They do that because the tubes are removed for shipping. When a customer buys an amp/pre, They label the tubes (V1, V2....), so the customer can put the tubes back, exactly where they came from.
9 responses Add your response
I am a big fan of CJ having owned Prem 14, Prem 16, and currently own the Prem 15 and ET 5. The 16 is an order of magnitude better than the 14. While the 16 and ET 5 have different presentations, both are great to my ears. While owning the Premier 16 I rolled different sets of tubes. I did not use expensive new old stock. In my system with my ears I did not find pair matching or tube position to make a discernible difference. (I am sure golden ear audiophiles will disagree with me). My favourite current production tube with the 16 was the Electro-Harmonic gold pin.
When I decided to retire I switched from the Premier 16 to the ET 5. My rational is that tube rolling with 1 6922 is a lot cheaper than rolling with 6 tubes. I could happily live with either the premier 16 or the ET 5.
it's best to get 6 matched. I tried many different varieties when I had mine. If you really want to treat yourself get a set of Telefunken 7dj8's. Upscale still has them I believe. They're a little pricey, but well worth the investment imo, and considerably less expensive than comparable NOS 6922/6dj8's.
An audiophile friend listening to my system did describe the 16 as having a golden color. I find the premier 16 to have a warmer fuller sound than the ET5. While the ET5 provides more detail or nuances to the music. An additional item to consider is the ET5 has a 100 ohm output impedance to the 16's 700 ohm output impedance. The ET5 will be a better match if you are using long interconnects or a solid state amp with a low input impedance. Both are great preamps (imho).