The Dynaco Tube Audio Forum

Dedicated to the restoration and preservation of all original Dynaco tube audio equipment - Customer support for Dynaco VTA tube amp kits, all Tubes4hifi.com products and all Dynakitparts.com products

    New Power Tubes on a Budget

    Share

    kevco

    Posts: 68
    Join date: 2009-07-16
    Location: Aldan, PA, USA

    New Power Tubes on a Budget

    Post by kevco on Wed Feb 24, 2010 11:30 am

    I have been reading various accounts of the 6p3s-e Russian tetrode being a pretty nice sounding tube and decided to give them a try in my ST70. My driving force was cost. As we all know, a quad of EL-34's will run you from $50 for no-name Chinese, up to close to $200 for some Fancy KT-77's, with NOS EL-34's on their way up to $1000 for a quad of matched Mullards. That's a lot of loot, especially when you consider that you can buy a nice new amp for a couple hundred...
    The 6p3s-e has similar properties to the 6L6GC, which has long been a known acceptable sub for EL-34's in the ST70. Based on reports of this I purchased a quad from a vendor on Ebay located in Russia. Cost was $27 for the tubes and $10 to ship to Pennsylvania. Shipping took about 3 weeks from the time of my payment. Build quality seemed quite good and it should be as these tubes were designed for military application. All four tubes were in original boxes with spec sheets (in Russian, of course). The tubes had obviously not been tested by the seller.
    The 6p3s-e's biased up very nicely in my amp and seemed to draw current very evenly. A good match even though they weren't tested. Initial listening impression was somewhat lacking in bass response although mid and highs sounded quite nice. After roughly 100 hours of burn in time, the tubes have opened up nicely and bass response has greatly improved. Overall, my impression of the Russian 6p3s-e is good, especially considering their price. I've decided to leave them in that amp until further notice.
    I will note that I have only 1 year experience working on tube amplification circuits and that I am in no circumstances an expert on their operation. Therefore if you decide to try these tubes in your amp and they cause it explode violently, I deny any responsibility, but I think you're gonna like em!

    Bugs

    Posts: 91
    Join date: 2009-04-17

    Re: New Power Tubes on a Budget

    Post by Bugs on Wed Feb 24, 2010 8:21 pm

    kevco, thanks for the report. Glad the tubes are working out for you.

    tomlang

    Posts: 28
    Join date: 2009-08-13

    Re: New Power Tubes on a Budget

    Post by tomlang on Thu Feb 25, 2010 10:28 am

    Before you order from Russia directly, read this. A US tube vendor is/has bought these in bulk and culls and tests and matches these for a good price, IMHO.

    http://www.audioasylum.com/cgi/vt.mpl?f=tubes&m=227611

    kevco

    Posts: 68
    Join date: 2009-07-16
    Location: Aldan, PA, USA

    Re: New Power Tubes on a Budget

    Post by kevco on Thu Feb 25, 2010 12:41 pm

    I agree wholeheartedly that buying any tubes from US vendors who sell matched and tested power tubes is the way to go. My experiment had quite a bit to do with buying direct from Russian vendors. As I had never done so before, I was curious as to what I'd end up with. It was well worth my $27. I seriously doubt that these tubes match so well in all cases, but they did, they still do and they continue to sound great.

    Bob Latino
    Admin

    Posts: 1903
    Join date: 2008-11-27
    Location: Massachusetts

    Re: New Power Tubes on a Budget

    Post by Bob Latino on Thu Feb 25, 2010 2:47 pm

    On the flip side there are also some real expensive new production EL34/6CA7 tubes out there. Probably the most expensive EL34 now available are the Shuguang "Treasure Series" EL34's. These EL34/6CA7's are $230 a PAIR or $460 for a matched quad. Maybe they call them the "Treasure Series" because you have to find a buried treasure to afford them ? Check out the link below ..

    Shuguang Treasure EL34's

    Bob

    kevco

    Posts: 68
    Join date: 2009-07-16
    Location: Aldan, PA, USA

    Re: New Power Tubes on a Budget

    Post by kevco on Fri Feb 26, 2010 9:05 am

    Do they call them "Premium" tubes because they are the only Shunguangs that receive any quality control at all? Shunguangs have not impressed me in the least. I would honestly have a hard time paying that type of money for NOS European power tubes, let alone these things. Anybody anted up to try 'em yet?

    Bugs

    Posts: 91
    Join date: 2009-04-17

    Re: New Power Tubes on a Budget

    Post by Bugs on Fri Feb 26, 2010 9:15 am

    kevco wrote:Do they call them "Premium" tubes because they are the only Shunguangs that receive any quality control at all? Shunguangs have not impressed me in the least. I would honestly have a hard time paying that type of money for NOS European power tubes, let alone these things. Anybody anted up to try 'em yet?

    Maybe they're child approved, they don't contain lead paint or melomine.

    wolverine

    Posts: 60
    Join date: 2010-02-20

    Gold Lion KT66.....

    Post by wolverine on Fri Feb 26, 2010 4:32 pm

    New member here....I've read nothing but good things about the Gold Lion KT66 here on this site. I thought I would give them a try.

    They arrived today and are playing now. As soon as I biased up to 1.20, thinking it would creep up of course, I pumped in my Pioneer TX-9500. My first impression was WOW...the difference was literally night and day. Previously this unit housed a quad of Svetlana EL34's. I've enjoyed those tubes, I personally think they sound excellent.

    The night and day difference however is unavoidable. The sound certainly has more depth. At the moment with the FM runnin' the dynamics are incredible. I'm going to spin some vinyl(Steely Dan, AJA)in a little bit here and see what happens. Svetlana's were broke in well and had around 200 hours on them. I'm looking forward to hearing this amp jam during the break-in period of the KT66's, it sounds so good already.... }

    Bob Latino
    Admin

    Posts: 1903
    Join date: 2008-11-27
    Location: Massachusetts

    Re: New Power Tubes on a Budget

    Post by Bob Latino on Fri Feb 26, 2010 4:58 pm

    Kevco,

    Not to hijack your thread here but as of now those Gold Lion KT66's as mentioned by Wolverine are probably the best tubes that you can use in any ST-70 - either stock or modified. These tubes give a lot of depth, space etc. to the music. Now I am a little prejudiced here, but the difference between the Gold Lion KT66's and almost any EL34 is more noticeable if you have an upgraded driver board like the VTA driver board. The only down side to these tubes is that they are rather expensive at $140- $150 for a matched quad. My personal ST-70 with the Genalex Gold Lion KT66's is seen below ..

    Bob



    kevco

    Posts: 68
    Join date: 2009-07-16
    Location: Aldan, PA, USA

    Re: New Power Tubes on a Budget

    Post by kevco on Sat Feb 27, 2010 7:43 am

    Bob- No apology necessary, this is your forum! On this same thread we've mentioned the cheapest new output tubes that can be used in an ST70 (the 6p3s-e) and about the most expensive (the KT-66 Gold Lion). In my amp I've tried Ruby EL-34STR, Electro Harmonix 6CA7EH and the aforementioned 6p3s-e, which sounded the best in my opinion. I also really like the "Winged C" EL-34, maybe the closest thing to Mullards being made today, great construction, tight quality control. At a cost of $160 a quad, the Gold Lions are equal to 6 quads of 6p3s-e's, not including shipping. That's a big difference in cost for two types of tubes that are both known to have great sound in this amp. I haven't tried the Gold Lions, but I'd love to put 'em against my Russian cheapos and hear the difference. You guys at New Sensor hearing me? Why don't you send a quad my way for comparison? I promise I'll give 'em back when I'm done with 'em! Rolling Eyes

    ruffian

    Posts: 43
    Join date: 2010-02-26

    Re: New Power Tubes on a Budget

    Post by ruffian on Sat Feb 27, 2010 10:35 am

    Yes, off track of the OP, but the question was asked.

    I have a quad of the Shuguang Treasures 6ca7's. Bob and Wolverines description of the Gold Lion KT66 would be identical to how I would say the Shuguang tubes sound. They bring texture and life to the music like no other tube that I have heard. I have rolled JJ E34L, current production Mullard, 'well used' Philips, Sovtek KT88 and GE 6550. The Shuguang Treasure rise above all of them. Yes, at nearly 2/3 the the price of the amplifier and 6 or 7 times the price of a quad of JJ, diminishing returns do apply, but the improvement is appreciable, they do bring something. Since I have yet to hear the KT66 it looks like I need to pick up some to see how they sound compared to the Shuguangs.

    For the record I running the high gain ST70. Sovtek rectifier, Tele 12ax7 in the middle and Mullard 4024 on the outsides. Kind of cool when turning on because the mullards flash as the tele comes up to a glow. (maybe its the other way around, but you get the idea.) I upgraded the caps last December.

    Les Lammers

    Posts: 5
    Join date: 2010-02-02

    Re: New Power Tubes on a Budget

    Post by Les Lammers on Sat Feb 27, 2010 5:16 pm

    tomlang wrote:Before you order from Russia directly, read this. A US tube vendor is/has bought these in bulk and culls and tests and matches these for a good price, IMHO.

    http://www.audioasylum.com/cgi/vt.mpl?f=tubes&m=227611

    I bought a quad from Jim too. The testing is worth the few extra dollars. $56 delivered.

    2turbos

    Posts: 4
    Join date: 2009-09-21

    Re: New Power Tubes on a Budget

    Post by 2turbos on Tue Mar 09, 2010 3:53 pm

    Kevco's experience with the 6P3SE mirrors mine almost exactly. A bargain at $27 a quad. These tubes are built to very high quality standard and high cost for the Soviet military. In my ST-70 they sound better than the w.German tubes that were in it when I received it. Jeez, the Soviet military used vacuum tube radios in their Mig 21 fighter planes!
    Anyway, the coin base 6P3SE will only be exceeded by the very best(and expensive) tubes out there.
    I think most of us would not be able to tell the difference after break in.
    What a bargain!
    Bob, those Gold Lions sure look pretty. Your St-70 is impressive too!


    Last edited by 2turbos on Tue Mar 09, 2010 3:57 pm; edited 1 time in total (Reason for editing : another comment)

    Bob Latino
    Admin

    Posts: 1903
    Join date: 2008-11-27
    Location: Massachusetts

    Re: New Power Tubes on a Budget

    Post by Bob Latino on Tue Mar 09, 2010 6:04 pm

    2turbos wrote:Kevco's experience with the 6P3SE mirrors mine almost exactly. A bargain at $27 a quad. These tubes are built to very high quality standard and high cost for the Soviet military. In my ST-70 they sound better than the w.German tubes that were in it when I received it. Jeez, the Soviet military used vacuum tube radios in their Mig 21 fighter planes!
    Anyway, the coin base 6P3SE will only be exceeded by the very best(and expensive) tubes out there.
    I think most of us would not be able to tell the difference after break in.
    What a bargain!
    Bob, those Gold Lions sure look pretty. Your St-70 is impressive too!

    2Turbos,

    From what I have been told VACUUM TUBES are much more resistant to nuclear radiation than solid state gear. The Russians did use TUBES in their radios and avionic gear exactly for this reason. I am not sure of the Physics behind this allegation, but Mullard also made many tubes for the British military and the United States had many JAN (Joint Army Navy) tubes made by Phillips. I have a number of JAN Phillips 12AT7WA tubes here that are dated 1985. They are all excellent tubes. Hey - If you can get those 6P3SE tubes at a good price and they sound good then buy a few sets and put them away. There is no assurance that these tubes will be available forever.

    Bob

    2turbos

    Posts: 4
    Join date: 2009-09-21

    Re: New Power Tubes on a Budget

    Post by 2turbos on Tue Mar 09, 2010 7:09 pm

    Bob, you are so right about availability long term.
    When these become scarce just wait and see what they go for.
    I was aware of the nuclear burst EM problem. I understand that's why the Soviets and us with the JAN program didn't abandon tube electronics in critical communication applications at least until this problem was addressed in solid state designs.

    Bob, have you evaluated the Russian 6P3SE yourself? If so, what is your opinion?

      Current date/time is Fri Aug 22, 2014 10:32 pm