Tube first experience.....WOW

I have been thoroughly enjoying my Rogue Audio Cronus integrated amp, as part of my extremely musical system, since December 2007, and I recently had an "itch" to take the amp up to the next level of performance. With the thoughtful guidance and advice of Mark O'Brien and Nick at Rogue Audio, I swapped out the five small tubes as follows : an RCA NOS 5814 to replace the Electro-Harmonix 12AU7 gain stage tube, a pair of GE NOS Five Star 5751 "goldpins" to replace the Sovtek 12AX7 input tubes, and a pair of GE NOS 12AU7A's to replace the Electro-Harmonix 12AU7 driver tubes. I followed their advice, and left the existing Svetlana EL-34's in place as two push-pull pairs.

After about twelve hours of listening......WOW !!! The music coming out of my Vandersteens, whether sourced through my Rega analog rig or Rotel CD deck seems improved in every way !! Wider and deeper soundstage, better definition and focus in both treble and bass, smoother mid-range, deeper resolution, and a more natural overall musical presentation. The only downside to all of this, is that my golf game and bicycle riding may suffer this season, as I spend more time in my music room.

Thank you, Mark and Nick,..... and Happy Listening to all my friends in Audiogon-land. !!
You're lucky you had the guidance of Mark and Nick to help through the JUNGLE of tube rolling or your bike and golf clubs would now be garage sale items. You just wouldn't have enough time after all the tube combinations and trying to source them!

Happy Listening...
That's what's so great about buying Rogue's an absolute pleasure to directly communicate and exchange ideas with the guys who actually develop and build the amps.
I'm glad that this is working out for you but ones does wonder ...

Why don't the Rogue guys start off with the "better" tubes in their gear to begin with? I mean if they know for sure that the RCA is going to be better than the Electro-Harmonix, etc etc., then why not use from the outset in their gear?

It isn't so much cost, but availability of NOS tubes. You would need to be sure your product sounds the same from sample to sample...kinda hard to do if you can't source the tubes?

That's why most all of the tube gear manufacterers use new production tubes and buy a crapload of them.
New tubes are used because of availibility, consistency and price.
Good NOS tubes are hard to find, inconsistent and pricey. Finding NOS tubes is also quite time consuming. Most manufacturers will steer you in the right direction if asked.
Also, a piece of stereo equiptment is a poor place to test your tubes. so find an honest dealer!
Tube rolling is a very addictive habit. The reason appears to be one of the strongest behavior modifiers. The so called intermittant reinforcement. If every time you bought an old tube worked great obviously the hit or miss factor is gone and the effort you put into aquiring your favorite tube no longer a lucky strike. The once every so often techniques is by far the strongest on lab rats in any event. If they were all bad you would stop trying knowing it is a waste of tiume. I started to think this way when the rush for 5751s was going on about 4 years back. The paranoid nattering neabobs declared NOS or just great 5751s extinct. Afew trickled in making the poossublev lucky catch possible. This drove the market way uo and people were spending power tube nmoney for them. The no never any good result quiuckly extinguishes the hunting behavior rather uickly. The you a can always find a boxes of 100 Sylvania triple mnica Blackpllates sealed and well preserved 5751ws . Leads to no hunting either you would be comfortable just buying what you want when you want it. This is rare even with current productION. They always seem subject to shortages etc or being DCeed because they sound too good making introduction of new invariably worse versions common.
I should tell you the is all from the sort of aff his rocker behaviorlist B.F. Skinner.
The truth is that rolling is a trcherous slope to climb. There is always that one tube just out of reach. It is an addictive and expensive part of the hobby. BTW you can get really good tubes cheaply and really bad ones for a fortune . It gets out of contol fast. My collection of 6SN7s went from a few extra pairs to well over 150 tubes in short order. That is only one of many I use. The small signal tubes got so expensive so fast that I really couldn't afford a risk so I bought a quad of known excellent tubes from a dealer . I paid out the snout but they work flawlessly and suit my taste as predicted from an earlier experience with them
After another week of listening......I am truly impressed with the ways in which my upgraded set of small tubes, as described in my original thread above, has really "opened up the window of music." My audiophile brother-in-law (Naim, Rega, Totem system) was up for the holiday weekend, and he agrees as to how the music "just sounds better." Isn't this a great hobby ?