six year old 6sn7's, pushing my luck?

I retubed my Cary SLP-05 with Pope tubes about 5 years ago. I leave the preamp on pretty much all the time except when I go on vacation. That comes to about....45,000 hours. The tubes are supposed to be good for 10,000.

And...I've experienced no noticeable degradation in the sound. I heard a clicking sound once when I turned the system on after a week's time off, but I jiggled the offending tube and the sound stopped.

I've experienced tube failure and noise and rush in other systems, but this one seems to be the Energizer Bunny of tubesets.

I wish those Pope tubes were still available for a reasonable price, but Upscale now wants $275 per tube, and I need 6 -- I just cant justify 1650 to retube the preamp, but for now maybe I don't need to.

Any thoughts on this? Have you had tubes that lasted like this? Could they be degrading so slowly that I don't notice? Am I taking any chances with my equipment?

Thanks much and happy new year!


Showing 4 responses by dtc

If you are using single ended inputs, you only need to change the 4 tubes on the left. The 2 on the right of the main group (not the headphone ones) are used as buffers for the balanced inputs. In a recent newsletter, Cary had a picture of a modified SLP-05 they had at RMAF with 4 Black Treasures and 2 more normal tubes. People like the Black Treasures but they do not fit the holes in the top plate - you need to enlarge the holes. New Psvane tubes (CV181-T) are based on the old Treasures and are starting to become available from Grant Fidelity, at half the price of the Pope's. I thought about the Pope's but Upscale says they only sell them to people you got their pre from them. But, it sounds like your Pope's may last forever. Good luck!
Rodman - have you tried Black Treasures? They are new but were meant to sound like NOS tubes. The new Psvane may not be as "NOS"y but they are meant to be a major step above EH and other commodity tubes.

I really hope that some new quality tubes (e.g. Psvane) continue to show up. If we are relying on NOS tubes in 20 years some of the magic will be lost.
Rodman - I take that as a political, not audiophile, statement. Your choice. Happy listening.
Rodman - a lot of people think the Black Treasures are one of the best 6SN7 tubes available. Cary used them at RMAF in a SLP-05 in their room. Yes you need to be careful of which ones you use, but the same is true of other tubes also.