I use the Amperex in the yellow and green box. I think it’s made in Holland but is quite expensive, around $180 a tube when I bought them. Sounds wonderful in my ModWright modded Cambridge cxn v2. Warm and very easy to listen to for long periods of time.
I think it’s going to be hard to find a tube warmer than the Mullards. Mullard has always had the reputation of being THE warm tube.
There maybe tubes that do sound warmer in your system but it would be a case of that particular synergy with your equipment. For example, the Amperexes mentioned above are not known as a warm tube and from my experience with them I wouldn’t call them warm, but they could, by chance, give you the sound you want.
I suggest you call Brent Jessee, Andy Bouwman (Vintage Tube Services) or Upscale Audio to see if they can recommend something for you. These guys are all very knowledgeable about tubes and will talk to you about tubes that may be what you’re looking for. Good Luck!
P.S. RCA Blackplates also have a reputation for being a warmer or smoother tube.
Good point Tomcy6. The only other 6922 I’ve used is the Electro Harmonix. Not a big sample pool. The Amperex are just better overall and more pleasing to listen to. I’m probably confusing warm with more pleasing and easy to listen to. Also, I have a tube amp, preamp and dac and am comparing the Amperex to the tubes I’ve used in those. Tubes are indeed a personal choice and ronrags will have to experiment.
@tomcy6 I bought the Mullard from Brent Jesse from his recommendation. I called him earlier today and still thought the Mullard was my best bet. He also suggested the Amperex but there was no guarantee it would sound better. He did hear from some people that tube dampers might soften the top end a bit. I have some so I experiment tonight. Thanks for your responses.
@gregdude has an idea. There is a tube seller named Tubemonger. They sell socket savers and adapters. One of the adapters allows you to plug a 12XX7 tube into a 6922 socket. Here’s the link:
Before you try a tube adapter, I’d talk to someone knowledgeable about your DAC and Brent Jessee as well as the people at Tubemonger to make sure it’s a good idea for your DAC.
The link says it adapts to an ECC88, which is what the Europeans call a 6DJ8.
The following information was taken from Joe's Tube Lore posted back in 1999. I have some of these tubes and confirm his descriptions are fairly accurate. Only issue is tracking down these as they are hard to find and could be pricey.
Siemens 6922 / E88CC (with shield, gold pins) Now things are getting more interesting. It’s lively, has a palpable & real quality to individual performers with greater dimensionality than any of the above tubes. Warm, lively & transparent with an extended high end. This is a classic tube and an excellent choice in this family if your system is not already over the top in the high frequencies. Often found labeled as a made in West Germany RCA for as little as $20 a pop. An absolute bargain....
Siemens 6922 / E88CC, RCA label (A frame, gold pins) This tube is similar to the earlier 6922 above. Vocals are slightly bigger and slightly more forward, the highs are a bit softer and the overall sound of the tube is a bit warmer. Music is presented with a warm, vibrant acoustic. Very nice & musical, though it might be a bit dull in a system that’s already dark in balance. Another excellent tube..
Siemens 6DJ8 / ECC88, RCA label (with shield, steel pins) Kind of lives in between the two 6922s above. Warm & vibrant, with a slightly forward balance similar to the A frame. Slightly more extended highs than that tube, however. Another very nice tube, frequently found labeled as a made in West Germany RCA
Siemens 7308 / E188CC, RCA label (with shield, gold pins) - Sacrilegious comment time. I prefer the slightly warmer, more vibrant and wetter sound of this tube to the sound of the CCa. Closest sound among the Siemens line to the sound of my favorite Amperexes
Amperex 6DJ8, Orange globe logo, Holland (shield, steel pins,) Much better than the above tube No comparison in fact. Warm, vibrant, lively, grainless, transparent Amperex sound. Killer tube. Almost as good as my reference Amperex 6922s (coming up soon). I slightly prefer this tube to the best of the Siemens 6DJ8s, 6922s & 7308s.
Amperex 6922, PQ, white label, US (shield, gold pins) Another very good Amperex tube. Warm yet lively, focused, grainless and transparent. A winner one of the best. Dynamic with punchy bass to boot.
Amperex 6922, USN, white label, US (shield, gold pins) Sounds very much like the US white label PQ. Another excellent tube though it may lack just a bit of that tubes warmth & body, but I’m quibbling here....
@earthbound The Mullards are starting to warm up and probably didn’t give them enough time to break in. I guess there’s no set time especially for NOS tubes.
The real problem is I have tinnitus in my left ear and it’s extremely sensitive to high frequencies so that’s why I lean towards a warmer sound. I can no longer listen to loud music without being affected. I should have mentioned this initially.
FWIW, after many years I stopped chasing NOS tubes (for the most, part depending on how old old is) and when selecting 6922's with a warm tone I use JJ's. They are cheap and fairly dependable, although I usually keep a few spares. For clearer toned 6922s I usually use 6h23s or EI 6922s gold pins, the former are fairly cool, the EI's a tad warmer).
re-reading the whole thread, if tinnitis is a serious issue for the op leading to great sensitivity to treble notes, this may be the best option
i just don't see a tube swap in a dac alterning the sound character enough to make a real difference for someone with tinnitis
The Dac I’m using is the Tubadour IV and previously I was using a MHDT Orchid. I purchased the Tubadour for the extra inner detail and more lively presentation. I do like the overall sound but I guess the extra extension and liveliness of the Tubadour affects my tinnitus more than previously. So I was hoping to reduce some of the liveliness with tube rolling but maybe it’s not possible. The rest of my system leans towards the warm side including cables so I rather not go there.
If the tube rolling doesn’t help, I may just buy another Orchid. Thanks for your responses.
Whether on not a tube change will help when you have tinnitus might well depend on 1) the severity of your tinnitus, and 2) the frequency in which your tinnitus dwells. A tube known for warmth might help but you won't know unless you try. I'm not familiar with the Orchard so I can't make a recommendation but if you have/can get and adaptor you might try the JJ I commented on above.
My Tubadour 4 took 10 months to settle in. That corresponds to advice I received about the output transformers. They're apparently quite good once they're broken in which takes forever, at least 500 hours I'm told. I got mine the end of October last year and it just this past month settled down nicely up top and boosted the bottom. That's about 500 hours play time for me. I suggest don't toss it just yet after eight weeks.
@wlutke Thanks for the info.
@earthbound I forgot I purchased another Mullard from Brent Jessee in the past. This one clearly shows it as a Mullard ECC88 and the other was hard to read but the box said it was a 6DJ8 manufactured by Mullard for IEC. Even without much break in, the ECC88 is smoother and less bright than the other Mullard. They are both designated as a 1964 production type but they do not sound the same. So now with this other tube I can say I’m happy with the sound.
@newbee As you recommended, I installed a JJ and it sounds better the Mullards. It removed the piercing extended highs but the overall sound is just as good as the Mullards. It has a nice soundstage and the bass is well defined. Who would have thought a cheap tube would sound this good. Thanks Ron
this is an old stock euro grading of top tier 6dj8/ecc88 type tubes, usually seen in french dutch and german made tubes
these are very rare these days and command very high prices due mostly to their rarity (they sound very nice but not materially better than ’plain jane’ tubes from the period, so long as the latter are well matched and tested)
but if you want a pair of tubes that cost as much as your linestage, then these are the ones to get 🤣
Yes @bdp24 - Siemens and Telefunken made them for the German communications industry.
CCa tubes are not a sure thing though. Later vintage Siemens are known to be bright sounding and I don't think the Telefunkens are as highly regarded as the Siemens. So as with all things tube related, do your homework.
I have avoided the search for Vintage Valves of this type for some time.
There are prices being seen almost appreciated 100% since I was last searching.
My purchasing method, where an agreement with the Vendor is in place that a Tube will be returned for a refund, If my friend with their Valve Tester proves the Tubes supplied measurements are not quite close, when measured on the friends calibrated tester. This method has assisted myself with getting top draw Valves.
With the present prices such a agreement will be even more important, if I have to enter back into being a buyer.
Caveat Emptor - Caveat Emptor, most valves supplied will produce a sound, but what type of Valve is being supplied.
As made known in a previous thread on the E88CC, a New Matched Pair of Gold Lions, had one Valve measuring quite unusual when tested and it was strongly advised not to use it as the Circuit could be detrimentally damaged.
Here’s the latest update. On a whim I decided to swap fuses to see if there were any differences. I was using a recommended Hifi tuning copper supreme for its warmer presentation. I replaced it with the stock fuse and the upper glare was reduced further. I then installed a Synergistic SR20 fuse that I used in the past and with the same results. It seems to me the better fuse might have extended the frequency response to where it was affecting my tinnitus. So now I will be using the old SR20 fuse from now on.