"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.
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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. (http://www.upscaleaudio.com/)
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.
Hey Saygrr............ Nice comments, and I definitely agree with you. To all who may be interested in tubes : tctubes.com 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 tctubes.com. 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.