@rocray those are absolutely stellar tubes and the feedback you were given on them it spot on! I have a pair myself and they are just as fast and nuanced as any other tube I've tried, and once broken in have incredible body and soul. I've purchased several pair for customers and highly recommend them. I hope this helps, and best wishes. Aric
I've heard similar from a colleague yet want to test it myself too, later. I've been following some of the musical chairs discussion about some design engineers bouncing from one factory to the next. After the founder of TJFM passed, some tooling was reportedly sold to PSVANE for their line of small signal tubes including CV181/6SN7s. They were making re-labeled tubes for at least 3 others, privately.
After watching GF drop PSVANE Premium pairs directly for Linlai, I wrapped up testing quads of TJFM 6SN7s this last year - ordered a pair of the newer PSVANE matched CV181-TIIs this week sourced directly overseas, someone i used prior.
Would like to eventually compare the newer version PSVANE II to the Linlai version after I sell off some other stuff.
Keep us posted @rocray after some good burn-in occurs. Thx
Yep. I truly wondered if the matter had something to do with other financial or buying power factors vs. quality issues. As we’ve seen, vendors, resellers, drop manufacturers for reasons many of us will never know about. I’ve learned to make my own evals, particularly if there is a mid-level seller involved in that chain.
These folks get super competitive too. While I read unvalidated feedback from anonymous folks stating "it only lasted a year", I’ve found the opposite with my older TJ Full Music 6SN7s and new PSVANE small tubes 12AU7, 12AT7s still going strong. All my good 60s Mullard Blackburn plant nos/vintage stuff is stored away in boxes now. Re-visting PSVANEs in other tube types is next for me. Its what AN is using too, in their own private batches. You keep up the good work with Linlai too! Nice.
Ask: keeping each other updated and informed here, I’ll trust this more.
I agree with you @decooney. There could be numerous reasons for that partnership to dissolve. The quality thing has stuck in my mind. Rightfully so? I can’t say. But I know there are Psvane dealers that do offer 12 month warranty on their tubes. I guess that wasn’t enough to sway me. Yet….
@immatthewj, I’ve dealt with some reputable tube sellers on EBay. There are some(what I feel) are great deals on NOS measuring tubes for very reasonable prices.
My 1948 Raytheon 6SN7 tubes are about the same price now at Linai per AiiExpress. I chose them over Ken-Rad (very close) and RCA from the 40's to 50's era of 6SN7 as they had the best package of dynamics, warmth, extension, etc. I'm using them as cathode followers in mono-block amps. It's amazing how much difference there is in cathode follower use (the Sovtek which rebranded U.K. and Counterpoint were awful, the Sylvania Chrome domes were really open and fast but totally too bright from my amps). I wonder if the Linai's will last 5,000 or 10,000 hours? Has anyone used or compared Sophia Electrict 6SN7s? They are even more expensive.
Take this with a grain of salt. Been told by another member I don’t know what I’m talking about. Okay. After the father of TJ Fullmusic passed, reportedly (unvalidated) his son decided to sell off some of the tooling for the smaller line of tubes to PSVANE including N7s. This has been debated on other forums too.
Kept a few photos to watch it unfold studying who is making tubes for who and putting labels on for them in fancier gold label boxes. :) I plan to physically and sonically compare the new PSVANE CV181-TII tubes in a few weeks when they arrive. Look:
Compare the (former) regular TJ Fullmusic 6SN7s to the regular Sophia Electric 6SN7s.
I have the Shuguang Treasure 6SN7s on my Don Sachs preamp. Don says in his website that these simply walk away from the holy grail NOS tubes. That's quite a statement.
Obviously this is not the case with all NOS tubes...as a lot of the culture that made these tubes is gone forever.
My main issue is you can no longer get the Treasure variant of this tube from Shuguang (luckily I bought an extra set). You can no longer by the WE version anymore either. Psvane are hard to come by too. Now we have the Linlai.
What is up with the availability of new production tubes from the east? Not a good sign. Make a good product and keep improving it and keep making it.
Any opinions on the importance of Grant Fidelity's "top 10% Ultra Low Noise" rated tube designation as opposed to buying directly from China? I need only one tube for my Dehavilland preamp, went to the Linlai website and they were only selling them in pairs. In a Senior Moment I forgot about Grant Fidelity as a possible source and ordered the single tube from a Chinese distributor on Ebay who has an excellent rating. By the time I remembered Grant Fidelity as a possible source (and they do sell them as singles) it was too late to cancel. So, am I forever doomed to neurotically suffer from those incessant ruminations that my tube will not be performing up to its potential, or is this tube grading mostly a marketing ploy?
@weebeesdad , did the Chinese vendor list them as Grant Fidelity "top 10% Ultra Low Noise?" Does the tube have PVT stamped on the glass?
My take after reading the GF website is the Ultra Low Noise is a replacement for their previously offered tube, not just tighter specs on an existing tube. They mention a different tube structure.
@lowrider57 The vendor does not list them as a Grant Fidelity tube. The pictures shown are not detailed enough to show any markings on the glass. It does show a "plaque" on which is engraved "Linlai Tube E-6sn7 - 01512". When I receive the tube I will look for "PVT" stamped on the glass. I was under the impression that GF's low noise designation was just a tighter spec and not a different structure tube, but I could be mistaken.
Thanks for your reply.
@weebeesdad , my first impression was that these tubes were graded higher due to tigher specs, the same way Kevin at Upscale offers his tubes. The choice of tube listed is "Top 10% Cryod" or "QC Pass grade." You may be right, that they're not a new tube. They're a higher grade.
A rating called QC Pass grade doesn't inspire much confidence in the quality of this tube.
@lowrider57 The Linlai website does not grade their tubes, one could assume that their buyers should consider their purchase as having passed a Linlai quality control standard. That leaves me with my original concern that the tube I will be receiving may be of a lower quality even if it is a genuine Linlai tube, perhaps a Linlai "reject"? At this point I just have to wait until I receive it and listen to it, which, other than its reliability, will be the ultimate test regardless.
All of our customers that have installed some of these boutique tubes say the same thing- that the Psvane, TJMusic and so on have all the best qualities of the best NOS tubes without the weaknesses.
I can confirm that the Shugang plant that made the garden variety of 6SN7 burned down about 2 1/2 years ago. Also, FWIW every example we've seen of the Sophia 6SN7 has been weak. We've only seen them installed in customer equipment, and so far when asked no-one has said they were in the equipment for more than 6 months. So we think this tube has a defect causing a short lifespan; NOS tubes will last for years in our stuff.
So far the Linlai tube seems to be a better part. I'm hoping it has a good lifespan as I mentioned earlier; if this is the case the tube is a steal at its price.
I now have about seven hours of play time. I sat and listened for 5 minutes after the first 1/2 hr. My first impressions were exactly what I was told to expect,dark, no sparkle. I also noticed a very narrow soundstage. I’ve been running mid 60’s GE 6SN7 GTB for the last month or so. Prior to the GE’s, I was running a pair of Brent Jessee KenRad vt231 black glass. The KenRads have been my reference tubes thus far.( I’ll be putting them back in after proper burn in of the Linlai’s)
I just sat down to have a listen,and the darkness is starting to fade,and the soundstage is becoming wider and deeper. They are starting to show promise.
Just ordered two for the Don Sachs Model 2 linestage. If they sound as good as expected, I’ll order two more for the remaining spots. Looking forward to hearing these.
Does the size of the glass affect sound in any way? If a company puts their normal size tube guts into larger glass, will it automatically perform better?
@vinylvalet,and @aldnorab, I’ve been told they need 100hrs of burn in. Please post your impressions here. I’m at about 55 hours. I m on vacation,so I’ve been running them 12-14 hrs a day. I haven’t done any analytical listening,but they are definitely filling in from first listen.
@aldnorab, I’ve read in advertising copy about the shape of the glass affecting sound. I would have to defer that question to those more knowledgeable than myself.
@rocray thanks for the break in info. Mine are on the way from China and will take time to arrive. Will update their progress as they break in. Previous Don Sachs Model 2 linestage owner set it up with two gray glass RCA VT 231, two Ken-Rad black glass VT231, and a Coke bottle Sylvania 6BY5GA rectifier. If Linlai can match or beat this and have a long life, I'll be thrilled. Looking forward to your break in updates.
How tall are the Linlai? Hope they aren't taller than the Sylvania rectifier. It is twice the height of a standard 6SN7.
RCA is warm, KR is neutral/warm with the incredible bass. Linlai by all reports are pretty neutral. Rolling them in will be interesting. The choice is which combination sounds best.
@rocray WOW! The Sylvania 6by5 rectifier is also 4" tall. Luckily the linestage has tubes on the top instead of in a box. Thanks for the measurements. Was going to space the Salamander rack shelves further apart anyway.
@lowrider57 thanks for the tube profiles. They are the only 6SN7 I have, and had no idea where they stood sonically. It will be interesting to hear the comparison.