Shootout of Nos 6sn7 tubes

Alrainbow

Well-Known Member
Dec 12, 2013
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NYC , USA
Has anyone tried any of the single ended verses dual driver tubes.
Before there was a dual 6sn7 there were se drivers
One such tube is L63 you need two of them and an adaptor. It may seem a long way to go but well worth it. Very few preamps and amps are made to use them. they are a forgotten lot of gold. cheap tubes as well. it seems the dual killed off these gems . But at a cost of sound.
 
Likes: Robertd

Robertd

Well-Known Member
May 13, 2015
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Has anyone tried any of the single ended verses dual driver tubes.
Before there was a dual 6sn7 there were se drivers
One such tube is L63 you need two of them and an adaptor. It may seem a long way to go but well worth it. Very few preamps and amps are made to use them. they are a forgotten lot of gold. cheap tubes as well. it seems the dual killed off these gems . But at a cost of sound.
I’m really intrigued by these but need to know about the adaptors, will they work with my amp, and also availability. I searched and found nothing a couple days back. Also, do they need to be perfectly matched, more or less?
 

Mendel

Well-Known Member
Feb 14, 2012
91
14
348
GTA
I just came upon this thread, very interesting.
6SN7 is my favourite tube for rolling, so many different flavours! I have most of the tubes mentioned in this thread other than the TSRP.
thomask, you do not mention the task this tube preforms in your amp, but I think they may be drivers for the output stage. Obviously, the job they preform in the amp will make a big difference in your preferences.
My amp (a highly modified Rogue Audio Stereo 90) uses 6SN7 tube as the driver stage for the output tubes. The type used makes a big difference in the sound of the amp. Here are my feelings on some of the tubes mentioned in your shootout.
Russian 1578 hole plates— not sure what vintage mine are, I have two sets. These do sound very good, with very extended treble and dynamic punch. The sound is a bit larger than life and can cause some fatigue. Mine are also noisier than some other 6SN7s.
Sylvania VT-231—very sweet sounding with excellent treble extension. Definitely light on the bass, but very transparent.
RCA VT-231—-sound more beautiful than life, warm in the middle with good treble extension and decent bass. I like it, but they definitely sounds more coloured than most of the others IMO.
KenRad VT-231 (black glass)—- the best bass of this tube type, sweet sound but seems a little slower sounding than some of the others, possibly because of the emphasized bass. Clear glass sound almost the same,
Raytheon VT-231— there are actually two types, one with Tshaped plates and one with parallel flat ladder plates. The T plate ones are similar to the RCA and Kenrad, with less bass and treble extension, the ladder plate version is brighter with less bass.
Sylvania 1952 “Badboys”— similar to Sylvania VT-231 with more bass, but less transparent and sweet.
Sylvania brown base 6SN7WGT—-good bass and treble extension and dynamics, not as transparent or sweet as Sylvania VT-231, a little dry sounding in the midrange.
National Union black glass—- sweet and warm sounding but less coloured than RCA VT-231, but less treble extension or bass than that tube.
Hytron/CBS 6SN7GT—clear and detailed, a little light on bass and a little dry in midrange.
Sylvania 6SN7W—- I saved the best for last IMO. I do not have the very costly earliest metal base version, but the thick black plastic base version immediately following that tube. Extremely dynamic (far more so than the Sylvania VT-231, but not quite as sweet as that tube), with excellent bass and treble extension. Very detailed and transparent, but definitely not warm like an RCA or Kenrad. Tells it like it is! In my rig (analog source, tube electronics and electrostatic speakers) it works fantastic, in other systems it might be too much (although I do not find it as relentless as the 1578 hole plate tubes).
Enjoy the Roll!
 

thomask

Well-Known Member
Dec 9, 2018
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Washington State, US
I just came upon this thread, very interesting.
6SN7 is my favourite tube for rolling, so many different flavours! I have most of the tubes mentioned in this thread other than the TSRP.
thomask, you do not mention the task this tube preforms in your amp, but I think they may be drivers for the output stage. Obviously, the job they preform in the amp will make a big difference in your preferences.
My amp (a highly modified Rogue Audio Stereo 90) uses 6SN7 tube as the driver stage for the output tubes. The type used makes a big difference in the sound of the amp. Here are my feelings on some of the tubes mentioned in your shootout.
Russian 1578 hole plates— not sure what vintage mine are, I have two sets. These do sound very good, with very extended treble and dynamic punch. The sound is a bit larger than life and can cause some fatigue. Mine are also noisier than some other 6SN7s.
Sylvania VT-231—very sweet sounding with excellent treble extension. Definitely light on the bass, but very transparent.
RCA VT-231—-sound more beautiful than life, warm in the middle with good treble extension and decent bass. I like it, but they definitely sounds more coloured than most of the others IMO.
KenRad VT-231 (black glass)—- the best bass of this tube type, sweet sound but seems a little slower sounding than some of the others, possibly because of the emphasized bass. Clear glass sound almost the same,
Raytheon VT-231— there are actually two types, one with Tshaped plates and one with parallel flat ladder plates. The T plate ones are similar to the RCA and Kenrad, with less bass and treble extension, the ladder plate version is brighter with less bass.
Sylvania 1952 “Badboys”— similar to Sylvania VT-231 with more bass, but less transparent and sweet.
Sylvania brown base 6SN7WGT—-good bass and treble extension and dynamics, not as transparent or sweet as Sylvania VT-231, a little dry sounding in the midrange.
National Union black glass—- sweet and warm sounding but less coloured than RCA VT-231, but less treble extension or bass than that tube.
Hytron/CBS 6SN7GT—clear and detailed, a little light on bass and a little dry in midrange.
Sylvania 6SN7W—- I saved the best for last IMO. I do not have the very costly earliest metal base version, but the thick black plastic base version immediately following that tube. Extremely dynamic (far more so than the Sylvania VT-231, but not quite as sweet as that tube), with excellent bass and treble extension. Very detailed and transparent, but definitely not warm like an RCA or Kenrad. Tells it like it is! In my rig (analog source, tube electronics and electrostatic speakers) it works fantastic, in other systems it might be too much (although I do not find it as relentless as the 1578 hole plate tubes).
Enjoy the Roll!
I agree with most of your opinions on each tubes.

Now I try to stay out of hardware swap and just enjoy the music for the time being.

I use 1578 Melz in Line Magnetic 508 and Kenrad vt231 at gain stage of Freya pre and Syl vt231 at buffer stage of Freya pre .
 
Thanks for the many useful tips. I read the thread completely, but I didn't understand everything as a newbie.

I have only been dealing with tubes since my T + A M10 monos. Tung-Sol 6SN7 are installed. T + A says: The tubes on the right and left have the strongest sound. A top manufacturing quality is very important for the tube at the front left, because this tube is the most heavily loaded.



The left mono suddenly began to rustle. That was the start of my research. I swapped the middle tube with the left one on both monos. The noise has become less.

While reading the thread, I found only NOS tubes. Why?

I haven't read anything about matching. is that a matter of course or completely unimportant?

Does anyone have experience with these new tubes:
Psvane UK-6SN7 Hi-Fi vacuum tube
Psvane CV181-T-MII/2 / 6SN7GT
PSVANE 6SN7-SE GLOBE

I appreciate any advice.

Greetings Gabriel
 
Dec 4, 2019
36
13
8
I just came upon this thread, very interesting.
6SN7 is my favourite tube for rolling, so many different flavours! I have most of the tubes mentioned in this thread other than the TSRP.
thomask, you do not mention the task this tube preforms in your amp, but I think they may be drivers for the output stage. Obviously, the job they preform in the amp will make a big difference in your preferences.
My amp (a highly modified Rogue Audio Stereo 90) uses 6SN7 tube as the driver stage for the output tubes. The type used makes a big difference in the sound of the amp. Here are my feelings on some of the tubes mentioned in your shootout.
Russian 1578 hole plates— not sure what vintage mine are, I have two sets. These do sound very good, with very extended treble and dynamic punch. The sound is a bit larger than life and can cause some fatigue. Mine are also noisier than some other 6SN7s.
Sylvania VT-231—very sweet sounding with excellent treble extension. Definitely light on the bass, but very transparent.
RCA VT-231—-sound more beautiful than life, warm in the middle with good treble extension and decent bass. I like it, but they definitely sounds more coloured than most of the others IMO.
KenRad VT-231 (black glass)—- the best bass of this tube type, sweet sound but seems a little slower sounding than some of the others, possibly because of the emphasized bass. Clear glass sound almost the same,
Raytheon VT-231— there are actually two types, one with Tshaped plates and one with parallel flat ladder plates. The T plate ones are similar to the RCA and Kenrad, with less bass and treble extension, the ladder plate version is brighter with less bass.
Sylvania 1952 “Badboys”— similar to Sylvania VT-231 with more bass, but less transparent and sweet.
Sylvania brown base 6SN7WGT—-good bass and treble extension and dynamics, not as transparent or sweet as Sylvania VT-231, a little dry sounding in the midrange.
National Union black glass—- sweet and warm sounding but less coloured than RCA VT-231, but less treble extension or bass than that tube.
Hytron/CBS 6SN7GT—clear and detailed, a little light on bass and a little dry in midrange.
Sylvania 6SN7W—- I saved the best for last IMO. I do not have the very costly earliest metal base version, but the thick black plastic base version immediately following that tube. Extremely dynamic (far more so than the Sylvania VT-231, but not quite as sweet as that tube), with excellent bass and treble extension. Very detailed and transparent, but definitely not warm like an RCA or Kenrad. Tells it like it is! In my rig (analog source, tube electronics and electrostatic speakers) it works fantastic, in other systems it might be too much (although I do not find it as relentless as the 1578 hole plate tubes).
Enjoy the Roll!
Thanks for your thoughts on the tubes, I agree with many of your findings.
I have 1980 Melz 1578's and find they they don't present a black background, they have a high noise floor. But they are a sumptuous sounding tube.
My amp uses 2 pair 6SN7 in the gain stage, I'm using Sylvania VT-231 with the 1578's. A great combination; the Melz has the deep low-end and the VT-231 has the transparency.

Your description of the Sylvania 6SNWGT is right on. The mids are very dry but I love how neutral they are. I have been looking a pair of 6SNW's that test NOS for a while now with no luck.
 

Mendel

Well-Known Member
Feb 14, 2012
91
14
348
GTA
Thanks for your thoughts on the tubes, I agree with many of your findings.
I have 1980 Melz 1578's and find they they don't present a black background, they have a high noise floor. But they are a sumptuous sounding tube.
My amp uses 2 pair 6SN7 in the gain stage, I'm using Sylvania VT-231 with the 1578's. A great combination; the Melz has the deep low-end and the VT-231 has the transparency.

Your description of the Sylvania 6SNWGT is right on. The mids are very dry but I love how neutral they are. I have been looking a pair of 6SNW's that test NOS for a while now with no luck.
The 6SN7Ws sound like the brown base WGTs with the dryness much reduced and in its place a slight midrange bloom. Great tubes! I find all the Sylvania top getter tubes (even the GTAs which are a pretty nice tube for a reasonable price) to sound more linear and neutral than the bottom getter versions like the VT-231 and the badboy, the bottom getter ones sound sweeter and more euphoric.
Another great under the radar 6SN7 is the brown base Raytheon 6SN7WGT with the top getter and “umbrella spokes” coming down from the top mica. Very similar sounding to the W, it is a fairly rare find these days. I prefer it to either of the Raytheon VT-231s.
 

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Dec 4, 2019
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The 6SN7Ws sound like the brown base WGTs with the dryness much reduced and in its place a slight midrange bloom. Great tubes! I find all the Sylvania top getter tubes (even the GTAs which are a pretty nice tube for a reasonable price) to sound more linear and neutral than the bottom getter versions like the VT-231 and the badboy, the bottom getter ones sound sweeter and more euphoric.
Another great under the radar 6SN7 is the brown base Raytheon 6SN7WGT with the top getter and “umbrella spokes” coming down from the top mica. Very similar sounding to the W, it is a fairly rare find these days. I prefer it to either of the Raytheon VT-231s.
I'll research the Raytheon 6SN7WGT in the usual places.
I'm not happy with the Sylvania 6SNWGTA since liquid mids are important to me, however, I love their transparency. I listen to classical and Blue Note so midrange and imaging need to stand out.
If I could find a tube like the Sylvania VT-231 that has some low-end extension I'd be a happy camper.
 
Dec 4, 2019
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Thanks for the many useful tips. I read the thread completely, but I didn't understand everything as a newbie.

I have only been dealing with tubes since my T + A M10 monos. Tung-Sol 6SN7 are installed. T + A says: The tubes on the right and left have the strongest sound. A top manufacturing quality is very important for the tube at the front left, because this tube is the most heavily loaded.



The left mono suddenly began to rustle. That was the start of my research. I swapped the middle tube with the left one on both monos. The noise has become less.

While reading the thread, I found only NOS tubes. Why?

I haven't read anything about matching. is that a matter of course or completely unimportant?

Does anyone have experience with these new tubes:
Psvane UK-6SN7 Hi-Fi vacuum tube
Psvane CV181-T-MII/2 / 6SN7GT
PSVANE 6SN7-SE GLOBE

I appreciate any advice.

Greetings Gabriel
Hi Gabriel, those are beautiful amps. Do you have the owner's manual?
So, there are 3 6SN7's in each monoblock. I think one would be for the gain stage and two would be driver/phase inverters. And I'm assuming you have new production Tung Sols made in Russia.
We all love NOS tubes due to their top build quality and excellent sonics. They can reproduce realistic sounding music as well as present different flavours such as warmth, extended highs, large soundstage, etc. There are so many different varieties to taylor the sound to your liking.

When tubes are used as a pair in a circuit they should be matched. Mostly because they will have very close specs and will perform and wear evenly.

If you have the manual it would help to identify the function of the 3 tubes.
 
Likes: thomask
Hi Gabriel, those are beautiful amps.
Thank you for this and the the answers. In the T + A instruction manual there is nothing about the tube assignment. The chief developer said that the left tube is the most stressed. The left and right are the sound-relevant tubes. I will try NOS later.

Today came the delivery of Tube Amp Doctor.



I was a little disappointed with the processing of the Psvane UK-6SN7 Hi-Fi vacuum tube. A few brown speckles can be seen on the inner glass wall on the base. The head was covered with sticky residue, which I was able to clean well with isopropyl alcohol.

The sun rose on the PSVANE 6SN7-SE GLOBE. Perfectly processed with a ceramic base. Everything is perfect. These were inserted into the sound-relevant bases on the left and right. The Psvane UK-6SN7 Hi-Fi vacuum tube was allowed to sit in the middle, which guarantees a good distance between the tubes.



Of course, the new tubes have to burn in first. Now the tubes have been playing for a few hours and I'm already excited. Where's this going to end? :D
 
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@Mendel
I ordered the Raytheon WGT today, thanks for the recommendation. The style of the top mica wasn't mentioned. Really looking forward to hearing it.

It's been a journey to tune my system; my preamp uses a 6SN7 and there are 3 pair in my amp.
 

Mendel

Well-Known Member
Feb 14, 2012
91
14
348
GTA
Hi Lowrider.
I hope the Raytheons work well for you. They are a very good tube but as you know, you never know what will work best in a particular system. Since you use 6SN7 in so many spots, I’m sure you will find a place for them.
Enjoy the roll!
 

highstream

Well-Known Member
Nov 16, 2013
270
72
233
I’d like to ask for some advice. I picked up a pair of apprently lightly used 1953 CBS Hytron 6SN7GT’s off eBay recently for a very reasonable price to try in a Supratek Chardonnay preamp. I had been using a Shuguang WE6SN7 pair and wanted to compare. One of the Hytrons was a bit noisy right off — the seller didn’t test for noise — and it was graciously replaced with another promptly, otherwise measuring even better (maybe NOS). Yesterday, about 30 hours in, music off, walking near the left side of my cabinet, I heard a hollow tube like sound (microphonics?) from the left (ATC active) speaker, the side of the other original Hytron, but not from the right where the replacement is. Since I have very good isolation, and my Lampi TRP dac on the left is doubly isolated, this was unusual. I swapped sides with the Hytrons, stomped around and couldn’t recreate the sound. Only when powering down the preamp later did I hear the same hollow tube sound momentarily. Otherwise, the Hytron pair has sounded very good, maybe a little better than the Shuguang,

My question is, should I be concerned about this tube? Thanks,
 

Mendel

Well-Known Member
Feb 14, 2012
91
14
348
GTA
Hi highstream.
From your description, it is hard to say for sure that the problem was caused by that tube though it may well have been. All tubes are microphonic to some degree. Since you are using the tubes in a preamp gain stage it is easier to hear the issue, if they were in a driver stage you probably would never have noticed. Unless it becomes worse and interferes with the music, I would not be too worried. You could (and probably should) try Herbie’s tube dampers to keep the tubes quieter in that spot.
 

highstream

Well-Known Member
Nov 16, 2013
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Thanks. With a previous PrimaLuna preamp, I had some microphonics when tapping on some tubes, output and driver. This time I didn't need to tap, which is what caught my attention. With the dac and that PL, I found Herbie's deadened rather than clarified. But maybe I'll try again.
 
Dec 4, 2019
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I suggest you tap on the tube. You don't have consistent evidence yet that the tube is microphonic. If so, using Herbies is a good idea. Start with the damper positioned in the upper third of the bottle, even with the top of the plates. I've never had an overdamped tube in this position.
 
Likes: Mendel
Dec 4, 2019
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From what I read looking around the ‘net yesterday, the 6SN7 is one of those tubes that is commonly microphonic.
This is true. But many 6SN7's were designed for military use, WWII occurred during the heyday of vacuum tubes and millions were manufactured for use in the war effort.
Referred to as "ruggedized," extra support rods and micas were used to reduce vibration. Some had an extra heavy base. The result was a tube that rarely had microphonics.

These tubes from the 1940's are still available, and it's getting harder to find true NOS. Many are "pulls" from electronic equipment. Some may only have a few hours of use and will test as new. Others are used and sold as new by unscrupulous vendors.
 
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highstream

Well-Known Member
Nov 16, 2013
270
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Yes, mine are from 1953. They both can be heard from the speakers when tapped. I had the right sized Herbie's to install high up on five of the eight tubes in my system, including the two Hytrons. Then I turned everything on and went off to another room. Soon I heard this relatively loud constant noise, more than a hum, that I thought was coming from a motor the construction crew across the way were using, but it turned out to be coming from my system. I turned everything off and readjusted the Herbie's a bit, and it went away. Guess I hit a perfect resonance point. In any case, they seem to be helping a bit, but I really can't say how much because sitting on an extra cushion due to my back seizing up yesterday, made me realize my speakers needed to be tilted forward a little to get the right tweeter to ear height. The thing about subtle microphonics is that while they impede clarity, they add a sense of excitement tonally that takes a bit of getting used to when diminished.
 
Dec 4, 2019
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That's a good temporary fix. You've got a microphonic and probably a noisy tube. Can you use it in a non-gain stage position? eg, driver, follower.
Otherwise, replace it.
 

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