Just received a pair of these this morning and to say I'm delighted is an understatement.At $99 per tube I was so hoping it wouldn't turn out to be a mistake.Big sigh of relief and a bigger smile.After fooling around with various tubes,footers,and cables trying to clear up what I was hearing as a congested midrange when there were multiple instruments,this tube has done it.
I replaced the Sylvania 'bad boy' driver tube in my Aric Audio Transcend amp just to get a feel for the sound before removing the bazillion tiny screws in the LTA MZ2 to try them there.Well it's staying right where it is in the amp.The mids cleaned up immediately and the entire presentation seems faster and even more dynamic.The vocals retain their sweetness with no excess sibilance.I recently tried a new EH in that position and also in the MZ2 which gave me the clarity but they were relentlessly hyper detailed. I have read some cautionary tales about Sofia tube's reliability but they mostly involved power tubes, so fingers crossed.I'll update if any problems surface.So far my perfect tube compliment is one Sofia blue 6SN7,two Sylvania 6SN7,four (new)Tung Sol KT150 power tubes in the amp.The pre has two 12AT7 Sylvanias and two (new)Tung Sol 6SN7.
jtfc - how did you like the Sofia in the LTA MZ2? I use whatever 12sn7 (cause they are cheaper) Andy @ Vintage Tube Services sells me. I think they may be 1950's Sylvania and they sound really good. I really don't roll tubes cause of the bazillion tiny screws (:
jmolsberg I am using Sylvania 12AT7 and the original Tung Sol SN7.I think the Sofias would sound excellent in the M2 but it's working so well in the amp that I have no desire to try them now.But I will give it a try anyway this weekend just to satisfy both our curiosities and let you know.One caveat is the Sofias are quite a bit taller and would require a new lid from LTA to accommodate them. I tried the Sylvania SN7s - too veiled,JJs - meh,EH - hyper detailed.The Tung Sols don't do anything wrong,but they don't have that sweet organic midrange and seem too polite?congested?un-dynamic?
Guys I use both Sophia Electric KT88 and 6SN7s and love them over everything I have tried. Recently tried Psvane Shuguang WE 6SN7 that comes with a 1 year warranty and they are stellar; rich, awesome clarity and super quiet.
Recommend you give these a try, these are much cheaper in comparison to Sophia with 1 year warranty and are so close in SQ to the Sophia. Joe from Psvane, a vendor here on this site has been awesome in answering all of my questions and fast shipping.
I am so impressed that I decided to try their WE KT88 and should have them in two weeks. This new tube design and material selection allows you to hear so much further into the recording with clarity I just can't believe; it's like there's nothing between you and the performers.
Wig, thanks for the heads up on the Shuguang WE 6SN7s. My M-60s take a total of 8 6SN7s, which gets a bit painful at ~ $200/tube. Fortunately, the tubes don't require matching and the amps seem to like a mixture of different tubes. Right now I've got a mixture of RCA grey glass, Bad Boys, and old stock GE GTBs. I ordered one pair of the new Sophias. After those burn in, I will probably get a pair of the new Shuguangs. It is really good to see some current production tubes that are equaling or surpassing the best tubes of the past.
@jmolsberg I went ahead and swapped in the Sofias in the MZ2 last evening after reluctantly putting the Sylvania back in the driver socket of the amp.In that configuration the sound took a giant leap forward that caught me totally by surprise.I put on one of my favorite cds Hot Tuna - live at new orleans house in Berkley and started to leave the room to let the system warm up a little while I finished cleaning up the kitchen.Holy shite!!Three hours flew by while I kept saying gotta listen to this and this and that and just one more......So what was so startling is the soundstage immediately deepened and increased in width,the lower mids/upper bass warmed up but retained detail,the instruments and vocalists seemed to 'solidify'and give the illusion of better three dimensionality.The transients weren't as razor sharp but the sound was never syrupy or tubby.The timbre was gorgeous.Detail + Beauty.Dammit now I want to try one in the amp again along with the two in the MZ2.If that works out then I'd need three more for back ups.This is your fault jmolsberg;)I might have to try the Pvanes at half the price.
Today I enjoyed the following and could find no fault with any genre: John Mayall +Bluesbreakers - Silvertones Blood Sweat Tears - Greatest Hits Joan Baez- Ring Them Bells (live) Neil Young - Unplugged Jethro Tull - Aqualung Otis Spann - Good Morning Mr Blues Steve Earle - various downloads Recording of my son singing and playing guitar
Apologies for being overenthusiastic.I'm not associated with the company at all,just another happy tube nerd.I hope the Sofias will prove reliable over time and I'll update periodically.
Wow jtfc, my apologies and you're welcome 😊 i think you are on the right track to leave Sophia in the mz2 and get psvane for the amp. In the meantime I am going to get sophia for my LTA. Thanks for experimenting
I received a pair of the Sophia blue 6sn7s yesterday. Bottom line is they beat out a pair of RCA grey glass in my AtmaSphere M60s. With no burn in, the Sophias were sweeter, smoother, and more detailed than the RCAs. I find this remarkable given the fact that the RCAs are well regarded and that the M60s take 4 pairs of 6SN7s. I'm not sure I expected such an improvement after replacing only one pair. I will likely pick up one more pair soon. Very nice tubes. Kudos to Sophia.
I received another pair of the Sofias to try one in the driver tube position of the Aric Audio amp.Turns out it was too much of a good thing,lol!The sound became overly euphonic which was so pretty, especially on sax and piano with the added harmonics.But it was really too much.That's ok since I like having back ups.Today I swapped in a EH(which I'd thought hyper detailed) in the driver socket.Beautiful and refined!So the LTA is keeping the Sofias and a new lid to accommodate the taller tubes is on order. So the final set up is:LTA MZ2 two Sylvania 12at7,two Sofia Blue 6SN7 Aric Audio Transcend Push Pull amp one EH 6SN7,two Sylvania SN7,four Tung Sol KT150
@jtcf, I may well find the same thing when I pick up another pair. It takes some patience in finding an optimal mixture of 6SN7s in my M-60s. I'm going to leave everything as is for a couple of weeks to permit burn in before I make a final decision on buying more tubes.
@jtcf Thanks. I've been through the drill before with the M-60s, and yes, it takes a bit of time, but I have a pretty good feel for what the amps like in terms of 6SN7 attributes at each of the 4 positions, so its not quite as bad as trying to work my way through all of the 256 possible variations. In actual fact, this comes down to a yes/no on two of the 4 positions, with the new Sophias potentially replacing the RCA grey glass tubes. Those two positions have the greatest impact on sonics. The third position (back, center, one the MK 3.3s) really seems to benefit from the bad boys. Assuming I like what I hear with Sophias in the two most impactful position, it really comes down to getting a quick A/B on the bad boys vs. two other Sylvanias that I have on hand. Tube rolling in the 4th position (front tube), which requires GTA or GTBs, has less impact on sonics. I always roll that position after I have the other 3 established. I can probably get this done in 3 or 4 listening sessions, so it is really not all that laborious.
An update about these tubes after almost a year of daily use:They seem to have lost the beautiful tone I was so thrilled with initially.The vocals especially became increasingly harsh.Of course I didn't suspect the Sofias and began switching out other tubes with no luck.Yesterday I swapped in a Sylvania in the amp and it was instant relief.Dang.Next were the two in the pre. So it seems they were good for about nine months/-500 hrs and began to decline slowly. The Sylvanias are ok but a little congested in the midrange.I've got three pairs of different NOS tubes on the way to try now.
Ive been running a "Grade A" Sophia Electric 6sn7 Blue glass in my Icon Audio PS3 MK II for about the past 7 months. It sounds great! In my opinion it sounds better than the David Shaw CV 181 "HIFI Vale" that came with the unit. However, just yesterday, it failed me. One of the triodes crap the bed, the right channel in this case. I got a loud pop and then there was next to no audio passing through the right channel. it was at this point that i had also noticed microphonics from it. So a nearly $200 tube for 7 months that could have damaged other components in my rig while it was at it. Unfortunately, id say in my experience here, they are unreliable. I emailed Sophia Electric and explained this to them and asked them for an exchange for a new tube or a discount on a new one or something to help me out here even though its out of the stock 30 day warranty; well see what they have to say, ill keep you guys posted if anyone is interested.
I was thinking about buying a pair of these, so I'm definitely interested in what Sophia Electric had to say. I've been using pairs of both their (so called) Mesh Plate 274B's and Royal Princess 300B's for the last few years and no problems. But I'm about to switch to some NOS STC (~1962) 300B's, and they make the Royal Princess' seem really cheap! I have some NOS Mullard ECC32's, but I'd much rather save them.
I bought a pair of the blue 6SN7 tubes to try in my M-60's which use a total of 4 6SN7s. I went with the C grade tubes which were ~100 each. One failed at about 6 months, but the other one is still going strong a year and a half later. My tubes don't need to be matched, so I just bought a single tube to replace the one that failed. This time I got a B grade with a 1 year warranty. They are great sounding tubes, but reliability issues makes this a roll of the dice. The Shuguang WE + tubes or the Psvane globes may be a better choice if you can make them fit. They are both large tubes.
Pinwa, my guess would be that Sophia's supplier was either the factory in China that burned down or a Russian supplier. This is why many tubes are unavailable and why prices are absurd. …but I am just guessing…I am just a music enthusiast.