Sony SCD XA5400ES tube rolling?

Just got my player back from Modwright,fully modded with the ultimate upgrade. Wow! incredible difference over the stock player even cold out of the box.

Now the question, anyone have experiences with tube rolling with this player? The stock Russian Tung Sol 6SN7s are supposedly fine, but I decided to order some KEN RAD WWII military (VT231)tubes and see if there is a big difference in sound. In the mean time, awaiting their arrival... comments are welcome.
get the umbilical if you have not.

very much liked the mullard gz34 dan rec's for the P/S. and enjoy the sophia electric 6sn7s as well.

stock tubes are ok, but hold the unit back. but the umbilical is a big win IMO. much more dynamic and propulsive.
Ageed. The Truth umbilical is a MUST to bring out its full potential. The stock umbilical is for the birds. I have the Modwright tube Oppo and also use a nos Mullard rectifier tube.
If you like what you hear now, wait until it burns in. I've got ~ 400 hrs now, and the thing has really sweetened up very nicely. I'm still using the stock tubes, but soon i am going to give the Sophia's a try. They came highly recommended from someone who should know. $200/pair for class a.
Modding the work of a modder seems a bit crazy to me, but perhaps it explains the need to have a fine player modded in the first place. It's really a tinker toy.

Modding the work of a modder seems a bit crazy to me 07-26-11: Dbphd

One of the most intelligent posts ever. When does the pursuit of perfect sound all end folks?
you guys who are not willing to do a little more work to optimize gear, go spend $15k on a digital player where they do that work for you. your choice.

i just wrote up the MW piece on positive feedback, and i specifically address user preferences like this. for those willing to 'mod the modder', it pays off, and gets you further, for less $$, than the alternative.
If you read the posts carefully you will see that the Mullards and Sophias were recommended by Dan Wright. This is not a case of second guessing the modder. It is a case of taking his recommendation on cost no object tubes. I am thoroughly impressed by his work and because of that, would willingly accept his advice on tubes, cables, power treatment, feet, or anything else that he wants to comment on.
i have been trying to find a reasonably priced pair of brimar 6sn7. i use some older brimar 12at7 and 12au7, so i would like to try brimar 67n7, circa the 50's.
Hey thanks for the helpful feedback guys(and to those who will post). @Rhyno & Erndog, yes I opted for the umbilical deliberation there. I also noticed Dan's comments regarding the Sophias. IMHO, he probably decided what's the best stock tube at a certain price ($20)each. Using the "Sophias A's" as stock, would have raised the price of the upgrade by $200.

For once, it's cool to see different results using different tubes. For solid state one is 'locked' into a certain sound and then having to live with it (playing with cables then I guess...). Judging from the reviews on the Sophias, most are using them in their preamps (and getting great results).
Brimar 6NS7s (cryo'd for me) are the best 6ns7s I have tried after some experimenting. I got mine from Brendan at Tubeworld, who recommended them to me. Nice and warm and resolved and evenhanded.
The NOS Sylvanias Chrome Domes are mucher better in my system than the Sophias, better seperation, sharper image, deeper/wider soundstage and more ambiance at a much lower price.
I also forgot to mention that the Mac custom copper umbilical cord sounded more refined with better placement of images and draws you further into the recording. The Truth cable was not as accurate and adds bloom to the sound, which I didn't like.
Wig what is the Mac cable and how can you get it.
Jwm, is the site and they build custom umbilical cords. I have the pure copper version but will upgrade later to the liquid magic ref cable. lookup Audioman58, he knows alot about these cables.
I just read the exceptional (balanced, informative, non-hyped) review in july Positive Feedback. Where is best source to buy mullard and sophia tubes, and for a tube rolling neophyte is there a particular version/flavor/spec of those i should gravitate to or from? Thx in advance.
I enjoyed the review also. You can buy the Sophia tubes directly from Sophia. The NOS Mullards are getting pretty hard to find and pretty expensive. E-bay is an option for those. The listings there now are kind of disappointing.
I bought the NOS Sylvania Chrome Dome Bad Boys. Didn't even make it into my Sony player yet because they took a detour to my VAC 300.1a amp. Holy Toledo! They sound awesome. Added some heft, low end energy, space that wasn't there before. Now I need to find two more for the Sony!
i think, unfortunately, you will need to spend some money or borrow some tubes, try them out and decide for yourself. the age of a tube is important as is is its manufacturer. there are other factors as well.

no one can predict how you will the sound of a tubbe. just experiment.

if you lived near me, i could bring several pairs of 6sn7 to you to try.
Hi Podeschi

I agree with you concerning the Sylvanias, they are also one of my very favorite 6sn7 providing you procure them from a reliable source and they are closely matched. Unfortunately this is not always the case and it can make a significant difference. A tube tester and reliable tube source is mandatory. For that reason I recommend you trying the Sophia Electric premium tubes. They ARE closely matched and will give you pretty much everything you can ask for in a tube, top to bottom extension, dynamics, balanced soundstage and image placement, a real big deal once they break in. The top end was a bit agressive for the first 100 hrs or so but not now. Do yourself a favor and try them. They aren't exactly cheap at 200.00 a pair but I can't say enough good things about this tube in my Supratek pre-amp and I've tried pretty much all of them except the Tung Sol's. I would expect you will hear these aspects of its performance characteristics in the Sony as well. It is often about the electrical parameters and how closely they match that is going to dictate the performance in a given component and these tubes are seriously matched with greater mutual conductance than any I've measured.

It is clear to me why Dan Wright recommends this tube.
Well, I decided to hear what all this talk about Sophia Electric is all about, so I ordered a pair- should arrive on Sat.

I also want to add that I'm Very satisfied with my current tubes in my Modwright Oppo 83, which are nos Sylvania 6sn7GTB yellow label from the 1960's. It's going to take some over the top tubes to best it. We'll see how the Sophia's perform after their 300 hrs of break-in.
OK, I'm ordering some Sophias. Fortunately, I have 4 6sn7 tubes in my VAC 300.1a amp, so am able to roll same tubes in there. Since the Sophias are so closely matched, I could use them for the input 6sn7 tubes in the VAC.
I'd also like to hear from those who are pulling the trig. on the Sophias and how they sound against the best of the NOS 6SN7, VT231 and so forth brands.
How do they sound against the beloved Sylvania "Bad Boys" or the 'Holy Grail' TungSol's?
This should be interesting..

thanks again guys!

My $80 1960's Sylvania chrome dome are flat out better.
Wig- That doesn't surprise me. The Sylvanias sound amazing in my rig too and I don't see how a new production tube could sound better. I'll post the results of this shoot out.
i'm buying a pair of rca grey glass from the 40's.

while i would prefer the brimars, they are hard to get and very expensive.
Just my 2 cents but $200 for a pair of Chinese 6SN7's seems a bit much even if the Sophia's do sound very good. There's still plenty of NOS available and most for less money.

Life expectancy would also be a concern for me. In addition to owning numerous versions of NOS 6SN7's, I still have several NOS Telefunken E88CC(6922) and ECC83(12AX7) tubes that have been used in five CAT preamps over more than a dozen years. Those tubes still test like new. The Sovtek's and Electro Harmonix that came with my first CAT didn't last 1500 hours. Yah, I know, we're talking 6SN7's but I'm guessing any good NOS will last waaay longer than anything produced today. Some of those old 6SN7's were rated for 10,000 hours!
"There's still plenty of NOS available and most for less money."

Yes, you're right, unfortunately you don't always know what you are getting and it really is a minefield out there without a reliable tube source. I highly recommend Andy Bowman of Vintage Tube Services towards that end. What I have found over the years is how important matching plays into the total equation of the overall impressions you hear when listening. I'm certainly not against NOS tubes providing you have a trusted source with measurements. I have plenty in my catche and I can attest to how good they can be. Unfortunately supply has dwindled and there are inflated prices on some of these tubes, especially the ones in greater demand, the Tung Sol round plates come to mind. It isn't this better than that more than with the Sophia Premium tubes you KNOW what you are getting, they are culled and carefully matched. The end results may vary in a given application but I will say this, I wouldn't give them such high praise if I didn't recognize what they bring to the table, at least in my application and 9 years of experience in my situation. I have no affiliation with Sophia and as always, YMMV. I do encourage the individuals that make the committment to post their impressions to lend balance to the discussion. Initial impressions should be IMMEDIATELY apparent aside from break-in considerations.
Tubegroover, I agree with everything you said. Yep, Andy Bowman would be a good source and his prices are reasonable. Matching too is important and you want low noise.

There are many sources for the more common and inexpensive 60's & 70's RCA's, Sylvania's, Tungsol's and GE's and most of them sound much better than the current stuff. Besides Andy, there are quite a few other legitimate tube dealers who offer these tubes with matching available.

Much of my collection has been purchased on Ebay from sellers who have lots of mostly 100% positive feedback and who show test results, AND guarantee those test results or your money back. I also have a Hickok tester so I'm able to test everything I buy. If you can't test your own, then as I said, there are many legitimate dealers you can turn to.
Well the Sophia's arrived yesterday and I popped them in and noticed an increase in resolution, a wider soundstage and more 3D. If you are looking for tubes to add warmth coloration- look else where. These tubes are very neutral and linear. I also notice a subtle tilt toward the treble and other reviews say this will resolve itself as it breaks in (up to 300 hrs). Even with that, I like the Sophia Electric sound better than my nos Sylvania's in my Modwright Oppo 83.

I'm glad I tried these. Thanks for the recommendation!
hi tubegrover:

andy doesn't seem to have mullard or brimar 6sn7. do you knwo who does ??
Anyone tried Shuguang BT CV181-Z? It's marvelous in my MW Transporter. How does it compare to the Sophia?
I was wondering the same.
Hi Mr. Tennis. I would do a google search. E-Bay would probably be a good place to look. These tubes are not readily available in any case and I expect you will pay a premium.

Rfogel8, I too have purchased from e-bay dealers with good success, their feedback rating is important when dealing with them. It is always wise to purchase from dealers that show published test results and better yet, offer a guarantee and avoid like the plague tubes being sold "as is" at premium prices. My comments are based on experiences I personally have had with so called repudable dealers. Tubes I didn't test based on recommendations and that were spent, beyond their usable life yet sold as "NOS" because they were a premium, desired tube. One dealer I had two such experiences with. One time I'll give the benefit of the doubt two times it is no longer a coincidence. My point is really directed towards new guys, be careful and deal with reputable dealers with test results. If you really get into purchasing a lot of tubes invest in a tester. For what you can spend for tubes it is a modest investment. I use Andy as the best example of someone who's reputation is unimpeachable and will educate and be fair in pricing. Another good reason to own a tester is to test periodically to make sure your system is operating optimally. Some circuits use tubes faster as they are biased at higher currents, particularily power amps.
I agree with Erndog's assessment. I put two Sophia 6sn7s in the Modwright 5400es. I noticed more depth/3d and a "smoother" quality to the sound which allowed more details to emerge. They beat a pair of chrome domes I was using.
FYI, for those interested in giving these a try, there is a pair of Sophia Electrics sitting in Audiocircle forum for sale with only 6 hrs of use for $150.

I have no affiliation with that sale or with Sophia. My only connection is that I'm a satisfied customer :)
The Sophia Electric 6sn7s arrived today and I will compare them to Shuguang BT CV181-Z in my MW Transporter.

If anyone finds Mullard GZ32 or GZ34 too sweet, check out Sylvania 5U4G green label blackplate. It's very neutral, transparent, detailed, complex passages are no longer smeared ... excellent in my MW Transporter.
Knghifi- I'm definitely interested in hearing about your findings.
Me too!