Looking at a Mcintosh 275vi with upgraded gold lion tubes

Do these upgraded tubes sound better then the original tubes? Do they have the same life expectancy.? Or is that an individual preference, or just  steer clear, and look for  275s with Mac. tubes? Welcome your advice .


I'm a big fan of Gold Lion KT88's, preferring them over others in most KT88 amps that I've owned, with the only exception a McIntosh MC275 MKV... for whatever reason I preferred the stock McIntosh KT88's over the Gold Lions, which surprised me at the time, given my preference towards Gold Lion.

Mac uses JJ tesla's in their tube gear so the gold lions will be a big upgrade IMO.

the JJ's are rather bright, toneless, and rather unmusical. they are like modern SS amps IMO.

I've changed all the stock tubes in mine with NOS tubes. but the Gold lions are great modern tubes i have used them in various other tube amps and preamps over the years.

All I'm going to say is the stock JJ's are not the best sounding tubes on the market but descent i suppose for modern tube that are not too expensive, they are reliable though. 

Thanks for the feedback. So far one pro and one loves gold lions but didn't love them in the 275v. I would be using a stock MC70 tube preamp. With all the tube swapping out there I thought there would be more of a response  to this thread.

Get some KR KT88s. Huge upgrade. Verdant Audio.  $$$ No affiliation.

I have Northern Electric, Gold lions, NOS Tungsol 6550 $$$$. I believe the original 275s which I owned in the 70s were voiced with the Tungsols. 

Thanks but I'm looking at a seller of two 275vi with upgraded gold lions I'm interested in one of them . Really looking for advice on whether to take a chance on someones upgrades and save 2k or just buy new and know what I'm buying

It's just a personal preference of how they sound. Both tubes are reliable and neither brand will sound bad,just slightly different from one another.After you've lived with the amp for a while I imagine you'll be trying other brands out of curiosity.

I believe the McIntosh MC275 MKV used Shuguang Penta KT88's... not JJ's.  I don't think the Gold Lion's are bad sounding in the MC275's I just preferred the crispness of the Shuguang Penta's (which I believe are no longer available).  I would not let the power tube be the decision maker as to whether or not you buy the amp, as I really did like the MC275 and in many respects I with I still had it.  It's well built, sounds great, dependable, easily serviced and has exceptional resale value.  I highly recommend it.  

What speakers would you pair it with?


Klipsch cornwalls iv's with an outstanding MC452. Looking to warm them up with more tube sound. Possibly bi-amp the two

I have used Gold Lion KT 88 in my Quicksilver monos and they have been great.  Reliable, sound good.    I bought a matched quad a few years back and they have many , many hours on them.   They are now spares but they had so many hours on them the silver getter flash was fading.   Tested stronger than spec for "new" when I got them and they still are pretty tightly matched, still reading just shy of "new"   

I have had GL KT 88, 77, 66 .... all reliable