Shootout of Nos 6sn7 tubes

I will have shootout between TS BGRP, RCA vt231, KR vt231, Syl vt231, Raytheon vt 231 and "Bad boy" next weekend.

If I get MELZ 6N8S 6SN7 Metal Base next week, then I will also include it in shootout

RCA5691, Psavne Acme 300B, Psavne Acme 805 are also being used in Line Magnetic 508 amplifier.

Speaker will be Lansche 4.1 with plasma tweeter.

Digital source will be Dave and HMS fed by ripped CD stored in ssd drive of Cocktail audio x30.

I will play

Eva Cassidy's 'Autumn Leaves"

"Trinity Sessionn " by Cowboy Junkies

For classical orchestra, "Trittico" directed by Fennel.

"Still harry after all these years" will be for fusion jazz.

Any more suggestion gentlemen and ladies.


@charliee ken-rad 7193 sounds interesting but I need less choices not more🤪.  For $165 for a pair I am willing to give Linlai-E’s a go.  I have not heard that these Linlai-E’s have had short life issues?  Several well respected Amp makers now use them with glowing recommendations.  Anyone experience issues with Linlai E’s?

@tksteingraber Thanks for the feedback on the 50’s Melz tubes. I find your observation regarding the constricted soundstage interesting. My 1982 1578 exemplars excel at soundstaging IMO. Perhaps a loss of some soundstaging is the price one pays to get the reputedly more balanced midrange of the 50s tubes?

Apparently it is not uncommon for the early Melz to have noise issues. IIRC there is a tutorial (on for resoldering the pins on Melz tubes that has been reported to yield positive results in many cases.

Regarding the upper-midrange prominence I was experiencing early on from the 1982 1578s, I ran the ISOTEK break-in/conditioning track several times and it seems to have further reduced this. These tubes are sounding very good now, but I still perceive that, despite the strengths you denote in your post above, they lack the musicality and emotional engagement of the NU 6f8g’s or the TungSol VT-231s. More time will tell…

I am interested in hearing your feedback on the Linlai Elite.

@dlcockrum ok update on Melz noise issue. Seller told me 30-40% of these older Melz tubes have noise issues due to old tin solder in the pins. He told me to heat each pin with a solder iron and get them hot enough to repair internal joints. He said it rarely doesn’t solve the issue. I got my solder iron out and the noise is gone now👍! Time will tell if the noise stays away🤞. These tubes paired with my DAC 1974 Reflector 6N23P Single Wire Silver Shields is beyond what I thought my modest system had in it. They just sound better in every way with zero fatigue. I am truly surprised the impact tubes can make.It is going to be hard to switch them out but each tube has its pro’s and cons.


I have read that it’s closer to 50% of them are noisy/microphonic. That’s pretty good odds of getting bad tubes. You really need a competent and honest seller if you are going to buy them. 

@dlcockrum my light bulb E-6SN7 LinLai pair arrived and have 80+ hours on them now.  When I first played them they sounded quite bright with a booming bass and recessed dull midrange.  I was ready to send them back but read they needed 50-100 hours break-in for them to come to life.  On my system and my ears the LinLai  tubes have improved noticeably with break-in hours.    My assessment pretty much matches some of the other thread postings out there.  The Good:  excellent clarity, quiet, nice instrument separation, wide soundstage, fantastic tight clear deep bass. The not so great: treble on the bright side, soundstage is wide but flat lacking 3D depth, midrange just lacking a bit - just missing that full resonating sound.  Overall this is a very nice new construction tube.  I feel the LinLai’s had a Solid State kind of sound or digital vs analog analogy when compared to NOS.  I would highly recommend them for amp builders and anyone who doesn’t want to get into the NOS tube intricacies.  I could be very happy with this tube but I still prefer my NOS ‘50’s Melz, Sylvania GTA chrome domes, 6fg8’s.  I do like them better than Sylvania vt-231 and Ken-Rad black glass vt-231’s which I feel are a step down from the others listed.    Granted this is just my opinion, on my system with my ears and preference for the warmer tube so take it as such.  I will continue to give them more playing time.  They are definitely keepers and I will enjoy them for a different flavor choice.