Cary Audio SLP-5 Preamp Tube Replacement.

Hello Guys,

I have stock tubes in my Cary SLP-05 and want to replace them with Psvane CV181-T MKII (6SN7) or you have any other recommendations? I am hoping you can help me if I need to buy all eight tubes or I can do with less tubes. I hope they fit in Cary and which slots I should replace them in? I only use RCA cables and not balanced cables. Looking forward to hearing from you. Thanks.



I've been using various 6SN7s (GTBs in my case) and found that NOS GEs sound best for my tastes, and last a really long time. 

@immatthewj I have the LinLai E-6SN7 tubes in all 6 sockets since I used the SLP-05 balanced.  I don't use headphones so I have cheap throw away tubes in the other two sockets.  It has never been clear to me if you could leave those sockets empty or not.

I have only used the E-6SN7 tubes.  I have no experience with any of LinLai's cheaper tubes but I have tried different 300B tubes from them and generally I think you get what you pay for when you move up their product line.  I only buy from Aliexpress and don't think the premium from Viva or the other US vendors is worth anything despite their claims otherwise.  

Hi @couger4u,  the Lineal experiences that I posted as mentioned by @immatthewj are in this long thread started by another member.  A big part of the discussion was about where to purchase them, and whether the ones sold by non authorized dealers at a cheaper price are actually legitimate, and same as the ones sold by their one and only authorized dealer for the US market.

I ended up buying one pair from their "authorized" Linai dealer, and paid the extra money for my own peace of mind.   I used them for the balanced output, i.e. slot 3 and 6 on the SLP-05, and I do like them better than the stock EH tubes from Cary.  

As for slots 1,2,4,5,  I bought some NOS RCA black plate tubes from a dealer named Brent Jesse whose highly regarded in this forum.  I also like the RCA's better than the stock tubes.

Anyway, hope this helps, and good luck with finding the tubes that you like.  It's a time consuming process.

@xcool thanks for your reply. I think I will leave the stock EH in 3 and 6 and only change the four tubes mentioned. I have read somewhere that all tubes interact with each other in the circuit so the sockets has to have tubes in them and not to leave them empty. I might buy tubes for the headphone as I use headphones once in a while. I will try the Psvane once Linlai’s are paid off. 

I have read somewhere that all tubes interact with each other in the circuit so the sockets has to have tubes in them

I have read the exact opposite. And although I realize that this discussion applies to the SLP05 preamp, back in late 2017 (which was back when you could actually get tech support via the telephone from Cary) the Cary tech guy suggested that I run my Cary V-12 amp (which uses a total of 12 EL34s) with only two EL34s perside and set each side’s bia at 80 to 100 mA and see how I liked it. I actually did try that and when I ran it in that configuration I covered the empty sockets with electrical tape to keep dust and foreign objects out. (At the time I didn’t feel it was enough power . . . but I might give it another try as my tastes have changed).

But as far as the SLP05, as far as the balanced input sockets, if you are not hooking interconnects in to the balanced inputs, I truly cannot see how those sockets would interact with the + and - phase buffers. And since I have read nothing at all about leaving the two headphone amp sockets empty if not using headphones, I will not comment on those.

However, with all that typed, IF I was running my equipment into my SLP05 with RCAs, I would still leave the cheap tubes in the balanced input sockets, and in my SLP05 I am NOT (yet) running headphones (although that may change) and I still have the stock EHs in those sockets.