Eico HF-81 question for those that have one and moved on from it or returned

I've been running a restored, complete stripped chassis upgraded wiring/resistors/caps, Eico HF-81 since 2000. It's running NOS Mullard 12au7, 12ax7 and Tungsram EL-84 tubes and Telefunken 12ax7 pulls from a Fisher tuner in the phone section. Sounds wonderful with Bozak 302a and N.E.A.R. Model 80 speakers. My source is mostly vinyl on a Thorens TD 126 MkII with Ortofon Super OM-40 and a Musical Fidelity A2 CD. I do stream Pandora through a tube buffered DAC on occasion.

I've got the itch to try something else but am wondering if I'll be chasing my tail and end up right back with the Eico after having spent a bunch of money.

I'm considering a Mapletree Ultra 4C preamp as I have a good supply of NOS 12sn7/12sx7  tubes. Amps I'm looking at is a Bob Latino ST-70 or Primaluna.

Listening material I'm classical, jazz, country, opera, big band, choral, etc...

So for you that have had a HF-81 and moved on what did you go to and was it a real improvement? Those that returned why did you and from what?


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Funny you suggested trying 6SN7 tubes in my amp. I already bought a pair of octal to noval adapters to do just that in the preamp stage. Got a pair of Raytheon 6sn7 gray plates. Was an improvement in soundstage depth, detail, and air but have edgy highs. Bought a pair of what looks to be Sylvania black plates with bottom getter branded Zenith. OMG do they sound fantastic. Big deep soundstage, luscious detailed midrange, vocals to die for, sweet highs, good bass, and well balanced. The NOS 50s Mullard 12au7 are great tubes, but the Zenith branded 6sn7 mop the floor with them.

The HF-81 sounds absolutely superb now. It was excellent before but it’s on another level now.
@gawgaboy  Just be careful to be sure that the power transformer can support the extra filament current.