New To Tubes Advice Needed

Hi Guys:
Like my question says I'm very new to the world of tubes. I have recently purchased a Xindak MT3 tube Integrated and I'm very pleased with the warm sound it produces in comparison to all the SS amplifiers that I have used over the years. I based my decision to purchase the Xindak based on the sound I heard and not the fact that the unit is made in China. This being my first entry to the world of tube gear cost was somewhat of a concern just in case I did not like the sound in the long run. The unit runs on 4-EL34, 2-68NP (6SN7GT)and one 12AX7 stock tubes original to the unit. I have read that tube rolling could yield some good improvements, since I know nothing on the subject I was wondering if I could impose on some knowledgeable members to guide in so far as to what should be changed and what with. I'm aware that there is so many different tubes on the market and that buying one over the other is a matter of taste but in my case I'm totally in the dark so any guidance is valued.By the way I would like to keep the cost factor in to play so no suggestions for very expensive tubes. Also I have read that EL34 could be substituted with KT77 what is the difference.
Thanks in advance for all of your input.
Why not start easy by just rolling the 12AX7? There are a number of affordable choices that you can buy and try. Try to buy from a reputable dealer. If you like what you hear, consider rolling the other tubes.

Have fun,

Hi Rossq,

I would first give the unit some time to break-in and for you to become familiar with it's sound. Then you may want to try they 12ax7 and the 6sn7's first. You only need one 12ax7 so you could do that one first. What kind of sound do you want and how much are you looking at spending?
Hello Rossq,

I was in the tube way before the Solid State came along and my soft side is always the with the beautiful sound of the tube. I am glad to hear you have discovered the same. The upmost important thing in this hobby is the way YOU liked it. Not someone who's trying to tell you what's his preference. Each one of us heard the music differently. That's why there are so many brands and companies to choose from. I don't know anything about your amp. I put my amps together from the kit and after few nights slinging the soldering gun, I am really enjoying it (Bottlehead's Paramours) and after a few years, am still loving it.

Yes, tube brands make different sound. You could tell the difference from one to the other when you rolling the tube. Stick with what sound the best to YOU. My other advise is to pay attention to the front end (CD, Turntable, etc.). If garbage in, it will be garbage out and your first watt is the most important to you system. Do not spend your 401K chasing the rainbow. Just listen and if you liked and that's is.
Enjoy the music!
I would first give the unit some time to break-in and for you to become familiar with it's sound.

Excellent advice!!!!
Replytoken-Detredwings and Wynnsanantonio.
Tanks so very much for your input. So just so that I understand I could start by just changing one of the tube the 12ax7 and see what happens, if I was to change the 6SN7GT I would have to change both of them. Now since there is 4 EL34 when changing I would have to change all 4 is that right? What happens if one of the 4 EL34 burns out or is faulty would I then need to replace all four once again and would I have to replace the burned one with the same make. The Integrated sounds just fine as it is but you know how it is just trying to refine the mid range and see if I could get the base to be a little faster and tighter.
If you are bent on moving ahead with tube experimenting and you're a fundamentally happy with your unit as it is just try changing the smallest/cheapest tube first. The power tubes will usually effect a larger change, but are more expensive and involved. And, even if you find different ones you like, you will probably try to fine tune the sound by changing the small tubes.

I don't know your amp, but there are a lot of good 12AX's that are relatively inexpensive. Not so much with the 6SN7's.

But I agree with others, relax and enjoy for a while before you start changing tubes.
I am a huge advocate of tube rolling for the simple reason that, by doing so, I have realized sonic improvements on a par with major equipment upgrades, albeit with NOSs (not cheap). But it's not as simple as reading a review and making a switch. For someone like you (and me) working with the right tube merchant is essential.

That said. Detredwings and Tpreaves, are spot on. This isn't the first thing you do. IMO, it's one of the last. The right tubes will tie everything together.

When the time comes, as advised above, I would look to the 12ax7 first. Welcome to the brotherhood of tubes. Good luck.
Thanks to all for the words of wisdom. The Integrated in question has about 70 hours in and sounds much better to me than most of the SS combos I have had over the years. There is really not much wrong with it now I just thought that the manufacturers normally don't put the best quality tubes in their unit and my thinking is if it sound good now what can be obtained if better tubes are put in hence my rush to swap tubes. Like most have said I will start by changing the 12AX7. The tubes on the unit right now are Electron made in China.
The 12ax7 you have is a Shuguang very common Chinese tube. Now finding what kind of tube you want is the journey you must take. Read in the forum's here and audio asylum to get an idea of what you may want to try. Remember what you like is what you like! Here is the link to audio asylum

Yes if you change the 6sn7 you need to change both. If one of the EL34 goes out. If it's not very old you could get away with just changing a matched pair. I wouldn't change only one. Other people may disagree? But EL34's are not too expensive you may want to try a match quad of a new brand. Again the EL34's are probably Shuguang.

Remember to enjoy the music. Some of us including myself have too many tubes and tend to roll them too much.
Thanks for taking the time to answer my questions. I think you are right when you say what you like is what you like we all hear differently and the only way to find what I might like is to try a few different tubes until I find the ones that are right for me. I will try and do more research and educate myself a little by reading in different forums.
The link below is to Brent Jesse's site - tube vendor - I am not affiliated other than as a customer. You will find assessments of various 62n7s and 12ax7 when you click on each. Also, if you call him he is an easy fellow to speak to and gives honest opinions and recommendations
When you get to the website that was mentioned above , go to a part of it called Joe's Tube Lore . There you can find a rather exhuastive comparing of the small/input tubes . It was done using a different preamp than yours but the difference described between the tubes can be helpful . It's a nice starting place .

For me , the small/input tubes made the biggest difference and are usually much cheaper than the large/power tubes . They also can be changed with less hassle as they do not require that you reset the bias like the large/power tubes .

Good luck.
A big thanks to all of you that have tried to help. I was put in touch with the Tube Store and at their recommendation for my specific Xindak MT3 Integrated I ended up buying a matched pair of EH 6SN7, One Preferred AO Series 7025 12AX7, and 4 matched Winged C (SED) EL 34 for $212 total. I should have them by next week and then the tube journey begins, and I must confess I hope to see some improvement even if ever so slightly. Boy owning Tube gear is much more fun the Solid State
Like many already mentioned, before you roll the tubes, let the amp play for 100 hours at least. This way the components and the tubes will be on their potential. Try to listen to the amp every 25 hours to see if any changes will appear. You may also use the same record, so the changes, if any, can be easier to detect.
Personaly I tried NOS TESLA EL34 only and liked them. I compared them to NOS GEC KT88 and they did a very good job. My amp, at the time, was PrimaLuna Prologue Two.
I would say, take some time and report back with more details, its fun.
I thought I would post an update on the new tubes I ordered, and give everyone who was kind enough in helping me my impression in regards to the sound with the new tubes. Right out of the boxes the sound of the new tubes was nothing short of breathtaking way smoother and the details improved to were I swear I hear stuff on some Cd's that I have not heard before is that even possible?. I can hear even the smallest of details and the bonus is that all of this happens even at lower volume. The bass is so much more full and controlled, all of this with just about 3 hours on the new tubes from what I have read the best is yet to come once the tubes burn in for at least 50 hours, can't wait. In all honesty I wish I would have jumped in to tube amplification a long time ago but better late than never
Thats it, you are addicted now, welcome to the club:)