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.
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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.
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
Thanks, appreciate the feedback.
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.
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.
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
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
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.
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.
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
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.
@johnssOn 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. :)