27 responses Add your response
I was running the EL34 to Revel Performa3 F206s. Maybe not as power hungry as the Performa 2 series, but still not quite lighting them up.
So I got the KT150 and Boom! Did the trick. I love em. Might add that the Mullard CV4003 for the 12AU7 is freakin wonderful. (I hesitate to say it because Upscale has already raised the price since I got mine a few months ago.) Subbing those tubes out is a $1500 proposition but well worth it IMHO.
BTW the ultralinear mode has a bit of an agressive edge to it, and I hear reviewers saying they prefer the triode mode. With the Mullards the ultralinear mode is smooth as can be, and I never prefer the triode mode now.
With that combo, it is better in every way you want to list. And the bass is amazing. Hard to believe that kind of bass from a tube amp.
I have the Dialogue Premium rather then the HP .
I have found the Shuguang Black Treasure 6CA7's to be to my liking . Your stock EL-34's are quite good for that type of tube . I have tried many different brands of EL-34's .
I have also tried the KT-120's . They have a nice top and bottom range but I found them lacking in the midrange . The mids are where the EL-34's tend to shine .
Some of my journey , into tube rolling with the Dialogue Premium integrated , is documented here in 1 or 2 threads for both the power tubes and the small signal tubes .
Saki70 which EL34's have you tried? What about Gold Lion KT77? How do the Black Treasures compare to the stock PL EL34? For example, tone, bass, extension, etc...?
What I have found so far is the stock tubes sound very good and the overall timing or cohesiveness is almost spot on. With some other power tubes I have tried the cohesiveness seems to be a little off. Did not like the KT120 AT ALL. Midrange was dry and etchy. I do have some KT150's and they sound MUCH better than the KT120. I do like the 150's but I am getting used to them. The voices and some soundstage seem to be more recessed or pushed back than with the stock EL34. However, the bass, punch and drive definitely has more impact. The 150's do sound very nice but ARE different than stock EL34. I will say this is they have more of an EL34 tone which I like.
Just bought a lightly used matched quad of Tung-Sol KT-120 for my Primaluna Dialogue Premium. Initial reaction is wow, where did all that bottom end come from? Next reaction was where did that sweet accurate midrange go?
Looking for something in between. KT-88 maybe?
I still have a lot of listening to do before I really get a clear opinion on the KT-120. If you are looking for extra punch the KT-120 makes a positive initial impression.
I have had the Mullard El34 Reissues in the PL Dialogue Prem Int Amp and felt the bass was ok. My biggest issue were cymbals(high freq) sounding rolled off at times. I then ordered the GL Kt77 and felt the treble was excellent and so far the bass is a little bit better, but I still need more break in. I only have about 70hours. Supposedly they need over 100hrs for the bass to appear.
I just recently got Cifte 12au7's. They have over 100hrs on them. I was surprised how smooth they were. I find them to be very musical. I was expecting from everything I read to be a thin, overly revealing type tube. They are not the thickest sounding , but are also not what I would call thin. I feel they are JUST RIGHT.
Great question regarding the Ciftes.
When I had 4 of the 6 tubes being Ciftes, I felt that the sparkle and top end air were great but I felt there was a need for some syrup in the midrange and the low end was more subtle.
I found two combinations worked well.
1. Center two slots Cifte 12au7s, next inner two slots RCA black plates, and outer two slots any decent tube.
2. Center two slots Cifte, next four slots stick Primaluna 12au7s.
This was kind of a blessing discovery because 6 Ciftes across the board are pricey.
Just 2 Ciftes seems to be right in my room with my setup.
Now, I can't say too much about the Mullard reissue EL34s as I had them in s week and then Gold Lion KT88s in for about a week. I will say though that the reissue EL34s were great to my ears, same as the GLs.
I was was really surprised with the reissue Mullards. They sounded great to me. Tighter and more control than the stock PL EL34s.
The KT77 is a good tube with plenty of bass however, I didn't hear it takes that long to break in. I will take your word for it. Maybe the Mullards need more break in time but its noticeable that it doesn't have the bass output of the stock EL34 or KT77. Aniwolfe what kind of speakers do you have?
The Cifte in my system do sound well however, they don't have the lushness of some other 12AU7's I have tried. I put in some Psvane in the front slots with good results. I will add that I got some GL KT88 and letting them break in and boy do I have some bass now. Its too early to tell and will report back once they have more hours but so far the mids are nice. Not quite the stock PL EL34 but nice.
Yes from everything I have read the Kt 77’s take 100-200 hrs for the bass to appear. My speakers are Eminent Technolgoy Lft-8b’s.
I’ll trade lush for some more air and separation with the Ciftes so far one my favorite 12au7 in the middle slot. I do like however the Tungsram 12au7 and the NEC Mullards quite a bit also.
Thanks for the heads up on the KT77 :) What are the characteristics of the Tungsram? The Mullards in my system while sounding ok seem to really deaden the sound or its like someone placed a sheet over the speakers. I am speaking of CV4003 NOS Mullards I bought from Kevin at Upscale. Do your speakers tilt to the warm side or cooler side? I have Tyler Acoustics newer Highland series and the tweeter is very revealing without being bright. The rest of the drivers are SEAS.
I do agree the Cifte's have air and separation. Really good tube. I did replace the stock PL AU7's with reissue Tung Sol and they are breaking in but they helped with the upper midrange glare I was getting with some recordings.
The Tungsram have a neutral smooth sound like the Ciftes but more bass and less air.
The NEC Mullard Longplates are more neutral than your classic British Mullard. They were made by NEC in Japan using Mullard parts/tools. Labelled Hewlet Packard. They are really amazing. Some for sale NOS on ebay, seller name I think is Spincards. Very reliable person to do business with. They are probably my favorite 12au7. Great soundstage, nice extension on top and bottom. Mids are glorious
I'm curious with your opinion concerning GL KT88 vs the KT77. I tried the KT120 and found them a bit glaring. I too, like aniwolfe, am using KT77 with Cifte tubes in my PL Dialogue Premium which sound wonderful. I'm using Cifte in the first 4 slots with the stock PL 12au7 in the last 2 slots.
Keep us updated with the KT88
Ron I need to listen more to get a good grasp on the GL KT88. So far they are favorable. Great bass control, top end extension is good with no brightness, mid-range is nice but I'm trying to find the correct 12AU7 combo. The Cifte is in the front two and reissue Tung Sol in the last 4 slots. I am liking it so far and I will say this. I like the GL KT88 better than the KT150. For some reason the bass is fuller and stronger. YMMV but maybe the amp handles the 88 tube design better than the 150? Kind of shocking and I feel I have several hours on the 150 to get a decent feel for them. Maybe they need more time? Not sure how long most people feel they need, but I think with any tube after 25-50 hours one should get a good opinion or feel of the sonic characteristics.
Just a quick update. I put the stock PL 12AU7 back in the last 4 slots in place of the Tung Sol and prefer the stock tubes. Also replaced the Cifte with NEC Mullard 12AU7 in the front 2 slots. Not sure what to think at this point the NEC have more definition and transparency. In other words more energetic without being bright. Sill haven't rolled other power tubes yet for comparison.
Have tried quite a few tubes in the HP Dia prem.
The other nice sounding tube if you like the warmth of the EL34 is the re-issue Mullard KT88s.
great midrange on that tube.
would also suggest the EL 6CA7 Fat bottle. very musical sounding tube.
have also tried the Tungsol 6550 and KT-120s. Both are a great match for the amp, and sound extended on the top and bottom but do not have the midrange of the Mullard '88s or the EL34s.
the other tube not to forget is the first input tube, 12au7. Rolling in a NOS Mullard or other desired choice has a large effect on tonal qualities.
Timely discussion for me. I recently purchased a the Dialogue Premium HP Integrated, and I'm thrilled with the sound quality of the stock tubes. It's also the quietest amp I've ever had in my system. I just ordered the KT150s and NOS 12au7 Mullards. Can't wait to try them out. I am running them with Harbeth C7es3 speakers in an all analogue system.
Will let you know how it all sounds once they arrive.