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Thread: Advice on valve upgrades

  1. #1
    Join Date: May 2013

    Location: effingham,surrey

    Posts: 82
    I'm jonathan.

    Default Advice on valve upgrades

    Hi,

    I own a couple of hifi units that use valves. I have heard of tube rolling and upgrading valves etc.

    The thing is I do not know what valve or make is better than another, is there a "holy grail" of what valve is better than another?

    Kind regards,

    Jonathan

  2. #2
    Join Date: Nov 2015

    Location: Wolverhampton

    Posts: 8,975
    I'm Oliver.

    Default

    This is a matter of taste.

    Everyone likes different valves for different reasons. I'm a Telefunken fan, Marco is a Radio telecommunique fan, others love Millard's, Brimar etc. Best thing is to try them yourself.
    Analogue: Technics SP10 MK2 > Phonomac AT-1010 MK6 tonearm > Ortofon Kontrapunkt b > Bigbottle Jfet MC Valve Phonostage (Telefunken Valves)
    Digital: Raspberry Pi 3+/Allo Boss 1.2/Isolator 1.3 & 2x LPSU's with Volumio & JRiver
    Amplification: Nelson Pass DCB1 with Khozmo 48 Step Series Attenuator & Krell KSA100 MK2 Amplifier
    Cables: SPOTFIRE Speaker Cable & SPOTFIRE IC Cables & SPOTFIRE Tonearm cable
    Speakers: Pioneer CS-77A

    Price List For SPOTFIRE Cables here:https://bit.ly/2Uxiv3j

    Alternative reading: http://www.audioaddictsforum.com

  3. #3
    Join Date: Dec 2017

    Location: Ontario, Canada

    Posts: 49
    I'm Dan.

    Default

    This is a huge rabbit hole, and can be a big money pit too. You will find debates (and arguments) all over the internet about tube rolling.
    A couple of general pieces of advice.
    Read, read, and read as much as you can on tubes. There are a number of fakes out there, as well as tubes being passed off as NOS that are used, factory seconds or just bad.
    Buy only from reputable dealers, or on advice from reputable people. eBay is full of bad dealers, that are selling junk at high prices, but there are a number of good places to buy.

    You also need to be more specific as to your gear and your tastes.
    Dan Santoni

  4. #4
    Join Date: Nov 2010

    Location: Sheffield/Peak District. UK

    Posts: 460
    I'm Richard.

    Default

    I agree with all that.

    Have a look at WatfordValves. (No connection).

  5. #5
    Join Date: May 2016

    Location: Much Wenlock

    Posts: 965
    I'm Gary.

    Default

    What valves are you looking for ECC83 or other type?

    +1 for Watford Valves, probably not the cheapest but reputable.

  6. #6
    Join Date: Mar 2013

    Location: nottingham

    Posts: 321
    I'm nigel.

    Default

    Another thumbs up for Watford Valves.
    Their site offer a small description and sound review of most of the common types....matched kits are also available.

    I recently ordered a matched set for my Little Dot headphone/pre, the turnaround was pretty quick (less than a week) and the tubes arrived very well packed


    NIGE.

  7. #7
    Join Date: Apr 2012

    Location: London

    Posts: 537
    I'm James.

    Default

    "The thing is I do not know what valve or make is better than another"

    It's a subjective call. As a man who liked to measure stuff I think that from the thousands of valves I have measured uniquely only Telefunken seem highly reliable. I am not saying other manufacturers valves aren't reliable, or that there are no Telefunken clunkers, I am saying that I have measured many hundreds of each of most makes and I've never had a duff Telefunken valve. I have had worn out or weak Tele valves but that's fair wear and tear, I've not had gassy ones, ones with insulation and leakage problems, or anode/cathode poisoning, or other manufacturing defects, never.
    Mullards are also mostly decent, as are Western Electric (only tested dozens of W. E. though).

    Valve character is circuit dependent, only trust the opinion of those who have rolled properly tested valves in the same amp you are interested in. Otherwise it will be blind chance and that's quite aside from personal preference. One man's meat and all that...

    Sent from my GT-I9195 using Tapatalk

  8. #8
    Join Date: Nov 2008

    Location: Banbury, Oxfordshire/Panteg is where my late father was born

    Posts: 4,316
    I'm Chris.

    Default

    When it comes to 300b type amplifiers, the holy grail is often referred to the Western electric 300b but they come with a price tag of about 500 or more.

    Though it does depend on the quality of the amplifier, especially the output transformers and the design in general.
    Chris

    We've gone on holiday by mistake !

  9. #9
    Join Date: May 2013

    Location: effingham,surrey

    Posts: 82
    I'm jonathan.

    Default

    Hi

    Many thanks for your advice.

    Kind regards,

    Jonathan

  10. #10
    Join Date: May 2012

    Location: Pastures new

    Posts: 4,721
    I'm Nobody.

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Jazid View Post
    "The thing is I do not know what valve or make is better than another"

    It's a subjective call. As a man who liked to measure stuff I think that from the thousands of valves I have measured uniquely only Telefunken seem highly reliable. I am not saying other manufacturers valves aren't reliable, or that there are no Telefunken clunkers, I am saying that I have measured many hundreds of each of most makes and I've never had a duff Telefunken valve. I have had worn out or weak Tele valves but that's fair wear and tear, I've not had gassy ones, ones with insulation and leakage problems, or anode/cathode poisoning, or other manufacturing defects, never.
    Mullards are also mostly decent, as are Western Electric (only tested dozens of W. E. though).

    Valve character is circuit dependent, only trust the opinion of those who have rolled properly tested valves in the same amp you are interested in. Otherwise it will be blind chance and that's quite aside from personal preference. One man's meat and all that...

    Sent from my GT-I9195 using Tapatalk
    The problem with Telefunkens can be the price, and the fake versions. Hence the advice to buy from reputable dealers.

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