KT88s...the final chapter

Ok, Ive posted before, ive read the prior threads, ive read the David99 vs Marchman debacle, I done my homework on NOS, Valve Art, Svetlanas, out there. Id love to use Gold Lions and other NOS out there, but most are sold on ebay 1 pair or quad at a time for around $100 a piece. I need 16 tubes. Svetlanas run about $40 a piece. Sovteks are about $24 each. My question, are the Sovteks such a step down in quality to my stcok Svetlana 6550's? I am talking about the price to value ratio here. If my amps used a quad or even an octet, id have no problem with forking out the $$ for Gold Lions. Has anyone given the Sovtek kt88s a shot and if so, were they put back in the box bad? Anyone have suggestions on a lo cost source for kt88 types?

Unfortunately you just missed an auction for matched quads of Svetlanas, but check your ending auctions feature, you'll get the name of the seller; he had others possibly available. One thing to watch out for, though, is that I recall that early batches of the Svetlanas were not so good, to the point I believe they stopped production for a while. Don't know what they sound like, I'm sorry to say, as I use Gold Lions. Gotta check those e-Bay auctions, $100/tube is CHEAP--maybe they're the Chinese made Gold Lions or have very heavy use, or else could be fake (unfortunately there are a few of those out there as well).
Try http://www.triodeelectronics.com. I've gotten a bunch from them (KT88, KT90, 6550c, etc.) Fast shipping, good service.
The Sovtek KT-88 is better than the Svet 6550C.I have had both and preffer the Sovtek.Everyone tells me the svet kt 88 are better than the Sovtek.I have not heard them so I cant comment.
Justlisten: Further to my post above, the guy I mentioned has his last two matched quads of Svetlanas up for dutch auction, at a higher initial price ($125) though. I've completed an auction with him, but haven't received my tubes yet so can't comment on the goods at this point. No problems with him following through, though. You might want to ask him about them.

I have spoken with him and he only has 3 quads left and I need 4. I dont want to purchase 3 quads, then have to search for another quad to complete the set.

Leafs, you are the 1st person who has spoken favorably about the Sovteks. It seems kinda in fashion to bash on them, ive only used their el34's and didnt mind them at all.
I prefer Sovtek KT-88 over Svet 6550C and Svet KT-88 over Sovtek KT-88. However, I prefer Penta KT-88 over Svet KT-88 and their price is somewhere between Sovtek and Svet. Since you are using 6550C, the Sovtek KT-88 would most likely give you satisfactory results. However, if I were You, I'd pay little more to get Penta. However, if your amp were voiced exclusively with 6550C, all bets are off.
Try http://www.thetubestore.com/kt8890100types.html for objective evaluations.
have not read extensive posts on this subject. but i have talked to a lot of tube dealers and some equipment mfgs. an expert i am not! here are my findings.

gold dragons are just select current mfg tubes. rogue uses kt88s in their magnum upgrade that are supposed to be select and matched for him. 300$ per 8. mark states that these are much better than the svet or sovtek. he also stated that they had good success with electro harmonix 6550 "tun-sol like in sound".

tube dealers all seem to say best kt88 is nos m&o and best 6550 was tun-sol. during the years of there respective hay day. i am saving to buy some used tun-sols (that test good)and should last many many years to come. as all stated these were the best sounding of the bunch. good luck
Jvr, I find it amusing how dealers will often say the most expensive tube is the best sounding.

Based on my very extensive experimentation, I can only conclude that different types of tubes sound different in different amps. I have come to regard tubes as a separate component in my system that needs to be matched carefully to everything else, just like you would match any other component in your system.

You may or may not like Tungsols. In most of the amps I have tried, they sounded pretty dry. Personally I prefer GE 6550's from the old stocks (yes, even over the Gold Lions). But then again, this will depend on your particular configuration.

A small note about the Svets: I have not tried KT88's, but in the case of 6550's I have found that they are hard to bias properly in a lot of amps. At 'normal' biasing points they might sound poor, but unexpectedly can really SING at some weird bias setting.
I have some interesting things to ponder.Any suggestions on used NOS TESTING 85% +.
Audiophobe, how much higher ma setting did you go to make them sound good? Thank you.....Frank
At Upscale Audio we have sold them all...and it depends on the amp. You have tobe careful when talking to dealers about "whats best". I had a customer tell me that suddenly the Svetlana KT88 was "not as good as it was" according to another dealer. I asked this customer if that dealer had them available. Guess what.He didn't.

There is no doubt the GEC KT88 was king of that type. And the same for the Tung-Sol 6550. And we have nice stocks of them. But I cannot tell a guy that they are worth the money. The guy that has to think twice about laying down that kind of jack may want to spend his hard earned bucks elsewhere.

As to the Slovak KT88...I will not sell them anymore. They are trouble. Anyone who knows anything and is honest will tell you that. I was one of the first people in the U.S to get my hands on some...and have tried three "revisions" and still don't trust them. They have blown up tha amps of customers that I care about. It's not worth it.

If you have an ARC or Sonic Frontiers or any amp with no plate fuse,the safest bet and most predicatable tube is Svetlana 6550C and KT88. There were disruptions that caused shortages...and in the meantime folks tried to sell off the brand regardless of if it was in the customers best interest.
Have you considered the JJ KT-88?
Well here is what Ive found, for my amps at least the SF Power 3's SF now is not recommending the Svetlana Kt88's due a high failure rate. They run the tube at a plate voltage of approx 540volts. They like the Sovtek Kt88's...I myself have purchased a set of EIKt90s. 2 sets of Sovtek kt88's and 2 sets of Valve Art Kt88's. I just recd the Sovteks and the Kt90s and rolled in the kt90s....so far so good, but its only been 3 hours. I am most intrigued at hearing the Valve Art, as SF has high priases for their 300B tube and one other they are using. The person I bought the Valve Arts from said there is a newer rugged Kt88 (3rd generation) which was designed for Jadis which have a thicker anode and thicker glass. Many people ive talked to have said nice things sonically about this tube with the only drawback being reliability..with this new Generation, lets hope that variable has been eliminated.

David and I have made up, via private email correspondence, FYI.

OTOH, I just (7/01) received a new Power 2SE and it came with Valvo 6922's and Svetlana KT88's. I wonder why SF would be including them with NEW amps if they are no longer recommending them? Do you have any idea?

Maybe I'm just lucky, but I haven't had any problems with the Svet KT88 yet.