Thinking about a tube roll to Brimar or Telefunken

I am presently happy with the performance of my Aesthetix Calypso and Rhea. But, I'm wondering if there is anything else out there (that I'm missing). Presently the pre is running the stock 12AX7WB and 6922 Sovtek. The phono pre is running 12ax7LP,12AX7WB, 12AX7WB, and 6922 Sovtek for the respective gain stages. My question is this. Does anyone have a little experience/advise on a tube roll to improve what I already have going for me. Understand what I'm not trying to do is attenuate a particular problem, these pre's have none IMHO. Just looking for an overall improvement, if there is such a thing. What about Telefunken smooth plates NOS or Brimar long plates CV4004? I have seen threads on Aesthetix Callisto and Io tube rolls but don’t know if the logic is transferable. Thanks for any and all help as always!
I prefer the Telefunken 12AX7 to all others but getting quiet ones is becoming more and more difficult.

For 6922, favorites are Telefunken 6DJ8 and Mullard gold pin 6922 (preferably Mullard with white dot on top).

Other tubes for 6922 position that you may or may not like but are excellent quality is the Amperex US Military CEP 7308. This tube is "dryer" sounding and (maybe) more accurate on top frequencies than the Mullard but not as pretty sounding.

Of course lots depends on your personal taste, choice of amplifier and speakers and even room acoustics. The Sovtek is surprisingly good, especially after being hand selected by Jim at Aesthetix.

Good Telefunkens that are graded and guaranteed by a reputable tube dealer will probably cost $125.00 each (possibly more). The Mullards I have not seen for sale in a while and the Amperex are all over the place in price.

I did answer your email but thought I would post here as well. Hope it helps you with your Aesthetix. Great gear !
Thank you Albertporter for the experienced insight. It is invaluable. I feel probably, the hunt is now on for a hand full of Tele's and yes, I also find Aesthetix to be great gear. Combined with Ralph's Atma-Sphere OTL power amps the results are truly magical. It makes me wonder how either of these kind gentleman of audio can keep any of their gear on the shelves. Bravo!
I'm with Albert on this one. I find the Telefunken to be the best I've used and I have tried the Brimar. Brandon at tube world has been a great resource to me. I am NOT a tube expert by any stretch of the imagination. He has helped educate me (I still know very little) and has the best customer service imagineable. In fact, I bought Brimars from him for my phono stage. They were good, but I didn't like them. The highs were not natural sounding to me. He took them back and sent me the Telefunken--which I loved.
Thank you Rives. Tele's seem to be the thing!
R f Sayles,
Have you read "Joes tube Lore" for 12ax7 and 6922 tubes.
Jea48 Thanks and yes I have read the whole thing on several occasions. In the final analysis he seems to fly in the face of generally excepted favor of Telefunken being the Holy Grail. That’s interesting. Fact is there are plenty of other tubes out there to choose from. Don't believe Joe ever divulges his "rig" and that is a shame. It leaves us with no point of reference. No doubt there is a wealth of observation there.
Joe S is a friend of mine, we have spent dozens of hours on the phone over the last few years and traded countless emails.

Joe is a VERY intelligent person and a very careful listener. His reference speakers and amplifiers are the ones I sold him, Sound Lab M-1 and Wolcott Presence 220.

He and I agree on some things and disagree on others . The rating of the Telefunken 12AX-7 is an obvious example.

For what it's worth, most audiophiles and tube experts classify the Tele 12AX7 as the "reference" design for this type. Needless to say, I agree with the majority :^).

As for the RCA 5692, I have tried many versions of it and agree it has merit. Some equipment, particularly the Aesthetix, simply DOES NOT work with the RCA, offering dismal results with it plugged into it's circuit.

As with all things audio, the associated gear, personal taste, room acoustics, listening volume and many other factors enter into the equation.

I advise you experiment with Tele's, confident that if you don't like them, there are a hundred people waiting to take them off your hands.

Good luck with your tube rolling adventures.
Albert, Thanks again for the added info. and tipping us off to your association with Joe S. Again I find your help invaluable in my pursuit of the music.
Audiogon threads can sure be a lot of fun with banter flying every which way. In this particular case the wisdom of those that have already "been there" is saving the rest of us great expense and frustration. Thank you.
Just my 2 cents.This past winter,both I and my friend(who has almost the exact same rig as me)decided to do a fairly thorough "tube rolling" discourse,with our phono stages.I'll begin by stating that the Joe's Tube Lore piece was,and is,extremely accurate for the most part.I believe that Joe does state that his is a digital based set-up,and this MUST be taken into consideration,though the final findings are really amazing to me,in their thoroughness.

Some of our findings,done with usually two sets each,of tubes,for accuracy,in phono ONLY!The Tele's "sort of sucked",and were not cheap.I say this based on price,and compared to other tube types.Russian sovteks were "EHH"!Gold pinned Mullards were "pretty good",not great,but a nice smooth sound.Amperex 7308(non PQ) was very nice,nice violin sound,a bit lacking in slam.Amperex PQ was "exactly as Joe described", really a fine tube,in all areas.Ediswan 6922's were a real surprise,though well reviewed,they had a "ton" of dynamics,and were really very nice,in all areas.Very similar to the PQ Amperexes,to us.The tube that we liked the best,though I'm not advocating getting these,due to high pricing,as well as getting really good low noise ones,was the Siemens CCa's.WOW!!!We were privy to an EXTREMELY low noise batch(not easy to find them this quiet),and they were stunning with a capital "S"!!Incredible high freq. extension,with a never ending top extension,that is SO "PURE",I would not have believed it.Fabulous "SLAM",and dynamic impact.Gorgeous tonality too.But, way too expensive.IMO,the Amperex family,for alot less money,is the value here,though I'm hanging on to my CCa's,with an iron grip!They work so well in my ARC phonostage that I'm not really interested in trying the "Pinched Waist" Amperexes!Actually I lied.I think I'm sort of like the guy in the movie "Close Encounters Of the Third Kind!I feel forced to try them.If I'm lucky enough to find a few.Best regards!, Thank you for the detailed review. Sounds like you two had a great time and have found the magic for your ARC pre's.
As things are shaping up for me, sticking with Albert's recommendations based on his long time Aesthetix background is caring a lot of weight on my choosing.
As most everyone is pointing out, this thing is very system specific and one has to do some careful listening to be sure. Telefunkens for my system appear to be a sound place to start. Enjoy!
R F Sayles,I was not trying to be dismissive of anyone's advice,especially a well heeled hobbyist like Albert Porter.All I was trying to do was add some thoughts as to the process my friend,and I experienced.Yes,it was really great fun.More fun for me,since my pre/phonostage is on my top shelf,with really easy access.

I did not mention,and this could kill any of the credibility of our findings,to some hobbyists,that we did,CONSISTENTLY,enjoy a couple of bottles of fine wines(shared with the usual audio group,present)during ALL our comparisons!!Funny thing!My system seemed to sound SO much better,while "Slightly Tipsy"!Boy,this hobby can be fun sometimes!

Best wishes!!, No, no, no problem, my apologies. I did not mean to infer in any way a criticism of the information you were sharing. I do appreciate your viewpoint and was just making comment that Albert's suggestion to start with Tele's was spot on IMHO given we both have Aesthetix gear, etc. I am in agreement with both Albert and yourself that Joe S has very good and thorough information to share. It's also cool to find out from Albert that he and Joe S are friends and like friends, agree on some things and not on others. What a small world. And fine wine is always... well, Fine! Thanks again

In your post above you comment on the Aesthetix gear ( I presume the IO and Callisto) not responding well to the RCA 5692. Did I miss something? There was a informative thread by you some time ago ... praising the RCA red base 5692. Have you found something better?....Thanks

Sorry, my error. I meant to say RCA 5751 and my fingers automatically typed 5692 (one of my favorite tubes !)

Good catch !

I thought that might be the case as I've tried numerous 6SN7 types in my IO sig w/vc and I agreed with your orginal comments on the RCA red base working well..Alas my IO is down with one bad power supply (should be back this week I hope) and my new Berning should be arriving as well.. Hope the IO is repaired before the Berning gets here!

Just as I was trying to live up to your Sound Labs (in my dreams) you switched to the Dali's. Congratulations on what looks to be an incredible system... Nkj
hello I have been told by others that the 1950s Mullard long plates with
the square getters are even more open and airy on top, then the 10-m, or most Siemens or tele,with a $ 300 + price tag, for the 6922 section ,what if anything worked for you ,is the output worth doing as far as hearing a difference ? Please help me out if you can please. My Calypso preamp has only 10 hours on it from the factory, and the factory runs in in for a 100 hours.
How many hours before I hear it open up ? thanks Paul.
Well, just a note... it has been a while and I have pretty well rolled both the Aesthetix Calypso and Rhea to my extreme satisfaction. Tried many vintage tube rolls with a variety of Mullards, Amprex orange globe and Bugle Boy, Telefunken ribbed and smooth plate. In the final cut the Telefunken smooth plate and Amprex Bugle Boy Long Plate w/D getter 12ax7's were my favorite. The Bugle Boys may have an edge over the Tele's in that they sparkle just a bit while on some music the Tele's have a hint of dry presentation, but I'm splitting hairs, trust me. Both are outstanding compared to the current junk being produced today, I'll be it cheap and easy to find. The pick on 6DJ8's was the same with the Bugle Boys shining out a bit and the Tele's sounding great. These vintage tubes resolved so many things that were just plane wrong with the music from top to bottom. I notice an ease now and sweetness as well as detail along with a huge serving of soul in these vintage old valves that wasn't present in the new stuff. God have we come a long way in electronics and yet fallen desperately behind on tube design and manufacturing! One note that I find worthy of mentioning in helping the sound of my system along and making my evaluation clearer and more concise was the addition of extensive acoustic room treatments and a tube roll in my Atma-Sphere MA-1 Silver Edition power amps to Sylvania 6SN7-GTB's from the Chinese junk that they came with. These two upgrades made signal tube roll evaluation a breeze. So there you go, it's an old tale and I'm far from the first to tell it.
Happy Listening!
Thanks again to all of you who commented on this thread and help guide me along. Much appreciated as always!