Cayin A88T 6550 KT88 Advice Part II

The Gold Lion (re-issue) tubes are wonderful in this amp (thanks Tvad)
The overall impression is that of clarity with great depth and separation. To my ears the sound is neither warm nor cool, and the resolution in the midrange is so great that it's easy to tell the differences in how different works were miked (i'll bet a sound engineer could tell you which mike). Each work is different. Treble instruments have weight and color and the bass is quite deep and realistic. Not the liquid midrange I was originally looking for but maybe better in some ways. I have a pair of Ken Rad 6sn7s to try for a sweeter midrange but with the Brimars that I have in there now, this is close to the best sound I've ever heard.

I did bias the amp which does make quite a significant difference. Perhaps as great a difference as swapping tubes, so I stongly recommend that you bias for new tubes.

I'd love to hear what other Cayin A88t and 100T users have used and their impressions or characterizations of both the input tubes and power tubes they've used.

I'm using the stock 6SL7s and would be curious to know what the function of these tubes are and if they have any effect on the sound.

Showing 2 responses by blmcycle

I recently bought a used A-88T and now have new production Gold Lions in the amp. They sound very good - rich and full in the mids and lows. I just replaced all 4 stock preamp tubes with reissue Tung-Sols. I think they sound good too.

When I got the amp it had Penta Labs KT88s. I recall they seemed bright compared to the GLs. But I plan to A/B them with the Lions.

This is my first tube amp, so I'd appreciate all thoughts about other tubes that work well with this amp. I wish I could try some rare NOS tubes, but I can't afford them.


Two other dealers who have them are and Thetubestore is very fast at shipping. The Gold Lions I have are not NOS, but new production reissues made in Russia.