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An update for my first round of tube rolling (around $35 cost):
I replaced the Shuguang (originally stocked) 6SN7 with Tung-Sol 6SN7GTB. Immediately sound improved. Especially the trebles turned clean and detailed. I can hear wider-spaced and delicate details. Both Shuguang and Tung-Sol 6SN7GTB have loud hums at the beginning. It takes 48 hours of baking/burning-in for the stocked Shuguang 6SN7 to drop its humming.
Tung-Sol 6SN7GTB came with super loud humming at the beginning. I almost gave up this Tung-Sol tube the first day. But after 60 hours (be patient) of burning-in, the humming sound completely disappeared except when you use the lower (<32 ohm dynamic drivers) ohm headphones. Also, Dark Voice works well with my planar headphones regardless ohms. It pushes the planar drivers from my Hifiman HE-560, HE-400i, Monolith, Audeze well and they sound full with details.
I replace the Shuguang (originally stocked) 6AS7 with GE 6AS7. To my surprise, GE 6AS7 brought down the bass output. I decided not to use this GE to pair for now. So DO NOT throw away the stocked Shuguang 6AS7 cause it pairs very very well with Tung-Sol 6SN7GTB.
I really enjoyed my entire headphone collections with my Dark Voice, especially with Tung-Sol 6SN7GTB and the original Shuguang 6AS7 as a pair. I will receive more tubes soon and will share my updates.
I personally like the more rustic and rough look. Why the need to belittle?
Hi! Good morning. Thank you for your kindness and support. I am glad that the wood frame protects the device and also making sure my active puppy not getting burned by the tube heat. Glad to have more cool & sensible members like you here. Have a nice weekend.
Was it the big tube or the smaller tube that you replaced with the new Tung Sol?
I own the dark voice, and am thinking about tube rolling it for my senn 6xx's. Thanks.
Hi! It is the "small front" tube I replaced with Tung Sol. The "large back" tube I kept the original ShuGuang tube. This pair sounds very good and seems to be the best low-cost adjustment before spending more than $30 or more. I hope this is helpful.
Okay cool, thank you! Now what if you were to spend more. What would you get? (For the tubes)
Couldn't agree more, the NOS 6SN7GTB (top getter) is one of the finest sounding 6SN7 in this topology I've tried, I built several variations of this popular WCF amp back in mid 2000's, following a Pete Millett design I believe.
Another one I recall sounding really, really clean sounding, with really low microphonics, distortion, and meaty but tight bass was NOS russian 6H8C.
It may be or not your cup of tea, I see them as a great tube for mic preamps, etc; the GE has more warmth and tubey-velvety "fuzz".
I am still looking and search for my next batch of tubes to consider. I will try one of the more expensive front tubes. It seems the front tube has direct impact on the sound clarity and high/low end extensions. Although I ordered the bigger brother amp of DarkVoice 336..... the La Figaro 339 Tube Headphone Amplifier last month. I believe they share the same driver tubes (large back tubes) but the smaller tubes are different types.
Of course. The GE 6SN7GTB is awesome and produced beautiful & very enjoyable sound. Some of the more rare tubes can be found on ebay but I often am not sure if if the tubes sold there are actually good stocks. This tubing game is fun and sometimes exhausts my attention.
Thanks Horseknight, I appreciate it. I'm going to search for this tube, and probably order it today.
Hi! The cheapest and most reliable place for getting this tube is at tubedepot.com. Also, there is often a 5% off coupon for that site. I am listening to my DarkVoice now with Monolith 1060. AWESOME :-).
Couldn't agree more... I've sourced tubes in the past from them, specially USA NOS, good, honest, reliable vendor.... be wary of ebay vendors selling "rare" unobtanium tube versions for ridiculous prices. Don't get obsessed with them.
I Just checked prices today for original Reflector 6H30P (knowing the appreciation they've gathered these last years) and boy, I have a small investment without knowing! they cost +$260 more than I paid for them in early 2000's! (like 30€ ea back in the day...) They're great but no way I would be paying that much for them today!!!!
The point I'm trying to make: don't let rave reviews make you shell out more than say $60 for a reputed NOS 6SN7 ever. I liked Tung-Sol, RCA, GE, Mullard...
Neither need to look for military-grade, reinforced, ultra low microphonics ones either, this is a headphone amp!
Had good experiences in the past with Antique Electronic Supply too.