Best Overall Value in a KT-88 tube

Just like the topic says. What is the best overal value for a KT-88 tube considering price, reliability, bass, extension, longevity, midrange, and overall tone? Really looking for some education from experienced users of the different available options.


"Best" is in the eye/ear/wallet of the beholder.Personally,I think Genelex Gold Lions are a great "value".Are thet the "best" value? I can't say as I haven't tried every KT-88 made.
I would say the Electro Harmonix is a nice "value"$$$ What is your budget? From my understanding the Gold Lions are very good tubes but do not have the best reliabilty so does that make them a good value? I have not heard a GL but they get really good reviews.
Shuguang KT88-98 or GEKT88. Buy from a reputable dealer and make sure a pair or quad is matched carefully. As for dealers, I recommend Doug at
SED KT88 & Gold Lion Reissues are my faves. Buy them from Upscale Audio and they are thoroughly tested and arrive with a special 72 hour burn-in already performed, so they sound great right out of the box.
Second the suggestion of purchasing from Upscale Audio. Kevin can also guide you, as to which KT-88 will provide the presention you appreciate(ie: warmer or more transparent, etc), as he as experienced a plethora of tubes, in as many brands of gear. I've been purchasing output tubes from him for over 12 years, with never a disappointment. (
The dealer is as or more important than the tube. Upscale Audio, Ram Labs, Jim McShane, Tube Depot, and a few others sell good tubes. Regarding brands, different ones behave different in different circuits, thus tube "A" may be good or bad depending on the application. Personally, I like SED or Winged C 6550's, Sovtek KT88's, EH KT88's, the GL I find overpriced, and sonically average. Although I did put them in my Quiciksilver and they were marvelous so back to the "got to try em" line. JJ KT88's are great, but lately the reliability has been suspect. The Shuguang can be very good as well. Try all you can...And yes, I have tried all the above in at least 3-4 different amps. Jallen
Thanks for the responses so far. I plan to buy from Kevin, Dougstubes, Tubestore, or Grant Fidelity-- most likely Kevin. Will be going in Quad II-40's. Distributor requires full retube to upgrade to current specs. I can supply any set of Quads that I like. Not sure that I will have the upgrade performed, but would like to know my options. Amps will be used with Zu Essence. Shuagang Treasures are highly recommended but somewhat expensive at $450/matched quad.

Thanks again for any additional info.
I've used the EH KT88's, Shuguang KT-88's and Shuguang Treasures. I do like the Treasures best. But I'm not sure the words best value fits? I preferred the standard Shuguang KT-88's over the EH tubes. More musical and better bass.
I like the Shuguang KT88's for the price. Not as punchy sounding as vintage Genalex, but I find them to be more coherent.
Don't know much about KT-88's, but I am loving my Gold Lion KT-77's. I purchased them from, and got a real nice matched quad. The guys at tctubes were a pleasure to work may want to speak with them about their ideas. Happy Listening.
Penta KT88SC. A smooth plate KT88 made by Shuguang and available from Dougstubes. Incredible tube that I like better than the Gold Lion KT88.
Have done business with tctubes my self the past 6 weeks. They did some testing for me plus I bought matched ECC83 and ECC88 tubes for a phono stage and cd player. Just like Adam18 they were the best for customer service and product. Highly recommend them.
Hey Saygrr............ Nice comments, and I definitely agree with you. To all who may be interested in tubes : is a pleasure to deal with. Now, keep in mind.... I am not a die-hard audiophile,... I am simply a guy who LOVES great sounding music, and my Rogue has definitely been sounding better since I switched to the matched Gold Lion KT-77's from A few nights ago, I listened to all vinyl.... Jeff Beck's newest LP, Sonny Rollins' Way Out West, Allman Brothers at Filmore East (Elizabeth Reed and Whipping Post sides), Dave Brubeck's Time Out, and some old (yet, well preserved) Milt Jackson ... it was a great listening session. Rogue with new tubes, Rega analog front end, and my incredible Vandersteen 1C's .... it's a phenomenal experience. Happy Listening, my friends.
everyone speaks highly of the re-issue gls, has anyone tried the re-issue 12AT7 from gold lion???