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View Full Discussion The stock tubes are Shuguang Chinese Military tubes with aluminum bases. They are not bad tubes at all. Shuguang has been around since 1958. The power tube (big one) is a 6N5PJ which is exchangeable with a 6AS7 and the pre-amp tube (little one) is a 6N8P which is exchangeable with a 6SN7. The biggest impact on your sound will be with swapping the pre-amp tube. I'm trying electro-harmonix, RCA, Tung-Sol and GE new and vintage New-Old-Stock (NOS) tubes to see what I like in the pre-amp tube position. I am using a Russian "Winged C" 6H13C/6AS7 big power tube now. My electro-harmonix took 150 hours or burn-in for the internal tube-getter to rid itself of the L channel hum. My Tung-Sol out of the box has a lot less hum and I am beginning burn-in later today. Will report back as I roll more tubes. Check out the Shuguang tube factory footage here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U70-VcmiUM0
Now I’m running a Sylvania “ Bad Boy” 6SN7GT, an RCA 6SN7GTB and a GE 6SN7GTB as my pre-tubes (the small one). I like all three of those better than either the Shuguang (OEM) or the Tung-Sol and the Electro-harmonix. The RCA is awesome and the Sylvania has very good bass.
I also picked up an NOS RCA 6AS7G from 1953 that sounds great.
Hi! good evening. Thanks for sharing your evaluation on these tubes. I will follow your suggestions and try some of them.
By the way, I have 4 sets of headphones I've tried so far on the Darkvoice...Massdrop HiFiMan HE-4XX, ESS 422h and ESS 252, and Sennheiser HD-6XX. Hands down, the HD-6XX sounds the best on this amp, particularly with the NOS RCA, GE and Sylvania tubes I have mentioned. I like the Sennheiser/Darkvoice combo better than my Schitt Asgard 2 with any of the aforementioned headphones. Solid state can be very good, but this setup is amazing. I have some Mr. Speaker headphones on the way as well as the Koss Electrostatics...but so far, the the Senn/DV combo is undefeated!
Update: I had one of two Darkvoice 336SE's lose the R channel. Unit is only 3 months old. Massdrop says tough luck - it's only covered for 30 days. I must say - you need to use caution before you buy one of these in case it dies shortly thereafter. I think you should at least be able to RMA a bad unit for a good one for the first year of ownership...not the tubes...but the amp itself should be covered. Maybe 30 days on the tubes since they're a consumable.