PSVANE 12Au7 12At7 12Ax7 "-T MKII" 2020 production run of small signal/driver tubes


Re-testing year 2020 production run of these tubes. Would like to hear from others who’ve re-tried recent production?

>>PSVANE 12Au7 12At7 12Ax7 "-T MKII" small signal/driver tubes made in year 2020"

Background:
After following stories about TJ Full Music’s founder passing, and the son reselling tooling of all of the small signal tubes to PSVANE, and recent luck over the past year with TJ 6SN7 tubes for my preamp, I thought I’d give the new PSVANE small tubes a retry. Checking to see if any designs or manufacturing goodness made it over to PSVANE yet from TJ. Also, took advantage of an opportunity to buy these direct from a major overseas distributor, direct. So far so good. Comparing to other known vintage tubes. Also following AudioNote’s recent use of PSVANE tubes in their preamplifiers, amplifiers, integrated amplifiers.

GOAL:
Find something "close enough" and hoard away all my vintage tubes. An improvement is always great too.  

COMPARISONS to vintage, others:
-Currently comparing to my vintage stash of 1960s Mullard "Blackburn", Tungsram, RCA, Sylvania, others.
-Also comparing to prior 2012 versions of these same PSVANE tubes made over eight years ago.
-No need to compare to new re-issue Mullard or JJ or other. Seems these new PSVANE are on a different level.

INITIAL Impression first 20 hours:
-a tad harsh and grainy
-midrange is obvious
-top end not rolled off
-sound stage front row, initially
-decent, interesting

AFTER 72 hours burn-in:
-smoothing out nicely, not there yet, close
-sound stage dropping back to mid-hall
-texture starting to come in
-nice midrange, top end smoothing out more
-tone of piano and guitars shaping up nicely
-Nice, haven’t pulled them yet!

APPLICATION
My mono tube amplifiers
(2) Input tubes; 12AU7s
(2) driver tubes; 12AT7s
Friend testing in his preamp
(2) Input, preamp: 12AX7s

------------------------------
REQUEST:
Would like to hear from others who’ve re-tried recent 2020 production of PSVANE 12AU7 or 12AT7 or 12AX7 ?
What are you hearing, are they better than prior PSVANE versions you tried years ago? Similar findings or ???





decooney
Does it have to be 2020? I have a set of the 12Au7s that came with my PS Audio BHK Signature preamp that I bought at the end of last year. I think they sound great, better than the highly rated Radiotechniques that I just got. In this circuit, which can also run 6 volt tubes, I think they beat both the Tungsram 7DJ8s and a very expensive pair of Amperex 7308s. The Psvanes have a holographic quality that I just haven’t heard in the others. They’re clear and smooth, especially in the critical midrange, in which the others were slightly harsh.
@earthtones 
No direct proof other than 2017/2018 year posts by some with mediocre feedback, debates. Now days noting more positive feedback in mid 2019, 2020. Year 2020 was more of a current reference point in time. I tried early versions, they were just okay, not great. 2012 version did not hold a candle to most of my vintage tubes.  To say your 2019 tubes now beat 7DJ7 and Amperex 7308s in your rig is notable for sure, another good reference. At first I thought mine would earn a spot for backup rotation tubes, now thinking they could earn a spot as my top two pairs of  primary signal/driver tubes.  I do like the larger and wider sound stage side to side. What I was not expecting is the tone and texture to come in, and it sure is. Yes, I am hearing the holographic aspect too, as you noted. It's particularly notable when using transparent interconnects. 

BURN-IN: Several different references on various forums claiming 75-100hrs burn-in required before they stabilize and stop changing. Mine continue to improve @80hrs now.  

How many hours on yours now?  When did they finally settle in for you?
I have about 100 hours on them. I think they sounded great right away and I haven’t noticed any difference since. I’m have my doubts about tube break in. What is there to break in? It’s not like there’s a dielectric to form. Or maybe the surrounding electronics adapt to the properties of the particular tube. In any event, if it had changed, it’s been very subtle, certainly nothing like rolling the tubes in the first place.
@decooney ,I recently purchased a pair of the Psvane 12AU7 from Viva tubes. They easily bested the Genalex Gold Lions and the Mullards that came with my preamp. For the first 10-20 hours they sounded hooty. But after a few days, these started to open up and it did take few more hours to show their real character. I am amazed by their "correctness" and rich sound with details on both ends. I agree with your description of the soundstage. Yes these are on a completely different level than the new Mullards or Genalex. I have no experience with NOS tubes.
GOAL:
Find something "close enough" and hoard away all my vintage tubes. An improvement is always great too.
    
What constitutes a hoard? LOL I might already be there..
6-800 signals 12 volt stuff, 12BH,BZ,AT,AU,AX.AZ, that I've gone through.
   
There are still a lot of great vintage, valves out there. 
I've found "tube lots" of 12at7 (180), and 12au7 (120). Sometimes 12ax7, or 12az7s. Even 12BH7s.  I found one with  65, 12az7 GEs, 18, 12ax7 GEs, 10 RCAs and over 20 Tellies..That were good.. All over 80% up to 110%
Big fan of GE greens, and long smooth grays, for 12au7 and 12at7.

12ax7s, Mullard, RCA, Tellies, Amperex, Some Sylvanias, Russian Solvex NOS

You know, I don't think I have more than 800.00 usd in signal valves, and enough to voice 45 or 50 units, in 2x2x2 of 12at, au, and ax or z

What's that 300 years or so.. 

All behind buying in lots.. Two great garage sales.

I'm lucky, I guess 

Regards..


@earthtones, @milpai
Thanks, appreciate the feedback.

@oldhvymec,
Lucky you. Good finds. That’s the way to buy ’em for sure! fwiw, recently I tested 20 different pairs of vintage signal and drivers in my amps alone, most were okay - few were truly great. Not until I tried my 1st and 2nd pair of (curve tracer tester) identically matched triodes in a great vintage pair of Mullard’s did I know what my amps could really do. Would be fun to find the creme of the crop in your collection and try those! Gotta say, these recent PSVANEs are putting my best vintage to task right now. I won’t say they are better than my best vintage but they are a really fun and interesting "different" sound. Hearing a little more of everything.   Kinda surprised.
There are a LOT of good valves now. It's always the same though.. QC. Russian, Chinese, Turkish, India, all have great valves through the years, and then... BAMB.. 1-3 years of crap.. then good for 3 then, you know..

Next door in the Scandinavian countries, there's usually not a quality issue, just a cost issue. WAY to expensive, same with Germanic states. Both have high QC, along with HIGH prices,

Valves made in the Americas, Brazil, Canada, US, Chile, Mexico, the BAD runs were 3-4 months, NOT years..

GE is really good for old stock, now. There is a lot of it to, just a ton.  Got to be a little careful, they were made EVERYWHERE too.. Good, Bad and the UGLY..

I'll pick up a set of  PSVANEs 12ax7 for MY C20.. it is a taster of good valves. Samra Touch, C20.. Oh yea.. Loves GREAT valves, and pays HIGH sonic dividends. One of the best..

I look to Amprex, Volvo, Mazda, for the real exotics.. that special valve for concert nights.. Flamingo, Bali, Old Country Western, Latin-smooth jazz, and Salsa (Tropicalis). The neighbors start coming over.. get a pretty cool blend of tunes.. as you can see...

PSVANEs might need to add a set of 4 and 6 12ax7..

I like the 12 volt stuff, not a big 6 volt guy.. all the rage though.. 6SN7, everybody uses that... WHY? Runs HOT... I have to admit the pres that use them, do sound good, Carys  and Freya + (pretty good) I'm use to the 12s simple.

Regards
Will throw in my 2 cents since I have dumped a lot of coin in TJ Full Music,  PSVANE and Shuguang pre and power tubes.

When TJ Full Music valve were first released, they were one of the first Chinese tube brands to really look at construction materials inside the valve and how these materials affected the sound.

Shuguang and PSVANE have taken that concept much further and looked into more materials and run many experiments on sonic qualities.  The latest Shuguang Western Electric KT88 Plus power tubes are now my favorite power tube, very organic sounding without being overly warm....
with regards to input 12A_ _ series, the PSVANE T-IIs were my favorite until Shuguang released their black carbon 12A__ _ series, Both are really good but the nod goes to the shuguang black carbons if I had to choose. 
PSVANE recently released their own black carbon under the Cossor Brand name. Have not tried them so can't offer any input.

as far as reliability, have had no issues with the input tubes.

With power tubes have had a couple of KT88s fail on me. Would say the reliability may not be quite as good as the Russian Gold Lion KT88, but the for the improvement in sonics, am willing to buy a few spares on the power tubes to get that sound.

The Chinese are also quite proud of their tubes and charge more than similar Russian made valves, so no deals here. Expect to pay considerably more for the Shuguang WE KT88 plus or the latest PSVANE Gray glass power tubes, than you would for a quad set of GL KT88s.







@johnss 
Keep us posted on the Cossor, if you take that route, Johnss.  A tube research nut friend was seriously looking at those a few weeks back to compare to his own vintage collection. Also, I've been running quads of TJ FM 6SN7 tubes in my preamp for a year solid. Sound real nice compared to some of my own US vintage N7s. I see a Black Cossor 6SN7 in a light bulb looking shape. Thanks for the backstory too.      
I just ordered a sextet of the Psvane Cossor 12AU7 tubes for a phono stage so was quite interested in this conversation. I have 5 other matched pairs of Psvane 12A 7 premium tubes running in four separate pieces of gear with really good results and have a matched quad of the Pavane 12AX7LS black bottle tubes from Grant Fidelity in another phone stage that are outstanding. All these tubes mentioned are at least a year old with the bulk of them 4 to 5 years old so can't compare to older versus new. I also have on order a pair of Shuguang WE6SN7plus for a Dennise Had Inspire headphone amp, you might say I have become a big fan of the Psvane and Shuguang brands and they have become my go to brands. Enjoy the music
@decooney

I have the TJ 6SN7s, they are nice tubes. If your budget can swing it, opt for the Shuguang WE6SN7 Plus coke bottles with the red bases. They are considerably fatter (much larger glass envelope) than a typical 6sn7, so may need to measure for mechanical fit or clearance, but if they have the clearance, they will audibly outperform the TJ valves as well as sylvania chrome tops, and the famous red base RCAs .
so far have had no reliability issues with these input valves.




@johnss , glad you came along. Did you read my post just before yours, where I just ordered a pair of the Shuguang WE6SN7 plus tubes for my headphone amp? My tubes in the headphone amp now are the Sylvania 6SN7 chrome domes from the 50s which are quite nice, am wondering about the break in time on the WEs if you could elaborate. Thanks and enjoy the music
@tooblue

yes, read your post. Think you will like the WE6SN7s in the Had amp.

I have one of Dennis Had's Inspire amps that runs all octal output tubes (not sure what the HP amp uses).

The Inspire amp one of my favorite sounding amps, just wish it had a bit more power. I run WE 6SN7 in the input, and WE KT88 Plus for the outputs. The 88s give up a few watts to KT150s, but the sonics improvement is well worth the few watts lost.

if your Inspire HP amp has toobe rectifier, you may want to insert the PSVANE 274 HIFI grade rectifier. It peels back another layer of veiling. I used to think there were small to no differences between rectifier tubes, but was wrong on that one.

best regards

@johnss
I owned the Inspire Hot Rod with KT150s, later discovered NOS 6650s and KT88s tested at 2wpc more than my own KT150s, takes ~650/850v plate voltage and larger transformers to run the TS KT150s properly. Running KT150s now in my Quicksilver Mono 120s, and testing the PSVANE 12AU7 / 12AT7s as my signal and driver tubes. Vintage Mullards and these smaller PSVANEs help the KT150s to sound quite unique.

The 6SN7s are for my Cary SLP-98 tube preamp, takes 4 of them. Will def keep the WE6SN7 in mind. Would have to measure the fat bottom portion of the glass just above the base. It’s really tight now at the chassis hole cutout with the TJs. Will share your WE feedback with my other buddy who was two of the DH Inspire amps, one Triode and One PSE amp, and the DH 6SN7 preamp too.

Before these amps i have now, I ran Shuguang BSTRs in a prior EL34 amp, and really liked them a lot. Not surprised at all at your findings, good to know. Thx.
I will check and see if I can run that rectifier tube in the Inspire, am running a brown base Brimer in that position at the moment and like it a lot. I also run Quicksilver Mono 120s and run the Psvane Treasure 12AU7 and the Treasure Psvane 12AT7 as signal and driver. enjoy the music
Post removed 
@tooblue 

Did your PSVANE 12AU7 and 12AT7s settle in after 75 or 150hrs?

What changed about the sound, tone, texture, soundstage  - if anything?
The Psvane tubes that I installed in the QS 120s had been broken in with other pieces of gear prior to being installed in the 120s. I find your response of uniqueness with the Psvanes with the KT150s very telling and accurate. I find they add a little meat on the bone if you will, a flavour I definitely favor. As I researched the Psvane 274, I found several offerings from WE274 replicas to hifi, which one were you referencing? Enjoy the music
@tooblue
The Psvane tubes that I installed in the QS 120s had been broken in with other pieces of gear prior to being installed in the 120s. I find your response of uniqueness with the Psvanes with the KT150s very telling and accurate. I find they add a little meat on the bone if you will, a flavour I definitely favor...


When I first got the QS Mono 120s, they had a fairly linear presentation, top to bottom, nothing really stood out - as it should be (I guess). Coming from other amps like you have with Cary or Inspire, and previously using EL34s and KT88s too, I was expecting a tad more of the tube goodness. Swapping out the stock JJ and EI small tubes and rolling in some really good vintage small tubes showed what the amps could do, and how the larger KT150s would respond, favorably. Note: In the right amplifiers, with the right transformers, with proper plate voltage.

After trying several different vintage 12AU7, 12AT7s, the PSVANES were appealing to try and to see how close they were to vintage tubes. In the first few days they were a bit midrange forward and detailed. After 40+ hours started to notice characteristics similar to vintage and did not lose any bottom end. Midrange then dropped back a tad, perfectly in fact. They seemed to compliment the mono amps nicely, particularly for being new-production tubes. Much better than Russian re-issue tubes, in a different league for sure.

Today, the sound stage has recessed nicely, and the highs smoothed out a tad, and hopeful with another 20-40 hours will hear a bit more texture and velvety tones come through. With this added front-end tube tuning, liking the KT150s more. They pretty much repeat what you feed them on the front end, top to bottom. It’s the added tone/texture I was looking for. Closer now, not quite there yet. Hopefully with another 40hrs.
@ decooney
thanks for the info on the inspire amp, make sense.

I have one other amp that can run the 150s but use the WE KT88s in it as well.

have never tried the quicksilvers but supposed to be pretty nice amps.

J

@johnss 
...I have one other amp that can run the 150s but use the WE KT88s in it as well... 
On that note, a friend has a used Jolida amp he acquired with KT150s. The amp was originally designed for KT88s, not KT150s. Removed the KT150s and re-installed some PSVANE CV181s, and it sounded much better. The amps lacked transformers and was 300v under required plate voltage to run KT150s properly. My Mono 120s are designed only to run KT150s, so it does matter what you plug the KT150s into, for sure - or they are just a waste of $. In the right amp, they are really good. 
No sugar coating.  

One thing I'm learning about these small PSVANE tubes is they do seem to let the top end frequencies through a bit more (more than some vintage tubes do) and its more noticeable with more transparent interconnect cables, for sure. They are not bright, just a little more vivid in some ways.  Bass is good, full, controlled, not slow or mushy.  

If the recording you are listening to is good, the goodness comes through nicely.  If the recording is bad, the baby PSVANEs are just passing it through, no added rounding nor leading edge filtering going on.  Also noticed the sound stage is a little bigger with these PSVANE 12AU7, 12AT7 than my best vintage "Blackburn" Mullard's.  It's nice how they do sort of have their own signature top-to bottom. I noticed Guitars are not overly lush, nice and clean, maybe more accurate in some ways - but not overly edgy or harsh or grainy in any way. Clear with a tad of glistening texture on strings is how I keep thinking it sounds now. Perhaps its a surprise how some of the subtle details come through.   

Will they fully replace my best vintage, no. Are they close, or better in some ways, yes. 95% there, yeah, maybe. They are not a compromise really.  Have not pulled them yet! 

Not sure if that's what some of you already concluded. Thanks for feedback and contributions to this thread.  :)  
The latest psvane 12ax7 ,12au 7 ,is their Art series which is a upgrade to their Mk-2 series using better materials  a very well balanced tube. Viva tubes seems very dependable decent warranty and  matches them  before shipping.
@audioman58 , I made a reference on this thread a few months ago that I had ordered a sextet of the Psvane Cossor 12AU7 tubes, well they never arrived, got lost, so I ordered a matched octet of Psvane 12AU7-S from Viva and installed them in my phono, with about 200 hours on them they sound great and am looking to replace 3 more pairs in other pieces of gear I own. Enjoy the music
I have been using the PSvane 12AU7 for years in my Octave Jubilee preamp. I had previously been using many NOS ECC82 variants such a as those from RFT, Siemens, and GEs. I had on occasion lost an NOS tube in my preamp, which caused other problems, fuses blown, down time, aNd angst that my electronics were going to get fried the next time an NOS tube blows. Not to say that it can’t happen with new tubes, because it can, but, I feel that age of tubes may increase the odds of a tube dying.

The Psvane 12AU7s I used were, and still are, the MKII versions, the latest set bought in 2014, they sound great. I bought 12 matched sets at the time, and some in reserve still. Nothing overhyped or extremely accentuated. They do have more bite at the top as mentioned when new, but after some hours, it seems like the music is just more filled in terms of presence and better resolution. This for me translates to better lifelike experiences when reproducing music as texture and detail retrieval is right at the top of anything else I have ever heard with regards to the variant of 12AU7 tubes.

I want to evaluate the new black carbon versions. The story about the factory changes is very interesting.
Good to hesr Viva tubes have been dependable.
Viva has been great for me as well, buying/testing 14+ tubes, past two years and zero returns.

Switched back to my vintage 1965 Mullard Blackburn 12AU7 / 12AT7 pairs for the past few months to re-compare for a while. Was just thinking tonight that I need to swap back to the PSVANEs again, they do have a nice sound. :)
First, "Midrange is more present and more forward" and "wider across the front" is what came to mind first when switching (again) from NOS Mullards back to PSVANE MKII 12AU7 / 12AU7 tubes today in my Mono tube amps. Can hear more when listening off axis or in an adjacent open room if you like walk-around listening.   

Second, noticing the background soundstage and subtle detail is still "there" at the same time.

The PSVANE small signal tubes do have their own character and presentation compared to any of my NOS tubes. Worth trying for sure.
The Psvane art series are a noticeable improvement then the older mk2 series better materials they said as well as tighter tolerances and you can see the physical structure is different .Viva tubes has been very consistent in  testing them and actually putting real  triode matching 
for $85 a pair with gold pins well worth it.
once thing That helps is using Stabilant 22 contact enhancer for not only Audio cable contacts but also highly recommended for tube pins. First clean  all contacts good with 99% isopropyl alcohol.
@audioman58 , thanks for the info. I just ordered a quad set of the new art series, will see how they sound. best.
If asked which tubes I like best  1950s Amperex D getter 
Herleen factory very well balanced classic great tube
all later tubes had O getter. Around $400
@audioman58
Good to know on the new PSV Art series. A friend with a recording/mastering studio messing with tube DACS recently tried them with similar praise, likes them quite a bit. I will say the latest MKII version is notably better than prior years, and glad to hear the Art series is a step above again. Nice. Will be curious what @johnss has to report. My newer MKIIs did have an odd burn-in cycle, went dull real fast after 100hrs and then opened back up nicely with more time. Using them in my mono amps.Can hear deeper into the soundstage than some of my very best vintage NOS and tried more than 25 different pairs, some with perfectly matched curve-tracer tested triodes. Nice to have new options too.  
For hose who say they hear no differences in breakin , what  is the quality of your 
gear ? I have been into audio over 40 years  and without questions the metals 
settle in and can take a solid 100:hours.  To say  no difference 
there something not right , just like with audio cables the metals and dielectric settle in before sounding at their best l . Emmisions labs premium tubes even 
have a tempering cycle ,on,off especially for power tubes to temper the metals for longest longevity. I turn them off for 1 hour very 24 hours on small tubes
 every 12 on larger tubes for the first  150 hours. There is some truth to tempered the metals ,not 100% guaranteed. But  there is some truth to this . Your option.
To say  no difference there something not right

"Sorry, our measurements do not show that"
                      - Engineers and Scientists at asr forums
Over the last 2 weeks or so, have been listening to the new PSVANE Art series of 12AU7-S and 12AX7-S.Short reply is, the new ART series is a very nice, organic sounding tube. Tried both AX7-S and AU7-S. (AU7s in preamp, AX7s in phono stage.

Compared AU7-S series to NOS Telefunken AU7s, PSVANE T-IIs, Shuguang T series, Shuguang TG black carbon series, Mullard Blackburn 12AU7s, RCA black Plate 5814s..

Compared to original 'VANE T-II series, the new Art series has the top end brightness tamed down, still plenty of detail, much more organic midrange, similar bass performance. Very good imaging. Would fit the ART series in between the T-II series and the Shuguang TG series on brightness and midrange qualities. For some, the T-II VANEs were very revealing, but may have been a touch on the lean side. The new ART series is more open sounding than Shuguang T series or TG series, with similar midrange qualities of these two Shuguang tubes. Tried the AU7 brands in two different preamps, with similar results. Would have to say PSVANE has done their homework on materials used in the plate and cathode construction. The new ART series seems to be a well balanced valve all the way around. Ordering several more sets this afternoon.



I agree the new are series is very well balanced better then 
most out there .I have  the 12ax7
the only tubes much better are the Old Amperex 1950s D getter
tubes which are 4x the cost the old SH Siemens Halsey early 60 s have exceptional detail and well balanced ,the Amperex a bit warmer  both are exceptional . Early 50 s RCA warmer and very musical ,not quite as resolved 
but a deeper warmer presentation , your system will dictate which is best . If modding I am using the Excellent VH Audio Odam 
coupling capacitors ,up their with the best and very fair priced.
I just took a black ice wifi Dac and totally upgraded it top to bottom very good ,and night and day better then the respectable stock model. I mod everything I buy ,I wanted others to know 
these new VH capacitors are special and a +/,especially if space is tight.
Great to hear on the caps, I do the same with my DAC, preamp, Mono tube amps. It was not until I upgraded the four main coupling caps in my tube amps (to something significantly better) did I really start to hear absolute definable differences (major in some cases) with tube or cable changes throughout the entire system.  

AU7, AT7 tube changes in my amps or 6SN7 tube changes in the preamp are notable now, to a much higher degree with much better caps. The only downside to the cap changes is now I want to keep all of my tubes, each offers a different benefit and sound in different ways.  Good fun.