Be very wary of old power tubes.
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From what I've read, back in the 70s Svetlana Winged C did exist as a brand of Russian tube produced in a factory in St. Petersburg. Sometime since, an American company, New Sensor, began buying up rights to various tube brands such as Mullard, TungSol,Svetlana and Gold Lion. They started producing tubes at their New Reflektor factory in Saratov. At this point, subsequent to legal wrangling, Svetlana and Winged C became two different brands. The Winged C part of the business becamse SED Winged C and continues to be produced in St. Petersburg. These are the "real deal"/legitmate heirs to the old Svetalana name. The Svetlana brand is now produced at the New Reflektor site and while these might be OK tubes, they along with all the other New Sensor acquired/produced brands don't really duplicate the vintage tube construction of their original namesakes. This doesn't mean they can't sound good in the right equipment and it is worth noting that very positive things are being said about the Gold Lion reissues, in particular (esp. their KT88s). Hope this helps a little. There are others more knowledgeable about tube history who will no doubt weigh in if I've badly mis-represented things.
KT-88's are relatively difficult to manufacture and there are a lot of mediocre to bad ones being sold - people with amps that use them must be very careful. E.A.T. makes high quality KT-88's, but they are expensive (the list price for an octet was $1,400, the last time I looked).
Ghosthouse is correct: current Winged C production comes out of St. Petersburg.
I would contact Andy Bowman at Vintage Tube Services in Michigan - he is an excellent tube vendor.
the right equipment and it is worth noting that very positive things are being said about the Gold Lion reissues, in particular (esp. their KT88s)
Yes the GL 88/6550 are popular and have accolades.
I personally found the Svet's a better sonic balance and voicing in my Defy.(I returned the GL witha restock fee) Also read another audiokarma comment pretty much in agreement with my listening to the GL's.
The ebay seller posts on his site, that the NOS 6550 Svet are identical to the new prod 6550
I am not a believer in this idea of winged C , SED thing.
Also note on TAD's web site, their top of line 6550 @ $100 are in fact from the Svet lab = New Sensor.
So a NOS Svet <wing C/SED > = New Prod/New Sensor Svet 6550
Both with have idential performance, as it is the very same exact tube.
Best site for exactly matched Svet 6550's is Amplified Parts, pay a bit more, but receive exact match,, which for this highly sens Defy 7, <<only 1 bias UNDER CHASSIS/= Need Tech to bias>>> perfect matched 4 sets of trios is critical.
These 6550's will perform 2500 hours,
So lets say you use your amp 4 hours a day (I listen at least 6 hrs) X 350 days = 1400,
so every 18 months you need to bring in new power tubes.
I'm going to stick with Svet 6550's, as they have a nice tonal balance and are clear, articulate, bass rich, vocal reproduction <,stage like>.
+ they image Allan Pettersson's 8th sym BIS with emotional involvement = testing reference passes with high ratings.
Just some general info: There are no SED, Winged =C=, Svetlana tubes, currently in production. I really liked them (bought from Upscale), but- the St Petersburg plant burned down, years ago (along with it’s equipment) and SED closed the doors. New Sensor bought the name (ONLY) and is manufacturing their version in the Sarartov, Russia plant. Some info from a reputable dealer: https://www.thetubestore.com/winged-c-sed-6550c Try contacting known to be honest tube mongers, like the above, Brent Jessee Recording, TC Tubes or Upscale Audio, for knowledgeable info, as to whether they are, "the very same exact tube." An opinion/observation regarding the new version: https://www.tubesandmore.com/comment/2577/report Compare the plate and getter construction, to the above (original Svetlana 6550) pic, here: https://www.ebay.com/itm/PLATINUM-Matched-Quad-4-Svetlana-6550C-tubes-Russia/184570896793?hash=item2...
well I am sure the NOS <<most liklely are superior>> to the new stock,, but considering out options, the new stock is perhaps best sound 6550 in production.
Thats all that matters to me. One guy made a comment on his ebay purchse, <<These new svet 6550s, are just as good as my GE NOS>> so there you go.
I'd rather upgrade all caps/resistors and put the cash there, than chasing after NOS over priced tubes.
The shootout in the 6550/88's
I've only heard GL and Svet's.
The Svets beat out the GL's.
Tried to locate a comment on audiokarama concerning the GL 6550, not standing up to its repitation, which right off, i found the GL losing to the Svet 6550 in the ref test cd shootout.
But I can not loacte that particular comment, ONly comments in high praise of the GL 6550's.
Oh well each will have to pick his own.
I KNOW what what i am hearing in the Svet 6550, and have no interest to consider other contenders.
This tube presents music as high fidelity. .
That is to say, with a sublime realism.
this will help you understand the svetlana/winged c story
svetlana’s winged c tubes were not labeled as such in the 1970’s - that specific branding did not even exist until more than a decade later - so if that is what your tube dealer is telling you he is either misinformed or dishonest
sed winged c tubes were marketed from 1992-2007, and made in svetlana's st. peterburg russia plant, that burned down in 2006 - current production is from a totally different plant owned by new sensor corp in x-pol (also in russia, but made on different equipment different designs different processes) - new sensor has been quite clever to buy up many ’gloried' names of great past (now defunct) tube companies -- tungsol, mullard, gold lion/genalex, and even ’svetlana winged-c’ -- not to say they make bad tubes (their tubes are actually quite good) but they are NOT the same tubes that those companies built their reputations and folklore on...
last point - real svetlana winged c kt88’s have silver lettering on the glass envelopes, and have a 4 digit production date on the last line... be very careful chasing currently remaining real winged c tubes being sold - after the plant burned down a lot of factory seconds and rejects came onto the market and have been offered by shady sellers on ebay and elsewhere -- if there are still a few real winged c kt88’s on sale from reputed vendors they will be very expensive - some good ones remain in the hands of long time tube amp lovers like myself who bought them as spares for our audio research and other top line tube amps 😁
new stuff new sensor is making under the svetlana name uses black print on the glass with no date of mfg - i believe they are labeled svetlana without the winged c