Shuguang Black Treasure KT88
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I agree with thuhaile in the response above. The dealer for Ayon is going to try to push you into buying their "fancy" BTSX tubes, which are WAY more money than the standard, affordable Black Treasures. There is a trustworthy seller on E-Bay (Hanshare Electronics), who I have bought from several times and had excellent results with. Spend your money on some good NOS driver and input tubes for it instead! They will improve the sound more than the "fancy" KT88s.
Thanks... I have been looking for more recent information regarding new KT88s and current sources for purchasing. "Hanshare Electronics" has come up a few times as a reliable source, but I do not see any recent discussions around (for instance) Canada Fuller KT88s...
It might be time to list the various sources/brands/models of KT88s and reliable sources for tested/matched stock.
Update: I sourced 3 sets of matched quad KT88’s from Ebay "NewQuestInc", based in California (strategy: less shaking between CA and VA). They arrived very well packed (thank you if you see this in the next decade) but I have not yet yanked the Ayons and re-biased the amp.
The Ayon will auto-bias (see manual) the tubes in an initial non-operational post-warm-up mode if it is user-initiated, and also before shutting down but only after a minimum length of time running (I recall 45 minutes). The auto biasing is a separate circuit outside the signal path, and it maintains tube bias (state) information over time. It’s a remarkable amp, but the Ayon tubes have had a high-failure rate (2 out of 8 tubes) in slightly oner it’s first month. (I have excellent power and am running ALL gear behind PS PowerPlants.)
The Ayon Triton III has 4 KT88s per each channel. The untried new Gold Lion tubes (I have 3 sets of matched quads) have match numbers: 48, 51 and 57.
Question: If I install these new tubes, what seems to be a good strategy: Mix them up by bias and tube position within left/right circuits or group matched tubes in left and other matched in right?
Has anyone had experience they can report about the reliability of Black Treasure KT88s? I tried some competing special Chinese-made KT88s which I liked a lot sound quality-wise, but I just had a couple of new tubes fail around the 90+ day mark, which was disappointing. Also, my first set of those tubes lasted 18 months before I had to replace them.
I also ended up with a "daily-listening" reliable set of Gold Lion KT88s. The difference in cost between the more expensive Ayon and Gold Lion tubes is absurd for the gain.
I emailed Ayon to enquire if I could run KT150s in my Ayon Triton III, based on their lookup of my serial number my amp was built to allow that (you need to check if you are unsure). Now I am in the process of seeking a solid vendor of a matched octet of KT150s...