Hi I am curious also particularly any comparisons to Gold Lion KT77's, my EL34 variant of choice.
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Have you heard Gold Lion KT77comparisons to any of the Psvane or Black Treasure line that Grant Fidelity imports. I had the GL KT77's operating in a pair of Primaluna PL 7's, and remembering liking there qualities.
I am considering upgrading the current JJ E34L tubes operating in my Ars Sonus Filarmonia, hence the Sophia inquire. Since there around $500.00 for a quad, I was hoping to get some opinions here on AG.
What ever I find out, I will pass along. I contacted Sophia regarding there construction and where they manufactured, only to get a response on how the tube was in great demand and on a month back order. Normally my pursuit would be minimized after a factory response like that, but I once owned a 274B mesh plate that I substituted for a Russian 5AR4 in a Woo Headphone amp and the improvement in SQ was everything I was hoping for and well worth the cost. In addition to my experience with the above referenced rectifier, I would like to hear opinions of others who have heard the EL34 tube.
Brad I have a quad of Psvane EL34's it was the Phillips Holland replica version they make and I found the tubes to be too bright for my tastes. The Gold Lion KT77 has bettered any other EL34 tube I've tried JJ's Winged C, Mullard reproductions to name a few. I haven't messed around with super expensive NOS tubes but the Gold Lion is the best current production EL34 variant I've used. My amp is a PP stereo amp made by Deja Vu Audio, a pair of power tubes per channel putting out 17 wpc triode wired in Class A. I used three 60's era Sylvania 6SN7GTB's up front and a 60s RCA 5AR4 rectifier tube. I hope someone does chime in on the Sophias they sound interesting.
I've used the PSvane black bottles for about 2 years. 3 tube failures out of 8 in a CJ amplifier. I've used lots of el34's for the past 20 years I've owned that amp and the new gold lions are pretty good and essentially about the same cost as a set of vintage winged C's.
For my musical tastes & equipment, the PSvane sounded the best but the amp is used as a midrange amplifier only. Twice the tubes caused other amplifier damage when they went but only about $150 each time for repair costs. But if you add that cost into the original purchase price you are talking about a lot especially when you want matched pairs. So you have purchase price plus replacement cost plus repair cost.
Had same problems with my son's Audio Research tube amp used for mids with Shuguang Black Treasures. 1 in 4 failed and took down parts as usually the case with audio research tube failures. Once again, they did sound the best when working.
The trouble is nobody stands behind tube reliability especially if you are looking at getting 3 years or so out of them. My friend says the tube manufacturers should all stand behind their "great midrange" claims with a 1 year unconditional money back guarantee.
How nice would that be?
That would help the reliability issue quite a bit & would sure help us tube amplifier owners when it's time to re-tube.
Thanks zadfrak for your contributions.
Although it doesn't really address the SophiaEL34, I included a link (listed below) that provided you have not previously seen it; you may find interesting/helpful
The Sophia EL-34-ST tubes are a revelation in my Unison S6 - easily 60%-70% better than the Tung Sol EL-34B's the amp came with in every meaningful parameter. The Sophias marry the bloom and sweetness of NOS tubes with modern frequency extension and solid state caliber dynamics and bass punch. There are no weak areas. Have not compared them with Psvane or Gold Lion KT77.
After more extensive listening I have found the blue Sophia EL-34 tubes to be a little too much of a good thing. In my Unison S6 they are bright on a significant number of recordings. For example, listening to the Ray Brown Trio's "Summer Wind - Live at the Loa" SACD, when Gene Harris gets into the upper octaves on the piano the notes start to sound metallic. I switched to a matched sextet of the Gold Lion KT-77's and they were similarly bright. I suspect that this result is unique to the Union S6 with its unusual parallel single ended ultra-linear circuit. Since the amp was voiced for EL-34's I ordered a matched sextet of the Psvane EL-34 PH tubes which are updated replicas of the legendary metal base Phillips EL-34's. These did the trick - all of the positives of the blue Sophia's without the brightness. In the Unison S6 these are the best power tubes I've heard.