What will audiophiles do, used black or new gray
My system has been so heavily modified that the brand names are meaningless. I bought it for it's tube compliment because I knew how to significantly upgrade the tubes. OEM, the unit calls for a pair of 6SL7s, a pair of 6SN7 GTBs, driving Shuguang's latest attempt at building a good 845. They are clearer with almost no noise, when compared to an NOS RCA.
They are not up to the United Electronic's 845 W, but I have not seen a pair for sale in just about 7 years.
They are part of the recently distributed Nature Series, which are ridiculously inexpensive at only $400 a pair.
IMPORTANT NOTE: Initially brass instruments sound too harsh, but after 60 or 70 hours of break in time, with music playing through them the harshness completely disappears.
NEWBIES BE PATIENT: All high-end audio components have a break in period. RCAs go for $2,500 a pair, and these are better sounding.
As I said, I bought this unit because of it's tube compliment, which offered me a rare chance to use some of my favorite tubes. Tung-Sol 6SU7 GTYs, with black glass, black plates, round getters replace the 6SL7s. Raytheon 5694s replaced the 6SN7 GTBs, and I have already told you about a great buy in 845s.
The International Market for NOS tubes has given us the clear direction to follow, which is really rare.
People prefer and are buying used black plates instead of NOS gray plates. The top internet sellers all maintain an active business in used black plates.
Sell your gray plates (Telefunken junkies are exempt) and buy black plates. Don't discard the OEM tubes, I use them as helpers when making octal adapters and after a tweak.
Don't risk your favorite tubes after a tweak, until your unit makes music again!