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PostPosted: Sun Jan 21, 2018 6:47 pm 

Joined: Mon Mar 24, 2008 6:55 am
Posts: 391
Location: Toronto, ON, CA
The expensive “premium” Chinese tubes always sound good in my amp. I have tried several types including the Treasures and Psvanes (6ca7, KT66, KT88 and KT120).
The problem has been reliability. Except for a quad of Treasure 6ca7s, my experience is that one or more tubes in a quad will fail to hold steady bias within 300 or so hours of use. They are just too expensive for this type of quality control. I have never had a problem with vintage tubes (Mullard el34, GEC KT66, EI KT90, 6P3S-E or RCA or GE 6L6gc) in my amp or Russian new production other than a bad quad of early GL KT88. The Chinese tubes do sound better (than the Russians) in my experience but you just can’t keep a quad going. The most reliable Chinese tubes in my amp have been the PentaLabs KT88SC (now sold as the Prefered Series KT88 by These cost roughly half the premium Chinese tubes and have been utterly reliable in my amp. They sound about as good as the premium ones as well.
I also take exception to the grade A grade B bull**** only the premium Chinese tube makers use. Either a tube meets its rated specifications or it doesn’t. Period.
Please let us know how the Sophia’s hold up. I don’t doubt that they sound great, the question is will they last. 7000 hours? You would be lucky to get that from the best NOS.
Enjoy the Roll!

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PostPosted: Mon Jan 22, 2018 3:05 am 

Joined: Sun Apr 10, 2016 6:21 am
Posts: 55
Location: Ottawa, ON, CA
larboy wrote:
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.

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!



Thank you very much for this. I really appreciate you taking the time to reply, given the previous few comments, I wasn't sure that you would, which would have been completely understandable!

I have a PrimaLuna Dialogue 4. I'll get in touch with CDF and ask if they can bring them in for me and for how much. I'll report back when i get a response.

Thank you again!

This is me:

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