I had the VK30 with a Bryston amp (4BST) and loved the combo. The tubes I would recommend are the Sovtek 6922 as were in it. However, the Svetlana 6NIP will work, but the voltages are different so they may cause a problem later?? Bugle Boys are great if you can get them. Mullards will give you a sweet seductive sound and seduce your wallet a bit in the process. A great preamp. I miss mine. But, I had to downsize. The tubes I bought as back-up were the Sovtek 6922 in matched pairs. Good luck, Jeff
you might try upscaleaudio.com. They retubed my vk60. I recommend them...
I emailed Kevin at Upscale, I'm pretty sure he'll recommend Sovtek. Upscale keeps their more difficult to get tubes for customers who buy gear from them. I went over to Ebay, seems the Philips NOS are readily available and quite inexpensive but I don't have any experience with them. I'm wondering if any of you have had some great experiences with a particular brand in your BAT preamp?
I have a VK30. Amperex all the way - I have 7308s in there now, but also had a bunch of 6922s which were equally as good (in some ways better. sold most of them - here on Agon.). Sovteks - bleah. There's so many better choices, Sovteks are the low common denominator at best. Forget Upscale, all you get are second-string crap from them unless you buy your gear there. (This applies only to 6922 and 6SN7 variants.) Some other dealers have the Amperex. Tubeworld.com has some, but pretty pricey. I will post more for sale if/when I find them. 6N1P is NOT an identical tube as the 6922. Not recommend using that, esp. when so many good 6922 choices exist. Check out Joe's Tube Lore at the audioasylum.com. early phillips are ok (50's-60s), but the later ones are not so hot. Since Amperex invented this tube (basically) it only makes sense to go with them if you can find/afford them.
I've used the Phillips NOS JANs I got on ebay and they worked just fine in my VK3i. Not as good as the Amperex PQs I've got in there now, but way cheaper and I thought they were a noticeable improvement over the (admittedly older) Sovteks I've had before.
Kevin worte me:
"In the 6922 position, you can go with the earlier Russian 6922 made in the 1970's
called a 6N23. They are tubes that were sometimes branded Sovtek but Sovtek is not a manufacturer, but a name for export. They look similar
but sound waaaay different. And last. These will be dynamic and not have quite as much glare as the regular later production Russian 6922. We have a "Private Reserve" grade for $25 that will have the highest Gm, anda triode balance of about 10%."
Yawn. Sure he says that since he has a big stock of them, and won't sell the really good stuff. Whatever. There's other places to shop in my book.
I've used the Upscale 6H23's and they do sound very nice. Surprisingly very nice. Per $ they can not be beat. If you open up your wallet a bit, I would suggest Mullard, Tungsram or Valvo for a reasonable economical upgrade.
First, STAY AWAY from Russian tubes & Chinese (line level small signal tubes & driver tubes). They're ALL CRAP when compared to a good NOS tube. Old Russian mil-spec tubes are just old crap. Hey, anybody want to buy my pair of Private Reserve Russian mil-spec NOISY 6SN7's? These tubes are also being sold at an OBSCENE profit, from what I've heard! Yeah, buying power tubes, go Russian, since the cost (and shorter life span vs. small signal tubes) makes NOS tubes all but prohibitive. And the greatest influence on audio quality comes from the small signal & driver tubes, NOT the finals (power) tubes. Upscale Audio appears to have shifted their business strategy. Now, it appears that they are primarily sellers of audio equipment, with a secondary purpose of selling tubes to the general public. Good NOS tubes are set aside for customers who have purchased tube gear from them. After learning the hard way, I discovered Vintage Tube Services. The man to whom you want to speak is Andy Bowman (www.vintagetubeservices.com. Tel. # is 616-454-3467). You'll definitely be impressed. Since he is a one man operation, it's best to CALL, not email, but definitely check out the website! He is the one who also told me about the "dirty little secret" concerning Mullard tubes. Many later production Mullards are actually rebranded Brimars!!! Good, but they still ain't Mullards. However, you still get charged the Mullard price! Take it from one who learned the hard way! And don't waste your money on Cryogenically treated tubes, especially with the jokers who use carbon dioxide (CO2) as the cooling agent. Happy Tunes!
I went with BAT's recommendations; always have appreciated the personal service of Mr. Khomenko himself. Victor set me up with 6N23s and I'm very happy. Sounds great and I never have to worry when I go with what VK advises. After all, he's the designer.
Sorry - typo. BAT supplied me with Russian 6H23s, not 6N23s.
Michael, what did BAT charge you for the tubes? Parrot, I checked out vintage tube, by all accounts he has his s**t together. Seems the 6922's he sells are roughly $75 a copy, to retube my preamp it would set me back $450!
I don't know what BAT charges, but Conus Audio in Canada has 6H23P for $20/ea.
Jeffloistarca, WHICH BRAND OF TUBES were priced at $75-? You don't need Mullards or Amperex (although nice!) to hear the difference that an NOS tube can make over a Soviet tube. I replaced ALL 6SN7's drivers on an Atma-sphere M60-Mk2.2/MP-3 combo with Tungsol's. The line level tubes (12AU7's -- MP-3 preamp) were replaced with RCA's. The audio transformation was probably one of the most significant sounding upgrades that I ever made in my system. I CAN NOT STRESS THE HUGE INCREASE IN SOUND QUALITY THAT YOUR INVESTMENT WILL BUY FOR YOU! Happy Tunes!
Jeff, 6H23s were about $20 bucks each from BAT. Michael