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Notably warm non-Mullard ECC82/12au7 valves?

Discussion in 'audio' started by Dave***t, Sep 30, 2021.

  1. flutteringwow

    flutteringwow Platinum Ears

    thanks for the link. Yes, my first set of Mullards, I bought entirely blind were so soggy and muggy, I was thoroughly disappointed.

    The ones I got from Watford seem to be the best I have tried, they are marked as CV4003, KQDD/K, 83/09
     
  2. Elephantears

    Elephantears Trunkated Aesthete

    Those 80s Mullard CV4003 are very good, but I've always found they have a bigger sound than 60s Mullards, begging the question: are they just a bit louder, or is the sound slightly inflated? As ever, system dependent, but I eventually decided that in my Unico Pre/DM they sound a little too big - this is in a very powerful set of hybrids that already have a lot of gain.

    I have a bucket full of Mullard ECC82s of all dates and recently started going through them to sort out the best ones. The trouble is, they all sound different. Some really very different. But it's incredibly different to say whether one sounds like it is because it was made in 1960 rather than 1967, or whether it's output is rather low due to age, or some other reason I can't fathom. I jsut gave up trying to find any rhyme or reason in it after a while. But it does make a mockery of all the generalisations people make. Yes, some Mullards can sound rosy and bloomy, but some can sound fantastically clear and revealing, whilst still retaining that warm touch. I still think that the best ones are the best ECC82s I've heard, but finding those really tip-top ones is a bit too much of a quest.
     
    Dave***t and earlofsodbury like this.
  3. flutteringwow

    flutteringwow Platinum Ears

    Ah they are 80's ones? interesting.

    I have a pair of 1960's ,1960s gf2 b6c1 b8g2, Twin halo welded plates, which measured 9.0 / 9.0 and 10.0 / 9.5 (new = 10.5 ma) as well which I could compare them to in the driver slots.

    The older ones had a softer more recessed laid back sound. Everything was calmer and more gentle. The Cryo 80's ones had the same 'signature' but a much bigger sound as you say, more precision but with the same midrange warmth. I dont know how much of this was due to the freezing. The old ones I could imagine being excellent in the right kit, and on their own if you didnt have the Cryo ones they would be pretty special in comparison to all the new tubes.

    I can't remember much about the first Mullards I had other than the word that is etched in my mind 'gloopy'.

    If you have any of the 80's ones let me know, as I would like to get some spares and will get them Cryo'd.

    I always wonder about Langrex as a supplier, they seem to have an infinite supply of NOS valves. They seem to be running two companies on eBay at the moment and more and more Mullards keep getting listed.
     
  4. Elephantears

    Elephantears Trunkated Aesthete

    So you've got a January 1966 and a Feb 1968. In my investigations, 1967 was a very good year for Mullard. I've speculated that this might be the positive effect of the 1966 world cup victory on the output of the Mullard factory. In fact I've wondered about writing a cultural history of Britain according to variation in Mullard ECC82s, but I'm just not sure I'd find a big enough audience.

    I think the CV4003 are 80s but I'm not certain. I'm holding on to mine: I do have a pair of the Watford Cryos and will put them back in my preamp at some point in the near future to reassess.
     
  5. flutteringwow

    flutteringwow Platinum Ears

    I'll swap you for some Isopucks :D

    I wonder if cars were made better in 66/67 also? Way before my time.
     
  6. Elephantears

    Elephantears Trunkated Aesthete

    Thread-crapping on my wanted ad was overstepping forum etiquette, but bragging about your own thread-crap when I'm offering free advice - that's a window on to your psyche that you might want to draw some curtains over.
     
  7. flutteringwow

    flutteringwow Platinum Ears

    #issues

    Chill Winston, emoji denotes a joke/banter on the interweb..
     
  8. Dave***t

    Dave***t Revolutionary relativist

    I'm using Gold Lion KT88s, which are excellent.

    I originally swapped the PL OEM EL34s for some Tung-Sol EL34s, simply because the amp was ex-dem and I didn't know how much time the PL valves had on them (plus the Tung-Sols were supposed to be a bit better). And very nice they were. Not a huge difference in character, but good.

    Then after a tip on here (possibly even from you?) I went for the KT88's because they were supposedly a bit warmer and a tad more powerful. I was pleased with the change, and will stick with them in future. Great stuff.

    But despite that extra warmth from the power valves, there's still a hissiness in the treble which I struggle to attribute to the speakers (Harbeth 30.1, so silk domed for a start). And the DAC I'm using is a NOS affair which is a bit rolled off at the top if anything. It's not too bad when using this DAC as a result, but I'd like to have more options - I've tried lots of supposedly-not-too-bright DACs but have had to revert to my backup each time. I've messed about with speaker placement and hanging thick towels as experimental room treatment, all to limited effect.

    Which leaves me looking at the preamp valves.

    Thanks Bish. I think I may have had a couple from you in the past, in fact, though not the organ spec ones you mention. Depending on how things work out I'll drop you a pm if appropriate.
     
    The Bish likes this.
  9. Elephantears

    Elephantears Trunkated Aesthete

    Precisely. But you can always mask it as 'banter'.
     
  10. flutteringwow

    flutteringwow Platinum Ears

    Sorry snowflake x
     
  11. Rockmeister

    Rockmeister pfm Member

    talking of valves, and venturing boldly into territory clearly off-piste, are you quite sure that valve tuning is the way you need to go to 'cure' a harsh top end? These are minute differences compared to swapping pre amp/phono stages/ having a crital look at your room speaker interaction/ casting a suspicious eye at your tweeters sound profile,/ checking your arm VTA/ etc etc etc.
     
  12. flutteringwow

    flutteringwow Platinum Ears

    It's a Prima Luna valve issue. It's widely reported, it's the main criticism from owners, once the valves get changed, it generally goes. You'll be surprised how harsh those PL tubes are.
     
    Rockmeister likes this.
  13. Frizzy

    Frizzy Liberal anarchist

    My Berning pre used 8 ecc82 so I tried and rolled virtually every make going.
    Outright quality amperex 7316 (ultra rare) and seimens E82cc+ ecc82lp are faves, value for money and a sound that’s rich and smooth and impeccably balanced are RCA clear tops,or bugle boys, not too pricey either.
    If interested I still have many pairs inc seimens long and short plate,amperex bugle boys, telefunken smooth plates, Mazda silver plates, Mullard 12au7, mullard 4003,
    Rca black plates, a few others I forget. All done break in hours no more, Berning sold and valve amps gone so these redundant.
     
  14. Yank

    Yank Bulbous Also Tapered

    US Sylvania 12AU7, smooth but not muffled.
     
    Dave***t likes this.
  15. Dave***t

    Dave***t Revolutionary relativist

    That does sound like quite a bit of experience!

    If you want to drop me a pm with what you’ve got and what you’d want for them, please feel free.
     
  16. Frizzy

    Frizzy Liberal anarchist

    American valves undervalued I feel. There’s usually a lot of brands to choose from and plenty available, meaning in most cases prices are very good value.
    For me rca was best quality in most cases, GE very good value and almost cheap, certainly better than modern equivalents.
     
  17. Frizzy

    Frizzy Liberal anarchist

    I’ve just been looking up values, so difficult to value valves, as variety, strange codes/no codes ( if telefunken can do daimonds why cant others) and fakes make comparisons problematic.
    I’ll send you a msg with a few of better pairs and later put in ads section, then sort out the 30+ other asst signal valves, pain when print gone.
     
  18. davidsrsb

    davidsrsb pfm Member

    I am trying to think what defect could make a valve sound warm. This is most likely to be output impedance reacting with a transformer, but could be a low frequency thermal distortion or really excessive capacitance
     
  19. Yank

    Yank Bulbous Also Tapered

    Many did.
     
  20. Frizzy

    Frizzy Liberal anarchist

    Just listed best pairs, will sort other valves mainly singles when first batch sold. 2pairs sold in first of hour of listing. Batch of amperex/Hammond organ labelled type is only quad I have, is your amp self bias?
    Best of luck in hunt.
     

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