Shuguang KT88Z v.s. EL37 Mullards v.s. KT88/66 GEC

I am still undecided however I am going to buy some Shuguang KT88Z anniversary, GEC KT88, GEC KT66 or EL37 Mullards. Its almost impossible to find Fat bottle EL37, but even the usual ones are so expensive that I am wondering why is that. Because they are very rare or because they are sound so good/the best. Financially the winners are Shuguang KT88Z tubes. Above that, they are new and you can get enough of them at the moment, if need it of course. This is very hard for me, cos I never tried any other KT88 or above mentioned to compare with my stock reissue Genalex. So far have tried 6550 Tung Sols Grey & Black plated plus 6550 Sylvanias. I didn't like Sylvanias that much, but Tung Sols were very good, but still not that good I want. Tung Sols have better detail, airiness and bass texture, but the mids were bit cold/distand. They become better after I roll some pre tubes, all Mullards/Brimars, but still lacking. That's why I need something else, where Shuguang been on top of my list, however just wonder how would they do v.s. EL37 Mullards or GEC guys. I really don't want to be "surprised" to find out that Shuguang KT88Z sounds like 6550 Tung Sols Black plated, which are great, but not enough for me.
So, the bottom line, what is the best solution. I do like detail and airiness, but need the bass and silky/involving mids. Which one can fit the bill at best?


Many thanks,

I own the PL2 also.I have had great results with the Shuguang G8/9 12ax7,Mazda or La Radio Technique French military 12aus.The output tubes I've heard are the Genelex copies supplied (very respectable),NOS Genelex (my fav,but expensive),Shuguang 88-98 (also very respectable-but different in the highs).The other to try is the Gold Lion re-issue.The 88s are the best full-range tube IMHO.6550s are fine fine in the mids and bass,but don't have the airiness up-top.The 34s are great in the mids,but sacrifice the extremes (compared to the 88s)YMMV.
What exactly you mean with highs when you talking about Shuguang KT88 please. And did you use KT88Z anniversary edition or just general one please.

Talk to the guys at Upscale Audio , tell them what you are seeking and try their suggestion . They can help .

I have found the input tubes , that Upscale suggested , warmed things up nicely while maintaining the extension that I like from the original tube set . I lost nothing and gained a lot . I am now starting to experiment with the output tubes just to see what happens . That is one reason that I acquired this piece , it can take a myriad of tubes and allow me to see what I like best . A starting point on the road to Audio Nirvana ! Lol , I know I know !

Interestingly , when I last spoke with Kevin Deal at Upscale he was talking about the 6L6 tube . He did not have any personal experience with it but quoted a reviewer
who liked it quite a bit .

Good luck.

Yeah, I know Upscale sells Prima and known for their tube knowledge, however I am not seeking to try some other reissues, except Shuguang KT88Z, which seems offer very good balance. I was also looking at 6L6 ( fat bottle ) tubes, but if you are going to search more, you are going to land on EL37 field, where the price tag simply sky high. There are some UK made 6L6 Mullards, I believe, but they are like EL37 ones, very rare and expensive, however some US made, such as Sylvania, GE or RCA can be hit for a very nice price. Not sure about all 6L6, but PrimaLuna Two can use 6L6GC, but there are some other, like 6L6GT, where I am not sure what ever they are the same as GC's.

Maxmad:It depends on the balance you are seeking.I have great respect for Mullard and Brimar.Bur neither is capable of especially extended highs.They do add warmth to the mids,but not the extension or articulation to the extremes.I have owned both.That being said,the cabling/room and speakers will contribute to the perceivied sound.
When my friends and I were listening to output tubes in the PL,we were strictly sampling current kt-88s.The PL2 has the ability to extract the benefits of this tube type.IMHO,the 88s are the most musical/reliable of the current production tubes.I believe this subject has even been touched on by HP and TAS.
At the time of our evaluations,the Anniversary Shuguang had not been introduced.You therefore may discuss the difference between the Anniversary and the 88/98 in the upper-end,with you preferred Shuguang vendor.
If I were to be looking at the el-34,Siemens would be my choice.
Anyone have any experience with the Shuguang Anniversary KT-88s? And where they fit in the heirarchy of current production tubes.Price?
Wish I had been able to attend RMAF-they were discounting these.

Check this thread about Shuguang KT88Z
Maxmad:Thanks for the link.Made for some good reading and has also sparked my curiousity.