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Inspire by Dennis Had Enjoying Vacuum Tube Audio

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  #6391  
Old 04-21-2021, 06:36 PM
Isaacc7 Isaacc7 is online now
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Originally Posted by Bombadil View Post
Hard to say which 6SN7 variant will be best to your ears. People have different preferences.

I've tested out about 25 different brands and years. My two favorites are 1960s Westinghouse 6SN7GTB tall copper rod and a 1940s Raytheon VT-231. Close behind are some 50s and 60s Sylvania, but I haven't had a chance to listen to the famous Sylvania Bad Boy 6SN7GT 3-hole black plate, copper grid. These were only made for 18 months in 1951-1953. Many other Sylvanias from the 1940s and later 50s are advertised as Bad Boys but are not the real McCoys.

I do have a new Psvane CV181-T MkII, which has received rave reviews and liked by many in the online forums. I found it to be good, but not great. I like a big open soundstage with good detail. This tube produced a smooth, pleasant sound while a bit softer on highs and a slightly diminished soundstage. I understand why many like it.

As to the VT-231 tubes, these are "military" in name only. The military wanted their common tubes to adhere to their inventory numbering system. So companies simply started labeling their standard production 6SN7 tubes as VT-231. No changes to the tube itself. However if it is labeled as a VT-231 then you are assured that it is an old tube made in the 1940s.

Years later the military started demanding strict low noise standards and long life and tubes which passed these tests were designed as "JAN" or "USN" military spec tubes. Some believe, and many dealers promote, the earlier VT type tubes as being similar and having passed more rigid testing, but they weren't.
I have enjoyed using short bottle Sylvania 6sn7 tubes in other amps. Once I dig mine out of storage I will try them in my KT88 Firebottle. Have not heard the "bad boy" versions but I bought a few pairs of the 12v version for my Supratek preamp I'll get in 3 months or so. The reviews of those tubes have been great, hope they live up to their reputation.
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  #6392  
Old 04-22-2021, 11:16 AM
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joel_hifi joel_hifi is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bombadil View Post
Hard to say which 6SN7 variant will be best to your ears. People have different preferences.

I've tested out about 25 different brands and years. My two favorites are 1960s Westinghouse 6SN7GTB tall copper rod and a 1940s Raytheon VT-231. Close behind are some 50s and 60s Sylvania, but I haven't had a chance to listen to the famous Sylvania Bad Boy 6SN7GT 3-hole black plate, copper grid. These were only made for 18 months in 1951-1953. Many other Sylvanias from the 1940s and later 50s are advertised as Bad Boys but are not the real McCoys.

I do have a new Psvane CV181-T MkII, which has received rave reviews and liked by many in the online forums. I found it to be good, but not great. I like a big open soundstage with good detail. This tube produced a smooth, pleasant sound while a bit softer on highs and a slightly diminished soundstage. I understand why many like it.

As to the VT-231 tubes, these are "military" in name only. The military wanted their common tubes to adhere to their inventory numbering system. So companies simply started labeling their standard production 6SN7 tubes as VT-231. No changes to the tube itself. However if it is labeled as a VT-231 then you are assured that it is an old tube made in the 1940s.

Years later the military started demanding strict low noise standards and long life and tubes which passed these tests were designed as "JAN" or "USN" military spec tubes. Some believe, and many dealers promote, the earlier VT type tubes as being similar and having passed more rigid testing, but they weren't.
Thanks again for sharing your knowledge/experience, I will be looking for those

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Music Room - Sonus Faber Elipsa SE / Magnepan 1.7i (alternating), Goldmund Telos 280 / Pass Labs XA30.8 / Jadis DA 8 (alternating), Nagra Jazz, Ayon Stealth, Innuos ZENith Mk3 (Roon Core), SweetVinyl SC-1 Mini, Einstein Little Big Phono, Clearaudio Innovation Basic/TT5/Lyra Delos, Transrotor ZET-1/TR-800S/Hana SL, VPI 16.5, Studer A807, Brocksieper EarMax-Pro / Burson Conductor V2+ (alternating), Audeze LCD-2, AudioQuest NightHawk, Mezze 99 Classic, Sennheiser HD650, Sennheiser HD800, Finite Elemente Pagode

SET/SEP Bliss - Omega Compact Alnico Monitors, Audion Silver Night SE (Psvane 300B-L), Audion Premier (Amperex Globe 6DJ8, Sylvania GB5687), Dennis Had Inspire Fire-Bottle (Golden Lion KT88, GE NOS 6SN7 GTB, Sovtek 5AR4), Line-Magnetic LM-845 Premium (Psvane ACME 845, Elrog 300B or Psvane ACME 300B, Psvane WE 310A, Linlai 12AX7)

Library - Harbeth 30.1 35th, ProAc SM100, Dynaudio Special Forty (alternating), T+A V10, Mytek Brooklyn, Auralic Aries, Benz Lukascheck PP1, T+A G10/SME M2-9/Benz Glider SL

Bedroom - Sonus Faber Cremona, PrimaLuna Dialogue Two (SED =C= KT88), Simaudio Moon 100D, Auralic Aries Mini, Heed Quesar/Q-PSU, Cleauraudio Concept Performance DC/Clarity/Virtuoso V2

Office - Spendor A1/IsoAcoustics ISO-130, Naim NAP100, Benchmark DAC1 HDR, HP Envy Curved Desktop PC

Summer Place - Buchardt A500 (with Mastertuning 3.0 way and Room EQ)
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  #6393  
Old 04-22-2021, 11:21 AM
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joel_hifi joel_hifi is offline
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Originally Posted by Isaacc7 View Post
I have enjoyed using short bottle Sylvania 6sn7 tubes in other amps. Once I dig mine out of storage I will try them in my KT88 Firebottle. Have not heard the "bad boy" versions but I bought a few pairs of the 12v version for my Supratek preamp I'll get in 3 months or so. The reviews of those tubes have been great, hope they live up to their reputation.
I also just ordered a Supratek pre, will have to be a bit patient
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Music Room - Sonus Faber Elipsa SE / Magnepan 1.7i (alternating), Goldmund Telos 280 / Pass Labs XA30.8 / Jadis DA 8 (alternating), Nagra Jazz, Ayon Stealth, Innuos ZENith Mk3 (Roon Core), SweetVinyl SC-1 Mini, Einstein Little Big Phono, Clearaudio Innovation Basic/TT5/Lyra Delos, Transrotor ZET-1/TR-800S/Hana SL, VPI 16.5, Studer A807, Brocksieper EarMax-Pro / Burson Conductor V2+ (alternating), Audeze LCD-2, AudioQuest NightHawk, Mezze 99 Classic, Sennheiser HD650, Sennheiser HD800, Finite Elemente Pagode

SET/SEP Bliss - Omega Compact Alnico Monitors, Audion Silver Night SE (Psvane 300B-L), Audion Premier (Amperex Globe 6DJ8, Sylvania GB5687), Dennis Had Inspire Fire-Bottle (Golden Lion KT88, GE NOS 6SN7 GTB, Sovtek 5AR4), Line-Magnetic LM-845 Premium (Psvane ACME 845, Elrog 300B or Psvane ACME 300B, Psvane WE 310A, Linlai 12AX7)

Library - Harbeth 30.1 35th, ProAc SM100, Dynaudio Special Forty (alternating), T+A V10, Mytek Brooklyn, Auralic Aries, Benz Lukascheck PP1, T+A G10/SME M2-9/Benz Glider SL

Bedroom - Sonus Faber Cremona, PrimaLuna Dialogue Two (SED =C= KT88), Simaudio Moon 100D, Auralic Aries Mini, Heed Quesar/Q-PSU, Cleauraudio Concept Performance DC/Clarity/Virtuoso V2

Office - Spendor A1/IsoAcoustics ISO-130, Naim NAP100, Benchmark DAC1 HDR, HP Envy Curved Desktop PC

Summer Place - Buchardt A500 (with Mastertuning 3.0 way and Room EQ)
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  #6394  
Old 04-22-2021, 07:08 PM
Isaacc7 Isaacc7 is online now
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Quote:
Originally Posted by joel_hifi View Post
I also just ordered a Supratek pre, will have to be a bit patient
Nice! Had Mick modify my Cabernet so it could switch between 6v and 12v tubes. It was expensive enough I had to think about it a bit but I'm glad I had it done. The old 6sn7 tubes have gotten really expensive. The 12sn7 versions are still fairly reasonable. The 12sx7 are a little bit more but still reasonable compared to 6sn7. I plan on using old 12v tubes and if I get curious enough I'll try to some of the new 6sn7 from China.

To get back on topic, I wonder what Dennis would charge to add a similar switch in the new preamp. 6j5 tubes are starting to creep up in price but 12j5 tubes are still cheap.
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  #6395  
Old 04-25-2021, 11:31 AM
bearcity bearcity is offline
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I made a trip East from Asheville, NC this past week and of course stopped by Cary for a visit with Dennis and Tony (Straitwire). Allen (Analog Addict) could not make it.☹️ As usual we caught up over lunch and then off for some critical listening, sharing of ideas, and also what has become a real treat, story time. I brought my latest speaker project, a single driver rear loaded horn. Pictures to follow. System components included the shop Rega P3 turntable> Assorted phono-preamps> Inspire CJ5 preamp (prototype)> The new Inspire 300b amp and a new Inspire KT88 SETamp (to be shipped on Monday to a customer). Speakers were various prototypes of the the speakers I brought which we have all been playing with.

My interests going in were to give the KT170s a listen. I knew Dennis had a pair. I also wanted to hear the new 300b amp with those new production Western Electric 300b tubes. I also wanted Dennis and Tony to hear my latest speakers. IMO, at present, these are the best yet from my shop. We hooked up the speakers before we went to lunch so they would be all warmed up when we got back. We had to wheel the shop 4 ways out and the pair with the Lii f15 drivers I made for Dennis a while back so as to make room to move around. There is a lot of equipment there at the toy factory, often just out of view of the pictures shown here.

Listening began with the 300b. WOW what a presentation. The best way I can convey the experience: remember the first time you heard a good SE setup? That feeling of realization regrading all you have been missing previously in your audio system listening life. Well damn if Dennis did not do it again with this one. There is no doubt that this amp bests his other offerings of which I own several. His SEP Firebottle amps are currently running about $2k (maybe the best bargain in hi-fi) and this 300b is $4k so it should, and it does in spades! As I sit here now listening to it in my listening room (yes, I took it home with me) I am just floored by the detail, fluidity, and timbre. The instrument separation is unmatched. Absolutely amazing presentation.

We switched to the KT88 SET (triode) amp next with the KT170s. BTW, same OPTs in both amps I was told. I will preface this with this statement. I have yet to meet a pair of KT 88/120/150s I cared for. I know there are many out there who love this class of tube but I always seem to prefer the 6f/l/v6 Pentodes. The KT 170s are the same for me. I switched them out for a pair of 6f6g from the mishmash of tubes there on the coffee table. There was the sound I know so well and absolutely love from my other Inspire amps (custom Universal, PSE, and 6V6er). Wonderful! If the fellow who is having this amp shipped on Monday is here reading this. You are in for a real treat. This is a wonderful amplifier. But IMO, get yourself some 6f6s to try.

Listening was through the various cabinets and with various drivers (Fostex 4”). Dennis has been in love with the FE126NV for a while and we have each been playing with the FF125WK. No firm conclusions were made but I was coerced into leaving my latest cabinets. You’ll have that there at the toy factory. I am missing them a lot as I sit here.

After a lot of listening, laughing and sharing, we seem to find ourselves engrossed in Dennis’s stories of times past. We went strolling down memory lane with him and his before and after Dentron Radio days. Mid to late 70’s. He pulled up some youtube videos on his phone which brought up more stories. Maybe we can get a podcast together someday. The man has really seen and done a lot in his lifetime.

Anyway, I had to get on the road and they each had to get home to their families. Another great visit was over. As always I look forward to the next.
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  #6396  
Old 04-25-2021, 11:34 AM
bearcity bearcity is offline
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  #6397  
Old 04-25-2021, 11:34 AM
bearcity bearcity is offline
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  #6398  
Old 04-25-2021, 11:35 AM
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  #6399  
Old 04-25-2021, 11:37 AM
bearcity bearcity is offline
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300b layout.
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  #6400  
Old 04-25-2021, 03:45 PM
Isaacc7 Isaacc7 is online now
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Alas, my speakers are only 90db sensitive so the lower power tubes just don't have enough oomph for me. I liked how the 6v6 sounded in my Firebottle but I could not get the volume I needed.

The KT88 tubes sound lovely in my system. Dennis raving about the kt150 and 170 have me wondering if I should try them. I understand there's no more power to be had with this amp but I'm curious about the difference in sound.

I did finally get my 7n7 adapters in. I replaced the GE 6sn7 that came with my amp with a Sylvania 7n7. I think it's a short bottle version. I'm not good at audiophile descriptions but I think the system sounds more natural and just "right" with this tube. Maybe I'm fooling myself because I've always like Sylvania 6sn7 but I think the 7n7 is a good upgrade. They're cheap too!
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