I have a couple pairs of the premium Electroharmonix 6922's I got from Audible Illusions, for my L1 pre. For my application, I think it is a very good sounding tube and is supposed to be pretty rugged.
Imin2u, Have you listened to the EH 6922 "gold pin"? My comments are based only on the "gold pin" version. I have no idea how much different they sound from the standard version. I know it depends on the gear you put them in, but in the ARC pre(SP9 mkIII) I heard them in they are MUCH better than an expensive set of Amperex 6DJ8's in EVERY way. Many times the proponents of NOS tubes just think if it sounds "different" it's "better". The Bugle Boys are bright and have a downright weird sounding balance even compared to the Sovtek in this SP 9. Perhaps it's just this set, but you never know what you are getting for the huge rip off price of NOS. The "gold pin" has a larger and more open soundstage than the Sovtek and has bass that is fantastic. It's more dynamic, firmer, deeper, and more controlled than the Sovtek or the Amperex. I will be putting the EH in my stuff. Audio Research knows what they are talking about. They didn't get where they are by accident. If you voice a new product with a good sounding new tube and do it right there is no need for expensive tubes from the "Antiques Road Show".
Just say "NO" to NOS! That's how we can make it feasable for current tube manufacturers to make new tubes that we like.Tubes that not only people with money to burn can afford. There are many examples of great sounding current types. The SED/Svetlana 6550 is one. it's a great sounding tube, period.
Yes,all of this is subject to taste and component compatability. I guess you can tell I am not a fan of the NOS trend. I do understand that there has been some junk made and I do remember the situation before we could get anything from Russia, which at the time was the Soviet Union. I used to have to buy 5Ar4's all the time to replace short lived, shorting out crap made in China and before that 5Ar4's made by Phillips that were worse yet. Until Sovtek went back into production with their 5Ar4(probably due for the most part to ARC wanting one for use in the REF pre) the only answer was $85 and up NOS(my god some of these go for over $150 each now). My point is, that if there was no demand Sovtek would have never bothered. Myself, I would like to see all of the remaining NOS stuff put into trash compactors. I get real sick of reading that if it's not NOS, it's "garbage". If your gear only sounds good with NOS, then perhaps it's "garbage". If it needs NOS, junk it, and buy some real gear. I did. Stop living in the past. All this retro,clinging to the "good old days" stuff is a sissy load of crap.
I guess that by now, you some of you know, that I only post over the past year when it really hits a nerve. I will stop now, as I could keep going off about how much it gets me when I keep reading how much better sounding older tube pre amps and amps are than what they make today. That's "garbage" too. I guess people need soft,fat,goopy,lame sounding rolled off "tubey" stuff when they pair it with a cheap ass two dimensional,thin sounding CD player, bright ass hell, burn a whole in your head wire (but they sound so "detailed"), and pair of speakers with tweeters that could be used as a weapon.
Ok, now I'm finished.
LOL Maxgain, I agree the Electroharmonix 6922 gold pin sound great in my cdp compared to the other tubes I have tried including NOS Amperex, Siemens, Telefunken, new and nos Sovtek, 6h23eb and some others. It's a crapshoot when buying "NOS" and I think a large part are really "UOS". It seemed like there were trade-offs when comparing the NOS with each other anyway. Some had better bass control, some had warmer mids, etc.
Also, it was a concern knowing there are limits to real NOS availability. It's good to know there is an excellent alternative of new production tubes because I want to keep the tube cdp in my system. In my experience, there's no way any of the NOS I have heard are worth five times and more over the cost of the Electroharmonix 6922 gold pin.
Maxgain, Now tell us what you really think! :-) Personally, I enjoy the NOS circus - especially this type: "I JUST bought a NEW XXX preamp and I want to roll tubes - what NOS tubes do you recommend". He hasn't let his pre-amp break in, doesn't know what it sounds like let alone what he wants to improve or change. To this we see a chorus of tube salesmen respond, without regard to their actual experience with his pre-amp let alone his system or his sound preferences. When I get bored reading about NOS tubes I start reading the posts on power cords that increase bass response and provide extra detail in the highs, ad infinitum, ad nausuam.
But I will say that if you know what you want and whats available to bring you there NOS is a very viable alternative, and a lot cheaper one, than buying a different piece of equipment to get you there.
I think it is great for as many people as possible to stop buying NOS tubes, and use the Chinese and Russian stuff. This way, there will be more of that "nasty" NOS stuff from the 50's and 60's left for me. And the price will be lower too, when the demand drops off because of the move to the new tubes.
I say go to it, and switch right now! Don't buy all those overpriced old Telefunkens, Sylvanias, RCA's, and Amperex's. Leave them for me.
Thanks, ever so much,
I have both USA and Holland 'pinched waist' Amperex tubes and $800/pair is probably excessive. Anyway, they are too bright in my system; all amperex tubes are. They actually hurt my ears. I believe it's called tweeter burn. What seems to do the trick for me with my current setup are plain steel pin Mullard 6DJ8s from the 1960s. At $25-40/tube that's not that much more than current production tubes. But isn't that why many of us use tubes? So we can tweek and tune? I hope you do find some current production tubes that suit you. Like twl wrote, that means more NOS for the rest of us.
dear keviek you should give the good old philips or sylvania 6922 jan new old stock a try you will have nothing to loose you can get them at parts express for 6 or 7 bucks . i have tried them in preamps, phono stages, and dac's and in almost all cases they are as good or better then any thing they have been compaired to , i and some of my fiends have used almost all of the others things talked about in this post. so give it a shot all you have to loose is 20 bucks which will include shipping.
It is fine to love NOS tubes, but don't have a disrespectful and condescending attitude towards those of us who simply aren't interested in spending gobs of money on supposed NOS tubes. I've been there, done that, know people who have, and there are plenty of tubes supposedly NOS and highly tested that are not what they are being represented as. Speak to Bob at Eurotubes (US distributor for JJ tubes) and he'll tell you this: Tubes can measure as new and be highly used. He has measured highly used old stock tubes and they will have strong, as new, measurements for thousands of hours. Then, they will suddenly show a rapid decline in performance and readings as they approach the end of their useful life.
Ken Stevens of CAT has some pretty harsh comments to make on supposed NOS tubes and their suppliers. Go to the following link: http://www.soundstagelive.com/factorytours/cat/
and open your eyes.
I guess I've been here too long, reading about the wonders of nos tubes. I have posted this exact statement in a few posts in the past.--Regarding el34s. ------ I bought a CJ 5 about 3 years ago. It came with 2 tube sets. The seller said he liked the Svets best. So I put them in and listened for near a week. --Then I put the Siemans in. right away I just loved the difference.--"tube/ mid magic"---Never put the Svets back in. For whatever that's worth.
Kevziek, No one has mentioned the EI 6dj8's (perhaps because its not a good 6922 substitute). Aside from some quality control problems this is a nice new production tube. Count me in as a supporter of the JJ tubes, although I like the older Tesla grey plates somewhat better. FWIW I share your dislike for those demeaning opinions from folks who think they have the corner on intelligence for having found NOS tubes that they enjoy - they sound much like school yard bullies. I have a draw full of NOS tubes but 50% of the tubes I use are current production. Its not the tube so much as how you use it that really counts. I've still got a dozen Bugle Boys I haven't found a use for yet, maybe someday.
The majority of the new tube production is sold to musicians and related gear. The sales of tubes for Hifi are small by comparison. Like audiophiles, many musicians realized the sonic benefits of some NOS tubes and it was just a matter of time until tube manufacturers found it profitable to emulate the qualities of those old tubes. With proper designs, materials, and production techniques, there is no reason why new tubes will not be as good or better than the best of the NOS tubes, if they aren't already.
Without the musician's demand, it's very possible there would be no companies producing new tubes and the NOS supply would have already been depleted.
Newbee, Because of the good results from the new EH6922, I want to also try the JJ E88CC and Ei 6DJ8.
at this time...no !!!
i think alot depends on on the design, the designer may have designed the unit around current new tubes.
what unit is the tubes going into ?
tried the eh(gold pin), jj telsa, sovtek. but the amperex globe/bugle boys, and the dario (7308) blew them away ( pse hl-1 pre-amp)
it i a very rude awakening when you try to pu preimum tubes from a reliable seller ( major sticker shock) this is one reason why i avoided the bat 5vki...too many 6922 tubes. that is why bat and arc moved to the new super tube.
Eiiiiiiiiich! The EH 6922 has squashed dynamics? So many opinions......hard to draw any conclusions. I certainly don't doubt that Amperexes, Mullards, etc., sound better than current production stuff. I would guess the problem is that everyone wants to cut corners and main concerns are profits. It has been stated previously on this site that the metals and the techniques used on NOS tubes are not implemented by today's tube mfrs. It's time New Sensor, Svetlana and others get their heads out of their asses and learn how to do it right and be willing to spend the money to tool up to do it right.
Perhaps the 6H30 is to be explored. I know many dislike the result of ARC's designs with it. BAT loves it, and perhaps they do a better implementation. Tubes have become a love-hate relationship for some of us for these very reasons.
I've been accused (I think) of being a NOS snob. But look; in the 1950s when the 6DJ8 came into being, it was designed to be used as an RF amplifier for the -then- new UHF TV band. That market was HUGE! Billions and billions of tubes. Companies had the incentive and the means to spend a lot of money on research. Formulas for cathode coatings back then were as closely guarded secrets as the formula for Coca-Cola. Since the market was so huge, tubes being the only game in town, makers of the chemicals for those coatings had an incentive to provide a high purity product to the tube mfrs. We audiophiles may think we are an important market; but we are not. Even so, our market is dominated by the big players like AR who put a lot of price pressure on current mfrs. This can lead to QC issues like vacuum purity. It takes more TIME to achieve a high vacuum and time is money. The 6DJ8, 6922, 7308 family of tubes were designed to be 10,000 hour tubes. A decent pair should last several years. What I have a hard time understanding is why someone would pay thousands of dollars for a piece of equipment and then bitch if he has to pay more than a few bucks for tubes. Sure NOS tubes cost more. But they don't make then like they used to and aren't likely to in the future.
Mikesinger, When I said:
"With proper designs, materials, and production techniques, there is no reason why new tubes will not be as good or better than the best of the NOS tubes, if they aren't already."
I meant "in some cases" for some tube models.
I think other tubes are being used more than the 6DJ8/6922 type for new equipment applications in the music industry.
This is good and bad. Good because not as many musicians are tapping into the NOS 6DJ8 type supply and bad because the lower demand in the largest market could slow improvements in new production tubes.
John_tracy: Billions and Billions of 6DJ8? If that is factual there is no scarcity of NOS tubes and the price gouging is even more reprehensible. Where are they?
John_tracy: Billions and Billions of 6DJ8? If that is factual there is no scarcity of NOS tubes and the price gouging is even more reprehensible. Where are they?
I said: Billioins and billions of 'tubes'. Not 6DJ8s. If you just take the # of TVs produced in the '50s and '60s and multiply that buy the # of tubes in them plus their replacements, billions and billions may be an exageration; but not by much. With that kind of market companies can afford to spend a whole lot on research and tooling. And in a competitive market there is a lot more incentive for good quality control. Today the market for tubes is neither large or competitive.
John_tracy: Thanks for the clarification and I agree the tube market these days is not as large as it once was. However, the market for the tubes used in guitar amps, recording equipment, and hifi components has seen steady growth each year since the late 80's and is not an insignificant market as a whole. Although current manufacturers of tube equipment are the ones buying most of the new production tubes, the end consumer these days has higher expectations for sound quality than in the hayday of tubes. I think that demand will be met with even better sounding new production tubes and we are now seeing that trend.
Twl....well done sir, a clever and very diplomatic post. WOWZA...You managed to respond here without stepping on a single solitary toe in just under 100 words.And I would bet you are a decent typer to boot. However....I won't be so diplomatic here, but rather blunt and to the point. You can call me a condenscending snob, a knob, a slob, or whatever you wish...so be it ! Frankly... paying $800 for a "pinched waist" 6922 is for some poor lost soul who is suffering with some form of neurosis. An excessive compulsive type individual with way too much money. Geez gang,The pinched waist 6922's are surely the most overated tubes in the whole darn family.While they can certainly sound exceptionally good, your chances of finding a quiet one that isn't microphonic, are about slim and none!Especially when employed in a top shelf phono stage.The majority of them are typically much to noisey and microphonic for that application. That said: Do you really think the modern equipment manufacturers are going to voice their equipment with nos tubes? Perhaps that is why many feel the current crop of 6dj8's are so good. Yes... the EI gold pin is a good tube,possess some nos-esque tube like qualities and a whole lot better sounding than the commercial grade sovtek drek being packaged and peddled to the Western economies.The chineese gold dragons are decent as well. BUT!!!! If you believe you can get anywhere near the the performance of the early NOS family with the current offerings??? Give your head a shake,[ might even break up some of that ear wax in there].Yeah,for you skeptics out there...I will make you all a real geniune deal here as I have a drawer full of brand new sovtek's,EH's, golden dragons. I can trade for your old NOS stock.... and I will give you 4 new to every one nos. Yes... I too, would be very apprehensive about buying expensive nos tubes that are supposed to be: so called "new in a box".A giant Crap Shoot to be sure, as there is absolutely no guarantee your getting a good one what so-ever . Even brand new nos tubes can be microphonic right out of the box,have mismatched triode sections and be way too noisey as well, particularly in the 6dj8 family of valves as they were never really designed for audio applications to begin with and are inherently prone to microphonics by design.Here is a few suggestions to minimalize his or her risk when acquiring pricey nos tubes, regardless of whether your contact is a tube dealer,a private party or a friend...  tube in question must test above 95 % with both triode sections closely matched with no less than a 2% tolerance section to section balance  This next suggestion will surely keep them all honest, and weed out and disqualify a good number of the tube sellers, dealers,and tube gurus alike, the frauds and the wanabees have no chance... Simply demand the tube in question be tested for noise and microphonics in a good "phono" preamp circuit... even if you yourself are not using it in a phono stage per sey. If the tube in question can pass this litmus test,chances are it should be a good tube. If the tube seller,dealer or persons cannot or will not agree to those specific parameters and with a satisfactory return policy.... Simple.....Don't BUY Them!
It's the current OEMs who dictate the market and they do put a lot of price pressure on the mfrs. of the tubes. They can and do take measures to cut costs. Also, don't forget all the many specialty chemical suppiers who back in the day provided the necessary chemicals for the critical cathode coatings. With the loss of the huge tube market most have moved on to other business. Some of the chemicals suppied today may not be of the same high purity that they were back in the day. I love tubes and I hope you are right that current production will come up to snuff with the NOS tubes of old. But I am not holding my breath and I have my closet stocked with plenty of Mullards, MOVs, Amperexes, RCAs, etc. Enough to last me for the rest of my lifetime.
BTW, I payed $40 recently for a USA 'pinched waist' that is 'phono grade', clear markings, and the original box. I agree that $800 is 'way to much' to pay for a pair of these tubes. Also, regardless of what the seller on Audiogon said, I think the US version has the edge on the Holland ones. I guess he had Hollands for sale. Wonder what he would have claimed if he was selling ones made in New York.
My experience with tube rolling is minimal in that I've only been doing it for a year in my Kora Eclipse preamp. To date, I've discovered that the low noise 6DJ8 tubes that I bought from Roger Modjeski's TubeAudioStore.com has far outpaced three other sets of 6922's that I've tried. His Ram Labs tested tubes are by far the most neutral, rich, and dynamic of them all. The bass response is very impressive. With each tube category, he sells three types -standard, low noise, & super low noise - all priced accordingly. The tubes are matched by his proprietary measuring system as opposed to by brand. Roger suggested that the low noise would be fine for a preamp but super low noise is better for an amp.