Question about different tubes

I have a BAT VK30 tube preamp and a VK200 SS amp. The preamp has 6-6922 tubes and presently has upgraded tubes from upscale audio that say -Russian mill gray plate. The original tubes from BAT were Sovtek 6922's. I am driving a pair of Martin Logan SL3's, and the midrange is a little lacking.

My previous gear was Parasound, and the SL3's were so bright it could make your ears bleed!! From prior recommendations on Audiogon, I picked up the BAT equipment and the SL3's are so warm, its unbelievable. The midrange now however, is a pushed back or a little lacking, if you can understand what I'm explaining.

My question is: will a tube change to the original Sovteks or another tube improve my situation? or are there any other recommendations.

I am using a Nordost red dawn xlr between the amp & pre. Speaker cables are Innersound, coaxial biwire which consists of 2 separate runs to each speaker.

I was also wondering if the BAT amp rated at 100wpc @ 8 ohms / 200 wpc @ 4 ohms, and capable of driving to 1 ohm, is enough power for the 4 ohm Martin Logans. Before, I had two Parasound amps in a horizontal biwire doing 400 wpc.

Try made in Holland 6dj8s,they have more mid-range,and sound very good,maybe ask manufacture if okay to run 6dj8,they will substitute a lot of 6922 and 7308,I have some if you need them $15 apiece, thank you Richard, the amp I know nothing about.
With using European tubes on your BAT preamp I would ask Kevin Deal or other Bat gear owners, as if I remember correctly, BAT gears maybe too much for European tubes, what I mean is they may not last long.
It's also worth trying to audition other IC's, changing the Nordost red dawn may just fix your midrange problem. Just a thought.
You might try one of two tubes that I have heard.A Siemens gold pin 7308 or a Lamm Audio 6922.I have the latest tube from Lamm in the front end of my M1.1s and it is very good.Good luck on your tube quest! Tom
You might try some NOS Mullard 6922's. They tend to push the midrange forward, but since I don't know your preamp circuit, I can only guess as to how they will sound in your unit. They may also brighter than the tube you are using now, so you might not get exactly what you are looking for.

I used to own the VK-30, I found with good NOS tubes I preferred the VK-30 to the 30SE version. I have experience with MANY 6DJ8/6922 subs in the VK-30.

IMO, based on what you're looking for, there are two tubes that will probably work for you. The first is the Amperex-Holland 6DJ8 Bugle Boys, you want the real deal, not the ripoff Richardson fakes. The Bugle Boys have terrific midband bloom and an overall "wet" sound, with a forward soundstage--it will correct for the flatness of your current sound.

The alternative are Mullard CV2493 gold pins, these are British military versions of the E88CC/6922. These Mullards also feature a very "wet" sound and are terrific, a little rolled off in the treble compared to the Bugle Boys, but an extremely lovely sounding tube.

I would also recommend you look into different cables, the Nordost is a terrible choice with BAT in my opinion. Look for some nice copper cables like Analysis Plus, Acoustic Zen, or Cardas to get you closer to the sound you're looking for.

As for power amps, there are better choices out there than the BAT solid-state amp for your Logans. Innersound, Belles 350A, Llano Trinity would be three excellent choices in the same price range....
try the sound lab dynastats.also get the bat tube amp.
I agree with Rlm194. The amperex-holland tube has great midrange. I have two in my SF dac. Hope this helps.
I really appreciate your help with this. I wish I could get my preamp to sound the way I'd like it to. I'd like to try the tubes you recommended but after a conversation last night and a small test at home, I'm having second thoughts.

I hope someone can comment on what I was told, by a reputable someone last night. Please let him be wrong. He told me "tube gear cannot produce sound as good as solid state gear - period!" He says, its electronically impossible for tubes to produce music in its fullest. Further, he says the warmth people describe is from the lack of what is supposed to be there and is not.

After talking with him, I took a good but inexpensive SS pre and hooked it up to my BAT amp. The sound was definately much bigger and really forward. Things that were kind of hidden because of my tube pre, now, were right out there.

So again, I'm not feeling well. Just bought the BAT amp and pre. The amp however solved a bigger problem that I had with excessive brightness, but didn't realized that the tube pre was going to bring me to the opposite extreme. I am considering selling the pre and picking up a SS pre. I dont however want to, but are a little skeptical on spending more money for new tubes when this guy says it will basically always be lacking something. HELP!
I just called Upscale audio to see if I could get a set of the Amperex 6dj8 bugle boys, and they told me they only sell them with new equipment sales. Anywhere else I can get them?....Steve

Please don't assume that because you are having trouble with one tube preamp, that this means that all tube preamps will have the same problem. This is definitely not true. My experience is that there are really some top SS preamps as well as tube, and it is no longer correct to classify all tube products as having a "tube sound" or solid state products which have a "solid state sound". In fact, there are some of either stripe which come quite close to having no sound at all (neutral).

What your reputable friend said about tube gear is probably more appropriately said about tube power amps rather than preamps. It is true that tube power amps cannot supply the current to drive speakers particularly in the bass and at the high SPL's in the same way that solid state can. Sometimes this 'deficiency' will manifest itself as a "flabby" or uncontrolled bass. Additionally, a good many but not all tube power amps will sound rolled off in the extreme high frequencies compared to a good solid state amp. If you are am audiophile who prefers tube amps over solid state, chances are you are willing to give up some bass punch and/or control as well as maybe some high frequency extension and detail for the glorious midrange bloom which is available from tubes. Sometimes, the additional high frequency information that we hear with less than very high quality solid state is actually due to low level distortion products that we hear falsely as better high frequency extension. Tube amps tend to clip in a way which is much less unpleasant to the ear than solid state.

I have never really liked any BAT products (particularly preamps) which I have auditioned. I have generally found them to sound kind of flat and to lack dynamics. They have kind of always left me feeling "ho-hum" and that I don't know what all the fuss was about them.

That said, I wouldn't sell the preamp since you already own it before exploring whether through careful tuning and matching you can alleviate the problem. Perhaps with some good matching, you can bring out the beauty (hidden?) in these products. If I were you, I would start with the interconnects, as was suggested by Findoc. This is a more ideal place to make such a correction since the interconnect's effect on the sound is normally more dramatic than the tube. Acoustic Zen Matrix Reference will definitely push out the midrange at the expense of some deep bass and extreme highs. I don't know which Cardas he is recommending, but the Golden Cross, for example, is completely the opposite kind of cable from the AZ Matrix Reference. It is dark and not dynamic, a bad cable in my opinion and not what you are looking for anyway. Their reputation is to sound warm to dark, although some models sound more or less so. I do agree that the Nordost might not be ideal until you "understand" the balance of your system. In my mind, they tend to be bright, and to sound lean with a lack of deep bass. You might want to audition a neutral cable such as JPS Superconductor ($125-$150 for 1 meter single-ended, twice that price for balanced) first. It is an all-around first-class performer at any price and use of it will help you to get an unbiased idea of what your system truly needs. If you feel it still needs more midrange and immediacy, Acoustic Zen Matrix Reference would be a very good choice.

Once you are reasonably satisfied that the interconnects have improved the synergy, you can do some fine-tuning with the tubes. Keep in mind that the same tube can sound different in different preamps and some preamps are less affected by tube rolling than others, so weigh this in the recommendations (including mine) which you receive in this thread.

If you still can't achieve satisfaction and you are sure it is the BAT preamp that you want to replace, try auditioning some of the following SS and tube preamp products (ideally at home in your system, if possible). Additionally, some of these products are internally balanced and therefore should interface better with your BAT amp:

1. Either the Ayre K1, K3, or K1X or K3X (SS, balanced)

2. Hovland HP-100 (tube, single-ended)- most extended highs I have heard, very clear clean mids. Lacks deep bass and less than stellar dynamics.

3. CAT SL-1 (any model) (tube, single-ended) - great dynamics, bass and treble extension. Overall, the best preamp I have heard. The CAT's are also very sensitive to tube changes.

4. Lamm L-1, L-2 or LL-2 (hybrid, single-ended)

5. First Sound Presence Audio Deluxe Mk II (tube, single-ended) - great dynamics, bass extension and neutrality.

6. Pass X-1 (solid state, balanced)

7. Audible Illusions Modulus 3 or 3A (tube, single-ended)

Any of these will likely give any BAT more than it can handle. Synergy of any of these in your system is much more important than any measure of absolute quality which is way more important than engineering design. How they arrive at whatever sound quality you admire is not important and it doesn't follow that this quality couldn't be achieved using an entirely different design.

Good luck.
Just for the sake of clarity, Upscale Audio sells the vast majority of its tubes to anybody. That means any Mullard, Amperex, Telefunken, etc. The exception is 6DJ8, 6922, 7308, and 6SN7 or 6SL7 types.

Those are reserved for people that have bought their BAT or whatever brand of preamp from us, and yesterday I had to say no a total of six times, which believe it or not takes a bit of time. It stinks of course as we are here to offer stuff, not to say no.

Everything else is open to anyone. There is still a list of types with a description of sonics in some cases that some folks find helpful.

On the preamp, the VK-30 is very linear sounding, the VK-200 is a smidge relaxed. If your tubes are worn out, which they may be, your system will sound lousy because you have electrostatics which don't have the type of extension at the tip tp the way other speakers do.

Som people would treasure that relaxed sound, but it is not for you. So to fix it, get new tubes that have extension or an up-front midrange, MAYBE get an amp that is vivid in the mids like an older Muse 100 or 150 monos, or change the speakers. The Nordost are the right ticket. I don't know the speaker cable.

It's about balance.
Steve you are loged in using my name Ken