Best 845 tube out there?

I am running a pair of Cary CAD-211AE monoblocks with the standard no-name Chinese tubes shipped by Cary. Whilst I am happy with the sound, I think I should buy a pair of 845's to keep as backup in case something happens to these tubes.

Because I will need to buy FOUR of them, this rules out any tube that sells for stupid money (e.g. vintage RCA 845 tubes).

The only current production 845's I am aware of are:

- Shuguang 845 "standard"
- Shuguang 845B
- Shuguang 845C
- Shuguang PSVANE 845
- KR Audio 845

I have found reviews of the Shuguang 845B and 845C, but there is virtually no information out there on the new Shuguang "psvane" 845. Has anybody heard this valve, and is it a noticable improvement over the 845B and C? Also, what do people think of the KR?

Showing 12 responses by parsons

This is/was a great thread.  

What are the latest 845 tube impressions people have?  Might as well keep this info in the same thread so it's all together.

I've got some Elrogs en route this week.  I've been enjoying 845Bs in both my Thoress 845 monos and my more recently acquired Melody AN845 (for a second system).  The Elrogs seemed like they'd be an upgrade but we'll see.  The 845Bs were better/more nuanced than the Melody-stamped 845s that I got with the Melody amp--not sure what brand they are, but they appear to have brass bases.  Not bad but seemed more forward with less micro-dynamics than the 845Bs.

I would like to try some Psvane WE845s or the Shuguang WE845s for comparison, but a couple threads it seemed, quality addressed, the Elrogs were at least a little better.

Please post recent 845 experience/thoughts.


I’m running a Melody AN845 in a 3rd system...also very interested in findings of the best 845s for this amp. I have Thoress 845 monos that I’m running Elrogs in, and they are awesome and a clear upgrade from the Shuguang As and Bs in the Thoress amps. However, they didn’t make the same music in the Melody...not bad, but I think I preferred the As in the Melody over all other pairs ironically...including the Melody branded 845s. I have the Melody driving some Altec Valencia 16 ohms with updated crossovers and its an awesome 3rd system, but I am interested in maxing out the performance, and curious about the WE 845 types that might be compatible with the Melody.

Great question.  My honest answer? ...this thread, mostly.  I reread the whole thread again (I've probably read it through 3 times now over the last 6 months), and some folks whose opinions I trust from other topics seemed to get enjoyment out of the Psvane WEs...and most relative to the Shuguang Bs (and As). 

One poster noted that the Elrogs blew the Psvane WEs away (and I trust his feedback from reading his posts over the years), but since I own the Elrogs, and they didn't blow the Shuguang As and Bs away in my Melody on my my two sets of speakers, I felt it was a decent dice roll to try some WEs for the Melody, since again most posters felt they were an upgrade to the Shuguang A & Bs.  I've never owned any Psvanes of any type for any of my amps, but marketing aside, I still feel like I've read good reviews/posts in general on the brand, and this is their offering that is most interesting to me, despite it's $800 cost for the experiment.

As to why not Shuguang WEs?  Only in that I didn't yet find a side-by-side, other than a suggestion that the Shuguang is newer and based on a better retro design--I can't confirm that.  They are cheaper--which is also interesting to me, but doesn't necessarily mean anything in the rest of this context.

Knowing me, this exercise and discussion may entice me to later also order a set of Shuguang WEs too.  You know--for "science."  My wife asks me when all my "science experiments" will have a financial payoff.  She doesn't like my response is that "the financial payoff went to the product manufacturers."
On topic, I've just ordered a pair of PSVane WE Replica 845s myself and will report back my thoughts.

Sorry, I totally missed your posted question to me a couple weeks back.

I’m 98% sure that’s what I’m running, but my lettering is quite worn and is in white paint "845" with "made in China" below it--all white paint, with no printed brand, and nothing in red paint. However, from the photos, the physical design appears to be identical in all the parts I can see clearly. I will admit I can’t remember where I got them--I think they came with my used purchase of the Thoress 845s, which I think are somewhere in the 8-10 year old range. Maybe my "As" are that old too?

As to the A vs. B answer, I fear today’s answer is going to be longer and less useful than you wanted, as I’m a little compromised right now in between a (long) move to a new house, and my Thoress amps and spare B tubes are already moved to the new house. Therefore I can’t easily recreate my A vs. B this morning in the Melody. I may go to the new house this weekend and I can try to remember to look for the Bs to bring back.

From memory, I felt that the As were a little more "spirited" in the Melody ("live"), yet without the slight harshness I thought that I remember reading folks often found in the As over the Bs, and that I think I found to be true in the Thoress 845s. I’m pretty sure I had heard an increased "ease" with the Bs over the As in the Thoress amps, but still a very "live" sound--I know I fairly clearly preferred the Bs there, but I don’t know it was night and day. "Ease" might not be a great usage here--maybe I’m thinking less harshness (which wasn’t great to begin with) and a little more soundstage depth in that statement. The Elrogs were a clear step up from the Thoress amps, not in the Melody.

To further confuse matters and make my response perhaps even less useful, I never had the Thoress amps driving my Altec Lansing Valencia 16-ohms, which is what I have the Melody amp driving.  It’s possible with that Thoress 845/Valencia combo, perhaps I would have preferred the A over the B there too? I won’t be able to do that test for several months.
Recognizing I'm drawing this off topic, can you let us know what OTL you've acquired, and what speakers you're driving, and any interesting comparisons on sound?  I'm on the same "journey," but like cars, I'm enjoying having multiple amps...doing well in the 845 and 300b's, but interested in OTL for comparison.  If too off topic for this thread, please direct message me if you don't mind...quite interested in hearing of others journeys.
@t_ramey  Thanks to you too...please continue to keep in touch as it seems posting Melody 845 owners are few and far between.

@charles1dad    A personal note of thanks for your general knowledge and approach to this "sport"...I find your posts in almost every thread that interests me on this site...I think I've followed in your footsteps on numerous purchases and your findings are always spot on.  You've heard and provided great feedback on almost every tube product I own or considered (and many I own largely because of contributions you've made to the decisions).  No pressure!

Great thread--thanks to all for keeping it going.
Thanks for the posts on the Shuguangs...sorry for both of your luck there...that's frustrating on both counts.

Will absolutely do as soon as they arrive.  They appear to have shipped per the Paypal email, but directly from China and there's no online trackability it seems.

As for the recent luck of all of our posters here, that is frustrating on numerous fronts.

I need a lesson on how to personally IM folks on this site...I can't for the life of me ever find the right link to do it.

@t_ramey If you want to send me a private message, I had some questions for you and some thoughts on the Melody that I won't take this thread off topic any further than this post (sorry folks!).

OK, PSVane WEs arrived in good shape.  They were packed well in foam but not in individual boxes...side by side in foam compartments inside the shipping box itself, but well protected.  They look a little different from each other--the glass tip on the top of one is longer than the other, and the insides of one seem tilted a tad to one side.  In that regard they have a "hand made" look & feel about them, which I'm not sure is a good thing in tubes, but what do I know.  I bought the "top 10%" versions for an extra $100, btw.  I can't actually tell if they shipped from China direct or from Canada--the return address is Canada, but that doesn't mean anything I guess.  They took about 10 days to arrive from when I ordered them.

In short summary, they are very, very good after just 4 hours or so of warm up/burn in.  Hopefully they will get even better.  Tom, they were a lot cleaner and more nuanced than the Suguang A's I thought I liked in the Melody 845 AN the best.  I have no desire to put the A's back in at all.


To ensure I had a fair comparison, I first spent 30 minutes with the Shuguang A's, as mentioned (this is not my main system so I don't do much critical listening on this system), and while they sounded good, they were a tad "nearfield monitor" sounding, even after 30 minutes of warm up.  A lot of in-your-face, front-row feel.  Not much depth to the soundstage at all.  I feel like I was hearing a little roll-off up top, although the bass was strong and solid and midrange was very good.  I also felt like on certain tracks the vocals were a little "hands cupped over mouth" to a degree.  My speakers are modded (new cross-overs) Altec Lansing Valencias from 1970, but I had not felt I was hearing the horns previously and I've had these speakers for about 4 years in almost constant use in some system or another, so I'm pretty familiar with them.  That cupped voice thing, again on some tracks, wasn't something I attribute to the speakers.

The PSVane WEs had a lot more front-to-back depth right out of the box.  4 hours later it's way more nuanced...but still dynamic, and really smooth and lovely.  Tonally it sounds like I would expect in all registers.  No cupped voicing.  Cymbals don't sound rolled-off at all.  The bass is tight with good decay on kick drums, etc.  I would say a slight bit "laid back" vs. the Shuguang A's, in this amp anyway, but still with very good PRAT, and relaxed in the right areas to make it very musical and emotionally pleasing.  They sound neutral to my ears.  Again, very musical and organic like you want.  No fatigue.

I think these sound really close to how I remember the Elrogs sound in my Thoress 845 monoblocks--while maybe not exactly as good, that's a big compliment from my end, given this amp is an integrated and about 1/2 the price of the the Thoress monoblocks alone without a $15K preamp, and the tubes also less than half of the Elrogs.  I don't want to overstate how good they are, but I'm very pleased so far.  I will listen to this system a lot more now.

I may bring the Elrogs back from storage at the new house and do a side-by-side on the Melody again.
Olivier, thanks for the report.  I have what sounds to be a similar system and I notice that "shouting" sensation on a lot of stuff that's new...hopefully you'll hear the voices move back in the soundstage with some burn-in, as you suggested...I suspect you will.  I am coincidentally demoing an Aqua Formula DAC, which by all marks should be phenomenal in all systems, and it sounded exactly as you describe at first--took a long time to burn-in/settle-in and balance out in my system, but it finally did.  Also, check your vibration/isolation of your amps...these tubes might be more sensitive to vibration than the others?  I've found Vibrapods and the like to help mellow-out shouty vocals in high sensitivity speakers, all else equal.  Let us know if the burn-in helps, please--hope it does for you!