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I was going to start a new thread and then I saw this one. I bought the new blue bottle EL34 ST.
OK, I just got my tubes in from Sophia Electric and have maybe 10 hours on them. Richard from SE talked me into trying the EL34 tubes. I told him I just want a rectifier tube for my Modwright PS 9.0 and he said try them and then send them back. Ha ha, what a devious trick. I will not be sending anything back. After letting them warm up a few minutes in my Linear Tube Audio ZOTL40 the sound was shrill and bright but after about 10 minutes a rapid change in sound character became evident and the magic started to appear. These are the absolute best new production EL34 tubes I’ve ever heard and after a little break in might best my NOS Mullard XF2 EL34 and my British NOS GEC KT77.
I have around 100 hours on my Sophia EL34's and to my ears they sound better than my Gold Lion KT88's and KT77's and NOS Mullard xf2 or xf4 EL34'. The Sophia Electric EL34 tubes to me sound that much better from top to bottom. I liked the sound of the KT77's and the NOS Mullards of course but the Sophia's had that magic which just draws me in. If I had to pick an order it would be 1-Sophia 2-NOS Mullard 3-KT77 4-KT88. Thanks everyone.
The Sophia Electric Blue KT88, Blue 6SN7 and Aqua 274B are the best tubes I have heard/tried and have many NOS variants that are not even close... You get richness, detail and unbelievable musicality that's so addictive.
Normally, 150 hours needed to hear them at their best but you start hearing what they are capable of after 50 hours of use.
@wig, some of us have been trying to get some feedback on the new
sophia blues. Thanks for providing a brief encouragement. This is a recent thread where @winoguy17 was looking specifically for feed back on the 6SN7. I think we would love to hear more regarding your experience with the sophias vs. various NOS tubes. I'm also interested in the 274B. Some say that is a pretty good tube in ModWright power supplies, and I had thought to give it a try. Any additional thoughts from you would be most helpful.
The Aqua 274B was a transformation in my Modwright Marantz SA 8005 SACD Player with a 9.0 PS; it was like a DAC upgrade in comparison to Mullards, Create, Gold Lion, Tungsol and Philips which was my 2nd best sounding tube.
The Sophia 6SN7 Blue tubes were utilized in both my tube amp and tube pre-amp and sounded better than my Sylvania VT 231, Sylvania W, Sylvania WGTA, Slyvania Bad Boys, Chrome Domes, Ken Rads, RCA 5692, CV-181 and Raytheon VT-231 Gray Glass; better imaging, detail, deeper and wider sound stage with lower floor noise but it’s the musicality that draws you in...
Also, the Sophia Blue KT88 beats all of my back-ups with a much more refined presentation and pin-point placement of images with-in the soundstage with more vivid colors and life-like sound quality, it just sounds real; compared to Ruby, Golden Voice, KT88Z and Gold Lions.
These Sophia tubes just have everything to include dimensionality, clarity, richness and warmth without sounding slow, bloated or congested and at some point will fill the remaining 6SN7s positions in both amp and pre :)
@wig , thanks, this is very helpful. I will probably pick up a 274B to try in my PS 9.0. So far, the Canadian Westinghouse V-71 is the best rectifier I've come across by a substantial margin, including the GZ34 Mullard and the Philips tube that Dan Wright prefers. Brent Jesse put me on to the Westinghouse, but as far as I can tell, these are now unavailable. I've had two of these tubes go bad in the last 12 years or so, and I still have 2 spares, but I'd love to find a current production alternative.
I need 8 6SN7s in my AtmaSphere amps. I won't be spending $1600 to retube my M-60s. Also, there is not space for more than 2 of the Sophias per channel. I may pick up one pair to rotate through the 4 positions just to see what gives. You've given me some good advise in the past so I trust your ears. But those 6SN7s are mighty pricey.
Those Sophia Blue 6SN7s are more pricey than their KT88s and would recommend trying a pair of 6SN7s in your most critical position in your pre-amp and after complete burn-in, try in your amp.
I saw an add on this site offering a 10% discount but would recommend contacting Sue at Sophia Electric to see what they can offer you. Hopefully, at some point those Blue 6SN7s will come down in price and that will entice a lot more buyers.
But, if your Amp utilizes KT88s, that would be the best place to start and would yield better sound quality across the board and a little cheaper.
I must admit as much as I like the Sophia EL34’s in my Aric Audio amp those darn Gold Lion Kt77’s just sound right. I have been going back and forth with these two and also trying different 12au7’s. Damn, this is fun and the sound quality is fantastic. Aric’s amp and preamp are what makes everything RIGHT.