Europe who have tried this route and confirmed that the 6N16B tubes take the Audio Aero players to another level.
Continuing my research, i recently came across a well respected french DIY website (in French language) - hosted and managed by tube researchers & professionals in France and a forum specifically on tube replacement in Audio Aero players.
It appears that those who have replaced the 6021 by 6n16b swear there is no contest: the russian tubes make the player a much better animal. The site is:
There is one caveat though (detailed out in the above thread): the 8 filaments of the 6n16b have to be soldered differently from the way the 6021 are soldered - the latter requires that the filaments be soldered consecutively in an orderly manner (i.e. filament 1 of tube 6021 on position 1 on circuit board, filament 2 on position 2, and so on in a regular pattern clockwise or anticlockwise etc..) , while the russian tube requires that some filaments be soldered in a disorderly sequence - some filaments having to cross others (and therefore require isolation).
I went on Lampizator website and found that Lukas has only praises for these little russian tubes and as he states in his own words: "One of the best sounding tubes of all time. The ubertube". The link is http://lampizator.eu/shop/viewitem.php?productid=51
Lukas uses them in many of his products (DAC, preamp etc.)
Convinced by these testimonies, I have just ordered eight 6n16b tubes from Russia for my AA cd player and am awaiting delivery. Have also bought some JAN 6021W Phillips just in case..
Anyone tried the replacement? Your experience, findings and particularly the complexity of soldering the 6n16b on the circuit board would be much appreciated.