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Dave's Favorites - For All Avian Series Integrated Amplifiers - and Preamplifiers

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(@ravendave)
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Dave's Favorites:

1.) "The" Brimar 6060 "Yellow T" Black Plate - You don't know how lucky you are to be able to touch and handle a tube as rare and high quality as this, much less OWN a matched NOS pair of these valuable and rarest of tubes.

Made in England in the 50’s - this 1954 batch was obtained last year, released by the British military (supposedly delayed because of its apparent value as an analog electronics backup which could have been used by British Special Forces in case of an EMP situation – which has now been solved in other ways by other devices) last July.

I bought all of them~! Brent Jessie sells these for $300 up per matched pair - some slightly USED!!! Yours are absolutely 100% untouched, unused, purchased in a special 100 Count Box. They are in exceptional shape, some with near perfect decals, others with heat-baked decals out of storage in Australia – and most with fair white screen printing, which is very soft and powdery after all these years unfortunately.

Bottom Line Here....   This is the Holy Grail of 12AT7 preamp tubes~!

This tube is my choice for "THE BEST 12AT7 EQUIVALENT - DUAL TRIODE ON EARTH~!" You will find that this pair of tubes is exceptionally sensitive with huge deep tightly accurate and revealing bass, and an extremely clean, clear, crisp high end, and the best mid-range frequency response I have ever heard.

With human vocals it has such a lifelike resonance, so completely real that it seems almost holographic in every detail, and as such is very emotionally tying on well-recorded tracks. This tube allows the human emotional response of really great jazz, singer/songwriter and small ensemble recordings to come flowing through the listener’s emotional system. It can bring tears to the eye and cause the hair on your skin to move… or whatever that is~!

On wooden instruments and brass, it sometimes is able catch the listener completely off-guard, often startling the listener by placing guitars and vocals out into the room unexpectedly. Sometimes eerie and very live-sounding to a degree that you may swear that person seems to actually be THERE! This is why this and a very few other really exceptional tubes are always considered to be among the most revered on earth.

Only the Seimens E801CCS and the Telefunken ECC801S have ever been listed as being anywhere close, yet even those tubes are not better than the "Yellow T - 6060". They are different. They are not quite as fleshy, full and real-sounding, yet in their own right they can also be considered exceptional. With tubes like this, a really great tube-based sound system can make the final entry into perfection.  I know of no better tube on earth. 

No other tube does what these do in a preamp, phono stage or ultra-high-end headphone amp. Not with the intimacy of this one. None~!  The closest I know of that can be compared across the full spectrum might be the next one listed. $300 per matched pair – NOS.

BEWARE – NOW BEING COUNTERFEITED OVERSEAS~!!!

3.) Brimar 13D9 Black Plates - These are also special, and were exceptionally rare, almost mythical status until recently when a few thousand or so were discovered at an airbase in Britain. These 1950's era black plate dual triodes were designed as a highly ruggedized valve for special forces high sensitivity field surveillance radios and post WW2 piston-engine airplanes which were still being used worldwide, especially in Korea, and later Vietnam.

These tubes were never released for general public use, and therefore considered among the rarest of mythical beasts. Some knew they once had seen them during their military service – and they knew how good they were – so while missing were often spoken of reverently, sometimes with secrecy, and even then - only within the smallest of veteran tech circles.

Since they were never seen past their military service, many thought they possibly may have been an anomaly, or possibly never really existed, especially since they were never really seen by anyone other than aviation, shop technicians and special forces radio maintenance techs for well over half a century - virtually unknown before the mid-2000's when suddenly a few boxes got re-discovered in a warehouse in Great Britain. It took another decade for them to be released.

They were apparently small batch, only made for very special secret military radio use. They belong on the top-25 list of the best 12AT7/ECC81 variants on the planet – but of course there weren’t any around until recently. Once the top choice of M5 and CIA European field radios, and black site radio use.

[The very best version of this tube type - is known as the incredibly rare "Brimar 6060 Yellow T" (see below) of which there are very few left untouched/NOS versions in the world.]

The 13D9 in the right equipment, can perform about 80-85% of what that tube is capable of when in high end HiFi use. $60 per matched pair - NOS

4.) Valvo ECC81 - A German military twin-triode tube built in the late 50's until the mid60's, this tube is also in the top-25 best 12AT7 equivalents in the world. The tube is nicely warm yet very clean at the same time. A very well-known and searched-for tube, with dwindling stocks it has become expensive lately, and starting to get rarer with time. This tube is best when teamed up with a nice British tube such as Mullard or Brimar. $100-120 per matched pair – NOS.

5.) Seimens ECC81 - Another great well-known German military triode, built from the early 50's until the late 60's, landing square on every 25-best list ever made. This tube is also nicely warm yet not overly like the British, very realistic, yet never sibilant unless it is teamed up with something too harsh. Best teamed up with British tubes - Brimar or Mullard. $120 per matched pair – NOS.

6.) RCA 12AT7 50’s Era Flat Single-Wing Black Plate - This tube is known worldwide for its accuracy, warmth, and clean soundstage delineation – and as such is considered to be among the best American made Hi Fi tubes.

Warm, clean, with nice thick articulate bass, depending on the circuit it is placed within, it is a perfect blend when used with GE or Phillips tubes - which can sometimes be overly clinical sometimes when they are used alone.

The RCA flat single-wing black plate are sometimes perfect when blended with more clinical tubes, or when teamed up with European tubes such as authentic Valvo, Seimens, or with some of the Tungsram branded tubes made in Germany. $60-70 per matched pair – NOS.

Variation - RCA 12AU7 Shiny Tiny Ladder Black Plate – very close to the same sonics, yet a tiny bit tighter and cleaner. This may be the better choice for headphone amps and preamps with single-ended power amp sections or separates.  A later variation on the old favorite, this is usually a late 60’s on through the 70’s version.

7.) GE 12AT7 Gray Plate - This tube is NOT MY FAVORITE WHEN USED ALONE! But can be exceptionally revealing, clean, clear, crisp and defined – sometimes almost too much, and therefore can make a sensitive preamp, headphone or integrated amp somewhat sibilant, especially when two are used back-to-back – or alone!  Therefore this is the best tube for older tube based amps like Fisher, Marantz, Eico, or anything soft and romantic sounding that needs a little "cleaning up."

It can be the very best choice when choosing to wake up a preamplifier circuit that might be a little on the muddy or overly warm.  This 50’s era tube is best when teamed up with any warm, thick and fleshy, yet high-quality tubes. Best when used with Brimar, Mullard and 50’s era USA/RCA black plates. $40-60 per matched pair – NOS.

8.) Phillips 12AT7WC Charcoal Plate - These fabulous, affordable, and ruggedized and resilient tubes were among the very last military grade radio tubes made. Made for the US Navy and Air Force, they are exceptionally clean yet still nicely warm, and have a clear-as-a-bell sonic texture.  They were highly ruggedized tubes, made for the last of the tube based field radios.  They were kept in service due to their ability to not be susceptible to magnetic wave blast failure. $25-30 per matched pair – NOS.

9.) Raytheon 12AU7 Shiny Black Plate - Exceptionally high quality low-MU output dual triodes, made until the mid 60's, these tubes are beginning to become somewhat rare, yet stocks still remain because they were made by the hundreds of thousands, also used in old Conn, Thomas, Leslie and other tube organ amplifiers. Excellent frequency response across the board, one of the better "12AU7's" that came out of the 50's glory period. Wonderful tight clean bass, excellent midrange vocals, clean crisp highs, especially when teamed up with GE or European tubes. $100 per matched pair – NOS.

10.) Toshiba 12AU7 Gray Plate - Another great low-MU dual triode tube with full acrossthe-spectrum frequency response, this tube is somewhat unknown and a bit of a rare bird. Made in Japan on Mullard equipment during the mid 50's triode manufacturing heyday, these tubes will soon be highly sought after for their clarity and realistic response.

Mine are perfect, untouched since the 50’s, purchased in a 100 count box, I was extremely lucky to find an unopened box in the back of an organ store in Crockett, Texas last year! $70 per matched pair – NOS.

10.) CBS 12AU7 Shiny Black Plate - A real gem of a tube, MY FAVORITE USA MADE 12AU7 - overlooked and somewhat unknown so far, this tube was also made in the 1950's in the USA, for the military AND for electronic organs and Hi Fi equipment. This tube is another gem, with excellent midrange warmth, clean clear deep bass response, and nice clean highs. Best when teamed up with European tubes such as Mullard, Tungsram, Brimar, Seimens, Valvo, and Amperex. Can also be excellent when teamed up with GE or RCA gray plates. $120 per matched pair – NOS.

11.) Sylvania 12AT7 Shiny Black "Broken-Wing" Plate - One of the oldest and very best quality - late 40's WW2 era shiny black plate tubes, the military had just started to convert field radios to "9-pin miniature" tubes after a couple of decades of octal based 12SN7's of which this is the miniature version. The green lettered ones were the very highest quality and had a 90 degree turn at the end of the wings on one side of each anode plate. They are rare and exceptional... especially in this condition and I still have a couple pairs

This tube sometimes should be teamed with Brimar, Mullard, or an RCA black plate, or clear top 12AU7 because every now and then they can be somewhat clinical. But that is also where they shine. They have HUGE bass, fabulous midrange, and still manage a crisp high end, and that is what makes them so clean sounding. They are a rare tube completely without heavy warmth. Perfect for classical and chamber music and large complicated movie sound tracks. $100 per matched pair.

12.) The RCA 12AU7 “Clear Top” – This tube has been famous for a long time. Made by the millions for Organ companies back in the 50’s and 60’s, they are sometimes labelled “Conn”, Baldwin, Thomas, Leslie etc. They are just fabulous, and are still around in some numbers. Mine are all tested, matched, and will last a long, long time. $60 per matched pair – NOS.

(Continued in new document - See RavenDave's Dozen & Then Some! (Published 5/12/2020)

 


   
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(@ravendave)
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No I wouldn't put Brimars (any other tube) in more than one row.  With the Brimar 6060's in row 1 or 2, I would in the opposite row, install Seimens or Valvo ECC81's, 50's 12AT7 GE gray plates, Telefunken ECC81's, Phillips 12AT7WC charcoal plates, or even possibly Amperex Bugle Boys, as long as they aren't the Mullard made ones - those always have 3 holes in one of the edges of each of the two gray plates. 

The Brimar 6060's are going to be extremely nice and full, yet still remain exceptionally clean, very large sounding, with a nice warm and comfortable character about them.  So following or teaming that style of tube (Mullard is also this type of tube) with a much cleaner, even somewhat brighter, more open type of tube is what you will want to do. 

Audiophile tube choices are all about mixing, the stew if you will.  So I would never recommend mixing two of the same or similar type in your preamp section.  If you do expect the amp to start taking on the characteristics of that tube style.  If you ever mix similar tube types, mixing Seimens, Valvo, Tungsram, Amperex or maybe even Raytheon or RCA shiny black plates from the 60's.  At least those tubes aren't too overly warm.

Warm tubes are the British tubes like Brimar* and Mullard.  I have seen Amperex Bugle Boy, Valvo, Tungsram and several other tubes that are actually Mullards many times over the years.  You can take pictures and send them to me and I will help you figure out what you have if you question them.

*The Yellow T 6060's are the most open and clean of the Brimars...  and by far the best - in my opinion.  But even they will always benefit being teamed up with the German and some of the more delineating of the USA tube types. 

Also, one can never tell if the Brimar needs to be in row 1 or 2 so ALWAYS try both positions.  This is all about the entire combination of your speakers, speaker placement, room anomalies, cables, and even things like the size and placement of your TV, curtains, wall art, furniture and its placement and density in the listening room.  The exact same system will always sound or react completely different in a different room.  And tubes are the same way. 

It takes patience.  And this is why sometimes after taking your new Raven Audio amp home, you can get in touch with me and especially with the more expensive tubes, I will be more than happy to send you several pairs of tubes to try out and when you make the choice and finally figure out your favorites, most of the time I can take the ones you don't like back.

In the end though, if you can put it into your budget, it might be best to just keep as many tube types as you can, put them in a drawer and when you have time try them with different types of music.  Most of the time heavy and complex multi-instrument classical and movie recordings usually benefit from using less warm tubes like the German and European tube types and jazz, singer songwriter easy listening and old rock and roll is best on RCA Black Plates, Phillips shiny black plates from the 40's and 50's, Mullard and Brimar tubes - mixed with European or GE gray plates are the best.

If you love your speakers but sometimes you find them a tiny bit sharp or sibylant, Mullards and Brimar can usually be a full cure.  If they are still to lean and sharp, that is the ONLY time I might mix Brimar with Mullard or RCA black plates.

I am always here to help, so let me know if you have any questions.  If I can't answer you - we will experiment until we find what will work~!

Dave


   
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(@ravendave)
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@dt22

Once you get your new Raven Audio amplifier/preamp home you will more than likely suddenly be stunned by its performance.  I know of nobody that is new to Raven Audio that has not called me within the first few hours to tell me how shocked they are that their new amplifier is so good.  This includes the unbelievable Nighthawk MK3, all the way up through the Elite Series.  From people that have owned some of the best amplifiers in history, from the most famous brands in history - to first time tube amp owners the reaction has always been the same...   nobody can believe how good the Avian Series amplifiers sound.  And... how could it possibly ever become better - when it is so great with the stock tubes I have now!?

The truth is, these amplifiers are so good - because of their extreme sensitivity.  There are no other systems crammed into them, so they are all and only about one thing...  making music!  So they are also EXTREMELY sensitive to different choices of tubes, especially the preamplifier section tubes, but also power tubes.  We do not believe in adding headphone outputs, DAC's, streamers, phono stages etc. into our Avian Series amplifiers.  These amps are for amplifying your music ONLY.  And they are quite brilliant about doing so.  Those that are new to tube amps will suddenly be walking into a realm that they will find themselves captured and captivated within - literally forever.  The addiction has now started. 

Now...  that is quite a claim, but it is easily explained.

Why would you ever want to be trapped into the sound of any amplification product - ever again???!!!  Why would you EVER want to buy a hugely expensive product - and find yourself literally stuck with that one sound - forever~!  That thought would alone keep me from EVER buying that product.  The ability to have a multitude of endless different experiences - well to me that sounds like "the true spice of life itself!"  And it really IS what tube amplification is about too.  And the more sensitive your amplifier is - the more you can get out of it by experimenting with all the millions of different tube combinations you can find!  And tubes have been made since the 1920's, and by the billions, possibly the trillions!  Now as yourself this...  doesn't THAT sound incredibly interesting in itself?!

You are living in a time when millions of those tubes are still sitting around in attics, warehouses, people's homes, businesses, hidden away in closets and bins...  the possibilities are literally endless - because if you find 6 or 8 pairs or really great, but totally different sounding tubes that you can swap around in your preamp - just think of all the fun you are going to have when you start swapping those tubes into the different rows of this highly sensitive instrument! And then...   one day you find another rare old tube pair that may have been sitting in untouched boxes in the back room on an old aircraft carrier, or in a military warehouse up in one of the old decommissioned Alaska Dewline storage rooms?!!!  NOW YOU OWN a true piece of United States military history too, and it is going to be incredible knowing that you can plug that into your new Nighthawk MK3!

What you own now is a chameleon of an amplifier with literally an infinite amount of slightly different "finishes" or "sonic changes" are now at your fingertips - that you can have fun with and experiment with - literally forever!  THAT IS WHAT OWNING A RAVEN AUDIO AMP IS ALL ABOUT!

When you purchase a dull cheap simple Chinese tube amp, or a solid state or digital amp (even the best of them!) you either are stuck with what you buy (solid state or digital) or - as you will find with most Chinese or foreign tube amps - you have to really work at it with tubes that are drastically different to hear a bit of change.  The Raven Audio Avian Series amplifiers are EXCEPTIONALLY sensitive in comparison to EVERY OTHER AMP out there.  This is just the truth.  I guarantee it~!

The only downside that you will EVER find to this may be - if you have poor grade power coming to your listening room.  In this case you may hear all the other electrical or electronic devices hooked up to that circuit...  or you may pick up a slight hum.  But in 99% of those cases you can simply play the music and not hear anything but the music.  And it will be SO good - that I guarantee that you will immediately forget about anything else. 

You know...   Raven Audio has a guarantee about that.  If ANY amplifier you purchase from us doesn't cleanly outperform any other brand or type of amplifier up to and sometimes well beyond double or more the price!  Simply call us.  We will take it back and give you ALL of the price of the product back.

In all the years we have been selling the little Nighthawk...   any of them, the original, MK2 or MK3...   we have taken back 3.  Out of hundreds of amplifier sales - all Raven products - only 3!  And I know for certain that those guys were NEVER going to keep the amp anyway.  They just wanted to have it for a while so they could hear it, and experience it.  This is unfortunate, but this is where our show amps came from.  We do not resell anything that is returned.  We simply take them to the audio shows nationwide.  That way the prototypes can be retired and we end up showing actual amps that were in someone's home.  That is about as authentic as you can get right there.

I also know one more thing...   there would have been many more of these returns.  I am SURE of that.  But as soon as they finally heard what a Raven Audio amplifier really sounded like...   even guys with cheap $300 speakers and 16 gauge cheap speaker cables and $3 interconnects...  the difference was so profound that they simply couldn't return it.  A few of those guys I worked with over the years and they never thought that they would EVER own high priced audio equipment.  In fact they HATED the thought that there was audio gear out there that cost so much and they just KNEW it was all hype and bullsquat.  So over time I carefully helped them into real music systems that changed their lives.  Those guys are now a part of the audio forum population that will tell you their stories.  I LOVE that.  I love that as much as I love to say....   "welcome to the Raven Audio family"

Dave


   
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(@allears4u)
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Sitting here feeling pretty darn contented. Raven Nighthawk purring away as Martin Taylor on his Nitelife CD sounds incredible. Please do give this disk a spin. Mellow, mesmerizing, dreamy....helps me unwind after another work week. Who says Klipsch Lascala lacks bass? Hook to a Raven and throw out your sub. (I have) Lights down, a G & T, glowing tubes, dead silent background, fuzzy robe.....Yamaha S2100 CD player, all Tellurium Q interconnects, Gentlemen, let me say, I've never heard a system this totally satisfying. Like many, I'd gotten in a habit of upgrading, changing, always feeling something was irritating me. I thought maybe that was just the way it would be and such eventual dissatisfaction was probably some inner personal problem. I envied those who said they were content and satisfied with their kit. In a way I thought they had given up the struggle. Satisfied? Ha! (I thought) In a way I feared I might have forgotten how to just enjoy the music. All that has now evaporated with the dawning of the Raven Nighthawk. Thanks Raven Dave. 


   
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(@allears4u)
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@ravendave Recently had Raven Audio "upgrade" my Nighthawk and the enhancements are continuing to completely blow my mind! Clarity has been dramatically increased. Profoundly so. After about a month of settling in the circuit, I began to try out various preamp tube combos different from what I used prior to this revamping. Putting Sylvania Tiny black plates up front in the starring role, SHOCK! as if someone took ear muffs off my head! I cannot overstate the transformation. These upgrades from Raven Audio have lifted the "nest" so high you might consider a name change to "Eagle Audio". Wait til the reviewers hear this latest version!!!


   
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(@ravendave)
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@allears4u  Preamplifier tube combinations can absolutely 100% make the final tweak to any Raven Audio product - as designed.  The preamp and driver sections of all of our integrated amplifiers and preamplifiers are extremely sensitive to any changes of tube.  They are all purposely simple, yet purposely complex in their component and attachment chemistry. 

The choice to use the right amount of silver in the solder mix was paramount.  Too much and it can become brittle and increase sibilance, or become too transparent opening up the details of some source problems such as DAC's and lower quality turntables and especially older CD players.  Too little or too "generic" with the solder, especially too much lead, can increase a dullness into the mix. 

Solder chemistry is imperative, but also the resistor mix and which ones to use first, second or after can all start to alter the character of the transparency.  Using too many of the same brand or type of resistor or capacitor can start to "flavor" the sound of the preamp section, which is then amplified in the power amp section. 

And finally there is the copper wire that we use.  We may use a bit of silver wire too since it has the absolute lowest resistance of all, but as with the solder - too much silver in the mix can result in ultimate transparency, but when a sensitive very simple preamp chain becomes just too open - it can reveal source and recording problems.  Good quality copper in the wiring and also in the 3oz. tracings we use on our aerospace PC boards, which now have a solid copper layer throughout the entire board, sandwiched between the redundant tracing boards.  This puts the ground right there no matter where on the board the componentry is.  Sometimes we may use a bit of silver wire on the grounding chain soldered to the speaker outputs or RCA inputs in the preamp or phono stage, like in our Silhouette Reference Preamplifier - that has a phono stage built into it - ahead of the line stage.

It's all a part of the now decade plus long history of improvements we have made in our products.  So now when you swap an old preamp tube, such as some of my favorites like the Siemens, Amperex, or Philips Miniwatt ECC81's from the 60's, you will notice an immediate improvement that can knock your socks off with detail and soundstage improvement.  Those Sylvania 12AT7 tiny black plates from the 1960's are very very transparent.  When teamed up with Brimar in the second row, and especially GE, RCA or Hytron 12AU7 black box plates in row 3 - are capable of stunning playback.  Let me know if you want to try any of my other tubes.  I have some recent acquisitions that are shockingly good...   so though you may not believe it can get better, it can.  This will also depend upon what speakers and how they interact with your room environment.  The more clutter and uneven surfaces you have in your listening room, the better~!  You really don't need room treatments if you arrange the furniture or album storage racks etc. to fill any flat reflective surfaces.

 

This post was modified 1 year ago by RavenDave

   
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(@allears4u)
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After the upgraded PC board, new transformers, etc, the clarity improved unbelievably. Sometimes since I know almost nothing about tubes I assume more expensive equates to better sound. Well maybe sometimes but synergy plays a bigger role in how all variables combine to impact the listener is his sweet spot. Your scientific grasp of the actual mechanisms that effect the final product sound is fascinating! These details I'm completely ignorant of. What I do know is....Finger snaps seem to come from 15 feet BEHIND front wall. Instrument placement is nuanced to reveal dual trumpets placed slightly off axis from each other. Bass drum has a visceral punch that vibrates with authenticity where you sense the tone of drum skin. Yesterday I realized (due to this superlative transparency) Martin Taylor's growling sound in a certain part of a song was his strumming the top strings in a unique way! So my ears tell me WHATEVER YOURE DOING KEEP IT UP! You are literally pushing the musical reproductive technology to perform at a level and at such a price point that once key reviewers hear these latest improvements your insights on silver, and tubes, and grounding, and resistors, will begin to be copied industry wide. Remember Nicola Tesla worked with items thought to be commonly well understood until in he combined them in novel ways and created machines previously unimaginable. As for the acoustics of my room, as I've said, we live in a yurt. A 30' round fabric structure supported by lattice walls. (15' tall in center) I sit aprox. 12 -14 feet from my Klipsch Lascalas supported by SVS SB2000 pro sub. Behind me is a 7' wall of books in a semi circle leaving a way into the area and out. I hope to get pictures soon. (I realize its all hard to visualize). I use a Nuprime DAC SE9 to catch the signal from my Audiolab CDT6000 transport. All Tellurium Q interconnects and speaker wires. QSA light blue fuse in Raven. Upgraded power cords to amp, sub, and DAC. False short walls behind speakers. Everything is isolated from floor by homemade trampolines or multiple nodes. Mad Scientists nano tech everywhere....Yes I will soon send $$ to your address for you to send surprise tube box. Love to experiment!!!    


   
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(@ravendave)
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@allears4u  - Actually, some of my favorite preamp tubes for Avian Series amps are NOT the most expensive.  The new Philips/Mullard ECC81/12AT7's I have recently acquired are only $120 per pair, NOS untouched in perfect condition that will last decades of daily use.  The Siemens ECC81's - I have a few medical grade pairs left - are paramount, and what I use in row 1.  With the Siemens in row 1, the Philips/Mullard in row 2 and GE 12AU7 black plates in row 3, this tube combination will not only be almost impossible to beat, but will still be playing music if used daily in 2050.  This combination when fully broken in and transmitting electrons fully after about 100 hours or so, will give you the best playback possible. 

However~!~!!!~!~   If you are getting what you describe, you have come across another, different combination that may very well be just as good in your Yurt.  So why worry?!  Unless you are like me, a true addict that must have another world class tube combination to play with.  I am just a hopeless vacuum tube addict. 

When I heard the RCA 6L6GC black plates for the first time I was so stunned that I started on a decades long quest to acquire all of the authentic factory-matched quads I could find.  After about 12 years of hunting them down, selling only to my Ravenhead family members, I still have a good dozen or so of them left. 

I also have a few of the unbelievable GE 6L6GC factory quads too, just for fun.  I love the difference of the "in-your-face" impact they have, especially on old R&R, now that some of the horrible old recordings by legendary bands like Led Zeppelin, Jethro Tull and Yes have finally been remixed and remastered and made palatable and much easier to slide into a couch and head-bob with, but those GE tubes are just so much visceral in their impact and playback delivery that it makes you get up and want to move.  They aren't the same at all as the velvety smooth yet still highly accurate RCA's, which are best sitting on the listening chair or couch.  The truth is, both tube types will outlast anything made in Russia these days - not to mention China.  During and right after WW2 was only the beginning - it was during the Cold War when the rising technology used to make the best vacuum tubes was at its pinnacle.  Building the most sensitive listening devices to squeeze the tiniest of radio waves from the Eastern EU and Russia required extreme sensitivity.  They never even thought about high end playback stereo systems back then - it was all ONLY about grabbing information and listening to the tiny power in their imbedded agents' transmitters and listening devices from as far away as possible.

With all that sensitivity came a secondary use for us in our audiophile rigs.  The truth is, some of the most incredible preamp tubes were a result of military spyware, aeronautics and advancing medical machinery and equipment.  And I love a great story - especially when its true.  So playing Sinatra, Martin, Holiday, Etta, Ella, Basie, Ellington, Dorsey Herman and Glenn Miller on my system sometimes creates these old black and white movies in my mind...    of spies chasing down wet tightly cobblestoned streets dodging dimly lit headlights from those old heavy underpowered Eastern European automobiles, or smoking on some corner under a gas streetlight of course - peering into some window across the street....   ahhh the history of those whos names we will never know and whos missions saved countless lives.....     or not.  The same thing went on here in our country with second generation Russians embedded into our communities, some of who decided to stay because they saw what we and freedom were worth...    but some went home because it was just all too much.   Too much freedom rings in the ears of those that hated us for our success. 

What was it all for?  Because it is pretty clear that we did not apparently learn the first time, history unfortunately repeats itself again.  A good reason to live in a yurt far out in the wilderness of Alaska or Yukon, or wherever safety exists, if it does at all.  I say "turn it up!" bring out the Vodka and that Sinatra record....   let's yearn for a different time when only 10% of the humans that exist now roamed the earth, and unexplored frontiers still existed

This post was modified 1 year ago by RavenDave

   
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(@ravendave)
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@ironhed - I have a quad of RCA 6L6GC black plates with about 250 hours on them (barely broken in, been to two shows then put away) I can sell for $850.  I have a few NOS quads that will go for $1,250.  The NOS GE 6L6GC's are $1,000, branded RCA in original boxes.  All are 1960's era.  I also have quite a few incredible matched military grade 1970 6L6GC Shuguangs made under license from Tung Sol that are very close in sound quality - and very beautiful to look at I'll let go for $400 shipped.

 
This post was modified 1 year ago by RavenDave

   
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