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PostPosted: Tue Sep 19, 2017 7:53 am 
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Location: Whitby, ON, CA
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Well, another venture down the rabbit hole in search of an outstanding tube that isn't NOS and will compare favorably with the old warhorses from days of yore.

In the 2 plus years that I have had my Leben SC600, a good number of tubes have been used and for the most part have been pretty good. Tubes that have been in rotation for this amp have been GEC KT66's, Mullard XF2's ( double halo ) Shuguang 6CA7 Treasures,
Psvane KT88 MK11 Treasures, Gold Lion and JJ KT77 tubes. So, overall a pot pourri of different flavours and textures.

As these tubes are quite new, they have not been fully broken in with about 50 plus hours on the odometer. I require quad sets for the Leben and most of the tubes used are of the expensive variety and the Sophia's are no exception. A quad set runs 500.00 USD, so to bring them in with shipping is the 640.00 mark. They were purchased directly from the Sophia Electric Co. in Virginia as a matched set. This would appear to be one of their newer offerings, thus not a lot of available reviews or forum chatter other than the one that Jeff Day had done in Positive Feedback also using a Leben SC600 to run them. I have used a single Sophia 6SN7 in my previous integrated with excellent results, so felt reasonably comfortable with the product, not to mention the review in Positive Feedback hit all the right buttons for a go at these tubes.

First off, this EL34 is a little both physically and in appearance a little different from other EL'34's. It is a blue tint and uses a coke bottle shape so for the appearance cognoscenti out there it sure looks good. The tube was voiced to incorporate the attributes of the older Mullards while adding some of the GEC KT66 sound to the mix giving this tube greater focus and extension while retaining the virtues of these two venerable tube manufacturers. As I have always enjoyed these two NOS tubes, the idea of Sophia pulling this one off in a new production tube got the excitement level pretty up there. The other reason for interest was the estimated life span of this power tube would fall into the 5,000 to 10,000 hour range with median of 7,000 hours. Time will tell.

My system would be a perfect foil for this tube as it described as a tone monster that would bring about a more engaging and lifelike sound to the table. This tube sounded it would fall into my mantra of tone, timbre, texture and transparency. How is it working out?
In a nutshell, it has met and probably on the way to exceed expectations. With 50 to 60 hours on them, it would be rather premature to get the total picture sonically on what they can do, but at this point, the linearity, tone, dynamics and overall soundfield is quite outstanding. Can this possibly be a potent elixir for the age old question of NOS vs. new?

Stay tuned....

I


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PostPosted: Tue Sep 19, 2017 8:54 am 
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Location: Hamilton, ON, CA
larboy wrote:

The tube was voiced to incorporate the attributes of the older Mullards while adding some of the GEC KT66 sound to the mix giving this tube greater focus and extension while retaining the virtues of these two venerable tube manufacturers.


Utter nonsense.

Tubes are pieces of (mostly) metals arranged in this or that way inside of a vacuum surrounded by glass.

Did they follow exact Mullard or GEC formulas when making those metals?

Cathode cellular structure/mechanical shape are exact copy of Mullard or GEC?

Plate – Mullard or GEC?

Grids?

To ‘voice to incorporate attributes’???? What’s your real purpose for giving us this audio fiction?


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PostPosted: Tue Sep 19, 2017 9:04 am 
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novisad wrote:
larboy wrote:

The tube was voiced to incorporate the attributes of the older Mullards while adding some of the GEC KT66 sound to the mix giving this tube greater focus and extension while retaining the virtues of these two venerable tube manufacturers.


Utter nonsense.

Tubes are pieces of (mostly) metals arranged in this or that way inside of a vacuum surrounded by glass.

Did they follow exact Mullard or GEC formulas when making those metals?

Cathode cellular structure/mechanical shape are exact copy of Mullard or GEC?

Plate – Mullard or GEC?

Grids?

To ‘voice to incorporate attributes’???? What’s your real purpose for giving us this audio fiction?

I appreciate your inquiring mind about this subject, but this was not written as a science editorial. It was written as it is a comparatively new tube on the market that some of us might share. I'm sure Richard at Sophia would be very helpful as to the insight of this particular tube.


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PostPosted: Tue Sep 19, 2017 9:23 am 
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Location: Moncton, New Brunswick, NB, CA
larboy wrote:
novisad wrote:
larboy wrote:

The tube was voiced to incorporate the attributes of the older Mullards while adding some of the GEC KT66 sound to the mix giving this tube greater focus and extension while retaining the virtues of these two venerable tube manufacturers.


Utter nonsense.

Tubes are pieces of (mostly) metals arranged in this or that way inside of a vacuum surrounded by glass.

Did they follow exact Mullard or GEC formulas when making those metals?

Cathode cellular structure/mechanical shape are exact copy of Mullard or GEC?

Plate – Mullard or GEC?

Grids?

To ‘voice to incorporate attributes’???? What’s your real purpose for giving us this audio fiction?

I appreciate your inquiring mind about this subject, but this was not written as a science editorial. It was written as it is a comparatively new tube on the market that some of us might share. I'm sure Richard at Sophia would be very helpful as to the insight of this particular tube.



Then let Richard personally spread the bull****.

del Sol


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PostPosted: Tue Sep 19, 2017 9:27 am 
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my, my... such negativity. They're $$$ but I am curious as to how they'd sound in my Rogue Atlas.


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PostPosted: Sun Jan 21, 2018 2:27 pm 
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Larboy, thank you for this. I am considering a set of these. Are you still happy with them? can you provide an update after a little while of listening?

Also did you order direct from sophia? Seems CDF in Montreal carries them.

Also, can you please offer some words by way of comparing these to GL KT77s?

Cheers mate.
M,

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PostPosted: Sun Jan 21, 2018 3:14 pm 
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Location: Markham, ON, CA
Geeze, guys! What a tough (grumpy) crowd.

Personally I don't care what the tubes were made with, or who made them. I care if the tubes represent a readily-available supply of brand new, reliable and long-lasting tubes that sound good. Period.

Thanks to Larboy for posting this; I am always open to learning what is out there, what works, and others' respectful and informative comments. Can you please update us as the tubes fully work in?


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PostPosted: Sun Jan 21, 2018 3:33 pm 
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Does anyone know who makes these Tubes?


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PostPosted: Sun Jan 21, 2018 4:03 pm 
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martin_manolov wrote:
Larboy, thank you for this. I am considering a set of these. Are you still happy with them? can you provide an update after a little while of listening?

Also did you order direct from sophia? Seems CDF in Montreal carries them.

Also, can you please offer some words by way of comparing these to GL KT77s?

Cheers mate.
M,

To the OP. Before I give an answer to your questions, any opinion about the subject matter ar my thoughts and I speak for nobody else. i'm not going to offer any dissertation on the actual philosophy and mechanics of this particular tube as I really don't give a monkeys' funky as to how it came about into existence, What I will tell you is that off all the tubes I have used, these are my favourite by a fair margin.

It should be explained as to where I am coming from in audio logic. First off, I am a music lover and my equipment is a reflection of my love of such. I am using a Leben CS600 integrated amplifier with J M Reynaud Cantabile Jubilee speakers of which satisfy me immensely. In THIS AMPLIFIER, I have used a variety of tubes including Shuguang EL34 Treasures, NOS Mullard EL34 xf2 dual halo, GEC KT66 clear glass as well as the Reflector 6n3Ce tubes. Also some of the usual suspects like the JJ KT77, Gold Lion KT77, Gold Lion KT88 and Psvane KT88 mk11 Treasures. In other words, a hell of a lot of money!

To MY EARS, the Sophia E34 ST tubes best ALL of the above simply becaused they incorporate the attributes of the above to arrive at a more complete and satisfying musical package. The tone and clarity are beyond reproach, giving a rich and robust sonic picture of the music that is being played. Bass is natural and tight, the midrange liquid and transparent and smooth, refined highs. A very coherent sonic picture indeed! The match is made in heaven for the Leben and paired with NOS Matsushita input tubes is excellent. For me, the perfect complement.

I purchased the tube directly from Sophia and the cost is not insignificant. With shipping and exchange they came to around 640.00 CDN for the Grade A Quad package. I also noticed that Coup de Foudre in Montreal is in fact carrying the Sophia line as well as Leben. What a coincidence! Would be interested to know what CdeF would be selling them for.

As far as the GL KT77 which I consider a pretty decent tube, I put them in about a week ago. After about 30 minutes, replaced them with the Sophia's. Case closed.

It does take some time for them to do "their thing" but is well worth the wait. I now have over 500 hours on them and they have matured beautifully. So to answer your question, this is without question my favourite tube and another set will be purchased in the next year. Highly recommended!

Cheers


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PostPosted: Sun Jan 21, 2018 4:50 pm 
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brf wrote:
Does anyone know who makes these Tubes?

TJ makes Sophia tubes. Sophia rebrands them and charges a hefty premium. I have outright blown 3 tubes in my life and they were all Sophia/TJ. My friends have dabbled with the very expensive Sophia royal princess tubes and have had lots of problems. They do sound good but reliability is highly suspect. For $600 you could call Andy at vintage tubes and have him set you up with a beautiful vintage set that will sound better and last longer in my opinion

-- 21 Jan 2018 20:55 --

brf wrote:
Does anyone know who makes these Tubes?

TJ makes Sophia tubes. Sophia rebrands them and charges a hefty premium. I have outright blown 3 tubes in my life and they were all Sophia/TJ. My friends have dabbled with the very expensive Sophia royal princess tubes and have had lots of problems. They do sound good but reliability is highly suspect. For $600 you could call Andy at vintage tubes and have him set you up with a beautiful vintage set that will sound better and last longer in my opinion


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PostPosted: Sun Jan 21, 2018 5:07 pm 
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Suggest trying original winged =C= Svetlana EL34

made in St. Petersburg in the Svetlana plant - not the Refleckor plant

No longer made, their price is climbing - but NOS go for about $60 US

http://www.thetubestore.com/Tubes/EL34- ... C-SED-EL34

.


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PostPosted: Sun Jan 21, 2018 5:10 pm 
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It's fair to ask questions, BUT CHECK YOUR ATTITUDES AT THE DOOR. Sorry for the caps. :)


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PostPosted: Sun Jan 21, 2018 5:24 pm 
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You didn't even gave them poor kt77 some time to burn in...... kt77 are nice tubes.


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PostPosted: Sun Jan 21, 2018 5:36 pm 
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rotaryphoneuser wrote:
You didn't even gave them poor kt77 some time to burn in...... kt77 are nice tubes.


To clarify...I actually used these tubes for about 5-6 months. Really enjoyed them. When I mentioned the 30 minute swap, it was to see if my feelings about could be changed. Tried it with most of my stash.


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PostPosted: Sun Jan 21, 2018 5:43 pm 
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Location: Calgary, AB, CA
Sophia's tubes are supplied by TJ Full Music tubes, which by the way manufactured in Tienjin factory, China which was established in 1998. Tha factory is managed by Mr. Liu Zhensheng. According to the factory write up he graduated from the vacuum tube technology of Tsinghua University. He had worked at the development research and management as well as manufacture of the vacuum tube for many years in the Peking vacuum tube factory. If it's any consolation all of the tubes they manufactured do carry a 12 months warranty.

I have heard some of the tubes that were manufactured there, which were rebranded by other company and the sound quality are all over the place. I'm not saying that they are bad sounding tubes but one has to be wary about its quality control as well. An audiophile Chinese friend once told me that although he can get them cheap from Hongkong he would never buy one as the quality control is not up to the standard to some of the tube manufacturers from Slovakia or Russia.

BTW, no matter what the manufacturers or others might say power tubes music enjoyment lifecycle are only good for 5,000 hours as after that, the sound quality will become progressively worst.


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