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Thread: Sophia (blue) EL-34-ST Tubes

  1. #1
    Member Cellcbern's Avatar
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    Sophia (blue) EL-34-ST Tubes

    My Unison S6 is a parallel, single ended, Class A integrated amp that was Stereophile "Class A" and received multiple 5* reviews online. It sounded good with the Tung Sol EL-34B power tubes (3 per side) that came with it, but was not a match for my modified Pathos TT RR. With the new Sophia Electric blue EL-34-ST tubes the S6 is a revelation, matching the TT RR's timbral accuracy and surpassing it in articulation, bass heft, and three-dimensional imaging. If I were to put a % on it I would estimate that the S6 is 60%-70% better/more musical with the Sophia tubes versus the Tung Sols.

    Note that I am using Mullard, Amperex, or Sylvania (black) long plate 12AX7's in both amps.

    Jeff Day reviewed these new Sophia tubes for Positive Feedback, and also on his "Jeff's Place" blog.

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    [Industry Expert] Addicted to Best! DaveC's Avatar
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    Thanks, these look very interesting... I'm currently using new Gold Lion KT77, have you tried these?
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  3. #3
    Member Cellcbern's Avatar
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    No, I have not.

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    [Industry Expert] Addicted to Best! DaveC's Avatar
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    Well after reading about them and your report I'll have to try a pair. Thanks for the help spending my money!

    I hope these last!
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    Member Cellcbern's Avatar
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    No wish to further lighten your wallet, but my Sophia blue 274B arrived today. Unlike other 274B's it is designed to be a direct drop-in replacement for a 5U4G. I am using it in my Modwright PS 9.0 power supply. If you like
    the sound of the blue Sophia EL-34's and have a component that takes a 5UG4 rectifier, you will want to try this special 274B. Right out of the box it produced the most natural piano tone I have ever gotten from my system.

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    [Industry Expert] Addicted to Best! DaveC's Avatar
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    My power tubes are running an Amperex 5AR4 rectifier and driver is SS rectified. It's running the Soviet metal-base version of the 6SL7 and 6SN7. I think Sophia does offer a 6SN7 version, maybe I'll try them one day...
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    [Industry Expert] Addicted to Best! DaveC's Avatar
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    I got my tubes already! Put them in this morning and just starting to burn them in, one was a touch noisy at first but has now settled down. At first a little closed-in but currently opening up and I can hear the potential. They should have named them 300BL-34s, they do seem to have some of the qualities I've heard in 300B SETs. A touch dark vs the GL KT77, smooth, fleshed-out and realistic sounding midrange with a little "bloom". So far a tonally different alternative to any EL-34 I've tried. They still have a ways to go I'm sure, so I will report back later.
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  8. #8
    Member Cellcbern's Avatar
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    The Sophia 6SN7's are TJ Full Music tubes labeled for Sophia (unlike the blue EL-34's and 274B which Richard Wu of Sophia designed and has made in China). I used them for years in my Modwright Sony 5400es based on Dan Wright's recommendation, and preferred them to the NOS RCA and Sylvania tubes I tried. However the Psvane CV-181T-Mk. II are the best sounding 6SN7 equivalents I've heard in the 5400.

  9. #9
    [Industry Expert] Addicted to Best! DaveC's Avatar
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    Good info on the 6SN7s, best I've tried are the Soviet metal-base tubes like in the link below. Some say the hole-plate tubes labeled 1578 are the best, others the regular black plates. Price should be $50/pair used/good or $80ish new. Some try to call them all 1578 and charge $200/pair. There is a 6SL7 version as well. 6H9C maybe... I use those as well, they were cheap and also really well built. I have some high end 6SL7 these are just as good as, imo.

    https://www.ebay.com/itm/2x-matched-...IAAOSwmSdaYftg

    At this point I'd say the Sophia EL-34s are better vs any of the others I have here, which include old Mullard, XF4 maybe?, RFT, Winged-C, old Tesla, and new GL KT77. Of these the new GL are my preference, but all are nice, The Sophias have a richer midrange, timbre sounds more realistic and maybe images are a bit more solid, I think my soundstage was excellent before but now with the Sophias there is more solidity to the images, more density of tone... this goes along with the richer midrange I think.

    I was a little worried they wouldn't really open up and become as fast and clear as the KT77, but I think they are getting there, there has been a big improvement in this area from brand new. I would still say they are more 300B-like.
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  10. #10
    Member Cellcbern's Avatar
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    Mine have about 70 hours on them and are steadily improving.

    Thanks for the 1578 recommendation. I ordered a pair on ebay to try.

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