AYON KT-SX Tube quality (failure rate?)


I bought a new/demo ("was only played at CES this Jan 2016...") AYON TRITON III from the US distributer this January.

Within 3 weeks 2 of the 8 KT88-SX tubes either expired or the amp complained about the tube. The vendor said: "90 days on new tubes..." ...which meant I was out of luck given his logic. New tubes cost around $180 or so.

I have either spoken with other Ayon owners on this or other forums, in private (after posting about Ayon) or when seeking to buy these tubes from them.

Guess what?

They have had the same failure rate.

Please weigh in: I am relatively new (1 year) to tube gear and have no idea if I should expect more monthly replacements. (I bought 3 matched quads of new Gold Lion KT88s, but the Ayons sound quite good to me, I just am appalled at the failure rates I experienced or heard about.)
Convert?fit=crop&h=128&rotate=exif&w=128vicweast
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Just to be clear: I am otherwise delighted with the AYON amp.

Had a local dealer drop the Ayon  line,one because of the same tube problem and the poor support from Ayon.
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I have no reason to believe the issue goes beyond the actual tubes. That's why I posted here to get others to give direct feedback with their Ayon tubes (or if it goes beyond that).
Why not start a separate inquiry about Gold Lion KT88 reliability, specifically?  I'm thinking having AYON in the title might be a little "mis-leading".  Maybe other non-Ayon/GL KT-88 tube users are having similar issues...just a thought.   

If the tubes are branded Ayon they are certainly re-badged OEM tubes.  Seems like Ayon must have bought a bad batch of tubes and did not QC them.  Either that or the circuit runs the tubes so hard that they are prone to premature failure.  As to your general question, no properly designed amp would require monthly output tube replacement. 
I'm a bit confused what tubes failed exactly? Gold Lion KT88's or I'm guessing KT88-SX is some nomenclature for Ayon branded tubes? I will say that Gold Lion KT77's, which I use and think sound great, do have a higher than average failure rate.
@jond  @ghosthouse 
The only tubes I have run in the Ayon so far are Ayon KT88-sx. I have NOT yet run the Gold Lions as they were my "backup plan" in case the rest of the Ayon KT88s fizzed or burped or otherwise committed suicide.
@jond Ayon KT88-sx are called "treasure" tubes by the US distributer. I have a sneaking feeling I know what he means: First my treasure, then his booty as I buy replacements. But that is pure speculation on my part and not really what I intended in my post: I really just want to hear from others if they have had similar failure rates with this brand of tube... hello?
Understood and I don't own nor have I any experience with Ayon amps or tubes, very likely a bad batch of tubes they received as swampwalker suggests above. And by "treasure" it probably actually means they are Shuguang Treasure tubes from China which enjoy a great rep for sound quality, not sure about reliability.
Sorry Vic, I misunderstood what tubes were failing.  Thought the Ayon tubes were re-labelled Gold Lions.  I agree with jond's guess about the identity of the Ayon stock "Treasure" tubes.  Given the stock tubes are something other than Gold Lion, I'd definitely be pulling them and plugging in those Gold Lions.  If they run OK then you will know it's bad tube quality and not the amp.  By the way, looking up the Ayon amp on-line I see bias is listed as both automatic AND manual.  Not sure how that works but if you are able, check the bias.  A check and adjustment of bias is always recommended prior to installing new tubes.  Apologies if this is something you already know.  Good luck getting things sorted out.
Ayon is the Bugatti of audio & best of show for 7 years, but only if you change the tubes or oil once a month @ $500.
Definitely - Not my cup of tea.
I would stay far, far away from these guys & their hype!
@ghosthouse
Indeed, I intend to replace the Ayon tubes with the Gold Lions after another few weeks. This will make for better statistics that might be skewed by "shipping" or "infant mortality", that should be ample time to experience either no or further tube failure.

After that time passes, I will run the Gold Lions for a few months to see if there is continued failure (I do not expect it — but I am wary, hence posting here.
@paladin 
Your take on Ayon strikes me as quite harsh. What experience do you have or know about? I am very curious as to what lies behind your statement.

Be warned "only played at CES". My friend bought one of their CD players "demo from review" when he got it the serial number was different from the reviews sn. Warning regarding bate and switch. 
Vic - what's the story on biasing for the Ayon?  Is it mainly auto but allows some manual tweaking or override?  Proper bias obviously critical to maximizing tube life.  Again, good luck.
@view cast
My only contact with Ayon was a few years ago when I was considering one of their CD players listed on the gon @ a very attractive price.
I called & spoke with someone there & was told that their unit would crush every other unit I was considering.
I am no novice & with over 50 years in audio - I think that I know a few things that some with less experience may not know.
After listening to 10 minutes of the most condescending BS & pitch on their product - I thanked the man & laughed for hours while ordering the other unit that I was considering.
I am not here to bash their products as I have never owned or will ever own anything they sell.
I only wish that they would treat a prospective buyer with more respect & not try to convince someone that there is nothing better than what they are selling.
As far as I am concerned - I can spend my money anywhere I want & cannot in good faith buy anything from someone who does not respect me - my wants, needs & budget.
Is it really possible that every item they sell is the best of show seven years running - power amps, pre; speakers & CD players?
I think not!
On this forum there is always talk about "hype" & after 10 minutes on the phone with Ayon - I knew I had met/spoken with the king!

Lyon does not use the term "automatic biasing, instead they describe an "intelligent auto-fixed-bias (AFB) circuitry that does NOT operate during normal listening. Biasing Ayon Triton III is performed in two distinct and separate phases as follows (my words, shortened from the manual):

1) Upon power up, the user can manually depress a detent on the rear of the unit. This initiates a process that tests each tube in turn and sets a bias for all tubes.That bias is then used for subsequent power ups.

2) In addition, each time the amp powered down and if the current operation time exceeds 45 minutes, the tubes are automatically rechecked and if necessary, a new bias is set for each tube. This is referred to as "bias reference control".

The operation of this circuit can be observed on the back of the unit via 8 LEDs that blink in sequence from V1 through V8. If the process passes without tube problems then the LED is left dark and the next tube in the sequence is tested. This process also means that the power button does not kill power to the unit, rather it initiates power up and power down, and under circumstances (a tube failure during the last power on, or a user initiated detent press).
Vic - I was going with what they had written under Features for the Ayon Triton III (see below).

If it's working right, what you describe sounds like a pretty slick biasing system.


Signal Path
We believe that the simplest circuits work best together with the shortest signal path. The shorter the signal path is, the less possibility of sonic degradation from various sources, including the wire itself. Even on the circuit boards, the copper traces are kept to a very minimum length. The completely redesigned circuit board provides a more straightforward and direct approach to the signal paths.
  • Logical sequenced soft-start power up for extended tube life
  • Power tube and electronic protection circuit system
  • 0dB negative feedback (of any kind )
  • Ultra short signal path
  • Simplest direct circuit path for purest musical sound and high reliability
  • No solid state devices in the signal path
  • High current and low impedance design that operates tubes in the best areas their curves
  • Minimal discrete wiring for optimum signal propagation
  • Automatic and manual bias adjustment
  • No followers or buffers in the signal path
  • High quality parts throughout
  • Selector switch engages relays located near RCA jacks to switch all inputs

@ghosthouse Thanks, yes indeed... I’ll let you know what more I find out. I am extremely pleased with the sound of this amplifier. If I could get my hands on some technical info regarding the circuit, I would not be so tempted to look inside... It is extremely heavy at over 120 lbs ...It’s weight is it’s first line of defense against the curious engineer who can lift 120 but who also seems to regret doing so afterward. :-)

Vic,

I ran without any failures Gold Lion KT88s in my Rogue M180 mono blocks for the 3-4 years that I had that system.  After several years one tube was starting to weaken as evidenced by a thinning of the silver coating in the top of the tube after about three years of use.  I have also used Gold Lion KT88 tubes in my Ayon Triton 1 without any issues for the 2-3 years that I have owned that piece - an amplifier that I truly like a lot and that unless I ever have an opportunity to move up in the Ayon line is an amp that I intend to keep from here on out.  Finally, it's unfortunate that some have had bad experiences with USATubeAudio.  My experience with them was quite to my satisfaction, as has been the two Ayon pieces (Triton 1 integrated and S-5 media player) that are the heart of my system.

I do not have any experience with the tubes you mentioned in your original post but would certainly agree with jond's and ghosthouse's previous comments.

Hope all works out well,
Cheers,

John
@reynolds853 
I hear you! I thought I would sell my Rogue Cronus Magnum when I got the Ayon Triton III, but so far I can't seem to let go. They are both excellent but very different amps with different design philosophies. I love buying American (Rogue) when I can, but the thing is: I was born in Austria, I am an software/systems engineer and the Ayon definitely speaks to that!
Vic,

The Cronus Magnum is a nice amp.  Our local shop is a Rogue dealer so I've had lots of opportunities to hear them.  If it would fit I would consider one for my office system.

John

Rogue definitely brings goods. Bang for the buck, but a well defined bang with all the emotion and detail... ;-)